As we continue our discussion of disaster preparedness, we want to take time to address children through exploring the resources offered by the MFLN Early Intervention (MFLN FDEI) team. If you have not viewed it already, last week’s Friday Field Notes featuring Military Caregiving provides a great segue into this week’s topic with general resources for caregivers preparing loved ones of any age for a disaster. MFLN FDEI is a subdivision of the Family Development team that addresses service providers who work with military families with young children (birth to age 5) who may be at risk for disabilities or developmental delays.
If you work with families who have young children, resources from FDEI can add useful assets to your toolbox that will be helpful when a disaster strikes in order to take a holistic approach that considers the needs of the entire family. Since disasters can sometimes be traumatizing events for young children, a training module, Childhood Trauma: Understanding, Supporting, and Preventing, is a fantastic way for service providers to gain knowledge through an in-depth overview of what trauma is, how to address it, and how to prevent it from occurring in the future. While the module primarily focuses on trauma that can occur from abuse or neglect, the information provided throughout the module is also useful for those working with young children and families impacted by natural disaster.
Beyond MFLN, however, there are many government agencies and resources that the Early Intervention team uses to inform their work with professionals. Resources from the CDC, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Office of Head Start, and Zero to Three can assist service providers with manuals, quick reference tools, and tips for planning ahead for children with and without disabilities.
For individuals who may need assistance explaining natural disasters to children and why it is important to prepare for them, there are age-appropriate books, such as Clifford and the Big Storm and Hurricanes. Additionally, MFLN FDEI is always adding children’s books on their website to address a number of issues besides natural disasters. As a precaution, be sure to read any children’s books first to ensure they are appropriate for the child’s developmental level, and then read it along with them if they should have any questions.
The MFLN Early Intervention team has many more resources available to service providers on many different topics that may be relevant to you and your work. You can view their webinars and blog posts, which will also serve as an introduction to the MFLN Family Development team to be featured in next week’s Friday Field Notes.