Recovery road block: Build It Back prevents bus from taking autistic kid to school

June 9, 2016

The city must reign in disaster-recovery contractors who are flooding Gerritsen Beach’s streets with trucks and dumpsters and ruining locals’ quality of life, residents say.

Build It Back construction within the peninsular neighborhood’s famously narrow streets has made it difficult for residents to get in or out of its many dead-end blocks, Beachers say. And the congestion is so bad that a school bus for special-needs kids can’t reach a 3-year-old autistic boy living there — forcing him to forgo a week of school, according to his mom.

“He can’t get on the bus, he can’t get off the bus, the therapist can’t get to the house,” Kay Court resident Dawn Santiago said of her son Logan. “Any type of change in his schedule sets him off, so the fact that the bus doesn’t come to the house and we have to walk to the bus, he doesn’t know what’s going on, and it causes a meltdown for him.”

Even missing a few days can undo progress teachers have made helping him learn to live with the condition — which typically includes social and linguistic impairment, over-sensitivity to unfamiliar stimuli, and a predilection to repetitive behavior — his mom said.

“It’s a scary thought to have to think about — my son needs a steady schedule with this autism, he needs to go to school, he needs to be there.”

The construction has been a thorn in Gerritsen Beachers’ sides for months, but it has gotten worse as the city ramps up repairs in an attempt to meet Mayor DeBlasio’s self-imposed deadline of fixing every Sandy-damaged home by year’s end, said Santiago, whose home is not being repaired under the program.

“It’s gotten worse within the last month, only because now we have more houses that they are raising. The whole neighborhood’s just going up at once, more problems with more dumpsters. The dumpsters are too big for our neighborhood, a fire engine, an ambulance can’t get through.”

Careless contractors even park in front of people’s front gates, blocking them in their homes, Santiago said.

Read more here.

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