Yesterday Joey and I went to the Sioux Area Metro offices to renew his Paratransit eligibility.
Public transit in Sioux Falls is mainly fixed route buses. But for folks who cannot safely or reliably go to a bus stop, transact fare, exit at the appropriate stop and/or walk to their destination, small Paratransit buses will pick them up and drop them off door to door.
But to qualify, he has to fail the interview with the Metro administration. He has to demonstrate that he can’t use the fixed route bus system.
He failed with flying colors. An administrator and an occupational therapist (OT) met with us. They asked Joey a variety of questions and put him through some exercises. Among various failures:
- When shown a picture of a policeman and some random guy, and asked to pick who he would ask for help, he picked random guy.
- When shown a picture of a random lady on a bus, and asked if Joey would go with her if she said, “Get off the bus and come with me,” Joey said, “Yes.”
- Shown various pictures of bus interiors with passengers, shopping bags and open seats, and asked, “Where would Joey sit?”, he picked occupied seats several times. Melissa and I talked about this later, and we think that his perspective is, “I want the seat with the best view. If it’s occupied, move whatever/whoever’s there.”
- Route Numbers and times – even digital times – are an abstraction to him.
Now, it wasn’t all failure. He knows a few things:
- Shown pictures of intersections with and without cars, and asked, “Joey, when is it OK to walk across the street?”, he reliably points to the “no cars coming” scenario. (He can’t do the same with “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs or symbols – his knowledge is applied rather than abstract).
- Shown an array of pictures of Sioux Falls locations, and told, “Joey, today we are going to… (four locations are pointed out),” Joey could recall 3 out of 4 destinations (one was a pizza place, so that’s no surprise).
- He can walk from his front door and up the bus steps without assistance (well, except a parent to make sure he puts on his coat.)
The folks were really patient and gentle. There was supposed to be an outdoor component but they waived that as freezing rain arrived.
The administrator smiled and said, “I think Joey is going to qualify for a permanent pass instead of an annual one.” This will mean a written application every few years, and no more of the interviews and exercises.
What kind of warped dad is glad that his kid failed a test? The caregiving kind, baby. The caregiving kind.