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Bus Strike Could Keep Many Children With Special Needs From Class

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A bus strike would impact tens of thousand of parents and children across the city, but families of children with special needs are particularly vulnerable. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Little steps get big praise from Lori Podvesker of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, as she helps her 10-year-old son Jack with his homework.

Doctors diagnosed Jack with cerebral palsy. He is non-verbal and developmentally he is half his age.

"For someone academically challenged he has totally smart at different ways. He has a wicked sense of humor," Podvesker said.

Like 25,000 other children, Jack attends a District 75 school specifically designed for kids with special needs. Often the schools are not near home, and a bus driver strike would force thousands of parents with special needs kids to rearrange their lives.

"The strike is horrible for us," she said. "It's going add all of these additional responsibilities that are just going to overwhelm us because we're already managing so much with meeting Jack's needs."

The city will reimburse parents for some transportation costs, but Podvesker is worried a strike will force other parents to depend on untrained or intolerant adults.

"Jack has given me a reason to fight for everyone," she said.

Podvesker works as a policy analyst for the nonprofit Resources for Children with Special Needs (RCSN) and has a message for the city, the bus companies, the bus union and bus drivers: stop being selfish.

"Put the kids first," she said.

Podvesker said she will pay a neighbor to take jack to school.

Other parents of children with special needs told NY1 they might not even send their children to school in the event of a strike. Their concern was while bus drivers try to improve their lives, the education of children could take a hit.

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