As my regular readers know, I have a brother in law with autism. He lives with my elderly mother in law in the NY Metropolitan area. Although he is obsessed with the weather and watches the Weather Channel continuously, he is also terrified of heavy rain, thunderstorms, and other forms of extreme weather.
And Hurricane Irene is on the way.
People with autism suffer greatly from natural disasters for a number of reasons. People with autism (and these are generalities - I don't like to stereotype but I feel I need to here) tend to be very anxious. They do not adapt well to any change in their routine. A hurricane-well that is a big change from routine. Many (not all) find it very hard to communicate - some, in fact, are not verbal. My brother in law is verbal, but many of his thoughts are locked up inside of him. And people with autism can be very sensitive to sensory stimulation - hearing, smell, vision. Combine this with a hurricane, which would provide almost anyone with sensory overload, and you have a recipe for autism disaster.
At this point in time we are hoping a family member who lives a lot closer than we do will be able to stay with my mother in law and brother in law.
Some people with autism can communicate in writing, and do via blogs. I found this blog post by a person with autism on Hurricane Irene (and this week's earthquake.) It's interesting.
I don't think my brother in law would say it any better, if only he could.