We at Pharmacy Requirements are helping dispel some of the stereotypes about autism. Parents of children with autism are presented with many challenges. One of those challenges is preparing children with special needs for public health emergencies.
Children are affected by disasters differently than adults. Mental stress from a disaster can be harder on children because they may not understand what is going on around them and don’t have experience bouncing back from difficult situations. Having autism can further compound this stress for a child and their family.
For autistic sufferers, it takes patience and perseverance to accomplish even everyday tasks. Preparing your child for something as potentially disruptive as a natural disaster might sound stressful or maybe even seem impossible depending on the exact needs of your child. Here are some tips we hope will help.
For an autistic child, a small change of plans can cause big problems. Prepare for immediate needs long before disaster
Start by assembling the same tools and resources as you would for any child. That includes creating a basic emergency supplies kit and making an emergency plan. Then add a few items specific for your child’s particular need:
- Medical ID for your child
- At least a 3-day supply of all medicines
- List of your child’s triggers and helps for behavior issues
- Names and contact information for all doctors and therapists
- Complete list of your child’s health records
- Names and serial numbers for medical equipment
It is important to keep all your kits and supplies, including medical devices, in a handy location. Also, if your child with autism is able to communicate and to follow instructions, give them a developmentally-appropriate version of your emergency plan.
A child with autism may be particularly in tune with the moods of the adults around them and may sense stress, anxiety, and frustration, and then mimic the mood or behavior. The best way to prepare for being able to express your inner strength is to regularly take care of yourself. Utilize respite care services and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Regularly reaching out to your network of friends, relatives, and/or co-workers for assistance will help you practice in case of an emergency situation.
All these things can help to give your autistic child a sense of security and safety, before, during, and after the disaster.