How We Prepared Our Autistic Child For Hurricane Irene

My husband and I have been preparing for the impending hurricane.  Liev, our autistic son, has picked up on our urgency and become quite anxious.  Managing our duties and his worries can make the house tense and less upbeat. Here is a list of what we have been doing to reduce stress and keep cheerful:

  1.  Checklists. Making lists is a great way to control anxiety and show Liev that Mama and Papa have it all under control. He wrote lists for supplies, food, and water. We have a lovely tally chart for all of our batteries.
  2.  Hurricane Awareness Badges. More drawing fun for T! When we made these, we made “levels” so he can keep track of his progress as the storm picks up. Tomorrow, every third question will probably be about wind speed.
  3. Hurricane Anatomy. Since levels and stages appeal to our son, this is a great way to process what will happen as a part of nature.
  4. Power Outage Social Stories. One of our son’s horrors is not having a nightlight. Telling stories about what to do helps. We have chemical glow sticks next to his bed, so he can see to find his flashlight.
  5. Hurricane Party Signs.  Our neighbors must think we are nuts. We have “Hurricane Party Signs” taped to most of our windows. Tomorrow, when the storm is at its worst, we will have cake, balloons, and storytime. Even if our basement floods (again!).

Good luck to you all, forging the storm!

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