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So you drive your child to school and she's still in a 5 pt harness...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Or even high back booster with a shoulder strap...do you get out of the car in the car line and unstrap them or does the car line volunteer do that?  I ask because if my daughter rides the bus, she will potentially add over an hour to her already long day.  If I drive her, we can be there in about 5 - 10 minutes.  She also uses a walker.  I assume as I have to get out of the car to get her walker out of the back, I'll also unstrap her from the car seat but what do other people do?  I thought about it today because there's no WAY my daughter could reach over and find the car seat belt release if she were in a high back booster and she can't undo the crotch strap of her five point harness.  If every parent of a kid still in a booster had to get out to unstrap their kid, that would make the car line a lot slower but what else can ya do?

post #2 of 26

Mine unstrapped themselves but ive seen car line helpers do it for children that couldn't as well

post #3 of 26

It's been awhile but my kids were in a booster until 4th grade. The elementaries always had a seperate pick-up line and the K's got out 20 minutes prior than the rest of the school just to lesson the congestion. In kindergarten, I always just parked and walked my kids in. I did the same at pick-up. It was much faster, less stressful and I liked the opportunity to wave to the teacher and such. I will say that both my kids could unlatch themselves easily at that age but sometimes needed help buckling in. 

post #4 of 26

I agree with PP, I would park in the lot and walk in. I have seen people do some unsafe/crazy things because they are mad about waiting 30 seconds in the pick up/drop off line. So I would just avoid the whole situation, if possible.

post #5 of 26

Where in the car is her seat? I can reach my dd's buckles from the driver's seat. It takes a second to reach back and undo the buckles and she can get herself out of the straps pretty quickly too. In your case, getting the walker definitely would slow it down a bit, but if she could be getting out of her seat while you are getting the walker, it might not take too long. I picture it like this: brake car in line, reach back to unclick, put car in park, jump out to get walker while dd is getting out of seat and over to the door, send her off with walker, jump back in car, and move on. Or just park in the lot and walk her in.

post #6 of 26

Since she needs a walker, do you have a handicapped parking permit for her? I'd talk to the school and see what they'd like you to do. One option might be to pull into the handicapped parking spot, help her out and send her in. Most car lines that I've seen don't have volunteers assisting kids from the car, and it's going to slow the line down if you have to get out. They might prefer to make other accommodations for you.

post #7 of 26

Our elementary had a parking lot for use by parents who walked their child in, and a drop off line which was for kids who just hoped out of the car. At our school, you would use the parking lot. thumb.gif


Because your DD uses a walker, would she qualify for the special bus? If she would need help getting up and down the stairs, could more easily get knocked over, etc., it would seem to me the special bus would make more sense than the regular bus. It would also provide door to door service, rather than expecting her to walk to the bus stop in rain, snow, etc.

post #8 of 26

My kids were in boosters by the time they started school and could get in and out by themselves.  Our school doesn't really have a drop off line with school staff there to help, so I'd have no problem helping my kid get out if they needed it.  But we have a super small school where it wouldn't really hold things up to do that.


Can you call the school and see what they recommend?  Maybe there's another entrance you can use where you can help her as she needs it and not slow things down.

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

Her school is pretty large - it's K - 3d, but there are something like 12 K classes.  They don't allow you to drop your child off and walk them in (although if that became necessary, I feel sure they'd work with us).  There are volunteers who take the K children in groups to the K playground so there will be someone there.  I don't know if I can undo her from my seat and since I have to go to the back, get the walker, then take it to her door, it's not much faster anyway.  My attitude is that we get anywhere in plenty of time (early) and if people behind us get funky about waiting an extra 30 seconds for a child in a walker, then they need to learn some patience anyway. I can break, get the seat, and get her out in well under a minute so it's not exactly a HUGE hold up.  I was mostly wondering what other people do.  I will call the school or discuss it with her teacher if it seems like a problem.


I don't think we'll use the special bus.  For one thing, it will add a huge amount of time on to her day (fewer kids, fewer buses covering more area).  Even the regular bus will add about an hour. 


