I hang notes all over my bulletin board to help remind me as I try to stay one step ahead of Brandon’s transportation problems, but with everything going on I often forget.
After a family party, I was driving Brandon to the bus stop on Santa Monica Blvd. I usually drop him off there, because one bus takes him directly home. As I drove down Santa Monica Blvd I couldn’t believe how badly the streets were torn up, due to new construction.
As Brandon looked out the window I could see that the chaos in the street made him very nervous as he tightly clasped his hands together until his knuckles turned white. When he got out of the car I noticed that they had moved the bus stop, and the benches out into the middle of the street temporarily while all the work was being done. As Brandon went to sit down on the bench he began to talk to himself loudly while he raised his arms over his head and pressed them against his ears to block out the sound of the jack hammers he so desperately hates. I could tell that he was scared and I told Brandon to get back into the car because I couldn’t leave him sitting there in the middle of the street feeling troubled. I knew it wasn’t safe. All I could think of was what would happen if he had a seizure? Brandon happily got back into as he let out a huge sigh of relief and then he shouted, “I didn’t like it out there in the middle of the street mom it scared me!”
I drove Brandon to another bus stop nearby where it was quiet and the benches were set far back from the street. He said, “This is better mom I hated all that construction it gave me a headache.”
With most children and adults who have autism and special needs, there is a bigger risk factor, because any small change is hard for them to cope with. If the bus doesn’t stop, or it’s full, or the route changes they are often stumped.
You can no longer count on the “usual daily occurrences” to be the same because they are not. However, if you have special needs and rely on public transportation there will be hurdles for you to jump through and you need to learn how to do that.
I try to help Brandon by asking him if there is anything different on his bus routes, such as new construction? I have learned that if I don’t ask the question he won’t tell me, but if I ask him he will answer. That way if there is a problem I am able to make suggestions attempting to make his transportation, safe and less stressful.