Ask anyone who has been impacted by a hurricane, and they will share with you their moments of fear, anxiety, loss, money concerns and ‘what do I do?’ thoughts. For autistic individuals like me, going thru a major weather event such as a hurricane will cause many to experience massive changes, sensory issues, loss of routine, loss of stability and much more. I know first hand…having gone through four hurricanes when I lived in South Florida with my mom and dad. Having no electricity meant sensory light and comfort issues changed. My favorite tree falling down meant I couldn’t get a sense of joy just looking at the tree. No school for two weeks meant loss of routine and the different noises and changes impacted me more. I saw the fear in my cat’s eyes during the actual storms going over our house and didn’t know how to tell her it would be ok.
Knowing what it is like to go through a hurricane, I liked when my dad, Scott Badesch who is the President/CEO of the Autism Society of America told me how the staff and volunteers of the Autism Society of Texas and the Autism Society of Florida were helping hundreds of individuals and families in the autism community who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. He told me about how they helped families and individuals with autism whose homes were lost. He told me how FEMA and the Red Cross relied heavily on the Autism Society of Texas to help families and individuals impacted by autism and how they used their own scarce funds to pay for and set up sensory quiet rooms at shelters. Now, he is telling me about how the Autism Society Affiliates will continue to serve the communities who were impacted by the storms. As my dad proudly says, the Autism Society was there before the storm, during the storm and after the storm helping people have a happy life. Thank you Autism Society.
I want to thank my son Evan who is now 30 years old for sharing his experiences. He served as a volunteer providing food for people in our local community when hurricanes struck South Florida when we lived there. We are there to help in crises and disasters, and that is just one of the many reasons to support the Autism Society of America. Our national staff was immediately ready to assist our local Affiliates impacted by the hurricanes. We were all there to help, hold the hand of a frightened individual or family member. We answered hundreds of calls for help. We were able to do that because of the ongoing generous support of donors like you. Through our national network of Affiliates, we are helping communities throughout the nation create bright and prosperous tomorrows for autistic individuals. Our expansive Affiliate Network allows us to work locally to create communities where all on the autism spectrum are loved, valued and given opportunities to maximize their quality of life each and every day.
A favorite song of mine is from the popular Broadway musical Annie is when Annie sings “the sun will come out tomorrow”. We at the Autism Society will work tirelessly every day to try to ensure a better tomorrow for those impacted by hurricanes and for all affected by autism.
President and CEO, Autism Society