Autism: Tornado Safety

You would think after living on military bases for as long as the kids can remember, the sounds of sirens wouldn’t bother them too much. After three years of weekly sirens going off they still catch BigM’s attention and elicit some sort of response from him. Earlier this week we heard a siren for the first time since leaving Alaska.

BigM, thankfully, reacted more positively. We explained that here that siren means a tornado is near by. Of course this lead to a conversation about what tornadoes are. I looked up video of tornadoes on YouTube for him to watch. We also talked about them being dangerous and that they destroy houses and cars and can hurt people. I made sure to show him a couple of tornadoes being birthed so he knew that those were dangerous as well. I hope he never sees one but it is better to be prepared.  I also showed him videos of a variety of sizes. Some that were short and fat and others that were tall and skinny. Just like people, not all tornadoes look exactly alike and especially with Autism we needed to be sure he understood that.

I decided this was also a good time to talk about what to do if you hear the siren go off. We asked him where in the house he should go. After first he wanted to hide in his bedroom. Then we explained that you don’t want to be near windows and why. This was backed up by showing him more videos and focusing on the debris picked up by tornadoes.

The following day we helped to stick this information into his long term memory by telling his running buddy about tornadoes and what you do if you hear a siren. He wasn’t up to actually telling her but he did answer all of the questions correctly. We are pretty confident that he knows what to do. Now I can only hope that he doesn’t get to scared if we ever have to put the plan into action.

What sort of severe weather plans do you have for your family and how do you teach them? Do you do severe weather drills?


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