Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Resource - Helping Children Cope with Disasters

Great resource that got linked with the Youth Specialties youthworker email today - "Helping Children Cope with Disasters: A Manual for Professionals Working with Elementary School Aged Children" -
full pdf here.

The resource was developed by the faculty at the University of Miami after Hurricane Andrew in Florida, and has some great information as well as a series of hands on activities and questionnaires to use with children post-disaster. Looks to me like the activities and questionnaires are invaluable.

Three key components that have been used in many of the interventions reported in research literature:
1. Exposure to and discussion of disaster-related events. Research suggests that repeated presentation of disaster related material helps to reduce the emotional distress following such events. This suggest that children need an opportunity to talk about their experiences in a safe, accepting environment in order to recover from the disaster.
2. Promotion of positive coping and problem solving skills. Research suggest that the development of positive strategies and problem solving skills can improve children's management of the stressors after a disaster.
3. Strengthening of children's friendships and peer support. Research has shown that children with strong emotional support from others are better able to cope and adjust in stressful situations.

Would be a good resource to have if you are going to NOLA anytime soon and one to save to your resource folder.

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