AARC Tip of the Month - October 2017
Emergency Preparedness

Emergencies can be stressful for everyone; more so, it can cause a great deal of anxiety and emotion for a child who craves structure, certainty, and routine. We prepare and provide supports for so many parts of a child's day, but we often forget how can we help them understand what is happening in an emergency situation so they can make safe choices. Below are some tips for creating a plan that will give your child a greater sense of safety and security should an emergency situation arise.
  • Brainstorm a list of the types of emergencies you are likely to experience in your area. Let this list guide your planning: earthquake, fire, avalanche, flood, heavy snow or rain storm, volcano etc.
  • Check with your local authorities to see if there is an emergency plan in place. It may provide tips and routes applicable to where you live. Here are some resources from the State of Alaska:
  • Develop a 72-hour survival kit. I tems to consider: things to keep your child's mind occupied to minimize stress, small sensory options, food, water, clothing, etc. It is a good idea to have a backpack specifically for your child's items. It is also recommended to have your child help in designing your survival kit, particularly their own items. Examples and tips for building your 72-hour kit can be found here. 
  • In the backpack, include information about your child, including medical information, preferences, things that may generate negative emotions, sensory tools and their use, or anything else that may be useful for your child. A useful tool may be a child information card (view an example).
  • Create and practice drills for various emergencies. Repetitive practice will assist children in developing habits and routines that will support their sense of safety and security in an emergency.
  • Develop or find a social story to explain what to do in emergencies. This can assist your child in processing what may happen. Keep a copy of the social story in the emergency kit to review with your child when anxiety arises during the emergency. Find tips for writing social stories here
  • Use visual supports wherever necessary to support your child as they navigate through an emergency. Emergency specific supports can be created ahead of time; however, you will also want to have a pen/marker and pad of paper in the emergency kit in the event that you need to create a visual support or social story in the moment. Also, be sure to pack an extra laminated copy of visual supports that are a regular part of your child's routine, and other items regularly needed that can be portable.
  • Make learning about and preparing for emergencies fun! Here are some links to preparedness books and coloring books:
  • Here are recommendations from the CDC for keeping children with disabilities safe in the event of an emergency.
Preparing ahead of time for an emergency can greatly reduce anxiety and stress for both you and your child. The Autism Society has "Disaster Preparedness Tips for Families Affected by Autism"
 and additional   emergency preparedness resources.

General Info
Wings for All Fairbanks FREE airport "rehearsal" and travel experience for families with an individual who experiences a disability

Registration deadline is TODAY
10/21/17 Learn more or register
Wings for Autism Anchorage FREE airport "rehearsal" and travel experience for families with an individual who experiences a disability

Registration deadline is 11/2/17
11/11/17 Learn more or register
Teal Pumpkin Project Nationwide Participate by providing
non-food items for
trick-or-treaters with food sensitivities
10/31/17 Learn more
Books of the Month:
The books of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for books on the  SESA website, or contact our Librarian, Anne Freitag, at  afreitag@sesa.org  or  907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,  go to the login page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.  

You can also look for additional articles in a variety of databases by using SLED, which is available for free for all Alaskans:  http://lam.alaska.gov/sled
Developing Resilience in Young People with Autism Using Social Stories
By: Dr Siobhan Timmins
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
ISBN:  9781785923296

Description: "Using the highly effective Social Stories™ model, this book focusses on writing and illustrating stories to develop resilience in young people with autism who are particularly susceptible to setbacks. With ideas for coping strategies and positive response techniques, this book offers a means to work through negative experiences." - publisher's website.
Disaster Kits
SAMHSA Emergency Mental Health & Traumatic Stress Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, [2011]

Description: "This toolkit arms disaster recovery workers with materials that aid in responding effectively to the general public during and after a disaster, and in dealing with workplace stress. The toolkit includes SAFE-T practice guidelines, and suicide prevention wallet cards. It also includes guides for parents, caregivers, teachers, and others. Access the Disaster Kit on your mobile phone by downloading the SAMHSA Disaster App." - SAMHSA website

Available to order free on the SAMHSA website (shipping charges may apply) or check out from the SESA library.
Get ready! Alaska's emergency preparedness toolkit for people with disabilities.
State of Alaska
Department of Health and Social Services.

Description: This booklet has checklists and forms to help plan for emergencies that may happen in your area.  The SESA Library has a copy for checkout, but you can download it here , then complete the forms that are most appropriate for you.
I'm Not Scared.. I'm Prepared! Because I know all about ALICE Training Institute
By: Julia Cook
Illustrated By: Michelle Hazelwood Hyde
National Center for Youth Issues, 2014
ISBN:  9781937870287

Description: "The teacher at the Ant Hill School wants her students to be prepared - for everything! One day, she teaches her students what to do if a 'dangerous someone' is in their school. The teacher at the Ant Hill School wants her students to be prepared- for everything! One day, she teaches her students what to do if a 'dangerous someone' is in their school. 'Class, my teacher said to us, we need to learn a new drill. It's called The Sheep, The Shepherd and the Wolf, so get ready...here's the deal! I'll be your shepherd, and you're all my sheep, so you must do what I say. Pretend there's a wolf in our building, and we MUST stay out of his way. We need a great plan of action in case we start to get scared. The A.L.I.C.E. Plan will work the best, to help us be prepared.' Unfortunately, in the world we now live in, we must ask ourselves the essential question: What options do I have for survival, if I ever find myself in a violent intruder event? ... enhances the concepts taught by the ALICE Training Institute, and make them applicable to children of all ages in a non-fearful way. By using this book, children can develop a better understanding of what needs to be done if they ever encounter a 'dangerous someone.'" - author's website.
The Ant Hill Disaster
By: Julia Cook
Illustrated By: Michelle Hazelwood Hyde
National Center for Youth Issues, 2014
ISBN:  9781937870270

Description: "After the Ant Hill School is destroyed, a little boy ant is afraid to go back to school. His mom caringly explains to him that sometimes things happen in life over which we have no control, but we have to find a way to keep living and growing. To do that, 'We breathe in and breathe out, and hold onto each other. We shed a lot of tears, and we love one another. We all come together as a strong team of ONE, and then we rebuild, and get things done!' The Ant Hill Disaster thoughtfully addresses fears associated with both natural and human-caused disasters. It models effective parenting and teaching responses. This book can help assure children that through love, empathetic understanding, preparation, and effective communication, they can stand strong, even in the midst of uncontrollable events." - author's website.
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