Riding a short bus isn’t funny

English: A 2010 Girardin MB-II school bus belo...I always try to maintain as much positivity about autism and the potential for my child’s future as I can…. because I have too.

This isn’t something I would have chosen for my child since it may mean he will struggle more in life…no one would choose that.

Sometimes I come across something that doesn’t really sit right with me. A few weeks ago there was post on my wall about a t-shirt proclaiming the pride for special education kids in a t-shirt you could buy. It states on the front: “I ride a short bus”.

My first reaction to this was that I was offended. My son does ride a short but. So what? My second reaction was why would you wear a shirt saying that? Were they trying to remove the stigma of short buses maybe? Or was this really as insulting as it seems. I kept thinking about it and trying to analyze it from a neutral perspective, rather than as a parent whose child does ride a short.

I haven’t done a good job trying to find the positives so far. I recall very vividly the stigma and names that were attached to the short bus when I was in school. I recall the tears in my eyes watching my son pull away on his short bus the first day of school. That bus was a reminder that my son is different. Too different to ride the big bus. Where we live almost all kids on the spectrum are assigned to short buses.

While I can accept that because it’s not as noisy or bumpy as the large bus so that’s probably better for his sensory, I can’t bring myself to think putting a shirt on him that says “I ride the short bus” and sending him to school would be a good idea.  It definitely opens the door to bullies.

The internet touts these shirts as a “prank” or “gag item” “great for parties or school functions”. Maybe my view is clouded because I live on the side of the planet where riding the short bus is a reality and I don’t see anything funny about it.


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