It Happened On The Bus….again



*Something I should have posted last Spring when Johnny was still in Grade 1*

Last week there was an unexpected incident on my son’s school bus. I thought I would write about it on my blog just to share the experience of what happens when another child who is Autistic is having a hard morning and what I did and what everyone went through.

I knew there was a problem when we tried to get on the bus and a young Autistic boy was putting his feet across the aisle and was not moving so that my son could get down the aisle.  The driver was able to calmly get the little boy  to move so we could get down the aisle.   This all seemed unusual because the boy is usually buckled up and today he had not unbuckled his seatbelt but rather shimmied out of his seatbelt.  The driver was asking him nicely and calmly to please sit time so that we could go to school but every time he heard the words “sit”and “school” he started to protest and stomp his feet.  The driver told me that the mother said he was having a hard morning that’s when I remembered that yesterday  he didn’t seem to be in a happy mood either.   He was moaning and groaning and was not sitting nice in his seat. The driver cannot move the bus with the child standing so we were now in a pickle.  The boy has come to  know me because for two years I’ve been one of the friendly faces that he sees  every morning with my son.  Today he was agitated and he was going into a  meltdown.   The driver said the little boy is not listening lately and I told her that trust me he hears and understands everything that you’re saying but because he’s nonverbal he does not have the ability to tell us what is wrong what is bothering him.  It could be something at home that hasn’t been finished or something at school bothering him and I figured it had to be school because of his reactions to the words “time to sit” “time to go to school.”

The little boy would stand at the front of the bus stomping his feet,  hitting the doors, trying to say his name and try and make the sound for “open”.  When none of his worked  he would reach and grab the drivers arm gently and have her put her hand on the pulley imploring her with his eyes and showing her he just wanted off the bus.  The frustrating thing is he wouldn’t listen to reason that he was not at his house he was at my house.   The bus dispatch thought they could just reason with the little boy by talking to him over the phone.   I knew it was useless so I intervened and said that they needed to call the school to let them know what is happening because special education teachers are waiting for the children right now.  I also strongly suggested that we needed to have him Mother come and meet the school bus so she can calm him down.   Meanwhile my husband came over to the bus and talked with me through the window.  The little boy liked that and kept high living him but then tried to use sounds and hang movements to press his case about wanting off the bus.   I have some of the teachers cell phone numbers so I dialled until I got one of them and told her about the situation.  The teachers decided not to wait for the Mom and instead 3 jumped into a car and drove to my house to see if they could help out.

The little boy’s Mom must have broken the city speed limit because she was suddenly there and the minute he saw her he settled down.  He nodded to her and listened to her and then was okay.  I looked around and saw how the other children were doing.  One little boy was sobbing his eyes out and was scrunched in his seat and wouldn’t look at anyone.  My son looked so stressed and just wanted to go to school and get off of this bus.  The older boys were okay now but were worried at the time and thanked me for not leaving them alone while the little boy was upset.  I was glad that I could help.

I couldn’t help but think about my little girl having to ride this bus next year when she begins kindergarten and how frightened she would be if this kept continuing.   I couldn’t help but think what is going to happen now to this little boy who caused a big disturbance because he is non-verbal and he is communicating through behaviour.  The following week he now wore the safety vest.

Read here for my son’s experience with the vest:


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