CTSuperintendentsMeetingAugust152002

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Published on December 1, 2008

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Preparing for the One Year Anniversary : Preparing for the One Year Anniversary David J. Schonfeld, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics & Child Study Yale University School of Medicine National Center for Children Exposed to Violence School Crisis Response InitiativeNational Center for Children Exposed to Violence : School Crisis Response InitiativeNational Center for Children Exposed to Violence Collaboration of mental health professionals, law enforcement representatives, and local and state educational agencies Develop capacity to meet students’ and staff’s safety and mental health needs at times of crisis Provide technical assistance in crisis situations Training in > ½ of school districts in CT Technical assistance in hundreds of school crisis events Lessons Learned in CT and NYC : Lessons Learned in CT and NYC Written plans often over-estimate level of true preparedness Need for integration of safety/security and mental health responses Staff support needs are important and too often neglected Administrative support is critical Anniversary reactions and September 11th : Anniversary reactions and September 11th Recurrence of feelings related to loss or tragedy Date of September 11th has strong symbolism Can anticipate many commemorative events and media attention Not all children will experience anniversary reactions Many children who appear “back to normal” may have more difficulties at the anniversary Children with history or ongoing exposure to trauma or loss, even if not directly related to September 11, are especially vulnerable Benefits of memorialization : Benefits of memorialization Memorial events held children express and cope with feelings By planning and taking part in a memorial event, children can exercise some control Children must be involved actively in the planning The events should be relevant A memorial planned by adults for children is more likely to be helpful to the adults Planning the memorial : Planning the memorial What you plan for a memorial event is far less important than how you go about planning it Often best memorial events are simple and symbolic Planning a memorial is often more therapeutic than participating in the event Adults should avoid telling children what they should feel or how they should express feelings Different groups have different needs & wishes Highlight also community strengths and foster sense of hope for future Guidance for teachers : Guidance for teachers Prior notification of families Children who experienced personal loss are more likely to show intense reactions Many children and families choose not to disclose personal losses – any discussions should be conducted as if there were students directly affected Too much attention to anniversary can cause problems -- Parents and teachers should work together to ensure children aren’t overwhelmed Support teachers and school staff : Support teachers and school staff Staff dealing with their own personal losses, even if not related to September 11th, may find it difficult to approach topic with students Helping children cope with a tragedy, even a year later, is hard work Adults are also dealing with the same crisis Providing an opportunity for faculty and staff to talk about their own reactions prior to talking with students may be useful personally and will better prepare them to respond to children’s needs Seek input from teachers and staff regarding how best you might help them For Further Information : For Further Information School Crisis Response Initiative National Center for Children Exposed to Violence www.nccev.org 203-785-7047 1-877-49-NCCEV (62238)

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Preparing for the One Year Anniversary David J. Schonfeld, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics & Child Study Yale University School of Medicine
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