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Talking to Your Child About Disasters

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: When news stories are full of terrible disasters, do you know just how much to let your children watch? How can you help them understand?
Air Date: 5/8/13
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Dr. David J Schonfeld, MD
david schonfeld resized 2013Dr. Schonfeld is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and the Pediatrician-in-Chief and Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine. He is a member the American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council and the Sandy Hook Commission in CT, and served as a Commissioner for the National Commission on Children and Disasters. Dr. Schonfeld is also Professor Adjunct of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine, Visiting/Honorary Faculty at the Università del Piemonte Orientale (Novara, Italy) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels, Belgium) and Guest Professor of Chongqing Medical University (Chongqing, China) and coordinates the mental health component of the European Masters in Disaster Medicine course in Italy.

Dr. Schonfeld established the School Crisis Response Program in 1991, which provided training to tens of thousands of school-related personnel in school systems throughout the country and abroad and provided technical assistance in hundreds of school crisis events. He consulted to the NYC Department of Education to help optimize the infrastructure within the system for crisis preparedness and response and to provide training to and technical assistance in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, which included the training of approximately 1,000 district and school-level crisis teams. In 2005, Dr. Schonfeld was awarded funding by the September 11th Children's Fund and the National Philanthropic Trust to establish a National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement; additional funding from the New York Life Foundation provides partial support for ongoing services. The goal of the NCSCB is to promote an appreciation of the role schools can serve to support students, staff, and families at times of crisis and loss; to collaborate with organizations and agencies to further this goal; and to serve as a resource for information, training materials, consultation, and technical assistance. Dr.Schonfeld has provided consultation and training on school crisis and pediatric bereavement in the aftermath of a number of school crisis events and disasters within the United States and abroad, including school and community shootings in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO and Chardon, OH; flooding from Hurricanes Sandy in NYC and NJ, Katrina in New Orleans and Ike in Galveston; tornadoes in Joplin, MO and Alabama; and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China.
Talking to Your Child About Disasters
When news stories are full of terrible disasters, do you know just how much to let your children watch? How can you help them comprehend what they are seeing and hearing?

Experts suggest that children can cope more effectively with a disaster when they feel they understand what is happening and what they can do to help protect themselves, family, and friends.

As much as you want to protect them, it's important to provide enough basic information to help them understand; without providing unnecessary details that may only alarm them.

Our expert, Dr. David J. Schonfeld, the  Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement joins us to help you help your children when disaster strikes.

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