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Emergency Procedures for Those with Autism

Autism Ribbon Bob Blog

In honor of Disaster Preparedness Month, Allied Universal, Inc. is proud to announce a new informational worksheet detailing the most effective way to deal with people who have Autism, in the event of an emergency.

The emergency preparedness instructions should help family members, friends and first responders remember the proper methods for helping Autistic people.

While a disaster can be a traumatic experience for anyone, it can be especially frightening for someone who is autistic. Autism is defined as a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

Those who care for people with autism, or are in close contact with an autistic person, should be made aware of the special precautions that must be taken during an emergency.

Autistic people have a tendency to hide, or become suddenly paralyzed with fear, in the event of a catastrophe. Anyone who attempts to help them can be perceived as a dangerous threat. This is why it is important for emergency responders to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of autism, so that they can take precautionary measures.

  • During an emergency, people with autism will resort to self-soothing methods, such as rocking, or talking to themselves.
  • Autistic people have also been known to become fascinated with dangerous stimuli.
  • For example; in the event of a fire, an autistic man may stand dangerously close to the flames in order to stare at the fire.
  • In a flood, an autistic girl could potentially travel towards flowing water, instead of away from it, which could put her in immediate danger.

If more people are able to identify these types of behaviors, and offer assistance in a calm, non-threatening way, the chances of a successful rescue will be dramatically increased.

In dealing with someone who you know is, or who appears to be, autistic:

  1. Speak slowly, in basic, concrete terms. Allow time for responses.
  2. Use visual communication as much as possible.
  3. Do not attempt to physically stop self-stimulating behavior.
  4. Have Autism Emergency Contact Forms completed

Allied Universal offers disaster preparedness training for everyone, including people with autism. There has never a better time to learn how to respond during an emergency than in September, during Disaster Preparedness Month.  BE SAFE!

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2 Responses to “Emergency Procedures for Those with Autism”

  1. rjwestmore Says:

    Thank you. We appreciate the kudos. And we hope it proves useful.

  2. rjwestmore Says:

    Thank you for your comment. We’re so glad our information proved helpful.