Helping your special needs child through a natural disaster

Last Friday our region (Southern Illinois) was hit with severe weather. It has been referred to as an “inland hurricane” which brought wind gusts of over 106 miles per hour.

It was a devastating event for my neck of the woods and it left us without electricity for five days, my husband was off work for three days and our lives are just starting to get back to normal.

My son, K-Oz was really affected by the changes. He doesn’t deal well with change to begin with, especially unexpected change. We had a warning of bad weather, but no one had any idea it would be as bad as it was. Houses and businesses were destroyed or damaged, trees were uprooted and thrown everywhere, power lines were snapped in half. At our home, we had large trees and limbs down everywhere.

The trampoline that my in-laws bought for my three kids last year was tossed from the backyard into the front driveway like a frisbee. It ended up as a mangled mess. The tree that my husband hung a tire swing in was damaged and the limb that held the swing was broken.

For kids, these constitute severe destruction.

K-Oz has been very moody and quick-tempered, and his OCD and tics have increased a great deal. This is his way of coping and dealing with the stress we have all felt.

Ironically, his sleep has not been badly disturbed – although the nights we had no electricity, he chose to sleep on a fold out mattress on his sisters’ bedroom floor.

One thing I had to remind myself was that K-Oz was dealing with these sudden changes as best he knew how. His increase in tics and OCD behaviors can be dealt with – and now that we have regained electricity, he is calming down.