Max waiting patiently near some of the packed bags while we got ready to leave the house for Hurricane Henri.

Hurricanes and Life Skills

Secure hotel reservation that takes dogs for a week - Check

Pack garage with outside furniture and other things that can take flight - Check  

Throw away food in freezer and Refridgerator - Check

Pack what food you can for hotel room - Check

Pack DVD player and Disney DVD's - Check

Pack clothes for a week - Check

Pack dog food / bowls / dog toys - Check

Pack computer / phone / cords / client work

Do laundry - Check

Tidy house - Check

Exhausted yet?


Max waiting patiently near some of the packed bags while we got ready to leave the house for Hurricane Henri.
Thanks to Hurricane Henri, this is just part of the exercise we went through in preparation of having no power for a week to ten days.  Yep, and we've been through this routine more times than I would like to count.  

While many folks hunker down at home and suffer through life with no power for days at end, things can be a bit more challenging for many families who have a child who has autism.  

My son Alex, who has autism, is a routinized guy who loves the expected, that includes a Disney movie after dinner and his bath.  When a light doesn't turn on in the dark, or the daily routine is thrown off, he can become agitated.  And as much as he's learned to be a pretty flexible guy, days worth of the unexpected can be a bit stressful.

So off we go to a hotel where we have power and he can end his day with a Disney movie.  It's a beautiful thing!

As I was running around while Henri was barreling toward the east coast, it occurred to me how hurricane preparation requires many self- determination life skills.  This includes:

Problem solving - a hurricane is coming, what do I do?

Planning - what do I need to do to prepare?  


Initiating - starting and following through on all of the tasks at hand

You know what other self determination skill it takes?


Yes, we all had to go with the flow and switch gears when the news announced that Hurricane Henri was quickly downgraded to a Tropical Depression.  After all that fuss, preparation and getting all revved up to deal with Hurricane Henri, it was suddenly all for nothing.  It was like being all  dressed up with nowhere to go.

Believe me, I was grateful beyond grateful.  But no doubt exercises like this require flexibility, emotional regulation, planning, etc.....

Please think of all these self-determination life skills when you plan for your own child's IEP.   

And stay safe out there!