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Share it – spread the word!

Actually, strike that. I just hate the phrase Debbie Downer. Why does someone else get to label you just because you share some bad news?

Because I have news for you. And it’s bad.

Last week, there was another tragedy in the special needs world.

A 19 year old student who had autism and was non-verbal was found dead on a school bus.

He had left for school that morning, riding the bus.

He never made it to school.

His mother never heard that, though, and when he didn’t get home at his usual time, she called, only to be told he had been absent.

By the time she got through to the bus barn and had people looking, it was too late.

They found her son on the bus, dead.

At this point, there is no cause of death, and while the driver had been questioned, there are still no answers as to what happened.

This matters.

This matters so much.

Simon is only partially verbal. I never know how to describe his ability. He can speak, but his speech is limited. He can often tell you when he wants or needs something, but there is really no true conversation happening most of the time, and I don’t know that he’s always saying what he thinks and feels, as opposed to just sharing lines from TV shows or movies.

Would Simon speak up if someone left him on a school bus?

Probably.

But would he know what to do if someone left him on the bus while he was asleep? Would he get off the bus when he woke up? Would he go look for help?

I don’t know.

I don’t know if I could teach him to do it, either.

Because of that communication gap, I can’t tell you what he would do. I can’t tell you how he thinks or what he thinks. I know that he thinks – he makes all sorts of connections, and he learns quite quickly – but I can’t understand his methods of thinking and making connections.

And that’s scary when news like this comes up, quickly flashes across the screen, and then is immediately forgotten about.

Where is the outrage? Where are the updates? Why aren’t other parents getting up in arms?

Well, probably because they’re tired.

Parents of special needs kids have worries like this all the time. They have to be on their guard, they have to be ready to jump up and fight the good fight, they have to worry. And that can really wear you down after a while. It’s hard to fight for other kids when you have your own kids to worry about.

Times like this, though, require that we get together, that we share the news, that we reach out to each other. We need to know it happens, we need to learn from it when it happens, and we need to see what we can do to stop it from happening ever again.

This means I need you, wonder-people who bother reading my blog. You need to talk to your kids, your friends, your neighbors, anyone you happen to encounter during your school journey. Make friends with your child’s bus drivers, teachers, admins. Do everything you can to spread the word about the tragedy and to use it as a lesson, to never let it happen again.

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