Wednesday, 1 June 2016

What Happens When People Aren't On Board

Those who know me will be aware that I have not been impressed with the driver who takes Alex to and from school.  He is an older man, well past retirement age.  In my experience, people of that age only work because they love their jobs or because they have to.  From everything that I've observed, this man does not love his job.

Alex has always had a problem with pushing buttons, particularly in cars.  The van which takes him to school is highly automated, with buttons which will open the trunk and side door within reach of the back seat.  Those buttons will activate even if the van is moving, which has led to problems.  To make matters worse, one of Alex's van-mates gets very agitated when he pushes the buttons, leading to meltdowns.

The school and I have been trying to work on this by offering rewards for a quiet hands trip and consequences for button pushing.  (It's only a 5 minute drive which means Alex should be able to resist temptation.)  We've tried providing a toy to distract him as well.  However, all of this is undermined by the driver, who won't participate or help.

He won't tell me or the teachers if Alex has pushed a button.  (He refuses to speak to me at all, not even to reply to 'good morning' or 'thank you'.)  Half the time, he forgets to disable the buttons so that the doors will remain closed.  The school and I have spoken to the transport company (which may be why the driver is upset and refusing to cooperate) but there hasn't been any change.

The school has suggested I find some kind of puffed glove (like boxing gloves) for Alex to wear so that he won't be physically able to push the buttons.  That would be pretty uncomfortable (not to mention expensive) and I'm reluctant to do it for the month of school which is left.

On the other hand, there is still summer camp transport to deal with and he'll have a new driver and van next year.  After what has likely been a year of pushing buttons, this is going to be a difficult habit to break.

I can have some sympathy for the driver.  It sucks being in a job you don't like in order to pay the bills.  But as far as I'm concerned, this is part of that job and I'm dismayed that the transport company apparently doesn't agree.

One person has chosen not to cooperate and the entire effort has completely fallen apart, leaving Alex with a dangerously-reinforced habit which is going to be very difficult to break.  The gloves may be our only option but it is frustrating, given that this could have been dealt with if we could have only achieved consistency.

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