As we sit and wait for Hurricane Dorian to hit south Florida, the hype really gets to you. Eventually you have to snap in to gear and prepare for at leave 5 days of no electric, AC, cold food, medicines and access to even clean water. Well, as clean as one gets these days from their tap. It is exhausting, the literal calm before the storm sucks! You either use the toilet too much or cannot! Can't win! #REALTALK
In the last two days, I have been sent several emails from Autism newsletters and providers on how to deal with all the issues, our children with Autism may experience preparing, getting through & the aftermath of a hurricane. While my son, Ranson is highly functional (use to call it, Asbergers) he still faces enormous amount of anxiety without really communicating it, when it comes to facing a crisis. I am told all the time, he does not seem like he has Autism. It is the behind the scenes daily dealing w permanent deficits, needs, constant problems, health issues & solving-all are exhausting! In addition, my son also has Lyme disease & 3 coinfections he struggles with on a regular basis!
I heard son at 2:30 AM fussing early Friday morning. I asked him what he was doing up because he had to go to school. He said he had been laying there worrying about the hurricane. He told me he was watching ‘calming’ videos to relax and go back to bed. There is was…
Our kids, routine is crucial. It makes them tick. However, with this hurricane routine is out the window. They sense others anxiety and hurrying of getting things done, so the anxiety flares and I spend my time trying to ease it, constantly. So, I came up with a list of chores Ranson has to do in the next two days, while I explain our home hurricane plan. They he knows where everything will be and why. I have him emptying garbage, movin furniture-to keep him moving & sweating. :)
Then I had to make sure he has things to do that are not electronic. Since he is older, I told him that he needs to think about some of the things he can do w/ out electricity. I told him to make sure his old tablet was charged w 2 games and chapter books. He told me he has REAL books to read! That was news to me! :)
This is our process in the mist of getting ready. We still have two or more days to go. UGH...with the world slowly hunkering down, it gets more real. The stores are already boarded up and people scurrying to get their last minute things! I felt like I won the lottery when I was able to get gas this morning! And only waited twenty minutes. I choose not to expose him to this. And I give him updates on the hurricane when they are in favor of helping his anxiety! With this type of news coverage, it just feeds the fear and anxiety into particularly Autistic kids.
Hurricane prep alone is the perfect design for an Autism meltdown even before the storm. By the end of the storm and the days following, it would only be normal to experience a meltdown which is the release of anxiety, fears and/or trauma of the storm.
What this really makes me think of are the families with Autistic children that have more severe or different challenges like are non-verbal. How difficult that will be to address anxiety when they can't speak! For some, the tablet is thier way of commuincation! Imagine worrying about keeping that charged. You can't just take it away to save the charge. It just does not work that way...
With our kids having sensory issues, they are also tapped into things we don’t necessarily feel or see. I think they can sense and feel more of the hurricane’s energies then we can.
When you say your prayers, please pray for children with special needs in the path of Hurricane Dorian! As well as their crazed :) PARENTS, who somehow find a way to get through another crisis-In which, this time happens to be natural...