Living within walking distance to my children's school has always been a dream. Living within walking distance of my children's school on a military base is more than a dream. I have memories of walking to school ever since I can remember. I grew up on military installations and walking is just what you do.
Miles, being in third grade, is more than capable to walk the almost quarter miles walk to school. As his parents, we feel that it teaches him responsibility. He is old enough to wake up on his own, dress and groom himself and fix a simple breakfast. He is old enough to walk himself to school. Now granted, we do live in a safe community. He walks on a side walk and only crosses two neighborhood crosswalks on his way.
Marley, on the other hand, is a different child. She can not be trusted to walk to school on her own, for obvious reasons. She is four. Not only that, but she has Sensory Processing Disorder. Marley seems like a "normal" four year old. And in many many ways she is. She loves to go to school, play, sing and dance. She is almost on target academically. She interacts good with her peers…most of the time.
Marley also wakes up some days disregulated or just stresses out during the day. In other words, imagine your are having a panic attack. You wake up with it. Your day is not going to be smooth. But you usually know what is going on, what is causing it and how to cope with it. Marley does not.
Marley has made tremendous progress since we identified the culprit when she was about 2 years old. She still has tough days. Simply breaking a routine can set her off. Large crowds are a NO NO! Grocery shopping is out of the question. I know my limits! It has taken me years to figure it out.
We live blocks away from her school, and I drive to pick her up. Yes, I drive a few blocks down the road to pick my child up from school and drive her home. Why? Because it is what is best for her and for me. She is completely exhausted by a full time schedule which includes speech therapy, occupational therapy, a bus ride and two different classrooms. The rush of a few hundred kids going to buses and walking with friends, parents, strollers and pets is too stimulating for her. She wants to touch every stick on the sidewalk, pet every pet. She impulsively runs into the street without looking for cars. She will pick up someone else's chewed up gum and put it in her mouth. Sounds like every four year old? Possibly. But, I know her limits and I know my limits. So I drive her! It's what works for us.