How get special needs child on a bus (if won't walk?)?


New member
How do you get a special needs child on a bus if he refuses to move?

He is 50 lbs. Almost 4. Physically I cannot lift him or even drag him out the house, down the drive, to his bus. Even if not 8 months pregnant, I probably could not handle this.

He sits there looking at me, refusing. The bus is HERE. The driver needs to be on time and shouldn't have to deal with this.

Child is in at-risk preschool so this bus comes and takes him so he can work on all his issues. Not diagnosis though he's had evaluations. I say special needs because I don't know how else to describe the situation. He is a stubborn preschooler (aggressive, a bit different, though maybe not all that atypical across all 3-year-olds) and I have to get him out the door so I can take my other kids to school. It's too dangerous taking him anywhere in parking lots as he gets stubborn or refuses to walk, or runs off, etc. Or refuses to get in car seat. I don't have an extra hand easily!

He seems to like school OK. It doesn't seem to be a refusal issue for school. Just...he often refuses to listen or move when needed (why I can't take him anywhere). Sometimes he just stops in a parking lot. Refuses to walk. 50 lbs. of him, against incapacitated me. Not fun. The bus situation is so stressful it's the last thing he needs in the morning. This power struggle. The mornings when it's worst, is when he's at his worst at school, too.

Yet, he has to get on that bus and a timely manner is expected, of course.

He is in an EZ-On vest, which adds to the stress and takes forever to put on and hold him still. (Other kids in lap belts besides one other new 3-year-old). Wondering at what point he'd be OK in that lap belt. Not sure about crash dynamics and at which weight the lap belts are made for? I didn't want him in it as a new 3-year-old for sure. But even for an adult, is a lap belt OK in a small school bus? Any risks associated with the 1980's style ones in cars?


Well-known member
Stroller? I used it for a toddler that refused to walk on parking lots and sidewalks last winter. It was icy so I was afraid I'd slip while carrying her but the stroller worked for both of us.


New member
Good idea, though I couldn't wrestle him into a stroller.

But it's something we'll need to work on...getting him to comply with getting to the bus.
He sits there are won't get ready. Stressful but hopefully something that can be improved upon. Today just seemed like the last straw. I can barely walk and he was being stubborn. I realize he's not a kid who can be rushed or pushed to do stuff (how he is) yet we do have a 7:12am bus!


New member
I would carry him. I was carrying my 60lb 10 year old last summer and fall. She also used a stroller (Maclaren). But she isn't SN. So she didn't fight me on it.

Maybe ask his teachers for ideas


New member
Try reading "The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child." It doesn't matter if "defiance" isn't the problem per se. It has a method for behavior shaping through positive reinforcement that, in my experience, really works.


New member
One of my dS's accommodations (before treatment for Lyme that caused behavior issues) was that when he was having an episode we would drive up to the school and trained people would come out and carry him in.

He wanted to go to school but it was getting him from point a to point b that was the trouble.

Maybe if he's receiving services he could get a trained aide for the bus.


Well-known member
I've dragged my kid to a bus before. Grab under both armpits and dragged. But I wasn't extreme my pregnant.

Is there an aid on the bus? I'd work on an IEP for him since it sounds like he could test into one based on the behaviors you've mentioned over the last year or so. And if you can get an IEP for him, putting something in their that there needs to be an aide that can physically get him from the house and onto the bus should be an accommodation that can be put in that IEP.


Moderator - CPS Technician
What time does your DH go to work? If he's home, he needs to take point on this, and if he's not, he needs to adjust his schedule temporarily or hire a helper for you for mornings.


Active member
I can't think of anything re. the bus that hasn't already been mentioned, but in regards to the general safety issues with your son in parking lots, would obtaining a disabled person parking permit be an option? We have similar issues with DS1, nowhere near as often as you describe, but when its bad, its bad. Where we live our DS1 would be eligible for a permit based on his extremely severe ADHD and delays. We've considered getting one but emotionally that's tough. If we get one we would only use it when he's having a rough day.

No idea what the requirements are in your area, but in ours our son meets them in regards to the typical "unable to walk x distance without assistance", even though the reason he can't is developmental as opposed to the typical physical.


New member
I have had clients who couldn't walk safely in a parking lot without running off who had handicapped parking passes, though that wouldn't help with the bus situation. Maybe they can help at school with coming up with something to help.
Has he been evaluated privately, or only by school? Perhaps with a private eval he can get some sort of diagnosis that will qualify him for services and allow him to get some help.


New member
I have very little experience with SN kids but the ones I have worked with almost always had a "currency" I could use to bribe them with if needed. Sometimes it took some trial and error before finding that absolute currency that they couldn't refuse but once I found it things were a lot easier. I also found most kids (even SN ones) like to follow the lead of other children, if they are physically/emotionally/developmentally able. If you have older kids it might be a motivator for him to see them line up and march out to the school bus in a dramatic, fun, over-the-top kind of way.

My second thought is hire a mother's helper for the mornings and instruct her to flip him over her shoulder like a sack of beans and run for the bus. :p


New member
DH leave before 6am!

Bus comes a bit after 7.

I did think about a handicap sticker in late pregnancy. My kid's school emailed that the 25 minute "Moms and Munchies" tomorrow will have the parking lot CLOSED. So park on the street. And they expect a high turnout. This means I'd have to walk a LONG way. And I can't due to the pregnancy. So I cannot go. Luckily my aunt is stepping in to help. :)

2 months left and honestly the thought of going to the DMV...ironic but I don't know I could handle that. Of course I'll be much for mobile after baby is born!

I think what's hard now is my 5 YO's bus comes 8 minutes before the 3 YO's bus, so I have to stand on the corner with him, dash in for 3 YO (there have been times he wasn't even dressed). It's too rushed. Way too hard. And we're not doing this schedule again after May!!!

(And in April when baby gets here, I have to TAKE the newborn to the 5 YO bus stop because I cannot leave a newborn in the house with the 2 and 3-year-old even for a few minutes. I'd have either the 7 or 8 YO manage the baby for 5 minutes but can't trust that since 2 and 3 YO will be underfoot.

Thank god it'll not be cold out then!


New member
What time do high-schoolers have to catch the bus, and do you know any who want a mother's helper job? Seriously, you just need an extra set of hands!

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