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A Tire Store, the NYC Office of Pupil Transportation and School District Aversives

Once my older daughter and I were visiting Matty at JRC, I had a flat. The AAA worker when putting the donut on broke two lug nuts. Then next day when I went to buy a new tire the mechanic told me driving with only three of five lug nuts can cause an accident and he would never let me leave with only three lug nuts in a wheel. Instead I would have two wheels with four lug nuts. That night my daughter noticed there was still only three lug nuts in the wheel. I slowly drove to another mechanic, and thankfully without an accident.

Recently, the NYC Office of Pupil Transportation’s actions could have caused an accident. Twice a year soon before routing, I call the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) to make sure they do not put another child on the bus who is fearful of or has an allergy to dogs with my daughter Talia with autism who has a licensed service dog. They did it years ago, and despite reassurances when I call, they did it again. It started the last week and a half of summer school when the other child was picked up after and dropped off before my child so I didn’t notice a problem. The parents of the other child wrote a letter to the Committee on Special Education that their child had a fear and an allergy to dogs and OPT reassured me again that would not happen. Well in September, they put the children on the bus together again.

This time the child was picked up before mine and when I put my daughter on the bus with her service dog, the other child started screaming. My daughter is highly noise sensitive and can take off her seat belt, attack people or hurt herself including banging her head if someone else is making a lot of noise. Just like my experience at Town Fair tires, this can cause an accident. The OPT finally put the students on separate buses although twice the afternoon bus did not pick up the other student and the mother had to pay for an Uber for the student and his para. One day after being stranded the bus showed up an hour late. No apologies. Now, clearly to this child having a dog around is aversive. He was exposed to aversives an hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon, 90 minutes, 5,400x longer than the two second aversive skin shock GED my brother received, and unlike the GED it surely wasn’t saving his life.

Here is another school district aversive, a public school program recommended for my daughter, whose IEP states she is noise sensitive. In this program students must have their meals either with four classes combined or in the lunch room with the typical high school students. This aversive exposure to loud noises would be 40 minutes a day for lunch for a total of 2,400x the GED application, and unlike the GED application which is on average once a week, these aversives would be five days a week. Unlike the GED which has been shown to stop life-threatening behavior, these aversives might precipitate one.

Well, I am sure the anti-aversive advocates must be outraged about the school district’s aversives, since they care so much about individuals with disabilities. Surely they will put in the same effort they do to ban the two second skin shock to stop the school district from recommending such public school placements to noise sensitive children, and they will make sure the busing is monitored correctly. They will forcefully advocate on local and federal levels to make sure these situations never happen again, just like they do against JRC. Oh, wait, what was I thinking? I must have been dreaming. I guess it’s all those sleepless nights when Talia is screaming, attacking me or herself, or when I’m cleaning up her room after her monthly visitor arrives, looking like what any outside person would assume is a crime scene, or if her home therapists will quit because the NYC Department of Education hasn’t paid them for over four months, or how I ‘m going to pay Talia’s next tuition installment after I rejected the public school placement. By the way, today the school bus never arrived to take Talia home so she got to watch all her classmates leave. So much for alternatives!

PS: Perhaps the anti-aversive activists feel that my daughter who is noise sensitive must endure the aversive of having her lunch in a regular high school cafeteria for a higher power: “inclusion.”