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How natural disasters can affect kids

Posted at 7:28 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 08:40:23-04

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Flooding in Maryland … wildfires in California … volcanic eruption in Hawaii … hurricanes in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Natural disasters have overwhelmed the United States in 2018. With the approaching wildfire and hurricane seasons coming up, how can these natural disasters impact your kids years later?

Researchers at the University of Melbourne studied nearly 25,000 elementary school students across the city of Victoria, Australia, including those who were affected by the major bush fires there in 2009. They compared the standardized test scores of students who were highly impacted to the students who suffered low to no impact from the bush fires.

Social scientists found that the expected gains from third to fifth grade in reading and math were reduced in schools that had higher levels of impact from the bush fires. The study suggests that students may benefit from extra academic support in the years following a natural disaster or a traumatic experience parents should connect with school staff and community resources to find the best social and emotional support for their child.

Some of the factors that can lead to reduced academic performance following a natural disaster are schooling disruptions when students need to relocate or change schools, or trauma-related disorders like PTSD that can interfere with a child's ability to pay attention and learn.