September 5, 2005

Unlocking Autism to Help Katrina Victims

(bumped to top)

Help Katrina victims with Autism

Update: Special Edition of The Power of ONE! on Autism One Radio Saturday, September 3rd, beginning at 3:00 pm ET. Shelley Hendrix, president, and Nancy Cale, vice president of Unlocking Autism discuss efforts to help families of children with an autism spectrum disorder whose lives have been badly disrupted by the tragedy in the South.

Original Post: In view of the tremendous needs of families with children on the autism spectrum in the Gulf area hit by the hurricane, Unlocking Autism has set up our website to accept donations for these specific needs.

Shelley Reynolds, UA President, lives in Baton Rouge as well as several other UA volunteers. We also have a UA State Rep who lives just outside of New Orleans. These contacts will enable us to find needs and distribute funds to those with children with autism.

If you would like to specifically help these families you may do so by going to www.UnlockingAutism.Org and click on Gulf Disaster Relief. Unlocking Autism is a non profit (501 c 3) organization.

Thank you for your help in this disaster situation. Please remember to pray for all those affected and the safety and health of all residents and those serving in rescue and relief.

Nancy H Cale
Vice President, Unlocking Autism
770.463.4475 home office
866.366.3361 UA Office

UPDATE: From Shelley Hendrix Reynolds with Unlocking Autism

Unlocking Autism has set up a collection to help with the Gulf Coast region relief for families that are stranded as refugees in Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Many of these families will not be able to return to their homes for a long time, if then and many will have to relocate elsewhere. Many were only able to leave with whatever they could get into their cars. Most will not have a job to return to unless they are with a larger company that can move them to satellite offices.

The population of Baton Rouge is expected to grow by 500,000 people by the end of the week.

Electricity is still out in many places, phone service (cell and land) is spotty at best and it takes a long time to get phone calls in and out.

They are issuing a dusk to dawn curfew everywhere and looting issues have spread to Baton Rouge now. It is pretty chaotic because the streets here are full of cars. I have never seen anything like this in my life. We have had hurricanes and messes before but this is just nuts.

We are working to reach people who are in contact with families who have children and adults with autism in their family who need assistance. Please do not send us the names of people you know from this area unless you currently know where they are and have a means to locate them. We might have known where they were this time last week, but we don't know where they are now. Our website will be updated later tonight to receive this information.

We are collecting money through our site at to assist with getting them supplies, paying for hotel rooms, helping them find accommodations to rent housing, buying supplies to help accommodate any school programs.

My family has been really lucky. Liam and Mairin are staying with their daddy and he has electricity and things are ok. Liam doesn't know why he can't go to my house which has him a little confused and it is because the backyard is full of power lines...I can't afford to have him run back there to try and get on the swingset...the lines are draped across the chainlink metal fence. But I cannot imagine trying to handle this if we were evacuees from New Orleans and trying to stay put in a shelter with a child with autism with thousands of other people in there with me.

They have not been able to contain the levees and are predicting that it will be a minimum of 3 months before people can go back into some areas of New Orleans. They are trying to block the leak with a barge and by bringing in sections of the Twin Span bridges that fell into the lake, but they are saying that they can't seem to get that to work.

They are putting people with special needs in the LSU Fieldhouse here in Baton Rouge but I have not been able to get there to find out what that all entails and which special needs those may be. We are also in contact with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System to find out if they are enrolling new children with autism because everyone is coming here to enroll their kids in school.

We will keep you apprised of the situation as we can get you information. Thank you all for all of your support and your prayers. Please keep praying for those people still trapped in New Orleans. There are people down there who need prayers for more than just shelter, they need prayers for their lives.

We love you all...thank you for your support.


Update: If autism is not your thing, lots more charities here and here.

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