If you are eastern United States, you are for sure hearing something with the word “Ida” in it. What was part of a terrible Hurricane and now as of this writing a Tropical Depression has been an overwork for me in the anxiety department this week. This is a crucial reason why those with autism and other disabilities should have in place a plan in the event of a disaster.
It has flooded in other sections in my neighborhood in recent years and within the past couple of years our day program experienced flooding in which the entire fleet became totaled and resulted in me needing to take public transportation to work as I was much needed that week. This was before abilities to work at home became more readily available to more workplaces as it has become these days.
Like some autistic individuals I have met on the online community and myself included, when heavy weather events occur that the media has a state of emphasis on because of weather officials fear of legal doom, it makes me more tense… Social media has become more of a deterrent in this arena because I for one like to hear the good news from my local officials and while I understand the need to utilize these channels for disseminating information as with the media. It puts my anxiety gears in a state of overdrive and pushes my anxiety and panic phases into overdrive.
Because of my many factors I know I am safe. Regardless, I hit the credible sources at hyperdrive, researching benchmarks and past events and what happened at them so I can familiarize myself with them. I become obsessive with past media reports that have been shared to YouTube so that I can analyze that situation with the impeding one. I overanalyze and become overly obsessive to the point it can become out of control with my thinking that I have to reach out to others for advice to not think as much.
It doesn’t mean that my anxiety feelings are valid. As a matter of fact, I do take some additional preparedness actions before retiring for the evening, although the event of evacuation is often a 1 and 100 chance, I am so terrified of being unprepared that I have these thoughts of having necessary actions in my playbook so that I am ready in the event that need arises.
As such, we often say that disasters cannot happen to us, however many citizens become unprepared when one of these tragic events occur when disaster strikes should have a plan and knowledge of what to do should an event occur, Individuals must also understand the importance of staying calm in these events. While understanding of the needs of individuals produce an increased level of anxiety compared to their non-disabled peers, at the point in need it is essential to remain as calm as humanly possible.
A scout’s honor is to “be prepared.” As citizens of whatever nation, we are a part of, we as individuals must take our part to ensure that we remain calm and do not become a hinderance to the first responders should they need to respond to our need of disaster by making their need to ensure our safety more compromising by us not having the understanding that they are trying our best to help us to the best of their ability. By us doing our part in ensuring that we are less of a burden in the golden hour of need where time matters to maintain our safety, we must do our part as much as we have the ability to in order to make sure that we can be safely taken care of.
- Yes, in this process, a lot of changes will be occurring that we may not be comfortable with at that very moment. If for any reason the need to have to leave your home suddenly should arise, be prepared by having all necessary comfort items at your disposal so that you or anyone you may know that has autism of a similar disability can make the necessary transition as seamless as possible. Some other necessary hints include:
- Pack any needed Assisted Technology Devices and don’t forget the chargers! Just in case record the device name, manufacturer’s name & information, model and serial numbers, vendor (Store’s/Seller’s) name and info, date of purchase and copy of receipt if available, copy of Doctor’s or Therapist’s prescription if available and contact and funder’s (i.e., Medicare, Medicaid, Insurance Co.) name, contact info, & policy numbers.
- iPads (and other medical equipment) that are used by someone with autism to communicate are covered under medical losses/disability equipment. During the intake call with FEMA, you may be asked about medical devices, and whether anyone is dependent on a computer or other equipment.
- Pack enough medicines or special dietary needs for at least three weeks. Shipments of new supplies to impacted areas may be difficult or impossible. Bring copies of prescriptions with you or be sure you have refills scheduled with a national pharmacy that can access them electronically.
- If you regularly visit doctors or specialist for treatments or interventions or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Identify back-up service providers in the areas you might evacuate to. If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity to operate, talk to your health care provider about what you can do to prepare for its use during a power outage.
- If you have a service animal, be sure to include food, water, and collar with ID tag, medical records and other emergency pet supplies.
- During an emergency quick and unanticipated changes in routine and environment can cause increased anxiety and stress for people with autism. If staying in a shelter bring headphones or earplugs to help with noise. You may also consider bringing a roll of duct tape to place labels, visual support or even lay out visible perimeters of your family’s assigned “space” in a communal style shelter
In closing, we as citizens of whatever nation we are of must do our part to be there foar our community and do what is necessary for us to remain well. At times it can become difficult to ensure a well mind, please keep in hindsight that everyone around you who is experiencing this disaster is there with you and have to muddle through this alongside with you to, therefore as a community plans should be made in earnest to ensure less commotion as possible when a disaster should come abound.
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