Emergency preparedness and Autism

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Purple_Mutant
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Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by Purple_Mutant » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:24 pm

April is Autism awareness month. I am Autistic, so I thought I would share some tips on emergency preparedness as it relates to people with Autism. These tips are for people with Autism and their caregivers (if any).

Many people with Autism have verbal speech issues. Even if the person doesn't usually have significant verbal speech issues; during a disaster when their anxiety is elevated they may have some difficulties communicating. On a sheet of paper print out basic words and phrases such as "I am hurt", "I am hot", "I am cold", "I am hungry", "I am thirsty", "I need to go to the bathroom" ETC. On the other side of the sheet print a full alphabet and numbers. Laminate the sheet and stick it in their BOB and one in their caregivers BOB. They can then point to stuff to communicate. I need to make one of these for my own BOB.

Many people with Autism have sensory sensitivities. During a disaster you will encounter loud noises and bright lights. Such as lights and sirens on a fire truck. Get some sort of hearing protection. Make sure to try stuff out ahead of time. You want to make sure the ear plugs are comfortable for the person. For bright lights, sun glasses or dark goggles would work. Again, make sure to try them out ahead of time.

Make a card to hand to Emergency personnel. The card should explain that the person has Autism as well as any unusual behaviors the person has. That way emergency personnel know the odd behaviors are due to Autism rather than mental issues or drug abuse. Case in point. I have motor tics. One time I was ticing on the bus and some guy made a comment to someone about how I was on drugs, I wasn't. Also explain any other conditions they might have, such as epilepsy.

Holding a familiar object can help calm an Autistic person. The proverbial teddy bear if you will. Find such an item and stick in in their BOB as well as an IDENTICAL item in the care givers BOB.

Autistic people can be VERY picky eaters. Keep than in mind when planning your food storage. Find things that you can be pretty sure they would at least be willing to eat during a disaster. Be prepared for a meltdown if they want to eat isn't available. For food for backpacks there tons of "energy" bars on the market. Try a bunch until you find one they like. Start with the healthiest options first then work towards the junkier options. A chocolate covered granola bar that is one step away from being a candy bar isn't great; but it's better than eating nothing. Also try some of those high calorie ration bars like mainstay. Even if they don't really like them; they don't have to eat much to get decent amount of calories. If they have any dietary restrictions plan for those too. The MRE's they hand out may not be gluten free, peanut free ETC.

Changes in routine can cause an Autistic person to have a meltdown. A disaster is a pretty serious change in routine. Practice disaster situations ahead of time so when disaster strikes they person wont be caught totally off guard. For example; turn off all the lights and break out the candles/flashlights and have a little power outage party. If you live in earthquake country like I do, practice duck and cover drills. If you have a bug out location make sure to take them there ahead of time. Do that several times so they get comfortable with the trip and location.

Thats all I have for now. As I think of more stuff I will edit this post. If ZS wants to use these as part of a pamphlet to hand out to people, you are more than welcome.
Last edited by Purple_Mutant on Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Apathy wrote:We are a bunch of adults who own too many guns and actively prepare for the zombie apocalypse. There is something wrong with each and every one of us.
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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:10 pm

This is very helpful. My oldest son is on the Aspy end of the spectrum, but there is a lot of good advice here.
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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by Purple_Mutant » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:55 pm

Evan the Diplomat wrote:This is very helpful. My oldest son is on the Aspy end of the spectrum, but there is a lot of good advice here.
I am glad you found it useful. There seems to be a lack of disability specific prep info out there. So I thought I would contribute to that.
Apathy wrote:We are a bunch of adults who own too many guns and actively prepare for the zombie apocalypse. There is something wrong with each and every one of us.
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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by majorhavoc » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:09 pm

Purple: you should consider PM'ing the mods and asking that this thread be merged with this one.

http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 5&start=72

I think we all agree that adding to or even necro'ing this topic will never be inappropriate. Thanks for adding to our knowledge base on this very important, often-overlooked subject.


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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by ForgeCorvus » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:35 pm

Might be a good idea to have a 'one-stop-shop' type post of all the Special Needs prepping threads.
Handy for people prepping for a third party rather then those who have the condition


Just a few I dimly remember reading.
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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by Purple_Mutant » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:31 am

ForgeCorvus wrote:Might be a good idea to have a 'one-stop-shop' type post of all the Special Needs prepping threads.
Handy for people prepping for a third party rather then those who have the condition


Just a few I dimly remember reading.
Autism
Mental Health
Diabetes
Physical Disability
Age
Sorry for the late reply. That is an excelent idea!
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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by raptor » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:13 am

majorhavoc wrote:Purple: you should consider PM'ing the mods and asking that this thread be merged with this one.

http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 5&start=72

I think we all agree that adding to or even necro'ing this topic will never be inappropriate. Thanks for adding to our knowledge base on this very important, often-overlooked subject.
I think this topic deserves a place in both forums. So I am not going to merge this topic but rather leave this here with the thread Majorhavoc noted and then posting a similar link in the other thread so they are in effect cross referenced.

Thanks to the OP and Majorhavoc for this great topic.

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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by Shadowalker » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:54 pm

Great topic. We are working with our little one as well. He does very well with challenging and stressful things when we focus it into a mental game, rather than allowing ideas and fears to drift in the situations.

Your spot on with having something familiar. His backpack is school oriented. We are working up his add on pouch, which is a tamed down edc he can pop into his pack but stays home otherwise. He isn't ready for fire, but does ok supervised with various other things. We want to see him build a skill set so he can take care of himself if he were suddenly lost or family was lost or passed on. He is doing really well though. Once learned he forgets nothing. But at 7 there are a lot of things you cant expose a normal kid to, and he isn't any different there. Pretty sure at 10-12 he will be fine for the other things.

But yeah its hard with many things still. He has a good uncle though lol.

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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by Purple_Mutant » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:01 pm

Sorry for neglecting this post for so long. I get caught up in other things and forget about ZS. A friend of mine with a disability is getting involved in emergency preparedness as it relates to people with disabilities. So I will be thinking more about this issue and hopefully coming up with stuff to add to my post. I would eventually like to put it together as a pamphlet that could be downloaded or printed and handed out. If ZS (or anyone else) wanted to hand those out at their events, that would be sweet.
Apathy wrote:We are a bunch of adults who own too many guns and actively prepare for the zombie apocalypse. There is something wrong with each and every one of us.
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Re: Emergency preparedness and Autism

Post by Purple_Mutant » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:48 pm

raptor wrote:
majorhavoc wrote:Purple: you should consider PM'ing the mods and asking that this thread be merged with this one.

http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 5&start=72

I think we all agree that adding to or even necro'ing this topic will never be inappropriate. Thanks for adding to our knowledge base on this very important, often-overlooked subject.
I think this topic deserves a place in both forums. So I am not going to merge this topic but rather leave this here with the thread Majorhavoc noted and then posting a similar link in the other thread so they are in effect cross referenced.

Thanks to the OP and Majorhavoc for this great topic.
For some reason I missed the link Majorhavoc posted. But thanks for quoting him raptor. I have looking through that thread and getting some good ideas. I will be adding those to my original post. The other thread is good, but the ideas are scattered among a few pages of posts. With this thread I want the info easy to find on the first post. And like I said, hopefully this can eventually be turned into a pamphlet. So perhaps the other thread would be a good place to post ideas and have a discussion and this thread a place to compile them.
Apathy wrote:We are a bunch of adults who own too many guns and actively prepare for the zombie apocalypse. There is something wrong with each and every one of us.
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