Children with disabilities and disaster preparedness case study

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Please do a critical analysis, deep explanation, to this article in consider to this questions:


Explanation what is the author did? How he did it?

Is the study question relevant?

Dose the study add anything new?

What type of research question is being asked?

Was the study design appropriate for the research question?

Did the study methods address the most important potential sources of bias?

Was the study performed according to the original protocol?

Does the study test a stated hypothesis?

Were the statistical analyses preformed correctly?

Do the data justify the conclusions?

Where you feel the problems are?

How this paper help you or hertz you in the final research proposal?

This is the article:

“Ronoh, S., Gaillard, J. C., & Marlowe, J. (2015). Children with disabilities and disaster preparedness: a case study of Christchurch. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 10(2), 91-102.”

Ronoh, Gaillard, and Marlowe presume that about 7 million with impairments globally are affected by emergencies every year, which stresses their distinct vulnerability in facing natural disasters. However, policymakers have largely overlooked their demands, encounters, perspectives, capacity, and role in emergency peril reduction. The viewpoint of children and their ability to notify resolution settlement procedures, take direct effort and minimize peril have been forsaken because of their status and skewed power relation between adults and children in the community. The authors presume that the “4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011” earthquakes and many aftermaths deranged actions and generated substantial anxiety and stress among impaired children in the area. The investigation drew on a case study in “Christchurch” to pinpoint obstacles, potentials, realities, and insights with regard to participation in emergency readiness for children with various impairments. The authors utilized semi-structured interviews and focused group discussions with impaired children, their caregivers and teachers to investigate children’s readiness and possible reactions to an emergency. The study showed a substantial difference in how disabled children access available supplies and cope, face, and discern natural disasters. The authors found disabled children’s possible donation to emergency readiness, which gives recommendations for policy and practice.


On PowerPoint graduate-level critical evaluation of the article, including your insights into the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of that article to your original research project proposal.

