I have a love/hate relationship with the "special" bus.
On one hand, I think that fact that the school district will literally pick your kid up at your doorstep and drop them off from school is a wonderful thing. I absolutely love our bus drivers! And, I make sure to give them particularly fabulous cookie assortments at Christmas time and continually thank them profusely.
Although, we live so close to the school that it really is more about how much Shea loves to ride the bus rather than needing a ride to school. But, I do think about other folks, far flung in the community who really must need and appreciate the "special" bus. There might be kids who wouldn't necessarily participate in the Developmental Preschool if the transportation wasn't part of the equation.
For us, the buses are the smaller van sized versions. All the seats have either seat belts or harnesses and there is usually room for wheel chairs. All the kids on the bus are "special" to some extent and, for us, there is actually a pretty good little social dynamic going on.
Ok. That's all the good stuff and there is probably more I am overlooking right now.
But, there is something very distancing about sending your kid off on the bus. You don't get to see how they act as they walk into the classroom. You don't get to see the social dynamic with the other kids. You don't get to see how they interact with the teacher or the helpers. Basically, you are shut out.
I never felt really welcome to volunteer in the preschool classes and I can understand. Most of the kids are dealing with separation anxiety and having a parent hover is only going to make it worse.
I just always felt like I needed to hyper vigilant due to the fact that Shea was non-verbal and couldn't really tell me about his school day. Ok, I have been known to be overprotective at times. I admit it.
Also, "special" parents don't get to know each other because they do not collide picking up or dropping off their kids like the rest of the parents. This has to add to that feeling of isolation. The "special" bus is indeed special but a double edged sword. I feel a heck of a lot more unconnected with Shea's class this year because we do the "special" bus both pick up and drop off.
I have been lucky up to now and have been able to volunteer in Molly's classroom for an hour or so one day a week each year since Kindergarten. I hope that I will be able to do that again with Shea. I guess a lot of it depends on how "mainstream" we can go.