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Helping Children Cope After Hurricane Sandy
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Helping Children Cope After Hurricane Sandy

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Natural disasters can be traumatic for children. Experiencing a dangerous or violent flood, storm, wildfire, or earthquake is frightening and the devastation to the familiar environment can be long ...

Natural disasters can be traumatic for children. Experiencing a dangerous or violent flood, storm, wildfire, or earthquake is frightening and the devastation to the familiar environment can be long lasting and distressing. Here are some common reactions in children and how you as a parent can help lessen the mental health impact felt.

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    Helping Children Cope After Hurricane Sandy Helping Children Cope After Hurricane Sandy Presentation Transcript

    • Helping Children CopeAfter Hurricane Sandy Angela Adamson, LCSW, ACT Behavioral Health & Cognitive Therapy Center
    • Sandy• Effects  Loss of power  Disruption in schedules  School cancelations  Gas lines  Damage to homes  Limited food  Loss of life
    • After Sandy• Common reactions in children• How you can help your child• When to seek help
    • Common Responses in Children• Occur whenever exposed to or witness potentially life threatening events• Usually resolve in a matter of weeks or a few months
    • Emotional Reactions • Worry • Helplessness • Sadness • Hopelessness • Anger • General/SpecificImage courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net • Shock Fear • Terror • Irritability • Blame • Guilt • ConfusionAcademy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from www.academyofct.org
    • Thinking Reactions • Imagining dangers • Self-blame and risks • Confusion  Especially related to  Repeating questions parents • Questions about • Intrusive death thoughts/memories • Nightmares • Problems with  Concentration  School work Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.netAcademy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from www.academyofct.org
    • Physical Reactions • Fatigue, exhaustion • Headaches • Difficulty sleeping • Stomach upset  Wanting to sleep • Decreased appetite with parents • Bedwetting • Easily startled • Increased difficulties • Hyper or geared up with self-controlAcademy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from www.academyofct.org Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net
    • Behavioral Reactions • Argumentative • Regression • Defiant • Increase in any • Clingy previous behavior • Social withdrawal problems • Impaired school performance • Distrust • BlameAcademy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from www.academyofct.org Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net
    • Resilience• Children are very resilient!• Studies show that children who are emotionally supported through natural disasters are more likely to return to normal functioning after several weeks.• The way parents cope with and perceive natural disasters directly impacts how a child will cope. Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net
    • What parents can do • Take care of yourself! • Recognize reactions as normal • Return to routine or develop a temporary routine • Provide ample physical and emotional support • Allow your child to tell their story  Talking, drawing, writing, role playing • Acknowledge their feelings Photo credit: Bindaas Madhavi / Foter / CC BY-NC-NDAcademy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from www.academyofct.org
    • What parents can do • Limit exposure to news coverage • Answer questions in age appropriate way • Give your child opportunities to help  Write thank you letters to police, firemen, etc.  Help cook a meal for a family without power • Spend time with family and friends • Have fun • Stay healthy Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.netAcademy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from www.academyofct.org
    • What not to do• Do not overly focus on the natural disaster.• Do not avoid talking about it.• Do not have adult conversations about the disaster in front of children.• Do not keep the news on constantly. Image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net
    • When should I seek help? • No decrease in intensity and frequency of reactions within one month. • Responses become intensified and/or dangerous. • Disruption in daily activitiesAcademy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from www.academyofct.org
    • Where to get Help Treatment • SMG – Behavioral Health & Cognitive Therapy Center – 908-277-8900 • NJ Psychological Association – 973-243-9800 • Academy of Cognitive Therapy – www.academyofct.com Information • CDC – www.cdc.gov • NIH - www.nimh.nih.gov • NCTSN- www.nctsn.org