Effects of Terrorist Attacks on Students with Emotional Problems and Behavioral Disorders

By Squires, Sandra K. | Communication Disorders Quarterly, Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

Effects of Terrorist Attacks on Students with Emotional Problems and Behavioral Disorders


Squires, Sandra K., Communication Disorders Quarterly


This article discusses the effects of the terrorist attacks on children and youth with emotional and behavioral disorders. These children may be adversely affected in a number of ways: inattentiveness, increased restlessness, crying, sleeplessness, use of profanity, and even inappropriate laughter. Several suggestions are offered to support students with emotional and behavioral problems through this stressful time.

**********

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the media first addressed the most basic elements of the tragedy--the number of missing and known dead, the stories of people's escapes, the heroism of rescue workers, and the human interest stories of survivors. News of the tragedy was everywhere--on the news, on talk shows, on the radio, and in the newspapers. It even has become a part of our malls, community events, and television programming where people were raising money for the survivors. For weeks, it has become our national obsession to talk of September 11, 2001.

The next phase of news coverage has been about the emotional and economic toll on people who have survived. Rescue workers have been referred for counseling because of what they have witnessed. Grief counselors are helping surviving family members and friends. The news has been filled with information on terrorists, bombings, and retaliation. About a month after the September 11 attacks, the coverage turned to bioterrorism with the discovery of anthrax-laced letters.

The events and continued reporting have affected all of us, even young children. Children and youth have watched television reports of terrorist activities. They have overheard conversations and watched the reactions of the adults in their lives. The continued news coverage and talk of war have become a part of the fabric of our lives. The verbal and visual messages have confused and upset routines and the expectation of safety in our country. Children feel vulnerable, whether connected with victims or not. These things have all happened for children with normal coping skills. For children with emotional and behavioral problems, these problems are aggravated.

Adults and peers are often confused by the behavior of children and youth with emotional and behavioral problems. These children may respond inappropriately in social situations, and they frequently will lack the ability to observe and use social cues. They may act immaturely or exhibit extreme reactions to events, such as overreaction or an apparent lack of concern about others. The terrorist attacks have created a need to help children learn expected social responses to stressful situations.

An expected reaction to fearful situations is heightened anxiety and concern for personal safety. In adults the increased stress might lead to forgetfulness, general nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, nightmares, and increased worry. Those same characteristics are seen in children, but they might manifest themselves differently. For example, in children, depression often means increased movement, increased signs of restlessness and inattentiveness, crying for no apparent reason, and withdrawal from others (including elective mutism as a remote possibility).

These events could trigger episodes of self-destructive behavior or a diagnosis of a mental condition. For example Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) is a frequently mentioned mental illness found in survivors of war, trauma, or abuse. PTSD has been mentioned lately as occurring among survivors and rescue workers, but it can also occur in children and in people who observe war, trauma, or abuse. The symptoms are similar to those mentioned above.

Often children with emotional and behavioral disorders lack the vocabulary to describe how they are feeling. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Effects of Terrorist Attacks on Students with Emotional Problems and Behavioral Disorders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.