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13A ANTON WEEKLY – ALL 17 ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - NOVEMBER 30, 2012 C AMPS & S CHOOLS Helping Kids Deal With The Effects Of Sandy Experts concur that it’s normal for children to be stressed by the devastation they witnessed BY RONALD SCAGLIA uperstorm Sandy may be gone, but the damage left in its wake is still present and not all of it is tangible. Children in the area who have been eyewitnesses to the destruction may still be anxious in its aftermath. Alan Cohen, lower school division head at Portledge School, says that steps were taken to help children get back to school and adjust to what happened. He says that upon the reopening of school, the librarian gathered books about storms and hurricanes, some of which were true and some that were fictional stories. Students then read these stories aloud in their classrooms, discussed it with their teachers and classmates, and wrote about their experience. They also came up with theories on how the storm was formed. “That seemed to alleviate the anxiety,” remarked Cohen. Cohen says that it was important for students to get back into a structured routine as soon as possible. Therefore, the school was re-opened on the day after electricity was restored. He adds that it is important for parents to continue to restore structure to their children’s lives in order to help them deal with any lingering anxiety they may have. “I’m sure children are still anxious about it so we want to get back to a very structured environment,” commented Cohen. To help prevent children from having additional anxiety over the storm’s effects, Cohen says that it is important to monitor what they are watching on television and other media. Following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, many children were disturbed by the repeating airings of the attack and subsequent collapse of the Twin Towers. Today, the constant viewing of the destruction left by the storm might cause similar stress for young children. “One of the problems with 9/11, and I’m sure now, was that young children were thinking that those episodes were happening over and over,” explained Cohen. He says that young children who see images of the storm on television may have a hard time distinguishing that the events are in the past, and may believe that another storm and more destruction are presently occurring. Another recommendation that Cohen offers parents, is to talk to their children about the storm and the fears they may have. Just S as was done in his school, Cohen says parents can read literature with their children about storms. Parents should also allow their children to express their feelings in other ways such as by drawing or making clay models. Cohen also advises parents that it is normal for young children to still have feelings of anxiety. Among the common signs of stress are nightmares, loss of appetite and even vomiting. Parents who notice these signs and discover that their children are still stressed should share this with their children’s teachers and doctors. “Children are not as resilient as adults,” Cohen remarked. Dr. Victor Fornari, director of the division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital, concurs that children might be stressed by the events which have taken place as well as the recurring images seen on television. According to Fornari, children may suffer stress from the traumatic event, with symptoms showing up months later. In addition to the physical symptoms that Cohen said parents should be watchful for, Fornari adds that children who are stressed may also demonstrate disruptive behaviors, seem overly concerned for their safety and the safety of their family. Fearful children may also cling to their parents more than usual and avoid unfamiliar situations. Jamie Bogenshutz, executive director of YES Community Counseling Center in Massapequa, also advises parents that their children may be upset by what has taken place recently and she advises that this is normal behavior. According to Bogenshutz, parents should realize that it is normal for children to be afraid to walk by trees or water in the aftermath of the storm. She also adds that adults should take care of themselves as well as they cope with the devastation the storm brought. “In order to care of your children, you must take care of yourselves,” she advises. “Take a break from work, go to a place that gives them some comfort. I think a lot of people are tired of hearing that it could have been worse. For some it’s as bad as it can be. The hope is tomorrow will be a little better than today was. Take time to breathe, relax, eat a nice hot meal and they should not lose sight of what they do have. Remember that they have gotten through crises before.” National Merit Scholars At Portledge Portledge School in Locust Valley, has announced that Erica Cohen (left) and Jennifer Ferrante have been named Commended Students in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. Harry Grzelewski, upper school division head, has presented a Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, to these scholastically talented seniors. Make the Choice of a Lifetime Choose the Waldorf School of Garden City FINDING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT for your child’s education makes a world of difference. At the Waldorf School of Garden City, you’ll find an environment that nurtures intellectual curiosity, stimulates personal growth and encourages critical thinking and innovation. The Waldorf School is committed to providing students from early childhood through high school with a unique and high-quality education and to helping young people develop-not only as students, but also as well-rounded individuals. Join us at an upcoming open house: Thurs., Dec., 13th 8:30 to 10:30 am Wed., Jan. 16th 6:00 to 8:00 pm RSVP at 516.742.3434 x301 | Preschool through grade 12 225 Cambridge Avenue Garden City, NY 11530 88889

Camp and School: November 30, 2012

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