We have sent in the documentation for her parking tag but her ped hasn't sent it back yet.  If I don't have it by early next week, I'm going to take the paperwork to her doctor (an hour away) and just wait for him to sign it or whatever. 


It's hard to make arrangements because if you watch her, she will appear to walk normally, if slow.  It looks like she's dawdling but really, that's as fast as she can go.  It changes.  Sometimes she HAS to have the walker, sometimes she just needs it for long walks, sometimes she does not need it.  The easiest thing is to just send it every day because she can be just fine for a week and then in one afternoon her walking will deteriorate badly, to the point that she can't get around well WITH the walker.  So far, everyone seems willing to accommodate us and her SAT meeting is a week after school starts so her teacher will have seen her for a week in the classroom and we'll have an idea of what she'll need.


Thanks for all the ideas.  I really hadn't thought that some people might feel terribly inconvenienced by waiting a whole minute for a child with a walker.  It has been our experience (thank goodness) that the VAST majority of people go out of their way to be helpful when she needs to use it. 

post #10 of 26

Something to remember too is that people will learn your car and start to deal better. While you might get some irritated look now, in a week or two, people will get that your child has the walker.


Side note, is there anyway to get her a walker that lives at school? This might be prefferable to her than bringing it in everyday.

post #11 of 26
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post


Thanks for all the ideas.  I really hadn't thought that some people might feel terribly inconvenienced by waiting a whole minute for a child with a walker.  It has been our experience (thank goodness) that the VAST majority of people go out of their way to be helpful when she needs to use it. 


You will be surprised at some of the people in pick up lines. I remember one time, I was walking on the sidewalk with all 3 kids (who were 1.5, 5 and 7) and this lady in the pickup line started backing up for who knows what reason. I banged on her rear window to get her to stop (that is how close she was to me!) and she did stop but started backing up again before we had even all gotten out from behind her car. And I mean, really, how long does it take for 3 kids to walk all the way behind a car, 10 seconds? Probably less because I figured she was crazy. People are NUTS


post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

I can't get another walker to leave at school because pediatric walkers are crazy expensive and our insurance doesn't cover them (and no, we don't qualify for any programs.  Yet we are FAR from rich.  Fun times).  Also, I seriously doubt the school would want to take responsibility for an expensive piece of equipment. Other kids are all over it if she leaves it unattended for a second so I don't know that I would be comfortable with that.  As I said, I can't park and walk her to her class and I doubt anyone is going to pick it up from where ever it spends the night, bring it out to her, and then put it away at the end of the day.

post #13 of 26

I would ask that it be written in her IEP/504 or whatever plan you might have to arrive a few minutes BEFORE standard drop-off time to allow for you to get her in/out of the car. You even can get a parapro/teacher written in to assist if needed (get to the car to grab walker while you unload DD). 


It was very common for some of our 'parent-driven' kiddos to have a school staff member assist if needed (some were as simple as K kiddos that had anxiety separating from parent and needed some TLC, others were wheelchair bound kiddos that had car ramps).


Also, as the school PT if she has a walker and/or can write a script for one at school or may have an extra. Do you have an Easter Seals/Shriners? They both provide walkers/mobility aides free or reduced. As the PT for written documentation that you can park in the parking lot/handicap space for load/unloading regardless of what the busses or other kids do.


Kiddos with SN and/or any need that may require accommodations should and can be allowed changes to the standard drop-off procedures.

post #14 of 26

Your school should have a policy and procedure in place for drop off/pick up for special needs students.  The standard drive up line is usually in constant motion and would be a safety/liability concern for your situation.  I would call the office or stop by and see what they have on file.  Also the PT/OT room should have an extra walker available.  Have you spoken with the teacher on where your walker is going to 'live' if DD isn't using it during the school day?

Is your school on a staggered release schedule or does the entire school release at the same time?  Staggered release would be the only way I could see your child in the standard drive up lane.  You will need accommodations for drop off.  Again for liability and safety reasons.

