Are You Prepared For A School Bus Strike?
This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.
I will never forget the first day I put my son, Norrin, on a school bus. He was two years old, his book bag straps kept falling off his shoulders, he had no language and he was still wearing diapers. Norrin’s been on a school bus ever since (he’ll be seven in a few days). He’s never gone to a school within walking distance. And most of the special needs children I know are taken to school by bus. It’s a service so many parents rely on. And I never even thought about what I would do if that service abruptly stopped. Not until recently anyway.
New York City students and families are being impacted by a school bus strike – 152,000 students to be exact, with a significant amount being students with special needs.
Norrin is one of those students. And on Day Two of the strike, our family is already struggling.
I work full-time outside of the home as a Legal Administrative Assistant, my husband is a Court Officer – we don’t have the kind of jobs where we can work from home. Norrin’s school is twenty miles away – far from public transportation. We have a car but I don’t know how to drive. If I were to take Norrin to school on my own it could take up to two hours in commuting (by bus, train and a short cab ride) or a thirty minute cab ride (about $75 each way).
But getting Norrin to school isn’t really the problem. It’s picking him up – that’s the issue. It interferes with work and after school therapies. I’ve spent this last week trying to weigh all my options in the event of a school bus strike. And we’re still trying to figure out the logistics and put together our contingency plan. But the reality is, there are no easy options. I’ve already used two vacation days to stay home – not sure how much longer we can last. The last strike was in 1979 and it lasted three months.
Can you imagine if your special needs child missed three months of school because of a bus strike?
I’m hoping it doesn’t last that long. Because Norrin cannot miss three months of school or services.
But this strike has been an eye opener. I realized that I don’t have the contact information for any of Norrin’s five classmates. And even though Norrin does well riding trains and buses – I’ve never taken him up to school by myself. I haven’t even made the trip on my own. I love Norrin’s school, it was well worth the fight to get him there but I wish it were closer. I wish I had the ability to drop him off and to connect with other parents. Once things get back to normal, I’m going to reach out to the parents of Norrin’s classmates.
I’m home with Norrin and we’re ready to head out – maybe to the zoo or the museum. But I want to hear from you.
Are you impacted by the NYC School Bus Strike? What are you doing? For more strike information and reimbursement forms – please click HERE.
And if you’re not in NYC but you depend on a school bus to transport your child to and from school – do you have a Plan B if busing was no longer an option?
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Tags: autism, Autism Hopes, Disability, education, health, Kids with special needs on buses, school education, Special needs, Traveling and kids with special needs | Categories: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Down Syndrome, Must Read, SPD, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max