Addressing the Needs of Children With Disabilities Experiencing Disaster or Terrorism.

Peer-reviewed article
(2017 Apr) Curr Psychiatry Rep, 19 24


Stough LM, Ducy EM, Kang D



This paper reviews the empirical literature on psychosocial factors relating to children with disabilities in the context of disaster or terrorism.


Research indicates adults with disabilities experience increased exposure to hazards due to existing social disparities and barriers associated with disability status. However, studies on the psychological effects of disaster/terrorism on children with pre-existing disabilities are exceedingly few and empirical evidence of the effectiveness of trauma-focused therapies for this population is limited. Secondary adversities, including social stigma and health concerns, also compromise the recovery of these children post-disaster/terrorism. Schools and teachers appear to be particularly important in the recovery of children with disabilities from disaster. Disasters, terrorism, and war all contribute to increased incidence of disability, as well as disproportionately affect children with pre-existing disabilities. Disaster preparedness interventions and societal changes are needed to decrease the disproportionate environmental and social vulnerability of children with disabilities to disaster and terrorism.