Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Children With Disabilities More Vulnerable to Disasters, Study Shows

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With National Preparedness Month in full swing, a research paper co-authored by a Texas A&M University professor suggests that children — particularly children with disabilities — are especially vulnerable to the effects of disasters.
The review that appears in the journal Child Development is co-authored by Laura Stough of Texas A&M and Lori Peek of Colorado State University. Stough is an associate professor of the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M, as well as interdisciplinary education director at the Center on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, where she also conducts research in special education, disability studies and disaster.
"Children with mobility-related disabilities may be placed even more physically at-risk during disasters if they are unable to evacuate in a timely manner," Stough says. "Disasters can be particularly hazardous for children with medical disabilities who rely on electricity for their medical supports or who need medical care while they are sheltering away from home."
In addition, children with intellectual disabilities might not understand or might have difficulty following evacuation and sheltering instructions.

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