I think a lot of parents have anxiety putting their children on the school bus. You usually don’t get to know the bus driver very well, you worry they won’t know where to go when they go to the school, you worry other kids will pick on them there, you worry about an auto accident. The worries fades as they continue on through their school career but if your like me it crops up here and there.
When you put your child with autism on the school bus there are extra concerns: will the bus driver be nice to them or abuse them? You hear about this all.the.time. And in no way am I putting down bus drivers in any way but I have read countless news stories of bus drivers, and teachers for that matter, abusing kids with disabilities. The worry of other kids picking on them is definitely magnified because they’re going to have trouble telling someone or sticking up for themselves if they’re anything like my Adrian is.
I really like Adrian’s bus driver. She seems a little grumpy when you first meet her but I’ve gotten to know her pretty well the last couple of years and I think she is a really nice lady. Adrian sits in the front seat and Adrian sits with a harness for safety reasons. Adrian screams very very loudly almost constantly at times. The driver has asked me more than once “Did you change his medication? He’s screaming a lot!” and she has asked me more than once if there is a way to get him to stop doing that. My response? If you find a way let me know! She also explained to me that it’s hard for the little kids to understand why Adrian gets to scream and be loud and they don’t…well frankly, tough! So while a few things she’s said have rubbed me the wrong way I am very comfortable having her drive Adrian to and from school.
On Friday when Adrian got on the bus there was a substitute driver. This is worrisome for me because I don’t know them at all and neither does Adrian. He seems to handle it ok but I worry a little more the days that the usual bus driver is absent. But, when Adrian got on the bus on Friday there was a little girl in probably 4th or 5th grade sitting in his seat waiting for him. As he got on the bus she hopped up and said “Hi Adrian, come on buddy” she helped him into his seat and helped fasten his harness. I loved seeing a kid being so sweet and gentle with him. Definitely one of those moments that brought happy tears to my eyes.