Power outages are stressful on everyone but they can be especially challenging if you have children touched by autism. Kids with autism, typically do not handle change well, especially in their routine. Changes often cause anxiety and fear for them. They may not understand what is going, as well as typical child would.
Wednesday, we had a pretty crazy storm here in Cincinnati. The winds were pretty fierce and took down LOTS of trees and power lines. About 10 minutes in the electric went out and stayed out for over TEN HOURS! Some places were still out of electric 24 hours later.
Three kids, 95 degree weather, Dinner time and no electricity….Let’s just say, it was a LONG night. After the storms had passed, we were able to play outside for a while though and spend some time with neighbors. Sleeping was rough because we had to shut the windows to prevent Monkey from getting out.
All this time, I have thought I we were prepared for an emergency of the sort, with all the basic emergency kit items. Boy was I wrong! I learned quickly that I was definitely not as prepared as I could have been. I have spent the last two days, brainstorming a list of things that I think would be beneficial in a situation like this. I guess I need to make a trip to Walmart soon!
Tips and Things that come in handy:
- Routine- Try to keep their routine and schedule as closely as possible. At least try to keep them in the right order, this may help prevent some anxiety for them.
- Patience- The kids feed off of your stress. Try to make things fun and cheerful for them.
- Flamless Candles- They work well, but I need to find bigger and brighter ones. We learned our lesson last year when the power went out. Monkey tried to catch a candle flame and got burnt. Kids with autism have obsessive & repetitive behaviors. Some are not aware of dangers, like fire and getting burnt. Some have a high tolerance for pain.
- Lots of Flashlights- They always come in handy for lighting. They can be a lot of fun too! We made silly puppet shadows with our hands. Be careful if anyone in your house has seizures, the lights could be a trigger.
- Sensory Bins- These keep my boys busy for while! These are great to have on hand for all kids! Fill a storage container with different things like colored rice, dry beans, water beads/orbies, corn, etc. Throw some little toys in like scoopers, water bottles that they can fill. This is great for fine motor skills
- Weighted Blankets- With the electric out for a while, kids get restless and anxious. These will help calm and relax them.
- Easy Crafts & Coloring Supplies- Store away some new coloring books/games/craft materials, only to be brought out for these situations. The kids won’t be tired of the normal and will show interest in them for a while. Maybe a cool deck of cards or a new board game.
- Stock Pile Batteries-All different sizes and LOTS of them. For radios, toys, flashlights, games, portable DVD players and so on. We didn’t have enough.
- Battery Operated Personal Fans- I am going to get some of these! With children that wander from home, you don’t want to sleep with the windows open at night. If your electric is out, it can get hot quick. TRUST ME, It’s brutal in 90 degree weather! You can find personal fans and minature fans, usually in the camping section and sometimes in the back to school months.
- Battery Operated Portable DVD Players- This would have been great last night! Monkey could not understand why he couldn’t watch his routine bedtime shows.
- Baby Wipes-We all know these are handy to have for everyday use, but If your water supply is ran by electric, throw some in your emergency kit so that clean up is a breeze in the dark.
- Car Chargers for Electronics-As you know, most power outages are not planned. Make sure you have a universal car charger so that you can recharge the Ipad, Cell Phones, Laptops, Handheld games, etc.
- A Grill- Wednesday, the storm hit right about the time I was starting dinner. I had boneless pork chops thawed, so we had pork shish kabobs with peppers and onions. I also threw some frozen green beans in a old pan and cooked them on the grill.
- Plastic Ware- Avoid dirty dishes that may have to sit until your electric is restored. Use plastic ware and make clean up easier on your self!
- Manual Can Opener- Even if you never use it, store it with your emergency kit so that you can still open canned goods.
- A Corded Phone-Luckily our cordless phone went out earlier in the week and we had a back up corded phone plugged in. We were still able to make phone calls.
- A Cooler: You can fill it with ice and place bottled or canned water/beverages. You want to avoid opening and closing your fridge and freezer. so that your grocery items keep as long as possible.
How prepared are you for a power outage?
What items can you add to the list?