Calgary

Autistic boy's banning from city bus service upsets Calgary mother

A Calgary mother is calling for change after her autistic son was banned from Access Calgary, which is the city’s public transportation service for people with disabilities.

Shauna Elliott told she must hire an attendant to ride with her son after hair pulling incident

Nine-year-old Jace, seen here with his mother Shauna Elliott, has been banned from riding the city's Access Calgary buses after a hair-pulling incident. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

A Calgary mother is calling for change after her autistic son was banned from Access Calgary, which is the city’s public transportation service for people with disabilities.

Shauna Elliott says her nine-year-old son Jace pulled another child's hair while taking the bus to school.

Elliott says she offered to buy an extra pass to keep the seat beside him empty. But Calgary Transit, which runs Access Calgary, rejected that idea.

"I want my kid back on the bus. I want their drivers more well trained in autism because autism, it's varying degrees of it,” she said. 

“So my son's severe, whereas the next person might be high functioning. He's severe with behaviours.”

Elliott says her son is secured in a five-point harness while on the bus.

"I'm stressed out and I'm mad. He needs to get back on the buses with his friends, have independence and go to school,” she said.

Calgary Transit spokesman Ron Collins said Elliott's son can get back on the bus if she hires an attendant to ride with him.

“It's all about safety and we can't be compromising safety of anybody else on the vehicle,” he said.

Angela Rooke, who runs Calgary Quest School which teaches kids with special need, says Elliot’s situation reflects a growing problem, especially for children with severe autism.

"The transportation companies are having a hard time managing their symptoms and managing to get them to school."

Elliott calls her son's treatment discrimination and she's now asking for a meeting with the mayor.

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