The National Association of School Psychologists

Techniques, November/December 2001 | Go to article overview

The National Association of School Psychologists


Following the acts of terroism in New York and Washington, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) quickly posted a list of ways to help children cope and reminded us that children look to adults in times of crisis for information and guidance on how to react.

First and foremost, parents and schools must establish a sense of safety and security for children. NASP advises closely observing children's emotional states but letting them know that it is okay to feel upset. Tell children the truth but stick to the facts and make it developmentally appropriate.

According to NASP, upper elementary and early middle school students will be more vocal in asking questions about safety. Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence and will share concrete suggestions about how to make schools safer and prevent future tragedies. They will also be more committed to helping the victims. All children, NASP stresses, should be encouraged to verbalize their thoughts and feelings, and we should be good listeners.

Schools also need to provide students with assurances of safety. And, while NASP recommends maintaining structure and stability, they advise against tests or major projects within the first few days following the crisis event. …

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