As most of my regular readers already know, my daughter is autistic. She goes to a special education preschool program for a few hours 3-4 days a week, and it has really helped her with her social skills. I drive her back and forth each day, but I am the only parent driving their child in, all the rest of the children, are taking the bus to school. This seemed odd to me, while my daughter is one of only a few of the preschoolers who is non-verbal, all have significant delays.
I understand that some of these mom and dads don’t have the option to go get their child, but it still wouldn’t sit right with me personally. Call me over-protective if you wish, but I am not placing my non-verbal 4 year old on a bus, and hoping she is returned safely to me. I’ve heard a few too many stories of instances of poor student tracking, to feel comfortable with that. Every year we hear of a child that wandered off, was dropped in the wrong place or forgotten on a school bus. Of course some of these cases could easily be remedied by a simple vehicle inspection , at the end of each trip, but not all of them, and obviously despite rules being in place it doesn’t always happen.
To make me even more paranoid, in the next town over from me, a bus driver was blocked in by concerned citizens, when they saw him driving erratically on his way to pick up children at school. Police arrived and the school bus driver was arrested for drunk driving. That is pretty scary.
I am very thankful that I am in the position to be able to take her to school each day.
Update: My daughter is now eight. She started taking the bus to summer school about two years after I wrote this. Now she takes the bus every school day and is quite excited about it. Yes, she is still non-verbal, but the schools she has been in recently have nearly nothing for parking, so it became a necessity.