Friday, June 4, 2010

Cab drivers mistreat autistic kids

A good friend of mine in a town called Orange in Australia, posted on his facebook recently what happened to two of his autistic sons.

In Orange they have a program where taxis pick up special needs kids from school and deliver them home. That sounds like a nice program except that the drivers need some education on conditions and patience.

Not all of them have this problem, my friend has said directly that some of the drivers are "wonderful". But you can't choose your drivers.

So, what happened? Note the map in the picture with this entry. The driver picked up the two boys at point A. One of the boys had a meltdown in the back of the cab. The driver kicked them out at point B and left them there. The driver did go to the house at point C, pick up their mother and go back, but in that time, anything could have happened. Then they had to hurry back because Mom was actually awaiting a school bus with her small daughter on it.

Why did he have a meltdown? It's not a good idea to stress out autistic children. From report, cab drivers have actually yelled at and gotten rude with the kids. Granted they have to make sure everyone has their seatbelts on, but a gentle approach is better than a crude and rude one. Enough negative experiences and an autistic child (or any child) won't feel comfortable or safe in the taxi drivers hands. Enough negative experiences will cause meltdowns.

So the taxi drivers of Orange in Australia need an education in handling of ASD kids as well as a little sensitivity training. I understand my friend and parent, Vince Steele is working on that now. I may also see if I can help them from here. If you are in the area and think you can lend a hand to the situation, contact that taxi company and tell them what you think. Remember to be kind and professional. Link below.


Vince Steele said...

Thanks Dave, The taxi company sent me this reply this morning.

----- Original Message -----
From: Don Matthews
To: Vince Steele
Sent: Friday, June 04, 2010 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: Incident concerning special needs transport 3/6/10

Dear Sir

I wish to iform you of the actions that Taxi Cabs of Orange have taken in relation to this matter.

Firstly. I'd like to convey our initial and unconditional apology. It was a completely unacceptable action.

The driver has been immediately suspended from all school runs. We then informed the Department of Transport & Infrastructure, who regulate the taxi industry. We also informed the Student Special Transport Unit of the Department of Education. They administer the school runs. I have also phoned the school to inform them of our actions. I spoke to the Assistant Principal, Meridith Frater. I explained to her our initial response and asked that she convey our unconditional aplogy to the mother of the children.

We take this matter incredibly seriously and that is why we have immediately informed the relevant government authorities. This needs to be dealt with at that level.

Don Matthews
Taxi Cabs of Orange

P.S. I am going to reply to the other emails we received from concerned parties with the above information. As the father, I will keep you informed, as the matter progresses. I will leave it to you to pass on what you feel is necessary to your friends and family. We will also keep the mother informed via the school. Some information may be passed directly to yourself or the childrens mother, depending on how the SSTU or DT&I proceed. I say initial apology, above, because we do not expect a simple apology to compensate. This matter is being dealt with in the strongest possible manner.

So that was how they dealt with it. The driver is still doing his stuff driving passengers, but is suspended for school runs. The way I see it, he got a slap on the wrist, but he will have to face the government departments mentioned in the email. That's the taxi company's way of passing the buck so to speak so that it's no longer their responcibility to discipline the driver any further.

As for my two boys, they had to be brought home from school early today by a teacher because the anxiety of their upcoming afternoon taxi ride was proving too stressful for them. This has really traumatised them. I'm not happy at all.

Many thanks my friend. I'll keep you updated.

Thewildeman2 said...

Yes, please do. I hope he gets much more than a tap on the wrist over this. He endangered two children. Glad to see you got a detailed reply though. That's a lot better than I expected.

Vince Steele said...

Dave, it seems you have Japanese hackers. The .......... links most likely point to malware or a phishing scam. I would suggest you delete them ASAP.

Thewildeman2 said...

They're a bunch of porno creeps. I delete them every time and they get shut down by the site admins only to make new profiles and come right back again. Hate it. But yes, I delete them every time.