As you probably know, hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean has already begun (it is June 1 – Nov. 30). There are many other types of disasters and emergencies, however. Rather than creating your own emergency plan, consider the many resources that are already available. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services has a Disaster Plan that you can print and store at home—it includes a place to record phone numbers, vital information, etc. The Autism Society of America also has collected tips from noted autism safety expert Dennis Debbaudt. This blog posting also has some very specific ideas of things to pack, etc.: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art18268.asp. Stephen Shore, noted individual on the spectrum, has an excellent article discussing this very topic from both a practical point of view as well as an international perspective. Among his recommendations are the use of stickers on windows or doors to notify first responders that an individual with autism is inside, and cards that quickly describe characteristics of people with autism—both of which are available in the “Safety in the Community” kits from the Autism Society of NC.
Whatever you decide is needed for your child’s emergency preparedness kit, consider his/her communication needs, comfort needs, medications, need for structure/consistency/predictability, and how autism affects your child. My son, for example, would absolutely have to have plenty of books to entertain him (even ones he’s read multiple times—maybe especially those books). We don’t want to have to think about natural disasters, but the impact on someone with autism could be devastating. Better to think and plan NOW, before it happens to us.