So my Monday morning began with a call from the bus company that the bus transporting my son to his second school was going to be late because Johnny keeps unbuckling his seat belt and walking around on the school bus. For safety reasons the driver needs to stop and get him to sit down and re-buckle him. The dispatcher was understanding and said they see this with children on the spectrum and once they figure the buckle mechanism out then they do it over and over again for a few days exploring their new achievement. But what do I do? If we were paying the bus company to transport him then they would put a safety cover over the buckle immediately but the school board has them under contract and all requests must come through the school. Great. I’m worried about my son and will he get to his afternoon school okay. He did and was not upset at all and by all accounts was very proud of his achievement.
Did I mention that this was now the third day in row? The 2 previous days he unbuckled his belt, kicked the seat of the driver repeatedly and hit the windows. Incident reports were filed at the school. How did I find out? His afternoon school told me when they found out about the challenging behaviour the second time and were shocked that it had happened twice so they quickly phoned me. Thank you. For them even if one incident occurs they call me so that we as parents can figure it out but its seems the public school felt it was a “one off” and he has never done this before so he was having an “off day.” What had suddenly changed?
My son’s afternoon school told us to ask the bus company to install a safety cover over the buckle and this would ease the situation. My husband called the school board but the request had to come from the school itself. So we call the Principal and he said that 2 incident reports have been filed and he will follow up on the safety device for us. A harness? It seems he was told by the board that we need to go see a doctor and get a prescription for one. We don’t need a harness and the safety device is what the bus company is suggesting as well.
Well Monday rolls in and our son has unbuckled the seat belt…again. We quickly made calls and the safety device was going to be installed for Tuesday’s bus. I contacted his Autism Support team (not waiting to see if school was going to do it) and let them know what was happening. They have created a social story to help Johnny learn what is expected when we travel on a school bus and they might use a reward/token/sticker system ABA therapy to help him as well.
From my experience Johnny is a very smart boy but he’s a “cause and effect” kind of boy who once he figures out how something works (which is a challenge he loves) then he has to repeat the action over and over and over again until he’s satisfied. He will not think of the right and wrong yet. Its through repetition that he learns best and that’s how we end up getting through to him so that’s why I think a social story will help cement things for him while he comes to terms with why he has a new cover for his seat belt buckle.
Safety device worked and the buckle stayed closed.
Little Houdini was able to slide under the belt and walk up and down the aisles again.
Johnny rides 3 school buses a day and we are only having problems right now on one route. What is going on? There is only one other little girl on that bus. The afternoon bus driver has suggested that whoever puts him on the mid-day bus make sure his belt is cinched but comfortable and double-check. You could not have said it better buddy. Time to go write some more emails and politely remind someone about that.