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Posts Tagged ‘AutismCares’

A Note from AutismCares Recipients in Georgia

February 9, 2012 3 comments

Here is a letter from one of our AutismCares recipients. AutismCares provides grants for individuals with autism spectrum disorders during times of crisis or unplanned hardships.

Thank you so very much for this award! I am blessed and so touched by your generosity! We were so blessed to be provided our rent last month, to keep us from being evicted but we have some other pressing needs that we could apply this to. It has been such a discouraging few months considering my husband has had several interviews but with the huge competition that exists, he hasn’t secured a job yet. You have no idea what a relief this is for our family, as we have struggled tremendously over this past year and a half, just barely surviving. It is because of the gracious and wonderful people that make up organizations like yours that give people hope of a better tomorrow, in the midst of a terrifying storm.

I want everyone out there to know how much of a blessing this gift is to my family and that it is because of people like you, and those who come together and build an organization, that rebuilds a sense of community, support and understanding for those who’ve lost the “village” that was supposed to be there to help you rear your children. Again, I have been blessed so deeply for your kindness and the support I didn’t know my family had in time of crisis, you have kept a family from drowning! I can’t say enough how comforted I am right now!

Sincerely and God Bless,

Anna, Seth and family

Louisiana State of Emergency

May 13, 2011 6 comments

This is a guest post by Shelley Hendrix, the Director of State Based Advocacy at Autism Speaks.

I suppose I should have been paying closer attention when President Obama declared a State of Emergency for Louisiana earlier this month but the skies were blue and the warm spring breezes just didn’t seem full of danger. I have lived in Louisiana for almost 33 years.  Through Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Autism.

When you have a child with autism navigating the uncertainties of a natural disaster are that much more complicated.  Nothing with autism is ever easy but when you are preparing to evacuate or trying to rebuild AND manage your child’s needs in a world that has just turned completely upside down – well, most people would have a hard time imagining how overwhelming that truly can be.

Down here in South Louisiana all eyes are on the Mississippi River and the Morganza Spillway as we wait for a scheduled natural disaster this time. All of the snowstorms in winter 2010-11 have combined with spring showers supposed to bring May flowers that are bringing us your Liquid Blizzard-State of Emergency instead. Governor Jindal of Louisiana stated around noon today that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will open the floodgates of the Morganza Spillway just north of where I live as early as Saturday morning and certainly by Sunday, May 15 to relieve pressure on the Baton Rouge levee system just a few miles away.  Opening the spillway will send a 15-20 foot high wall of water, once they open the gates completely, that will spread all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

The spillway has not been opened for this purpose since it was built back in the fifties, although it was opened partially in 1973. Watching the Army Corp of Engineers scramble to fix and fortify levees when they were so non-chalant about the levees in New Orleans for Katrina has everyone wondering is this a lesson learned or if we need to all be freaking out?  The Corp released maps demonstrating potential flood zones for the Morganza Spillway, Morgan City, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and all areas in between.

This is not a drill.  Officials are extremely concerned and people in forecasted flood zones need to evacuate immediately.  The water will come.  You will be stranded. It’s not worth it. So get out now.

If you are one of those families evacuating here are some special things to do if you have a child with autism:

·     Grab your IEP and any pertinent medical records or evaluations you may have on hand.  Your IEP is a federal document and can help you settle your child in an alternate school setting more quickly if you have it on hand.

·     Bring identification for your children: birth certificates, passports, etc.

·     Bring copies of all of your billing statements, bank statements, etc.  Bills don’t stop even if floods come.

·     If you have purchased flood insurance ahead of time, you can go here to check your policy and see what additional requirements they may need for you to file a claim more quickly.

·     Pack enough medicines or special dietary needs for at least three weeks.  Flood waters are expected to last until mid-June. Shipments of new supplies to our area may be difficult or impossible. Bring copies of prescriptions with you or be sure you have refills scheduled with a national pharmacy that can access them electronically.

·     Bring item will help your child adjust to their new surroundings with some of their comforts from home – favorite toys, DVDs and computer games.

