Show Some Rockaway Love  for Our ASD Texan Families!

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As many of us local families and caregivers are doing the electric slide as our children on the spectrum are finally back in school, for the families in Texas devastated by Hurricane Harvey, it’s a very different picture.

Remember Frankenstorm Sandy? Though just five years ago, I’m sure you painfully recollect the horrific mayhem our families endured. From being displaced from our homes — to basic necessities such as heat, hot water and home-cooked food no longer accessible — to our children bewildered about their daily routines starkly interrupted, their sensory issues magnified, and the particular foods they eat, no longer readily available — it was absolutely horrific.

My daughter, who at the time was four years old, refused to eat anything or drink. She developed what her doctor coined as the “Rockaway cough.” Our pediatrician’s local office was destroyed, so we took her to their Long Beach office, and met numerous families all distraught about their children’s ailments in the aftermath of Sandy.

This is what the families in Texas are experiencing this very minute, and with the flood levels rising, families unsure if they will ever be able to return to their beloved homes, schools closed with no certainty as to when they will reopen, much-needed therapies on stand-by, and some children with multiple conditions besides autism unable to receive services, imagine how overwhelmed these families are? Like those of us who experienced Sandy, for Texan families, it must seem an impossible prospect to even think about what’s next on the horizon.

However, there is Rockaway hope and love to share! Here are ways we can help. (Note, these are just suggestions. If you have concerns about these organizations’ legitimacy and if they qualify for tax-deductible charitable contributions, visit the Internal Revenue Service website. Also Google them for further proof of their validity and honest intentions).

— Autism Society of Texas has set up a Hurricane Harvey Disaster Fund for autism families. All contributions will be used to help individuals and families with autism impacted by the hurricane. Funds will be used towards helping individuals and families with flooding by providing temporary housing, cleaning supplies, food, clothing, sensory support items, etc. http://www.autism-society.org/news/autism-society-texas-hurricane-relief/

— Texas Diaper Bank Harvey Relief Donation are accepting disposable baby diapers, pull-ups, adult diapers, formula and wipes. New or gently used baby items such as clothes, blankets, bottles, breast pumps, small toys etc. Please refrain from donating cloth diapers – many families will not be able to wash them. www.texasdiaperbank.org

— Local Texas mom, autism blogger and homeschooler, Adrienne Bibby, of a 22-year-old son who she describes as “severely autistic,” launched a Go Fund Me (https://www.gofundme.com/harvey-autism-family) for Texan families with children on the spectrum. She states, “My 22-year-old severely autistic son and I were flooded in for five days but kept power and he was a real trooper throughout. I know firsthand the kinds of challenges something like this can bring for autism families. So I am raising money for "special" items our families need that will not be readily available at shelters or through agencies like the Red Cross. Items like noise-canceling headphones for those with extreme sound sensitivities, gluten free foods for those on special diets, that special toy or movie that is likely the only thing that can comfort a child. Just yesterday we bought a nebulizer for a child with autism whose family lost everything including his nebulizer. Statistically there are tens of thousands of families in the Houston area with one or more people they care for who is on the spectrum. This tragedy has been difficult for everyone, but it is especially difficult for these kids whose bodies do not work and react the same way as ours.”

Let’s show some Rockaway love for these Texan families and their children on the spectrum. Just like the love and support we received from people from all over NYS and the country, our community’s simple acts of kindness will never be forgotten in Texan’s hearts.

Stay tuned for details about the next Rockaway Beach “Artistic” Families support group meeting. For info. about our group, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our Facebook page.

By Kami-Leigh Agard

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