Addressing the needs of children with disabilities experiencing disaster or terrorism
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Purpose of review: This paper reviews the empirical literature on psychosocial factors relating to children with disabilities in the context of disaster or terrorism. Recent findings: Research indicates individuals 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 preexisting 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 to disaster. Disasters, terrorism, and war all contribute to the incidence of disability, as well as disproportionately affect children with preexisting disabilities. Summary: Disaster preparedness interventions and societal changes are needed to decrease the disproportionate environmental and social vulnerability of children with disabilities to disaster and terrorism.