I hope this finds everyone doing well. Hopefully all of our preparations are for not and we enjoy a "normal"ish storm. However, just in case it's good to be prepared with all the standard preparations as well as extra special care and preparations for kiddos on the spectrum and other conditions.
Depending on what has been successful in the past and the cognitive abilities of your child you may consider including your child in many areas of planning and preparing.
All of these strategies will need modifications to the unique strengths and areas of growth of your child(ren) and some may or may not be appropriate.
Get to know your safe area
-In a calm and fun manner, practice sitting in the safe area in your house. You might problem solve together what items might make the time more enjoyable- perhaps a favorite stuffed animal or toy.
Life without electricity
-In this day and age we all need to prepare for what it's like without our favorite "i" device. Depending on your child it might be helpful to either explain and make a plan B for when batteries run out or to put together a box of novel items (wrapping them is sometimes fun as it takes up more time and can be exciting) that can be used to keep things fun and redirect when needed from any loud noises or disturbances
-Explain (verbal or visually or both) some things that might happen- loud noises, windy, lots of rain etc AND the most important part all the choices available to the individual. This might be nice to do in a personalized social story.
Sometimes loud noises scare me.
I can... give mom/dad a hug, wear my ear plugs, squeeze my stuffed animal etc.
I usually go to school on Thursdays. Thursday there will not be school. The school is closed.
I will be at home. At home I can X, Y, Z
These can be written and kept out as visual reminders.
Keep it Visual
It's hard for all of us to remember the choices we have when we are stressed and scared. The more stressed and scared we feel the less access we have to the more complex areas of our brain. Being able to see our choices, schedule, what is expected etc. can help. It takes a layer of "work" off our plates.
Keep a notepad or dry erase board to write down (with words or pictures) expectations, schedules or choices.
Wishing everyone a very safe end of the week and weekend. All crossables are crossed that Miss Iselle and Mr. Julio are very kind over the next few days!
I will add resources as I come across them- and please also share resources that you have found helpful.
Hawaii State Civil Defense: Special Needs Information
FEMA: Preparing for a Disaster with Individuals with Special Needs
"My approach to intervention is rooted in respect for child development and focuses on making the mundane meaningful, looking at daily interactions as opportunities for learning and growth while respecting the uniqueness of the individual and family. It’s about setting high expectations for long term quality of life and relationships for individuals on the spectrum and implementing a specific and doable plan to get there one step at a time.”
– Lauren Wilson, LCSW, RDI® Program Certified Consultant