Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Special Needs Mean Special Plans

Being prepared is important. Being prepared for emergencies is very important.  Being prepared when you have someone in your family with special needs...well that can be even more important.

Catching a theme here?

Special needs can fall into many categories, and can range from food allergies/sensitivities, to limited mobility. Being medicine dependent is a special need, especially when talking about emergencies. Being pregnant or breast feeding is also a special need in this case. Obviously there are the standard special needs, such as disabilities, illnesses and physical limitations.  There are also special needs revolving around mental illness, impairment and medical condition.

Have you noticed the list of special needs is pretty long?

When looking at your family's plans for emergencies, you need to take into account the needs in your household.  Here are just a few things to consider:
  1. Do you have medications that are required?  Do you have current prescriptions and do you have a way to get an emergency supply if needed?
  2. Do you have medical equipment that must always be with you?  Do you have extra batteries, replacement parts and a contact for repair if needed?  Do you have contact information for replacement equipment if needed?
  3. Do you have support materials used to assist the special need? Items on this list could include favorite objects, foods, clothes, books, medical supplies, walkers, pillows, etc. Do you have an extra of these items?
  4. Do you have activities to keep people calm? For many people with special needs, changes in routine can be hard. Do you have familiar and calming activities and games ready to go?
  5. Do you have a plan to stabilize the person with special needs? Do you know where you would go during an evacuation?  Do you have medical contacts at your destination? Have you checked to see if your local pharmacy has a branch in the relocation area? Do you have a copy of medical records?
As you can see, some of these topics are a little more in depth than your regular preparation needs. Taking the time to work through these details will make the transition of change much easier for your special needs family member, and thus, a lot easier for you.


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  2. Having ways to keep a person with special needs calm in an emergency is a great addition to this list!

    I am currently, temporarily, considered to be a person with special needs. In my case, shingles has left me with nerve damage. In a chaotic environment right now my brain basically shuts down because of all the stimulation. Having my comfort items really does help- my hat to avoid bright light or sun, a book to try to give me something to concentrate on, and my Max stuffed animal from "Where the Wild Things Are" are all essential in the event of an emergency.

    Some of those things may sound goofy, but when a person has special needs, there are often things that are comforting to them that others may find strange. Knowing what those things are is important. My daughters know, when my husband starts loading us up to go to the ER, to grab my Max for me.