Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Autism and Taking Refuge From The Storm

Bil is lucky.  He has been with family in the Southern Tier of New York since this weekend, before Irene moved in.  Where he lives is still without power.  The power won't be restored, according to their electric utility, before Thursday or Friday.

He has been patient, amazingly so, but is restless and we know he wants to go home.

He is fortunate in that he has visited here before, and is familiar with his family here, and their homes.  But he has been a bit under the weather (literally) with a cold.   He is really fortunate that he did not end up in a shelter.  And that we did not end up being flooded out, which could have been a possibility.  We didn't miss being flooded at our house back in 2006, when massive flooding hit our area.

People with autism who end up in evacuation shelters are unlucky indeed.  They are noisy, smelly, chaotic:  Everything that people with autism can not tolerate.  There is no opportunity for privacy, such as Bil has here.  Bil can watch TV here if he wants.  In a shelter that would be impossible.

Bil suffers a lot from stomach problems, and he would have no choice of food in a shelter.  And no private bathroom to work out his stomach problems in.

People with autism can react to stress by having tantrums, or stimming, and people who run shelters, generally, have no clue as to how to deal with that behavior.  In general, they do not receive this type of training.  Even after Katrina, even after other disasters, this training is lacking.  Medicaid service coordinators do not deal with the possibility of their clients being evacuated with creating plans for their clients.  It is something not thought of until it is too late.

That is going to become a problem as our population of people on the spectrum continues to increase.

I have no solution for this.  Just gratitude that Bil did not have to go through that kind of experience - this time.  Because we had a friend who offered to help us out - and it turns out she was a victim of the flooding.

Let's home Bil doesn't lose patience before it is time to go home.

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