Thursday, April 28, 2011

Disaster Preparedness Links for Families Affected by Autism


This morning when I walked down the hall from our bedroom to our home office, I heard the sound of the TV and walked in to see shocking and devastating images of the damage caused in many southern USA states as the result of recent tornadoes and heavy storms.  It was very sad to watch the images.  I wanted to do something to help and although this blog posting is a very tiny contribution in the big scope of things, perhaps someone happening in will find use out of some of the links I will be providing below.

We have family, childhood friends and Count Your Beans customers who live in states that were impacted.  Some showed pictures on Facebook of the devastation in their neighborhoods. Others asked for prayers and well wishes for family members, neighbors and people in their communities adversely affected.  Others we have not yet heard from.

As we went to do our shipping today, I checked to see where we were shipping to as I know there will be delays with both UPS and Fed-Ex since both have major US hubs in impacted areas.  We're praying and thinking about so many that are having to go through the pain of all of this and I was reminded in watching the images of other natural disasters in recent news such as the horrific earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan.

Being in the midst of a natural disaster would be scary and heart-wrenching for anyone.  I was in the Loma Prieta earthquake in California back in 1989 and helped to find temporary housing and furniture for Oakland fire victims but I have no experience with tornadoes even though one did hit a part of Vancouver, WA a couple years ago.  

For those who have children with autism or other special needs, natural disasters have an even greater complexity.

I looked around to see if I could find some good references for Disaster Preparedness for those with autism or other disabilities and although I know they're out there, they don't seem to pop up very easily on Google.  Maybe I just need to find the right search words.

Dr. Stephen Shore, a well-known speaker at many autism conventions, wrote an article back in 2006 for Autism / Asperger's Digest:

So many natural disasters have occurred since 2006 that I expected to find more updated information around the web but most of the links I came across were very basic.  I did come across this PDF file by renowned emergency preparedness expert and father of a son with autism, Dennis Debbaudt.  

Disaster Preparedness Tips for Families Affected by Autism - You can print this out and keep it with you to help you prepare your emergency kit.  Dennis also has an excellent website providing training in Risk & Safety Management.

From a financial standpoint, I came across a non-profit organization that provides grants and support to individuals with autism and their families during natural disasters and other life catastrophic events.

I know that there are also many Mommy (and some Daddy) bloggers out there with children on the spectrum that have written about the subject recently.  Here's one for you to check out!

If you have any helpful resources you'd like to share, please feel free to leave a note in the comments section.  Let us work together to help each other be prepared and empowered as unfortunately, many of us will also be part of natural disasters in the future.

Thanks for any support you can provide!


  1. yes i agree wut happened in the south was incredibly devastating. i live in an area thats had atleast 2 tornado warning so far this year. thank god i've had the luck of being overlooked by the storm cells but there was some damage in our area. it was nothing compared to wuts happened most recently but enough to sober up my view on just how devastating these things can be. In all the news one thought keeps coming to mind, what would my family do. they dont live in the area so they are quite safe but i cant help but wonder. what would become of my poor nephew.. he gets effected so easily by even the slightest changes. it makes me wonder what i can do to help in the event that another twister hits THIS area. very sad events

  2. Hi Nightingale,
    I hope you and your family will continue to be safe from the tornadoes and storms and that if your nephew is ever in a natural disaster, his family has an emergency plan in place for him and that local emergency responding teams are trained for working with individuals with autism.

    I would say my view sobered up a lot as well. Watching coverage of natural disasters evokes a lot of emotion and questions. Why in some places and not others? I had a friend growing up whose house is mainly intact but the place across the street was obliterated. My husband's sister is safe but they're expected to be without power for a couple weeks.

    So many things that seemed important a few days ago now seem quite trivial. I'm reminded of truly trying to make the most of each day we are given.

    Thanks for stopping by! :-)