Driver, aide use training to calm autistic student

Posted on December 3, 2010

MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A bus driver and aide for Marysville Exempted Village Schools helped keep a van of special-needs students safe during a high-stress situation in September.

An autistic student riding to school in the van became agitated due to the high volume of traffic on the freeway. After the student broke one of the vehicle's windows, the driver and aide used the training they had received from the district to calm and reassure the student.

Driver April Grubbs was trying to maneuver off the freeway when the student lunged over her seat, alarmed and upset. Grubbs had been unable to leave the freeway at the correct exit due to numerous accidents, breaking with the autistic child's routine and causing him to become stressed. When the child shattered the window and attempted to lean out and touch the other vehicles on the freeway, Susan Smith, the bus aide, pulled him back inside.

"The driver and the aide just did a really excellent job of keeping everyone safe," Amy Morgan, director of transportation for Marysville Exempted Village Schools, told SBF. "Had [the student] been able to get out of the van, he would have surely been killed."

Smith and Grubbs created a game to calm the student. They urged him to count traffic lights, and then pointed out familiar landmarks to help him keep track of his location on the drive home from school.

"It was wonderful that they were able to get so creative," Morgan said. "They just went above and beyond."

To read about more heroic actions by pupil transporters, check out the Heroes in School Transportation feature in our forthcoming January issue.

Related Topics: aide/monitor

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories

Mobile DVR/Camera Combination

The CoPilot-RFID, a windshield-mounted mobile DVR/camera combination, can now permanently embed the vehicle operator’s identification into the vehicle’s video records.


School Bus Driver Stabbed, Assaulted

An Ohio school bus driver begins her morning route and is attacked by the suspect, who boarded the bus the night before, police say. Hilliard City Schools takes immediate security measures.


3 Students Hit by Car at School Bus Stop

The Kentucky children are on the sidewalk when the driver of an SUV strikes them while swerving to avoid hitting the bus. Two of the children are in critical condition.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!