About 3 hours ago today Virginia was hit by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake which shook a great deal of the East Coast. I live in New Jersey and could tell you it was a very scary situation. When the shaking began my first thought was that it was just a truck coming down our road. I quickly looked outside and realized that this was not the case as their was no vehicles driving down our block at that time. Then it suddenly hit me that we could very well be having a earthquake. While the shaking continued I felt incredibly uneasy to the point where my mind was drawing a blank and I was just holding on waiting for the shaking to stop.
A few minutes, after the last few tremors had stopped I quickly called both my parents to figure out what was going on. My dad confirmed that it was indeed an earthquake and that everything was going to be fine which I believed. I couldn’t help but thinking afterwards though about the whole concept of having a strategy when possible disasters come around. This especially holds true for families with individuals on the autism spectrum. When I was younger, the smallest little things would bother me like wind and rain and I couldn’t even think what would have happend if I went through an earthquake back then.
The best advice I could give to individuals with autism when these situations occur is to try and remain calm. Find something that you enjoy and try to focus on that for as long as the situation is going on. For me, it is also very comforting to know that I am on a flat surface and know I have myself balanced. It makes me feel like I’m in control regardless of what is going on. Ideally the bigger the magnitude the earthquake the more extreme the measures should be implemented. Just remember that earthquakes are ultimately going to be unexpected and the best way to prepare is by having a set plan based on where your child is on the spectrum.
How are you dealing with the Virginia earthquake? Do you have any specific ways of preparing for these types of situations?