independant travel for my daughter with austism... right or

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mitchellclr
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29 Mar 2006, 8:32 am

My daughter is just 15... has no confidence, after years of bullying, i have just been to see her teacher, who seems to think she would benefit from independant travel... he even suggested she catch a bus by herself and go shopping in the nearest city, which is about 20 miles away!
At school she is very bright, infact one of the top pupils at her special needs school.... but because of being autistic, she is very vulnerable, and easily led, she is the butt of peoples jokes, because she prefers to speak to animals, rather than people!
i dont think im being too over protective.... just protecting my child from this cruell society... but her teacher thinks im holding her back! what do other readers think? i would love some input on this matter.... with regards. clare



sc
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29 Mar 2006, 9:23 am

Familiarity is likely to help (like a regular path of direction), I was thinking that for myself as I use to hire people for this Is a chaperone, to do so again. OF course that was when I had money from being publicized and building computers, I had people go places for me or take me there, I even bought a cheap car for someone to drive me, he was a borderline homeless person and it did not work out. Also another homeless person lived in the back, he was entertaining, a combat veteran.

I use to go to the park and get all the homeless people and take them to launch, which was down the street. Though one time, one was just released from jail and he was not good company.

I have no feasible solution, in this town I qualify for a disabilities and seniors bus. They with it being planed ahead will take me places directly and pick me up. Not all towns offer this, it cost $1 each way, likely enough to barely pay gas not the person driving.



TheGreyBadger
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29 Mar 2006, 9:27 am

You have two questions here.The first is, how do you treat someone with a disability? And if your child is gullible, I'd call that a cognitive disability. Well, our local paper carries a family column which had an article about a child with Downs Syndrome, which is certainly not the same but is still another kind of cognitive disability. .The child's father was angry because the teachers adoopted the "poor little thing" attitude towards the child. The father's attitude was "treat him as a responsible being and see what he can do." The answer: more than the teachers thought. So the more independent action your daughter is capable of, the better.

On the other hand, is independent travel a smart thing to suggest for an easily led girl? The safety implications are horrifying. I'd run that one by the teacher and ask what s/he had specifically in mind.

On the gripping hand, if you use fiction as guidelines (which I do all too often), look at what Chris in the Dog in the Nighttime accomplished. But he was a boy and hence less at risk for perverts (though still at risk!) Back to "On the one hand," I always held a "capability" model in my head due to haveing been repeatedly told I was bright but just not living up to my potential. (So - where's the short circuit? was the often unasked question.)

Tell the teacher you're committed to the "capability" model (if you are) and then ask about safety concerns. It seems to me a modified version of this plan, or some such competence and confidence building activities are certainly in order.

Hey - how about martial arts?



Sean
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29 Mar 2006, 9:37 am

I would suggest taking the bus with her the first time and maybe the second to give her a little chance to get familiar with it before sending her on her own.



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29 Mar 2006, 9:37 am

In regards to the independant travel suggestion, it's something she will have to do eventually, and if you want to assist her, you can ease her into it. It will probably help build her confidence to know she can do things on her own, her teacher is right.

Personally, I did not get my driver's liscense until last year, and I am 22. When I went to college everything was in walking distance and I realized how liberating it is to simply go to places on your own, without relying on parents to drive you. It gives you a great deal of freedom many adults probably take for granted, and it also gives you a sense of independence and control over your life, because you can decide where and when you want to go.

I didn't ride a bus alone until I was about 21, I screwed it up, too, and ended up walking a good ways back to where I was trying to go because I misunderstood the bus driver and didn't get off on my stop. Has your daughter ridden a bus with your or anyone else before? If so, that's a step in the right direction, and you can assist her by pointing out the way everything works and how she should behave and what she should do at certain times. It might help to ride a certain route with her so she is familiar with the particular area she may want to go to, before doing it alone. Once she gets used to going places she knows by herself, she can then branch out to going to places she doesn't know, all alone, too.

You can apply this process in pretty much anything, if your daughter is like me, being thrown into unknown situations is very scary and unpleasant. Gradually introducing her to new things can help, but don't let her rely on you as a crutch, either. If she is reluctant, you have to be willing to push a little. If my parents didn't push me to get my driver's liscense, stay in college when I just wanted to quit, etc, I probably would be lacking both a degree and a liscense. Sometimes a little outside reassuarance (which may seem mean at the time, even) can go a long way.



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29 Mar 2006, 9:39 am

I like the idea of hiring a chaperone. Perhaps another, older, student. Someone you trust and know to be responsible.

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walk-in-the-rain
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29 Mar 2006, 10:16 am

This is definetely something that needs to be eased into. I certainly hope the teacher isn't suggesting you just give her directions and put her on a bus. Also, it really depends on where you live about the quality of public transportation - how safe is the area she would be going. And all kinds of things like how many stops the bus makes in which she might get confused. It is good to foster responsibility and that would increase her self confidence - however, giving her an overwhelming task will do quite the opposite. So I do not think you are being overprotective at all. Besides safety issues what could happen if she has a bad experience riding the bus. Would she refuse to try again. Baby steps would be the key to this if you intended on giving this a try.

To be quite honest I got a driver's license when I was 16 - my Dad let me drive before that. He was from a very rural area and felt learning to drive was extremely important. I have not tried to ride on a bus though - and I have been without a car before. The whole idea is too overwhelming. What of you missed your stop; got on the wrong bus, ect.



Otis_Tik
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29 Mar 2006, 10:48 am

Maybe this is a stupid idea, but i'm just speaking out of my own expercience. Does she have a younger uncle or aunt she likes? Maybe she can travel with him/her... My uncle took me on vacations several times, first time was when i was 12 and i'm entirely grateful for that. I'm 29 now and if it wasn't for him, i wouldn't have seen the parts of the world i've seen now. I bet it would be a great experience for your daughter too.



danlo
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29 Mar 2006, 11:23 am

Greybadger, Autism IS a cognitive "disability". It's even included in one of the criteria in the DSM-IV. I'd suggest starting off small, and work your way up to bigger things. For example, she could catch the bus to and from school. Is she good at any sports? Anything she excels at and could play competitively, would be sure to boost her confidence. It's more important for her to learn to independently do what she likes, rather than a boring routine thing like catching a bus. You may like to both join up with a sporting club. Familiarize her with it, then encourage her to go there alone when you can't make it. Let her try and arrange the transportation. I mean, how is taking a route you've told her how to do, alone, supposed to increase her confidence? She has to have confidence in her own decisions and actions, and that's a little different to confidence in following orders without supervision.


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aspiesmom1
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29 Mar 2006, 11:26 am

Maybe I'm an overprotective mom, but if my NT daughter had come to me at 15 wanting to do this same thing I would have refused to allow it. And she was quite worldly and not likely to be taken in by a story. Seeing my son with AS and how he can see things, and be so naive, no way.

If there are local places she can go to develop a sense of self and independence, that's great. Right now my son has been allowed to ride his bike all over our neighborhood, and only if he goes with his one friend he is allowed to walk to the new Dollar store they built three blocks from us, set back from the main road. This kind of thing makes him feel responsible, but he also knows by heart which houses along the way he can dart to if he needs a safe place.

I don't know what your daughter's situation has been up till now. Perhaps starting small, walking or riding her bike if she can in your neighborhood? Going to a local park if there's one really close by? And making sure she knows where she can go for trusted help if she gets scared or is in danger and can't make it home.

If she does ride the bus, it's important she has the skills to know what to do if she gets lost - where to go, etc. I always taught my kids to stop in a church, of any denomination, if they got lost. There's a lot more of those than police stations.

Good luck!


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