Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cloak of Ignorance

Aaah... summer is here... the season of relaxation...

For most.

It is possible that sometimes (maybe) I might have a difficult time differentiating between "normal anxiety" (whatever that means) & "Cara anxiety".

This week has been one of those times but in this instance-- which I'll explain-- ultimately I decided to trust my anxiety. And more importantly, address it. (Just a side note, actual names have been changed in this post.)

Typical of Hayden he has been repeatedly asking me about summer program-- teacher, aide, van, van driver, transportation aide & so forth. I have of course consistently reassured him everyone's name, & shared any other information I have.
I am never in a hurry to disrupt Hayden's routine or confuse him in any way-- even temporarily. But the current transportation assignment for ESY (Extended School Year) left me quite unsettled.

Yesterday was the first day & when Hayden was picked up he confidently approached the van (the appropriate make & model I said it would be), & politely greeted the driver & transportation aide with, "Hi, I'm Hayden-" 

Quite oddly, his greeting was ignored. 

So I looked at the aide & said, "You're Gregory, correct?" And he said yes & I said, "Hi, this is Hayden." The aide sort of smiled at Hayden but didn't say anything. Then I looked at the driver & said, "You're Patrick, correct?" He said yes & I said, "Hi, this is Hayden." He didn't really respond & I didn't want Hayden to feel weird so I quickly introduced myself. Then I handed "Patrick" a piece of paper with our contact information & my cell phone number. I asked him about the route (if there were more stops on the way to school & if so, how many), & then I asked about what time Hayden would be home. The driver seemed ever-so-slightly annoyed & said that he didn't know because he only timed the route getting there but not the return. Again just wanting to ensure Hayden was not uncomfortable I looked at him, said to have a good day, & that I would be home for him. The vehicle was marked with the name of the transportation company & as they pulled away I took note of the license plate number (the latter of which might possibly be an example of Cara-anxiety). 

I knew he made it to school safely because the nurse happened to call about twenty minutes later to ask me about something. Anyway, fast-forwarding to yesterday afternoon when Hayden came home, I was surprised to see that the driver was on the phone. I do think he just got on the call as he pulled in our driveway, because it sounded like the conversation had only just begun. However, he was not speaking through a hands-free device. Worse, he didn't even turn to look at me or wave. The aide got out of the van, opened the door for Hayden, sort of helped him out of the vehicle, but didn't say anything either. No "goodbye" or "see you tomorrow". When we got in the house Hayden asked me if he was going on the van again in the morning. I reluctantly told him yes. 

This morning our routine was pretty regular. When Hayden was picked up I believe the aide may have even said hello to him-- but I am not sure. Hayden was sort of talking nervously as soon as "Gregory" got out of the passenger seat to open the door for him. I looked up & said hello. He didn't say anything back & then I looked at the driver & said, "Hi Patrick, Good Morning." He did not even acknowledge me. He had a binder in his lap which he didn't even look up from! It was open, sort of leaning against the steering wheel, & he was writing something... or marking something... 
I walked back into my house & within a half hour I called the school. I communicated to the appropriate person(s) that we simply had some concerns, so I was going to drive Hayden. I was told the transportation company would be contacted, & I followed up with a more specific email as well.(Phone calls are fine sometimes, but usually I don't want to risk someone having a selective memory when it comes to what I am communicating & how I am communicating.) 

Aside from the fact that the driver was punctual, & the vehicle seemed fine, I did not want my child spending another minute of his life in the care of those two. They might be very smart, fun, nice, tall, bearded men who just happen to be sloppily dressed-- but I wouldn't know. Because they treated me & my son like we were practically invisible.

I don't care a whole lot what a person looks like-- or if they're only a few years younger than my dad & they choose to celebrate their birthday at a restaurant seemingly named for owls & known for hiring women with large breasts. Which I may or may not have learned by possibly looking up information on social media. Because truthfully putting all that aside, I never want my son with people who do not pay attention to him. I doubt it's a simple coincidence that you can spell ignore within ignorance. 

This is not public transportation & he is just a child. Even if he didn't have special needs, & even if he was older, he is still a student. I know the transportation is outlined in his IEP & I do not make a habit of asking for services we are not going to utilize. Nor am I quick to complain (frankly I am a firm believer in catching more bees with honey). But these gentlemen left me feeling quite unsettled, & the unfortunate truth is that I am currently out of work so I am available to drive my own kid. 

Ultimately I just hope that my concern will be taken seriously & perhaps considered when contracting transportation for September. The quick reply from the district was little more than a polite acknowledgement thanking me for sharing the information, with an apology that Hayden's interaction with the transportation staff was not a more "cordial experience". And agreeing that they're glad I am available to "assist with the situation at this time".

Well, here's hoping in the fall I can return to my preferred season of relaxation.

In the meantime if you understand the importance of reciprocal friendliness, have the urge to spread awareness, & agree this is mutually beneficial for EVERYONE-- feel free to share! After all it is Fragile X Awareness Month!

Any excuse to raise awareness is a good one.



  1. I don't like to be off-topic, but I have a problem which I hope you can help me. My problem is when I have Blogger on my computer. (All other areas seem to be fine) Whenever I press the "new post" button it seems to take *forever* to get to to the proper screen. It just says "loading..." at the top. It does eventually get to the proper screen, but this is after 45 minutes or more. Have you had this problem, and what did you do to solve it? My computer is a HP Chromebook 14. Thank you very much.

    1. Hello, Pardon the delayed reply... I do not get notifications of blogger comments & typically only notice them by chance.
      I would guess if you have other devices connected to the same internet source & they are not giving you trouble, then yes, it is likely something with your computer. Maybe make sure you don't have too many programs running at the same time. Sorry I do not know more to further assist... my blog consistently functions at the same speed on a PC or Mac or phone or tablet...