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My DS aged 4 is going to special school six miles away by mini-bus next week

(31 Posts)
CreepyWeeBrackets Tue 30-Aug-11 19:55:58

He's still a baby and I won't be able to watch him going in or hug him when he comes out!


Plus the journey adds another hour to the time he'll be away from me home.

The escorts were supposed to contact me and arrange a visit but I haven't heard anything and doubt I will.

We've taken pictures, he has visited, spoken about the school all holiday and done the usual things but I'm still worried. There will be a contact book of course but it isn't the same.

I've been reading this forum long enough (two years under various names, sorry, bit paranoid and I like to swear and complain about crap provision to know that I shouldn't be wibbly but I still am.

Any advice, positive stories or tips would be very welcome smile

intothewest Tue 30-Aug-11 20:10:25

My DS goes on a minibus to a SS 14 miles away.At first I used to drive him in and he would get the bus back.He has been going on the bus both ways for quite a while now.

It's not easy;but he has a nice escort- The driver is changing this term,so hope he's as good as the old one.

The things I miss are the being able to drop him at the school gates(maybe even chat to other mums) and picking him up at the end of the day- All I can say is you get more used to it...and I know DS is totally happy with the arrangement.

Try to make sure you go to all the coffee mornings etc. This is how I have met other mums-Now a small group of us meet up when we can,with or without the DCs.

He will be fine ! I hope you are toosmile

PositiveAttitude Tue 30-Aug-11 20:11:38

I can only speak from my experience and not sure how it is where you live.

DD3 went to a special school 8 miles away on the bus at the age of 4. I felt just like you feel. I nearly didnt take the place, but was advised that the place itself was like gold dust, so to grab it and be thankful.

I did manage to take her in by car for the first day or two, which was good and allayed my fears.

DD3 loved going on the minibus. She had some really good fun times going to and from school with her friends and it was the highlight of her day!! The bus had a lovely driver who was fantastic with the children and a really caring "motherly" type helper, too.

I did feel cut off from the school, being that far away and not doing the normal pick ups and drop offs, but the teachers all seemed to understand this and we had a daily "conversation" in her home school book and I would go into the school once every half term and I was really made a fuss of and treated like a special visitor and shown everything DD had been up to and spent time with her and all her classmates.

The fact that DD3 had a place in the special school and all the good they did for her in there was definitely worth every slight negative because of the distance.

The school will be well used to having young DCs and anxious mums!! smile Dont worry, he will be fine!

RinkyDinkyDoo Tue 30-Aug-11 20:15:06

I'm in the same position. DS (4years)starts an assessment centre linked to an autistic special school on 8th sept. I'm taking him on the first day and picking him up,then next day,it's the bus.
They wanted to just start with bus straight away,but i couldn't do that. DS has no idea he starts school,severe language delay so can't explain.Am having kittens over it.

VeraCanSignChocolateAndWine Tue 30-Aug-11 20:15:18

Can you not take him in for the first day? My friend did for her DS on his 1st day. He got the bus every day after that. Also he won't be the only child getting the bus going in without a parent. and I have no doubt that the school will be prepared for him.

My friends DS gets the school bus from the end of the road each morning, always sits in the same seat, has the same driver and passenger assistants (except of course for illnesses). He is a bit older now than your DS, and doesn't have a communications book any more.

Lougle Tue 30-Aug-11 20:19:43

DD1 has just finished reception, and I had exactly the same worries this time last year.

The bus journey is simply part of her day - she looks forward to it. Her escort says

"All aboard, doors shut -wooo woooo"

and DD1 adores it. In fact, she loves it so much, that when I take her off the minibus, we wait until they leave, so she can hear it one more time grin

CreepyWeeBrackets Tue 30-Aug-11 20:19:50

Oh thank you. That does make me feel better. DS has a thing for buses which helps. Him not me! I hope there are coffee mornings and that the social side of things are promoted.

I am desperately learning to drive too. Test at the end of September. Perhaps I won't feel so helpless then.

I've written under a different name about the bonkers Paed and just found out today that we are going to be discharged from her forever because the school has their own, which is also a really positive benefit.

saintlyjimjams Wed 31-Aug-11 07:10:13

Ds1 loves the bus although we are very sad that this year his escorts are changing (after 6 years). You do get used to it although they do seem so small at the beginning....

loueytb3 Wed 31-Aug-11 10:56:52

Mine too sad. Know how you feel, its scary isn't it.

I have been on the phone to the transport team again this morning because we still don't know how he is getting there. They were supposed to have sorted it by the end of last week. Am getting stressed about it now.

AryaStark Wed 31-Aug-11 13:14:44

Hi loueytb3, I'm the OP but name-changed after a spectacularly wine-induced ill-advised post blush

Sorry to hear you don't have the details. I only had the pick-up times last week and have yet to get a confirmation letter. When does DC start?

smile at Lougle's DD1, that's very sweet.

loueytb3 Wed 31-Aug-11 14:53:30

He starts on Tuesday. I want to take him and pick him up on the first day though. I'm going to hassle again this afternoon. They have yet to call me back as they said they would and alarm bells are starting to ring.

