On Friday morning, Johnny’s Daddy wrote a letter of concern to the Manager in charge of transportation at the school district and copied it to the Principal and Johnny’s school Autism team. i thought i would share an excerpt from it here on my blog to encourage other parents to follow their instincts and express their concerns if they feel their special needs child (or any child) has not been “treated with kindness and understanding.”
It is not always easy to do when we are so heavily emotionally involved. I want to thank fellow Mothers and bloggers Solodialogue of http://solodialogue.wordpress.com and Malaika at http://soyouthinkyouknowautism for their supportive comments because it helped move us forward and inspired Johnny’s Daddy’s letter.
“I would like to express to you our concern that this driver handled the situation inappropriately.
Despite his disability we do not make any excuses for “challenging” behavior but it is very important not to mis-interpret signs of high anxiety or sensory processing issues as “bad” behaviors. There is a much better way to handle these types of incidents and the driver only succeeded in escalating the situation. We put our trust in the bus companies that transport our son and don’t expect this type of reaction from a driver. The more appropriate response would have been for the driver to calmly communicate the incident to the teacher. She can provide visuals to use to explain to expectations on the school bus.
Can you please clarify for me the policy regarding transportation of special needs students with respect to the following:
1. Is a diagnosis disclosed to the bus companies and drivers responsible for transporting children with exceptionalities?
2. Do drivers have any training on how to communicate or identify with special needs students, such as Autism?
3. What is the procedure(s) for a driver to following an incident like this with a student?
I would like to have clarification on the policy and make sure it is adhered to because right now we don’t feel comfortable with Johnny transported by this driver.