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Support Role of Special Education Teachers in Natural Disasters Elizabeth McAdams Ducy, M.Ed. Laura M. Stough, Ph.D. Texas A&M University NOAA - 11:45 p.m. EDT Friday Sept. 12, 2008 shows Hurricane Ike approaching the coast of Texas. Impact of Hurricane Ike Storm surge of 17 feet 74 deaths in Texas 1.9 million evacuees Over 2 million without power 40,614 in public shelters Over 160 school (FEMA, 2010; TEA, 2010) districts in Texas were affected Children and Disaster It is estimated that 175 million children worldwide will be impacted by disaster over the next decade (Save the Children, 2008). Studies have rarely examined the affects of disaster on any children with disabilities, regardless of diagnosis of disability (Peek & Stough, 2010). Think about one of your students with a diagnosis of ID. What do you think would be one of his/her support needs during any phase of a natural disaster? Individuals with ID and Disaster Kailes and Enders (2007) identified functional needs that individuals might have in a disaster situation C-MIST framework Communication Needs Medical needs Independence needs Supervision needs Transportation needs http://www.jik.com Individuals with ID and Disaster Individuals with ID in Japan had difficulty with adapting to refuge settings after the Hanshin earthquake This study recommended the establishment of a widespread support network to assist individuals with ID in order to assist with functioning post disaster (Takahashi, Watanabe, Oshima, Shimada, & Ozawa,1997) Teachers as Supports Research has documented teachers as valuable sources of supports to their students before and after a disaster . (Peek, 2008; Barrett, Barron Ausbrooks, & Martinez-Cosio, 2008; Wolmer et al, 2005) Special education teachers were instrumental to their students who had lost parents during the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks (Christ & Christ, 2006). Purpose of Pilot Study Studies on the valuable support role of teachers following disaster led us to question how special education teachers might similarly have assisted students with disabilities during Hurricane Ike. (Photo by: Ellis Lucia, Associated Press) Photo by: Earl Nottingham, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Earl Nottingham Photo by: Sarah Moore Kishell, Killeen Daily Herald, Associated Press Photo by: Mario Jose Sanchez, Associated Press Pilot Study Our focus was on teachers from one school district that was closed for three weeks after Hurricane Ike. We interviewed a small group of special education teachers to explore their role in supporting their students with disabilities Data Collection The four special education teachers were initially interviewed 6 months after Hurricane Ike Follow up interviews were conducted 1 year after the storm All interviews were recorded digitally and transcribed verbatim Participants According to the teachers; their students were diagnosed with intellectual disability autism sensory disabilities multiple disabilities physical disabilities health impairments Participants Teacher Sex Race/ Grade Years of Ethnicity Taught Experience Denise F White K-5 12 Anne F White K-5 27 Teresa F Hispanic 6-8 8 LaShonna F African 9-12 34 American Denise She had a total of seven students all with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum She evacuated with her family to another town Denise and her students were able to return to the same classroom three weeks after the storm Anne Taught children with disabilities for her entire 27 years of teaching Taught students with significant disabilities Had to relocate with her students to another school Teresa Bilingual and special education certification Taught children with health needs that were undergoing medical treatment Reassigned to a different classroom after the storm LaShonna Veteran teacher with 34 years of experience, 10 with students with disabilities Her students rotated amongst four classrooms throughout the day She and her students and to use another classroom for a month before returning to their previous rooms Analysis Our aim was not to build theory but instead identify and describe categories Line-by-line coding was the first step in coding process “I touched base with my parents the next day after the storm,” was coded as “talked to parents.” Analysis Focused coding Axial coding Constant comparative method Analysis Four thematic categories emerged Losses Resources Communication from teachers Reestablishing routines Losses Resources and services for students Students personal items Instructional time Teachers professional functioning Losses Students personal items- “He looked in his front yard and all of his belongings were there. All of the things he pretty much likes. He likes art and all of his art was destroyed and he was really devastated with pain; with his pottery on the front lawn broken and his bed broken. “(LaShonna) Resources-Support Category Teachers to families and students Informational More Personal in nature Classroom resources Community and school to families and students Supplies/Equipment Teachers appreciative of the supports Personal Nature of Resources “In a Life skills setting, you have some of the students for four to five years so you become very close with your parents because you go through a lot with your parents you go through hospitalizations with them. You go through ups and downs.” (Anne) Communication-Support Category Before the storm Immediately after the storm Recovery Communication Before the storm- “I would have talked more about what would happen if you were homeless so they could be aware there is a possibility that something that drastic could interrupt their livelihood.” (LaShonna) Re-establishing Routines-Support Category During School Closures Once School Reopened Teachers own routine Re-establishing Routines During School Closures “When I would talk to my parents and ask how the kids were, they said they are very upset and confused. They [the kids] think they need to be going to school. It was very rough on them. I tried to tell the parents to do as much as you can, even if you have to draw a picture, let the students know what is going on.“ (Denise) Supports Provided in the Context of Disaster What are some examples of disasters that can impact your students, your children and/or yourself in the area you live? Types of Disasters Floods Tornados Fires Hurricanes Ice Storms Flu outbreak Terrorist attacks Suggested Supports-Before Send home useful disaster related information Include instruction on natural disasters in lesson planning Involve students actively in preparedness discussions and planning Provide families with disaster specific picture cards to assist with maintaining routines in evacuation and sheltering situation Encourage students and families to consider their own emergency plan (Peek, 2008; National Council on Disability, 2009). Would anyone like to share any supports they have provided to their students, children or families to prepare before a disaster? Suggested Supports- Immediately After The teachers in this study did not wait until their school district reopened to make contact with students and begin providing supports Be aware of your possible role as a source of information Be familiar with agencies that provide specific disability and disaster related services Would anyone like to share any supports they provided to their students, children or families immediately after a disaster? Suggested Supports-Recovery Be aware of how psychological responses from disaster might manifest in students with disabilities (Administration for Children and Families; National Association of School Psychologists, 2002) Be familiar with school mental health referral plans Maintain family communication on recovery needs Be familiar with agencies available to assist with long term recovery needs Strive to maintain classroom routine as much as possible when school resumes Suggested Supports Teachers should be aware of strategies to assist students with ID coping with exposure to disasters Limit further exposure to trauma Address concerns about safety Use language the child understands Expect misunderstandings Use pictures to talk together Relaxation training (Administration for Children and Families) Would anyone like to share any supports they provided to their students, children or families during the recovery phase of disaster? Teachers Dually Impacted The teachers in this study were dually impacted alongside with their students Teachers should also be aware of the importance of monitoring and nurturing their own mental health when impacted by disaster (Buchanan, 2010). Resources for Individuals, Teachers, and Parents Administration for Children and Families www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/add/Sept11/addcoping.html American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/disasters/index.cfm American Association on Health and Disability http://aahd.us/page.php Bridge Multimedia www.emergencyinfoonline.org FEMA www.fema.gov/about/odic/ www.fema.gov/kids/index.htm Resources for Individuals, Teachers, and Parents National Association of School Psychologists http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/specpop_general.asp x National Organization on Disability www.nod.org/emergency Ready America www.ready.gov/america/getakit/disabled.html www.ready.gov/kids/index.html The American Red Cross www.redcross.org http://www.prepare.org The Center for Children with Special Needs http://cshcn.org/planning-record-keeping/emergency-preparedness- children-special-needs Resources for Individuals, Teachers, and Parents AAC-RERC-Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center http://aac-rerc.psu.edu/index.php/pages/show/id/4 Laura M. Stough, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org Elizabeth McAdams Ducy, M.Ed. email@example.com http://redd.tamu.edu QUESTIONS?
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