6.23.2010

Dealing with Disaster

I found this great resource that helps families with all different types of information. For the complete resource go here and download their file: http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/facts_for_families

Here is an example of a fact sheet: (It's long, but I found it worth the read)
Several factors affect a child’s response to a disaster. The way children see and understand their parents' responses are very important. Children are aware of their parents’ worries most of the time, but they are particularly sensitive during a crisis. Parents should admit their concerns to their children, and also stress their abilities to cope with the disaster. Falsely minimizing the danger will not end a child’s concerns.

After a disaster, parents should be alert to these changes in a child’s behavior:

• Refusal to return to school and “clinging” behavior, including shadowing the
mother or father around the house
Persistent fears related to the catastrophe (such as fears about being permanently separated from parents)
• Sleep disturbances such as nightmares, screaming during sleep and bed wetting, persisting more than several days after the event
• Loss of concentration and irritability
• Jumpiness or being startled easily
• Behavior problems, for example, misbehaving in school or at home in ways that are not typical for the child
• Physical complaints (stomachaches, headaches, dizziness) for which a physical cause cannot be found
• Withdrawal from family and friends, sadness, listlessness, decreased activity, and preoccupation with the events of the disaster

Professional advice or treatment for children affected by a disaster--especially those who have witnessed destruction, injury or death--can help prevent or minimize PTSD. Parents who are concerned about their children can ask their pediatrician or family doctor to refer them to a child and adolescent psychiatrist for an evaluation.

That's just a portion of the article. I thought with all of the disasters the world has been experiencing lately this is great need-to-know info.

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