08 Sep Preparing Your Child for a Hurricane
Top 10 Things You Can Do to Prepare Your Child with Autism for Irma
1. Create a visual or several visuals so that he knows what to expect. Explain what a hurricane is. Talk about rain, wind, and loud noise. Don’t let all of these things come as a surprise to your child. Prepare him as best you can.
2. If you have to move a mattress or blankets into a safe area that doesn’t have windows, explain what is happening. Let him know that this is just for a short period of time and everything is okay.
3. Recognize how tricky this is for your child. There is lots of change going on right now, lots of people stressing out, and big atmospheric shifts happening. Let your child know that you understand how difficult this is for him. Say something like, “I know how scared you are feeling right now.” Be calm. Let him know that he is safe.
4. Have a timer ready so that you can help your child understand how long he needs to wait. If you are going to be waiting out the storm in a safe place (i.e. bathroom) in your home, set a timer. Since you will most likely not have any idea of how long you have to stay there for, set it for more time than you actually expect.
5. Use lots of first, then statements. “First we have to hang out in the bathroom, then we can…”
6. Have him be part of the hurricane prep process. Let him help put up the shutters, prepare meals, get flashlights ready, and put valuables in a safe place. Give him a checklist of things that he can help accomplish.
7. If you have to evacuate, explain what this process means. Try not to just expect your child to go with the flow without explaining what’s happening.
8. Practice turning off the lights and using your flashlights. Talk about what it means to lose power.
9. Make sure you have all of your child’s favorite stimming toys easily accessible. Have a bag ready, so that all you have to do is grab the bag and bring it to your safe place.
10. Charge all of your electronic devices so that your child can play his beloved games during a storm. Have a backup plan in case you lose power and he doesn’t have access to those beloved electronic devices.
My heart is with you and your family. I am sending you immeasurable amounts of blessings, wishes, and patience.