Buses and Breakthroughs

Friday afternoon was a comedy of errors and Mickey wasn’t laughing.  While I seem to spend a lot of times talking about his challenges, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate a success.  So, Friday morning his bus showed up with a substitute bus driver. That alone could always be enough to throw his entire day, but the kid handled it like a champ.  Friday afternoon though, the substitute bus driver didn’t show up.  Mickey rides a special needs bus, as do all at his school. Since the driver didn’t show, the kids were combined onto another bus. He is usually home by 3 pm, never after 3:02.  Well, it was one of the days that he is coming home by himself and I am usually home by 4 – 4:15.  The number 1 rule on the list of rules I gave him was to call me as soon as he gets in.  He has. Every time, without fail.  But, 3:15 came with still no call.  Then 3:30.  I called the phone (he doesn’t carry it – it stays at the house) and he didn’t answer.  That had me concerned.  By about 3:40, I had called the school, but there was no answer.  I was looking up the number to the county transportation to call when the phone rang. It was transportation and they had tried to take Mickey to his old daycare – apparently the transportation change made about 3 weeks ago, hadn’t been relayed to the driver of the other bus.  Mickey told them, but they took him there anyway.  Mickey insisted that they call me.  He says he stayed calm.  They called and confirmed that he was right.  To cut this lengthy story short(er), he didn’t get home until 4:12. Nearly an hour and 15 minutes after his normal arrival home and one hour and 45 minutes after he got on the bus.

Normally, this would have sent him into a complete tailspin.  I fully expected reports of horrid behavior, but when he called me, his biggest complaint was how late for snack he was.  He said “Momma,it was a whole bunch of miscommunication. I got really mad in my head, but they were being really nice, so I kept it in my head and didn’t say anything. I kept my cool and used my coping skills.  But seriously, please make sure I am never that late for snack again”.  This folks, is a triumph. He was mildly annoyed that my arrival home 5 minutes later didn’t give him much screen time (which he only gets during that hour-ish that I am not home), so I gave him an hour, just because I was so proud of how he handled the situation.  He also thought it was very funny that there were 8 missed calls from me.  He pointed out that rule #1 was to call and he would have called if he was home.

We also talked about the other thoughts I had.  What if he had been dropped off but he lost his key or it broke off or something (the key is sewed on a retractable key chain in his backpack, so the lost key scenario is relatively unlikely).  His response was “I would have just gone next door. No big deal”.  I added that he should call me from there and he said “I probably would have thought about it, but now I will remember that”.  All in all our stay home experiment is going well.  He showed maturity and handled the adversity well on Friday.  Different bus driver, different bus monitor, a driver who didn’t want to listen to him, a significant disruption to routine and schedule.  And he was cool as a cucumber when he got home.  So, Go Mickey.  I am proud.  Take that Autism.

P.S. I lodged a complaint with transportation.  I was not handling it as well as he was.  I didn’t know where my kid was and wouldn’t have, if they hadn’t called to confirm his story that he wasn’t supposed to go to daycare.  If Mickey was non verbal or not as functional as he is, what then? Would they have dropped him at the daycare?  Thankfully, I am confident the daycare would have taken him and called me, but my goodness. If Mickey couldn’t have stood up for himself, what then?  Why were parents not notified that some of the kids would be an hour+ late getting home? I was not a happy Mom.  Obviously, this is not the norm, nor have we ever had a situation like this before.  We adore his bus driver, but the transportation department needs a better plan when someone is out sick.  They need to notify parents and help set the expectations of the kids – most of these kids would struggle with that level of disruption – especially with no communication or notice.  This was completely not acceptable, but I am choosing to focus on Mickey’s success and I am dealing with the other with the adults who should have handled this better.

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