Moving stories of families with autism rescued from Hurricane Harvey

September 5, 2017

Media reports continue to come in of individuals with autism and their families being rescued from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey. As professional and volunteer rescue workers from around the country rally to Houston's aid, heartwarming stories such as these have been going viral.

While natural disasters bring fear, anxiety and confusion to all victims, people with autism and other disabilities are particularly vulnerable to such devastating upheaval from their daily lives. Thankfully, while these families continue to face hardship, each of the stories below have happy endings.

Get natural disaster resources for families affected by autism.

2 young boys wearing noise reducing headphones and sitting outside in the rain

Shannon Stillwell posted to her Facebook wall a video of her family being rescued by a civilian boat from their home in a Houston suburb. Both of Shannon's sons are on the autism spectrum and can be seen wearing noise reduction headphones on the boat ride through their flooded neighborhood, during which they appeared to be remarkably calm.

Shannon's husband and the family's two dogs were also rescued. Since reaching safety, Shannon has continued to post helpful links and advice to other special needs families in similar circumstances. See her video post below.

A photographer from the Houston Chronicle captured the rescue of an 8-year-old boy with autism from an inflatable boat on the southeast side of Houston. The boy was with his father, Abel Hilario, his uncle and two dogs.

He appears to be holding a blanket and is wearing headphones as rescue helicopters hover above him. He had been separated from his mother for three days as they waited for the water to recede, but it never did. The family was reunited when they reached land. Read the story here.

Abel Hilario clutches his son while evacuating in driving rain today. Son, Aven, 8, has autism. Reunited w/ mom after 3 days. @HoustonChron