I learned something today that I am very proud of and I wanted to share it with all of you. A little back story... Last year was Arden’s first year of school and we spent a lot of time and effort putting her 504 plan in place. The process wasn’t always smooth but I found that being frank and honest was the best approach when asking the district for something that they either didn’t normally offer or that they weren’t accustom to doing. For the most part we always found common ground.
One of the things that I was shocked to learn during that process was that there was no consideration given for the time the children spend on the bus. No one thought a second about it (or so it seemed). So I went to work on a process for the bus drivers. I created the emergency card that is now on the bus (shown below), sub drivers are now told about Arden and given a chance to refuse the route if they aren’t comfortable with the added responsibility, Arden’s driver is always Arden’s driver - every year. As long as Arden has type I, Denise has a job. Denise attends the school wide ‘diabetes recognizing and reacting to signs and symptoms’ lecture that is given to EVERY school employee (I may have had something to do with that too ;) ...), Arden is the first dropped off and the last picked up to minimize her time on the bus, if the bus encounters a mechanical defect I am contacted by the driver and given the bus’s location so I can extract Arden. None of these things were easy to accomplish and they were all met with varying degrees of resistance but it’s important to understand that the school doesn’t resist because they don’t want to do the right thing, they resist because resistance is the human response to change. By keeping that one fact in mind I was able to make school and the bus a safer place for Arden and the other type I kids in our district.
Now back to that “thing” that I’m proud of...
Today I learned that the new program offered this year by our transportation department called the, ‘Medical/Special Needs Alert Program’ is a direct result of the plan that I put in place last year. No longer do parents have to make endless calls, take countless meeting and experience crazy stress just to make the bus a safe place for their child. All they have to do is call or send an email and they get everything that Arden gets... It turns out that some (in the district) always wanted this to be the way things were done but they could never internally get the district to move on the idea. It took me being a thorn in a few people’s sides to break the log jam free.
Go be a ‘thorn’ for your kid... You’ll be glad you did!
Last thought. I’m sharing our life in the name of transparency. Our children need the world to understand type I as completely as possible. That understanding is, in my opinion, the fastest path to a possible cure and in the interim the best chance our children have at the most normal life that is possible. I hope that this glimpse into Arden’s Day prompts you to make a small donation to her 2010 JDRF Walk for a Cure. Donations can be made at this link. The link is safe and secure and your donation is 100% tax deductible. Have a great day!
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