AryaStark Wed 31-Aug-11 15:02:41

Eep! Any joy yet?

DH and I are going to follow in the car along with all the paperwork, lunch money, snack money, swimming and P.E kit, nappy-change equipment for the half term, spare clothes <sigh> given that the escorts haven't rung. I can't hand all this stuff over on the day, can I?

I'd love to take him but when DS does something once so it shall be forever in his mind.

Hope you stay on the thread and that it all works out for both boys.

2old2beamum Wed 31-Aug-11 15:24:05

I feel for you, it is heartbreaking to begin with, my DD 5 and DS go 28 miles to school as it is the best school for their needs. They love the journey now, the driver and escourt are brilliant and spoil them something rotten. I am sure you will cry far more than he will! And he will be so pleased to see at the end of the day. Goodluck

starfishmummy Wed 31-Aug-11 17:19:09

Don't forget the drivers and escorts won't work during the holidays. Monday may be a teacher day in which case the driver and escort may make contact then - its what happen at ds's special school and which child goes on which bus does tend to be finalised at the last minute. Not ideal for parents but fairly typical in schools!

growlybear Wed 31-Aug-11 18:46:19

We are in the same position re transport not ringing.I rang on tuesday to be told they hadnt put my dd out to tender so no place on bus yetshock.You do get used to the bus thing eventually.It feels strange to start with but just becomes part of their day.

loueytb3 Wed 31-Aug-11 22:10:24

Phoned them again this afternoon and they promised to phone back after I started to get cross. Guess what, still no call. I feel your pain growly.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have DTS2 who needs to be dropped at a different school or his childminders (depending on the day) and DS3 who is 13 weeks old.

How can it help a child with ASD who is going to school for the first time and who doesn't know whether he is going by car or by minibus, whether he will be having breakfast before he goes and how long the journey will take. I can't prepare him because i dont know what is happening. I will be on the phone to parent partnership tomorrow.

AryaStark Thu 01-Sep-11 12:59:42

It isn't helpful at all is it? The child for whom predictability and routine is crucial having to cope with these uncertainties.

Good luck with PP, louey and you too growlybear.

growlybear Thu 01-Sep-11 14:55:52

Tis all very frustrating isnt it the powers that be just don't seem to care at all.

Pixel Fri 02-Sep-11 01:22:26

I remember how awful I felt sending ds on the minibus when he was 4, especially as I'd been used to taking dd to school and collecting her every day. I missed meeting other mums, being able to have a quick word with the teacher etc, but it turned out to be the best thing because ds used to get very upset if I had to leave him at school (for example if I'd taken him to the dentist or gone in for an assembly or something) and I don't think I could have faced seeing him upset like that every single day. He went in quite happily when he went on the bus and I got all the news in his home/school book. His school are fabulous at keeping in touch, returning phone calls and generally being available which helps a lot.
AryaStark don't feel you have to follow in the car with all the stuff, I've always just sent it in the minibus. They will expect it on the first day.

AryaStark Fri 02-Sep-11 12:26:45

Thanks Pixel, that's reassuring smile

As it happens the escort contacted me and is coming to meet us the day before. She said the same thing about the bags and has apparently done a recce of the pick-up area (on Sunday which makes me think that she is rather dedicated!) She sounds lovely. Just hope she can also cope with me sobbing grin

TheHumanCatapult Sun 04-Sep-11 08:46:22

it is hard and i still disli9ke it now miss the interaction with the teachers .But have to balance it out at how much progress ds3 has made at his unit and knowing ms had already written him of after a term

unpa1dcar3r Sun 04-Sep-11 14:56:15

Oh bless ya Creepy. remember those days well, eldest going off on the big white bus aged 3, me freaking out for the entire morning and not being able to find the number for the nursery and by the time I did he was on his way home having had a fab time thank yuou very much!!!!
Was a tad more chilled time the 2nd one went a few months later but it was hard when they're so tiny and vulnerable.
But I bet your son will be fine even if you're not!!!

Pixel Sun 04-Sep-11 17:51:46

I used to be waiting out on the pavement about half an hour before ds was due home. Nowadays I tend to forget he's due home until there is a knock at the door! blushgrin

AryaStark Mon 05-Sep-11 12:04:17

The driver came today and let DS have a look at the bus. Then had to let him in it. Then had to drive him around the block grin

How is everyone else getting on about transport? Louey and growly?

AryaStark Mon 05-Sep-11 12:06:42

Thank you for the positive stories, they have really helped. This time next year I expect I will be gaily booking hair appointments (imagine!) for the afternoon and rushing home with a minute to spare.

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