Hurricane Dorian is projected to be a Category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall on Florida. Preparing for a hurricane can put stress on you and your family, especially when your child has autism. Changes in routine, loud sounds during the storm, and a lack of predictability can be scary for your child.
Here are ways you and your family can prepare for the storm:
Gather emergency supplies.
Collect medical records.
Keep important medical documents (IEPS, medical evaluations, etc.) together in an easy-to-access location in your home. Make a list of emergency information, such as any communication difficulties your child may have and the best way to communicate with your child.
Know your route and shelter.
Should you and your family need to evacuate, it’s important to know your evacuation route. Visit FloridaDisaster.org to find the evacuation route for your county. In addition, make sure you know where your nearest shelter is located. Autism Speaks also has great advice on what to remember when evacuating.
Create a sensory comfort box.
Thunder and lightning can be scary and unpredictable. Grab a box, and pack it with your child’s favorite items. Some items could include:
- Comfort blanket
- Comfort toy (for example: stuffed animal)
- Noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs
- Portable DVD player with child’s favorite movies (Tip: make sure the DVD player is fully charged or has extra batteries, if needed)
- Sensory items (for example: Play Doh, box with dry rice/beans, etc.)
- Coloring books and crayons
- Drawing pad
Keep a written emergency contact list.
Write down important phone numbers, including family, friends, law enforcement, etc. and keep the same list on your phone.
Go over your hurricane plan with your family.
Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what to do in case of an emergency.
By planning and preparing ahead of the storm, you and your family can be a little more at ease.