National Autism Association 2021 Virtual Conference
All Smoke No Roast

School Bus Debacle

Under_The_Bus_Sign-300Last week, I helped my 20 year old with pre-verbal autism into her school transport van.  There was a substitute driver (again) but I recognized him from more than a year ago. We said, "hello," I closed the door and off went my beautiful daughter. 

30 minutes later, I got a call from the head of transportation that my daughter had not arrived at her school. She had been driven to her OLD SCHOOL 13 miles away down Route 95. The school that CLOSED its doors for good when COVID hit.

Let that sink in for a moment. She expected a normal day. Quick trip. No problem. Instead, she found herself taking a completely different route onto the highway with NO WAY TO SAY "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING??" So I'm yelling for her.

This is autism. The worry. The never ending source of agita and angst and outright terror. For her. For me. For all of us.


Anita Donnelly

Also--I love that term "Preverbal autism"


My son had verbal challenges til about age 8. And he still has prgamatic language issues but a huge vocabulary. Now as a 20 year old he is telling me story after story of things I wasn't sure he saw or was aware of. From a perspective that was above and beyond what I ever dreamed.

I pray for that day for Kim and her girls. For all of you. After reading JB 's book it looks like the first step is to (continue to? ) teach them to read and spell, even if you are not sure if they are taking it in. And tell them " I am teaching you this because it will help you communicate to us some day. So it is worth learning. It must be hard to not be able to talk to us." One thing my son had when he started talking that surprised us was a huge vocabulary above his years.

Our kids could be Helen Kellers.

Anity Donnelly

Kim, you are one of my heroes.

Day after day, you devote your life to helping your girls have a life despite so many challenges and stresses.

Just know that we care. And we are grateful you have given us this platform.

And for God's sakes can someone really really really super billionaire wealthy take on the cause of reversing and preventing severe autism AND creating a network of appropriate solutions for them as adults, so that Kim and all the other parents out there can be assured their children will be okay? Please ? Some billionaire out there? ?

Donna L.

Oh, Kim, I am so sorry this happened to her. This world is already sooo unbelievably confusing for our kids. I cannot even imagine how my son would react if this happened to him. Actually, I can imagine...and it is not pretty at all. So very sorry for Bella. :(


It may or may not have been the drivers fault. A bus company can have old and inaccurate records of something like the address of a child or young adult with a disability and their old school. This may make a driver go to the wrong place. Also the child or young adult with autism is not involved in this mistake. A dumb mistake of a driver or the laziness of a bus companies that did not change their records to reflect a new situation.


What happened and was she left alone there and how did you find out where she was and if she was safe? This is the nightmare that we parents with autistic children have to live with. We have to worry about them whenever they are out in the community and not with us every day of our lives. The anxiety this creates for us parents us unbearable and only those who have this situation truly understand what a nightmare we go through every day when they are not with us. This is a horrible way for parents to live. God keep them safe.


Well where was she?
Did she go ahead and get off the bus.
Was there anyone there to tell the substitute driver;
Was she left alone, was the driver expecting someone to meet her? What went on?

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