(Video) How Hurricane Harvey affected families with Autism, and what families can do as they prepare for Irma.

Hurricanes and natural disasters leave devastation and destruction in their wakes. As a storm hits, communication and preparedness often keep people as safe as possible. As we know, this is challenging for anyone, but more so for families impacted by special needs. Communication is tough and children impacted suffer from such upheaval to their daily lives. Below are stories that have been going viral showing how families of children impacted by special needs have been impacted by Harvey.

While natural disasters bring fear, anxiety and confusion to all victims, people with autism and other disabilities are particularly vulnerable to such devastating upheaval from their daily lives. Thankfully, while these families continue to face hardship, each of the stories below have happy endings.

Shannon Stillwell posted to her Facebook wall a video of her family being rescued by a civilian boat from their home in a Houston suburb. Both of Shannon’s sons are on the autism spectrum and can be seen wearing noise reduction headphones on the boatride through their flooded neighborhood, during which they appeared to be remarkably calm.

Shannon’s husband and the family’s two dogs were also rescued. Since reaching safety, Shannon has continued to post helpful links and advice to other special needs families in similar circumstances. See her video post below.


A photographer from the Houston Chronicle captured the rescue of an 8-year-old boy with autism from an inflatable boat on the southeast side of Houston. The boy was with his father, Abel Hilario, his uncle and two dogs.

He appears to be holding a blanket and is wearing headphones as rescue helicopters hover above him. He had been separated from his mother for three days as they waited for the water to recede, but it never did. The family was reunited when they reached land. Read the story here.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Abel Hilario clutches his son while evacuating in driving rain today. Son, Aven, 8, has autism. Reunited w/ mom after 3 days. @HoustonChron

Advocacy groups like Autism Speaks can be extremely helpful as another Hurricane comes bearing down like Irma. They provide resources and tips on how to help families prepare as much as possible. Please visit these sites for resources in English and Spanish.

(Link to original post:Autism Speaks Blog


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