With my friend, Brenda's permission, I am posting a message at the bottom that she mailed out to the LISTSERV (the other day. Sorry it's taken me so long to do this) Stephen's dad and I have been so shocked and confused till our brains were a little foggy about what we can do to help. Last Sunday, our church took up a collection to help one of our fellow-churches in Mississippi that was hit very hard. Some of the members were still missing and they were waiting to hear about them. Some of the members have come to the B'ham area till they can figure out what to do next. But we still felt we'd done nothing. From the time we became aware of the mass destruction, our hearts went out to everyone. But there is another family that we are a part of, and that is families of disabled children. What's a parent to do when something like this strikes? The stress involved when you have typical children is hard enough. Now, imagine you have a child (or adult family member) with special needs. Who is nonverbal. Who cannot function when their routine is upset in the least. I can only fathom so much and then my mind just won't let me go there. Everyday life under "normal" circumstances is hard enough, but when that routine is turned upside down and shattered ... So - instead of allowing myself to dwell on the negative to the point of a breakdown, I decided to get active. What would "we" need in a situation like this? What are some things that Stephen must have daily in order to not only remain healthy by taking his meds on time but his emotional health, His parent's emotional health. Stephen is not the type of child who can mingle with other children and play games or color in a coloring book in a corner. He needs his own world. his own way. Things that wouldn't even enter another childs mind are things that Stephen strives on. Spoons, for example. Stephen thinks he must have several metal spoons and a container to sort them in. (stimming, we call it) Each child is different. Children with autistic-like behaviors although alike in many ways, are so different and unpredictable. Thinking of my brothers and sisters in the Gulf area makes me want to do all I can to help them and their children. So, if anyone from the LISTSERV is directed to this journal through Brenda/Magnolia Angels, please E-mail me about your special child and let me help. Our church is a very generous congregation who loves children. Stephen's school is full of compassionate parents and teachers. I'll do all I can to get the message out and send supplies, etc.
Now - Brenda's message and her list of ideas.
----------------------------------------------------------------I really appreciate the e-mail and all the prayers and support. We are in good shape here. We have our electricity and phone service. It may be forever before we have cable which in our area means no television. Jonathan is watching movie after movie. Groceries are starting to come back but shipments are sporadic and the shelters are in need as well. I believe there will be a continuous need for help but that many needs will not be realized until weeks or months from now. Everyone has been great. Companies are helping their employees when they can. Churches, organizations and individuals are all doing as much as possible. Communities out of the disaster area are adopting communities in the disaster area. I appreciate all the efforts from the list and the individual families. I have personally received many e-mails and phone calls. This has been a tremendous blessing.The emotional and inspirational support is just as important. It has a far great impact on a family for years to come. Many of you want to know how you can help. I may make a few suggestions Dry goods Non-perishable items Hygiene products( hair & tooth brushes, deodorant, tooth paste, wipes, hand sanitizer etc.) Books, crayons, puzzles. board games, bubbles. etc. Things to entertain that do not require electricity. School supplies Relaxing, pick me ups etc, that parents will not have the money or time to go buy or even think of right now. Journals and pens Gift cards( food or dept. stores) Disposable cameras Stationary and Postage stamps Every day items that you would use but may not think of or miss until the item is needed * For those getting mail send a card saying hello. This can be kept and reread. Some people may have children with birthdays coming up. ( Grandparents Day is Sunday. Halloween is close. We will still be in disaster mode at Thanksgiving and Christmas) Another important thing you can do for all of us and each other is pace yourself. Take care of yourself. This isn't a short term problem and as the days pass they will have stories to tell, questions to ask and will need support and advice.Some will live in new communities and will have new doctors or school systems etc. They will be need your help then too. Thanks so much. Brenda ----------------------------------------------- Brenda, if you read this, we are shopping for pullups, wipes and ointment again tomorrow. Please forward that address to me (again) I've lost it in the clutter of mail I have printed. Keeping all in our prayers, Mia and family ~ ps ~ I'd appreciate any good vibes and prayers you could send my way. Most of you know, Stephen is more than half my size and I pulled my back out last night, somehow. He's very ambulatory and keeps me running, and redirecting him. Picking him up, a lot of the time. Not sure how I did it, but I did it again. thanks!