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the extra ideas.  Tomorrow is the first day and we are allowed to walk them to class.  Orientation for parents is just after and after THAT, I should be able to talk to someone about drop off for SN kids.  My plan for right now, until we have something in place, is to just get out of the car, get the walker, take it to her door and send her off.  As we do this pretty much every time we get out of the car, it's a pretty quick process (well under a minute).

post #16 of 26

Does your DD have a 504 or IEP? Procedures for her getting into and out of the building can be added to that (they were for my DD, who has an anxiety disorder and couldn't cope with the main door)


I also wouldn't assume that the short bus takes longer. It may only have a few children on it. It might be like a private taxi service. You could check into it.


(We decided not to use it because DD doesn't have a physical disability and is mostly mainstreamed, so we thought it would just bring up questions for her.)


I really see your problems being about the fact that your DD has special needs, but you not talking like they will accommodate her special needs.

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 

We already have some accommodations in place for her, we have another meeting with a larger team next week - which is great because her teacher will have seen her over a week and will have some better suggestions.


I don't think there is a problem, I was just curious as to how people handle the car seats and boosters.  My plan is to walk her in tomorrow because it's the first day and then just get in the regular car line, I don't see this as a situation that needs any official accommodation.  I was just wondering what other people do out of plain old curiosity because so many kids are in boosters or five pt harnesses for so long.  This wasn't an issue when I was in kindergarten - I never even HAD a carseat!  I don't have any doubt that if for some reason, my taking a whole 45 seconds to get my kid out of the car is some HUGE issue, the school will go along with whatever I suggest (and some people suggested things I hadn't thought of, mainly because I don't see why I can't just put her out like I plan to and had not actually given it much thought) because they have so far in everything else.


In talking to other parents, it does sound like the special needs bus takes longer because it covers much more ground.  Also, my daughter is mainstreamed.  Her issues is intermittent and she does not think of herself as different.  Both our neighbors ride the regular bus.  She will certainly not want to ride a bus different from them and the bus ads a lot of time to their day.  Due to her meds, she still goes to sleep at seven.  If she doesn't get home till 4.30, that doesn't leave much of her day at home.  I'm just not willing to put her on the bus right now.

post #18 of 26
My ds is in the 2nd grade, still in a 5pt harness and has special needs (not a walker or anything physical). We go through the drive thru drop off lane. I can usually reach back and unbuckle him or whoever opens the door will unbuckle him. The added time, for us, is because he has a para who is supposed to meet him at the car and walk him to his class. If that para isn't there I need to go down a list, asking for specific people, until someone can take him upstairs. Sometimes this can take 30 seconds or more. I can't just leave him with anybody, because we did that at the beginning of last year and that person never took him upstairs, so he wandered around and never went to his class (he's a runner with autism so this is a big issue). Thankfully, my mama radar was telling me something was wrong, so I parked my car and went in. We found him, thankfully, but now there are only certain people who will walk him to his room.

At pick up time there is a specific person who will bring him to my car. I get out, walk him to the side of my car and buckle him in. Nobody has said anything about this taking too much time (usually there are cars in front of me waiting for kids too, so it's not an issue).

However, i'm a substitute para and have worked in many schools. There are some schools that would have a big problem with stopping the flow for 1 child. Those schools are more like herding cattle, the cars barely stop and none of the kids (even kindergarteners) have even a booster seat.
post #19 of 26

I could always reach back & unhook the 5 point harness.  At our school, the driver is never allowed to exit the car - the volunteer would actually get the walker & also unhook your DD if necessary.  Good luck & hope it goes smoothly.

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

Today when I picked her up, they wanted me to buckle her in and put the walker away.  This actually takes longer than getting her out, but it's still about a minute.  Unless someone asks me to do something different, I don't see any big need to change.


I didn't think it would be a problem.  As I said, I was really wondering how other people do it because there are SO many kids in boosters and five point harnesses and that's a fairly recent thing. 

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