Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Check This Box

Ohhh...I hate making decisions about something that is months away! Well, I guess it depends upon what the decision is about. Like..I have no problem buying airline tickets for a vacation months in advance. Writing it on the calendar and saving the date!

The decision I have to make now is of a different sort, and can always be changed if need be. How cool is that?

For many years, every day when Angela was picked up by the Special Ed bus I walked her down the driveway and waited with her. This is called a "hand to hand transfer". Not only did I do this for the usual safety reasons related to school bus stops, but also because a) I couldn't trust Angela to stay put, staying out of the street, etc. and b) our driveway is also very steep, and in the winter time quite icy. Angela's having poor balance made the trip downhill very difficult for her. Our driveway is kind of long, so if there was a problem it would take me a minute to get there. This worked the same way when she came home, and the driver was not allowed to let her off the bus unless I was at the bus stop. I kid you not, this is worse than having a Kindergarten bus coming and going in the middle of the day, especially since Angela has shortened days! LOL

This year for 5th grade I decided she was ready for some added independence, and bumped her up to "eye to eye" transfer. That meant that Angela could walk to the bus stop herself without Mom hovering around. It also meant that when her bus brought her home I no longer had to walk down the to the end of the driveway to meet her, instead just waving from the top of the hill. However, if they didn't see me, they couldn't drop her off. They also stay at the end of the driveway until she's about 1/2 way up the drive.

According to the calendar, next year Angela is no longer a little kid and will be moving on to the middle school. Her mother is having a hard time with this transition! One of the things I'm having a hard time wit is the busing situation. Angela has been riding the special ed bus because her elementary school isn't our neighborhood school. Instead she attends on on the other side of our town. But next year is different! In the mornings Angela will ride the regular middle school bus with all the other kids. There aren't any other middle school age students in our neighborhood, so I'm hoping she can still be picked up at the end of our driveway. I don't trust her to walk up the street to a bus stop so if she has to, Mom will be walking with her. However, in the afternoons she'll still be coming home much earlier than the other students (noon vs. 2:30).

I had to fill out a form for the transportation department for the special ed bus. I had to choose between three options:

hand to hand transfer
eye to eye transfer
unaided transfer

I hadn't thought of that unaided transfer option. Thats where Angela would be dropped off and the bus would leave as soon as she steps off the bus. They don't need to verify there is an adult here, and Angela can enter the house on her own.

I think she's ready, or will be ready for that by fall. That means even if I'm not home she can come in the house (she'll just plop herself in front of the t.v. I'm sure! LOL) and means I don't have to freak out about making it home in time for the bus. Most moms get past that when their child hits first grade and heads off the full-day school. Not me, I've been doing this for 6 years now and really, I'm tired of it. So, I checked the "unaided transfer" box. I guess we'll never know for SURE if she's ready for this unless we try it, right? RIGHT?


Kathie Brinkman said...

Wow! Our diestrict has nothing this specialized for transportation. Katie just rides the spec. ed. bus and that's it. Recently I just told the bus driver that Katie could come in to the house by herself and the driver said "okay." She really wouldn't know if I'm home or not, which I always am, but . . . interesting the differences.

WheresMyAngels said...

We don't have anything like that either. Mercede will FREAK out if our cars aren't in the driveway and not want to come in, even though she can on her own. Cheyenne stays home by herself and is always happier if she gets dropped off and we aren't home.

Now, the only choice I did have to make was wether to let them ride a reg bus or the special ed bus. I remember how horrid the reg bus kids were to me so I checked special ed.