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Symposium XI

TEACHER-BASED INTERVENTIONS WITH INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN: A CROSS CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE

Chairperson: Claude M. Chemtob, PhD

The Role of Schools in Building Resilience and Relieving Trauma-Related Responses
Nathaniel Laor, MD, PhD

14,000 Students Later: Description of the Cohen-Harris Model for Teacher-Based School Intervention Following the Second Lebanon War
Danny Hamiel, PhD

Are Trauma-Based Teacher-Mediated School Interventions Really Helpful in the Long- & the Short-Term? Empirical Perspectives from Israel, Italy & Turkey
Leo Wolmer, MA

The psychological responses of children to mass disasters have been amply documented in the literature. Studies report that during the months following exposure to mass disaster, between 30% and 80% of the children display severe symptoms of post-trauma and other comorbidities. Despite the growing awareness and improved technical skills of professionals, the mitigation of such massive needs requires the implementation of innovative approaches based on the professional empowerment of clinical mediators in the community, such as teachers.
The groundbreaking model of post-disaster class-based teacher interventions developed at the Cohen-Harris Center for Trauma and Disaster Intervention (Wolmer et al., 2003, 2005), showed its ability to reduce by 50% the rate of severe PTSD in the course of 4-8 weeks. More importantly, a 3-year follow-up with exposed children participating in such program and a control group of similar exposure, demonstrated that participants were rated by their teachers as displaying significantly better academic, social and behavioral adaptation.
Based on these data, and after being implemented in Turkey and Italy following natural disasters, the model has been modified (Hamiel et al., 2007) to emphasize resilience enhancement and building of coping strategies to deal with stress. Since 2006, the model has been applied with 16,000 students in the north and south of Israel following the 2nd Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead, respectively. In addition, the model has been recently adapted implemented with kindergarten children. The presentation will describe the rationale of this model, empirical findings and the contents and application of the kindergarten version in southern Israel.

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