Erika and I were brainstorming about the bus a month ago because we were STILL having a lot of issues with getting Kyle on and off the bus (especially at school)😩Brainstorming means we broke down every single part of kyles process of getting on the bus (and off-because he struggles there too-sometimes). Erika observed him getting on and off the bus both at home and school (seriously, she is THE best). We tried to figure out where we could tweek the process to help him better transition. After a few days, Erika suggested that we build a staircase similar to the bus to have Kyle practice walking up and down. The reason for this? Kyle struggles with depth perception and stairs sometimes cause him anxiety (what a surprise) and the bus stairs are quite steep (whoever came up with a “special bus” with steep stairs is dumb-in my opinion)! So she thought maybe practicing would give him more confidence and perhaps eliminate one of the anxieties he faces with getting on and off the bus! I thought it was genius! And was willing to try it-or rather willing to beg James to execute our idea!
I was super excited and told James about our idea! 😂 He as usual hopped on bored (after a little convincing)and was ready for the challenge! My in laws were coming for the weekend and my father in law is handy and loves a good project! So when they got here I shared my vision with him and he and James were off to Home Depot, measurements in hand! Dave was super excited to help and sacrificed most of that weekend to helping James build this giant staircase!
These two guys were googling how tall each step was on the bus to make sure they got it as similar as they could to the bus! They made a few trips to Home Depot (Cuz what’s a project without more than one trip)! And it came out perfect. I am so grateful for both of these men in their willingness to sacrifice a weekend to help Kyle. It meant more to me than they both probably knew.
If you have ever wondered what a (not horrible) day of getting Kyle on the bus looks like check out this video. It’s crazy how similar it is! Resistance, spitting, crying and of course taking off and throwing his shirt are all signs of his anxiety. This was the first attempt after they finished it!
Then we tried it a couple hours later and the next video is similar to a good day (a really good day-which are far and few between) of him getting on and off the bus! And he even had an audience!
We have been consistently having him practice on the stairs for almost a month. He is getting better and better. It seems that with practicing the stairs and having the bus show up 20 minutes earlier so Kyle can load first before all the other kids are outside (and well before the gen-ed kids are dismissed) has made a difference in how Kyle is transitioning on and off the bus. It is still not as smooth as I’d like, but I’m trying to see the big picture-and he has made A LOT of progress since that first day of summer school.
To some, making an elaborate staircase seems silly and a bit extreme especially when there’s a possibility it won’t even help! And maybe it is.. I have come up with my fair share of failed projects in many attempts to help Kyle. But I will continue to come up with big and small projects because if it relieves even the slightest bit of his anxiety, it’s worth it. Right, James?!