I have spent the last week being a witness to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.   The devastation, the loss of power, freezing in our cold, dark house, the empty store shelves, the lack of gas, worrying about our survival and having all of my basic needs challenged. On top of all of that I had a special needs child to worry about. Yet, I consider myself lucky.  Even though my house was cold and dark it was still standing.  All the while I was thinking about people that have to care for someone in a special situation.  Not only, do you worry about all that I have mentioned above, but you worry about how you are going to maintain the needs of your loved one.  This is a huge additional stress. Since your daily survival is being challenged doing the normal things you would do to BUFFER yourself may not apply.  What do you do?  Your goal would be to put yourself and your loved one in the best scenario possible.   With great disaster comes great possibility.  This is the time to think out of the box.  Tally up your assets and find creative ways to use them.   What sources of power do you have? By this I mean both environmental and personal power.  For instance, some of us in the hurricane boiled water on the stove for heat. Others used their barbecues for everything from boiling water for baths or heat to cooking dinner.  Who do you know that could help? Who can you talk to do get something done the mayor, the media or law enforcement?  Can you depend on the kindness of strangers?  Among all of the devastation I have witnessed, I have also witnessed a huge outpouring of kindness that is overwhelming. There is army of civilians out there ready and able to help.

I want to thank each and every one personally!

Your altruism truly touched me and confirmed my faith in our collective power to leave a lasting imprint on another just by caring.   Most importantly I strongly recommend that each of us that has a special needs situation to manage have a disaster plan.  Part of that plan is a disaster bag that is packed with your loved one’s special needs items in minds.  Debi Taylor, who is the mother of a child with Autism, a first responder and the founder of spirit of Autism a website for parents of children with ASD created just that.   You can visit http://spiritofautism.org/72-hour-disaster-kit/. Debi created an amazing list for parents to pack a 72-hour disaster kit.  I hope this list helps parents of kids on the spectrum and will inspire other special needs caregivers to be creative and think what they could put in their customized kits. To all my fellow Tri-state friends stay safe, be patient, I wish you warmth and light from shelter and in your hearts. 


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