Ths post was prompted by an article I just read: Sensory Sensitivities on The School Bus Discussed at STN EXPO. My son has a tough time riding the school bus because of his auditory sensitivities. The level of noise that is always prevalent on the bus is painful for him to deal with. And the driver he had last year was a yeller. In order to restore order on the bus, she’d yell full volume at a kid. When the bus stopped at our house to let my son off, more times than not, this was a time for the driver to turn around and yell, through my son, at the offending child. Of course, my son thought he was being yelled at- which makes him crumble into a hundred tiny pieces. Even with the driver telling my son, after the fact, that she wasn’t yelling at him, it was too little, too late.
Another thing that made it difficult for my son to ride the bus was the fact that his stop is the second to last one before the bus gets to school, so the bus has no completely empty seats. Being a child who is slow to warm up (very shy at first), he had a tough time finding a seat, and would often end up sitting with 2 classmates, or some scary older student, just to be able to get quickly seated. The time limit to find a seat and be seated was self-imposed: he felt he had to do this in a matter of seconds once he got on the bus, for fear of the bus rolling before he was situated. In reality, his driver was pretty consistant about not moving the bus until each and every child was seated. But all it took was one time of her rolling before my kid was seated, to traumatize him. Last school year, my son would ask or beg me to drive him to school (and/ or pick him up) at least 3-4 days a week. I ended up driving him in about a day a week; and that would usually coincide with my needing to catch up with his teacher about something, or take care of some other school business.
This year, I’m going to have a better and longer chat with his bus driver about my son and his sensitivities. I’m hoping that we can come up with one or two things that will make his riding the bus less painful in the coming year.