Friday, October 22, 2010

Preschool Dilemma

As you know, my girls go to a great preschool, and the preschool goes to great lengths to include Ashlea in all their activities.  For example today "Mr Drummerman" is coming to visit.  He is bringing drums.  Loud ones.  They are confident that Ashlea will be fine and are planning on fully including her in this activity.


I'll let you know how that goes shall I?

There is one activity that is coming up that is worrying me though.  It is an excursion.  They are going to get picked up in a bus, drive to the bus depot (less than 5 minutes away), talk to the bus drivers, drive through the bus wash and then return to preschool.


I asked the teachers if the bus was wheelchair accessible.  Yes it is.  However, they are thinking that rather than taking her in her wheelchair (where she will be sitting up the back of the bus on her own I assume) they are thinking of just taking her 'as is' on the bus.  Mrs Cook will carry her on and sit her on her lap.

What do you think of this???

I think it is great that they just assume that they will take Ashlea and that she will be a part of all activities.  I think however that they are underestimating Miss Ashlea's abilitiy to throw a massive stinking FIT when the bus goes through the bus wash.  I have visions of a screaming, thrashing child wildly throwing herself around with her poor teacher trying to restrain the flailing limbs.

When I suggested to them that Ashlea might have a bit of a meltdown with the noise of the bus wash, they confidently said "She'll be alright".  When I pressed them, they then said "Even if she's not OK, we'll be alright".  I LOVE that attitude, that willingness to include Ashlea at all costs and just deal with the consequences.

But I do worry about the safety aspects of this one.  There will be nowhere for Ashlea to sit safely on the bus.  There are no seatbelts for any of the kids (do overseas buses have seatbelts?).  What if 'something' happens?  I know nothing is likely to happen, but my mind always goes there.

What if 'something bad' happens???

And how much of my reluctance is based on real concerns for her safety, and how much is just plain old anxiety worrying about 'something bad' happening.  I know I can't wrap my kids in cotton wool to protect them from 'bad things happening', but gee I'd like to!

Would you let your child go?  At this stage I am leaning towards just letting them take her on the bus with her on Mrs Cook's lap, but I guess I feel a little uneasy about it.  Which is why I'm asking all of you what you would do.

Any thoughts?


Lacey said...

Do what you feel is right. I think she will be ok, but I also have an autistic child that throws massive fits in a car wash, so I wouldn't put him through it on purpose.

Anonymous said...

yup. I'd let her go.

maybe get ear defenders to mute the noise of the car wash? Maybe an extra pair of hands in case of sensory overload?

Most buses in the US do not have seat belts.

Sarah said...

I would be keen to let her go aswell. If you are worried about the safety aspect, you could just ask she goes in her wheelchair at least that can be secured to an extent.

They seem prepared as well as they can be for any meltdowns.

Big brother, Little sister. said...

What happens when they get there? do they get out of the bus? I like the idea of the wheelchair not only for safety but for independence and autonomy. She is not a baby that needs to be carried either.
I would also have safety concerns the same as I do with cooper as he just does have the muscle strength or co-ord to control his body in a crash.
I am all for her going but I would push the wheelchair for above reasons.

Alison said...

Bron - I don't think they get out of the bus. I think someone from the depot gets on the bus and talks to them? Better check that out though.

ferfischer said...

I think I would let her go too - if she screams the whole time, then the teachers will finally believe you when you say she will! And, they only deal with it for a short time, you deal with it ALL the time, so that's why they're so willing! I think it's terrific! We took a class for parents of special needs kids and childcare was provided and Penny (typical) screamed for three hours straight for 8 weeks in a row. Oh, and there are no seat belts on buses here either. Well, keep us posted - it sounds like if you let her go - the teachers and class will learn a lot about Ashlea. Maybe not so much about buses, but they'll all learn something! :)

Anna said...

It's a tough one. I think she does need to be safely secured (I thought all buses had to have restraints?) So my only concern would be that she does need to restrained properly while they are in the bus.

If they say they will be ok if she has meltdown and they will handle it, let them. She will be ok. Sometimes you have to just let other people deal with those tricky times. You can't worry about them forever!!

But I would definitely talk to them about her just sitting on someone's lap.

Hope it goes well. And try not to worry, though that is easier said than done I know!

Susan, Mum to Molly said...

For comparison...

Molly has been on 2 excursions with preschool this year (to Featherdale and to the Art Gallery, la di da!).

Both have been on non-accessible buses with seatbelts (I'm surprised they're allowed to take preschoolers on a bus with no belts??)

We looked at the options and both times made daddy one of the parent helpers who went along.

They took Molly's carseat with them and secured it in with the bus belt (no anchor point), and secured her with its 5-point harness.

'Wheelchair' in the cargo hold, and bob's your uncle (as they say!). This worked very well for us & them.

I would also let her go, but understand your concerns about their plan...

If their bus is like the accessible blue Sydney buses, then if she stays in her wheelchair she should be near the front, brakes on, strap around her chair, facing the back...

Hmmmm, its a tricky one... Good luck! Hope it goes better than you expect!

Susan, Mum to Molly said...

PS: we love Mr Drummerman!! Even Molly enjoyed his visit.

Alison said...

Thanks for all your comments. I am going to let her go on the bus, but probably with her wheelchair.

Susan - this is the Hills - there are no such things as blue Sydney buses out here!!

I'll let you all know how it goes!