·     If you use Assisted Technology Devices – don’t forget those and just in case record the device name, manufacturer’s name & information, model and serial numbers, vendor (Store’s/Seller’s) name and info, date of purchase and copy of receipt if available, copy of Doctor’s or Therapist’s prescription if available and contact and funder’s (i.e., Medicare, Medicaid, Insurance Co.) name, contact info, & policy numbers.

·     If staying in a shelter bring headphones or earplugs to help with noise.

·     Call the Red Cross prior to evacuating to ask them which shelters accommodate people with special needs. Upon arrival to any shelter, let them know your child has autism and explain what your specific child may need. Ask if there is a room or office where your family could stay if your child is a wandering risk.

·     Register with FEMA ahead of time. Or keep up with their mobile site while on the move.

·     LA DOTD has set up an emergency hotline for road closures. Just dial 511 for information.

·     Write down emergency contact numbers or put them into your cell phones including The Coast Guard – especially if you decide to ride this one out.

·     Remember children with autism are particularly drawn to water. With waters rising this quickly you will want to keep an extra eye on them if you are not fully out of harm’s way. Keep an eye out for snakes, alligators and balls of fire ants.  Floodwaters are full of trash, debris and bacteria like e Coli so stay out of them.

·     With any weather/water related emergency, electricity can be interrupted affecting bank ATMs and gas pumps.  Be sure to have your car gas tanks full and additional gas on hand.  Take cash out each day prior to evacuating as credit cards may not work due to electrical interruptions.

·     When you leave your home cut off the main electrical grid and gas main to the house. This will make it safer for officials, flood recovery personnel and for your return.

·     Empty your refrigerator and freezer or place contents in hefty bags and leave them in there. If your house doesn’t flood, you will thank me when all you have to do is reach in there and pull out a bag quickly!

·     If you are stubborn enough to stay, make sure you have access to your attic and keep an axe or other tool handy so you can escape to the roof as water comes up.

If there is one thing I have learned, families of children with autism are resilient.  So are the families of South Louisiana.  Stay dry and stay safe.

Although families are in a critical situation in South Louisiana, it is a good idea for every family to have an emergency plan in place to know what you would do during a crisis.  Take time to scan your important documents and store them with online storage so they are accessible.

If your family needs assistance after any natural disaster – here, from the floods in Memphis or tornado destruction in Alabama, Georgia or Tennessee, please contact Autism Cares or our Family Services department at 888 AUTISM2 or familyservices@autismspeaks.org to let us know how we can help.

AutismCares this Holiday Season

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

In times of economic hardship, families with one or more children with autism are among those hit the hardest.  In addition to the high costs and stress associated with caring for a child with autism, a sudden job loss, accident, home foreclosure, or natural disaster makes an already stressful situation worse.  When social services, family and friends, and loans run out, where do these families turn?

AutismCares helps families affected by autism to cover costs associated with critical living expenses such as: housing, utilities, car repair, daycare, funeral expenses, and other essential items on a case-by-case basis. The program relies on donations to assist these families who are in need.

During the holiday season, hardship is felt even more for these families and we need your help to continue to be able to provide much needed assistance for the community!

Please click HERE to donate

AutismCares Helping Families Affected By Tennessee Floods

May 5, 2010 1 comment

Nashville, Tennessee has just experienced the worst flooding in the city’s history. Many families have lost everything, including their homes, cars and clothes. Water rescues continue and many households are without power. Households which have a family member who has autism are particularly affected.

IF YOU ARE IN TENNESSEE AND NEED ASSISTANCE
Please contact:
Kathy L. Streng
Director, Regionally Supported Walks, Southeast
615-238-1625
Kathy.streng@autismspeaks.org

AutismCares helps families affected by autism to cover costs associated with critical living expenses such as: housing, utilities, car repair, daycare, funeral expenses, and other essential items on a case-by-case basis. The program relies on donations to assist these families who are in need.

Please make a donation today to help families that have members with autism who are struggling in Tennessee.

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