Tornados, Severe Weather, and Autism
I’m sure many of you have been through severe weather lately. It probably went something like this; you sit down for dinner only to be serenaded by tornado sirens and emergency broadcast beeps. You drop your fork and herd the kids into your chosen shelter area. Then you wait out the storm.
At least that is how it is supposed to happen. …
One evening recently, the sirens started during dinner. Hubby announced we should head for the closet, which still had a few pillows and blankets from the last storm. I called the dog. Eldest grabbed an extra pillow and ran around in panicked circles. Hubby went for the TV to see the radar report. And Rachel … Rachel started screaming.
I’m not sure Rachel knew what was going on, but she was not happy. It’s hard to tell what she absorbs because she is nonverbal. But we knew she was upset. In fact, the neighbors probably knew she was upset. While hail pelted the roof, Rachel screamed. While a funnel cloud formed above our house and wind beat against the siding, Rachel screamed. She hollered so loudly that Hubby had to keep opening the closet door just to hear if the sirens were still wailing. In fact, the only reason I knew it hailed was because other people said so — I heard nothing of the storm.
As the time passed, though, Eldest and I prayed. And prayed. We kept up our prayers for safety and Rachel’s need for calm. Thankfully, God answered both prayers. It took quite a while for Rachel to cease her tantrums, but she suddenly switched from screaming to singing Elmo songs. She picked up a flashlight and laughed as the light beam moved around the darkened room (the power was out). In fact, after the ordeal was over, she turned out all the lights and wanted us to sit in the closet and play with the flashlight.
Lessons learned? One, I think we should practice storm drills more often, although we’ve gotten a lot of practice over the last few weeks. Two, never cease praying. The worse the ordeal, the more fervent our prayers should be.