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Talking With Children About Disaster. (COMMUNICATION).

In response to the tragic events of September 11, The American Academy of Pediatrics presents the following tips on how to communicate with children and adolescents in the aftermath of a crisis:

* It's important to communicate to children that they're safe. Given what they may have seen on television, they need to know that the violence is isolated to certain areas, and they will not be harmed.

* Adolescents in particular can be hard hit by these kinds of events. Adults should watch for signs such as: sleep disturbances, fatigue, lack of pleasure in activities enjoyed previously, and initiation of illicit substance abuse.

* Overexposure to the media can be traumatizing. It's unwise to let children or adolescents view footage of traumatic events over and over. Children and adolescents should not watch these events alone.

* Adults need to help children understand the significance of these events. Discussion is critical. It should be stressed that the terrorist acts are one of desperation and horror - that there are "bad" people out there, and bad people do bad things. But not all people in a particular group are bad. Children should know that lashing out at members of a particular religious or ethnic group will only cause more harm.

For more information about dealing with children's reactions to trauma, the following Web sites offer a wealth of coping techniques and advice:

* American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry -

* American Academy of Pediatrics -

* American Psychological Association -

* Children's Defense Fund -

* Federal Emergency Management Agency -

* The Parent Center -
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Title Annotation:American Academy of Pediatrics advice following September 11th terrorist attacks
Publication:Camping Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Previous Article:A View from the Woods.
Next Article:Early Childhood Stages of Racial Awareness. (CULTURAL AWARENESS).

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