Helping students survive natural disasters and the effects of post traumatic stress disorder
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Helping Students Survive Natural Disasters and the Effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The role of the school faculty and staff in dealing with student survivors of the earthquake in Haiti

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Helping students survive natural disasters and the effects of post traumatic stress disorder

Helping Students Survive Natural Disasters and the Effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The role of the school faculty and staff in dealing with student survivors of the earthquake in Haiti

Information complied from an article written by Philip Lazarus “Responding to Natural Disaster: Helping Children and Families” from the NASP Resources


Children of disasters

Children of Disasters

  • Children look to the significant adults in their lives for guidance

  • Schools can help play a major role of healing by providing a stable and familiar environment.

  • Caring adults at the school can help children return to routines and provide opportunities to heal.


Be aware of the five stages of grief

Be Aware of the Five Stages of Grief

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance


The difficulty of healing from earthquakes

The Difficulty of Healing from Earthquakes

  • Children who experience earthquakes have had multiple losses.

  • Loss of their homes

  • Possible loss of family and friends

  • Leaving their country and adjusting to another place, environment and culture.

  • Dealing with the memories of sounds and smells of the disaster.


Signs of distress and anxiety to look for in pre schoolers

Signs of Distress and Anxiety to Look for in Pre-Schoolers

  • Thumb sucking

  • Bedwetting

  • Clinginess

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fear of the dark

  • Regression in behavior

  • Withdrawal from friends and routines


What to look for in elementary school children

What to Look for in Elementary School Children

  • Irritability

  • Aggressiveness

  • Clinginess

  • Nightmares

  • School avoidance

  • Poor concentration

  • Withdrawal from friends and activities


Signs to be aware of for adolescents

Signs to be Aware of for Adolescents

  • Sleeping problems

  • Eating disturbances

  • Agitation

  • Increase in conflicts

  • Physical complaints

  • Delinquent behavior

  • Poor concentration

  • Withdrawal from family, friends and activities


Other signs to be aware of in identifying post traumatic stress disorder

Other Signs to be Aware of in Identifying Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Students may re-experience the disaster

  • Anticipation of another earthquake and the feeling of anxiety

  • General numbness to emotional topics

  • Continued inability to concentrate

  • In rare cases: thoughts of suicide (Contact the school counselor and/or the SSW)


What teachers need to do when students are identified as at risk

What Teachers need to do When Students are Identified as “at risk”

  • Contact your school counselor and/or the SSW. They will consider the following options:

    1. Small groups

    2. Individual counseling

    3. Family therapy

  • Continued support by faculty and staff


Finally engage in post disaster activities that facilitate healing

Finally: Engage in Post-Disaster Activities that Facilitate Healing

  • Encourage children to share about what they have experienced through drawings, stories, audio/video recordings.

  • Promote positive coping and problem-solving skills to help manage their anxieties.

  • Strengthen children’s friendship and peer support.

  • Emphasize the child’s resiliency by relating situations where others were faced with disaster and moved on with help.

  • Above all, show them that you truly care about them!

    Compiled by Larry Hoover, IWC, February 2010


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