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Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online ISSN: (Print) 1177-083X (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tnzk20 Children with disabilities and disaster preparedness: a case study of Christchurch S Ronoh, JC Gaillard & J Marlowe To cite this article: S Ronoh, JC Gaillard & J Marlowe (2015) Children with disabilities and disaster preparedness: a case study of Christchurch, Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 10:2, 91-102, DOI: 10.1080/1177083X.2015.1068185 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/1177083X.2015.1068185 © 2015 The Royal Society of New Zealand Published online: 23 Nov 2015. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 4442 View Crossmark data Citing articles: 2 View citing articles Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=tnzk20 Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 2015 Vol. 10, No. 2, 91–102, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1177083X.2015.1068185 RESEARCH ARTICLE Children with disabilities and disaster preparedness: a case study of Christchurch S Ronoh*, JC Gaillard and J Marlowe School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand (Received 15 January 2015; accepted 28 June 2015) An estimated seven million children with disabilities worldwide are affected by disasters annually. This significant figure emphasises the particular vulnerability of these children in facing natural hazards. However, their needs as well as their capacity and role in disaster risk reduction have largely been overlooked by researchers and policymakers. This paper draws on a case study in Christchurch to identify insights, realities, possibilities and obstacles in relation to the involvement in disaster preparedness of children with diverse disabilities. It reports on findings from focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews with children who have disabilities, their teachers and caregivers to explore children’s preparedness and potential responses to a disaster. The findings indicate a considerable variation in how children with disabilities access available resources and perceive, face and cope with natural hazards. This paper shows their potential contribution to disaster preparedness and provides further suggestions for policy and practice. Keywords: children with disabilities; disaster; natural hazards; participatory tools; preparedness Introduction Every year, millions of children worldwide are affected by disasters in many forms (UNICEF 2007; Masten & Osofsky 2010). Of these, more than seven million are children with disabilities, while millions more acquire disabilities during childhood as a result of disaster (Peek & Stough 2010). Subsequently, the literature on disaster has identified children as a vulnerable group (Anderson 2005; UNIDSR 2006; Wisner 2006; Peek 2008; MCDEM 2009; Ronoh et al. 2015), but their diverse needs, experiences, perspectives and potential roles in disaster risk reduction (DRR) have been largely overlooked or ignored by researchers and policymakers. Anderson (2005) argues that the perspectives of children and their capacities to inform decision-making processes, take direct action and reduce risk have been neglected due to their status and skewed power relations between children and adults in society. In Christchurch, the 4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011 earthquakes and numerous aftershocks disrupted routines and caused considerable stress and heightened anxiety among children with disabilities in the region (Mitchell 2014). This paper reports a case study from Christchurch on the experience of children with disabilities in facing the earthquakes that devastated much of the city. It explores their knowledge and understanding of natural hazards in a school setting, and assesses their preparedness to face disaster and their capacities to cope in the aftermath. The paper concludes by suggesting potential strategies for promoting DRR and preparedness among children with disabilities. The research adds to the ‘children’s potential capacity’ narrative (Haynes & Tanner 2015) and begins by providing an overview of relevant literature in the area of disability and disaster. *Corresponding author. Email: sron443@aucklanduni.ac.nz © 2015 The Royal Society of New Zealand 92 S Ronoh et al. Children with disabilities, preparedness and DRR: a conceptual background Many researchers have raised concerns about the risks that children face during disaster (Anderson 2005; Peek 2008; Peek & Stough 2010; Alexander et al. 2012). Often, they are portrayed as passive ‘victims’ in the face of disaster, leading to a ‘children at risk’ discourse (Gibbs et al. 2013). Admittedly, a growing body of empirical research and practices that counters the ‘helplessness’ narrative is emerging, and emphasises children’s capacities to contribute in preparedness and other DRR initiatives (Anderson 2005; Peek 2008; Haynes & Tanner 2015). For children with disabilities, vulnerability during disaster is exacerbated by their young age intersecting with disability and other factors such as geographical location and family structure. The following paragraphs connect the concepts of disaster, disability and preparedness. According to Wisner et al. (2012), a disaster situation refers to a natural hazard that has consequences in terms of damage, livelihood/economic disruption and/or casualties that are often too great for the affected area and people to deal with properly on their own. On the other hand, disaster preparedness is ‘the knowledge developed by governments, organisations, communities and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to and recover from the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazards’ (UNISDR 2009, p. 21). Hence, disaster preparedness is an important education and awareness strategy to convey information about hazards to the general public. Specifically, for children, it means the child’s knowledge of protective behaviours increases the capacity to cope when left alone or unsupervised, and potentially enhances a family’s collective capacity if the child can act independently and/or may help others who are unaware of correct actions (Finnis et al. 2004). However, there is lack of clarity and understanding of the term ‘disability’ and thus it is inconsistently articulated (Kailes & Enders 2007; Watson et al. 2012). This partly explains the exclusion and marginalisation of children with disabilities from DRR activities (Smith et al. 2012; Ronoh et al. 2015). Subsequently, most disaster policy and planning documents identify people with disabilities as members of ‘vulnerable’ or ‘special needs’ populations despite the existing heterogeneity of people with disabilities (Kailes & Enders 2007; Priestley & Hemingway 2007). For example, the medical-model view of disability as a medical problem ignores structural and cultural barriers that hinder the inclusion of children with disabilities in daily activities. By contrast, the socialmodel proponents argue that disability is centrally structured by social oppression, inequality and exclusion (Thomas 2004) and it should be tackled alongside other social discriminatory practices (Watson et al. 2012) by the inclusion, participation and involvement of people with disabilities in community activities (Crow 1996), including disaster preparedness. As such, disaster researchers and practitioners identify children and persons with disabilities, along with other groups, as especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of disaster (Wisner et al. 2012) due to lack of or limited access to vital day-to-day resources (Gaillard & Maceda 2009). Subsequently, they are marginalised when facing natural hazards. However, Peek & Stough (2010) points out that not all children are equally vulnerable to the impact of disaster. Instead, the age of the child intersects with other personal and social characteristics. For this research, those features include an existing disability, from which an attempt is made to determine the likelihood of harm in a particular disaster event. However, Haque & Etkin (2007) acknowledge that individuals and communities have developed intrinsic abilities to learn, to cope with and to apply different skill sets and sources of knowledge in the face of disaster. Importantly, Cadag & Gaillard (2014) define capacity as a set of knowledge, skills and resources that people resort to when dealing with natural hazards and disaster. It encompasses the ability to either use or access the resources needed and goes beyond their sole availability (Wisner et al. 2012). For children with disabilities, researchers need to understand: how they access and use resources; the perception, skills and strategies they adopt in Children with disabilities and disaster preparedness facing a disaster; and to identify when and how to provide support (Smith et al. 2012). Examples include agreeing on warning signals for potential hazards, associated protective actions, planning evacuation routes and meeting points, identifying vehicles and shelters, and preparing an emergency kit and other resources to cope with the disruption of daily life following a disaster (Wisner et al. 2012). In schools, disaster preparedness programmes are beneficial if the child understands potential natural hazards and associated safety strategies to apply in the face of disaster (Ronan & Johnston 2005). Preparedness within the home and school environment, such as having survival kit supplies in place, improves the likelihood that a child will be able to face and cope with a disaster (Ronan & Johnston 2005). In New Zealand, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) provides preparedness educational resources entitled ‘What’s the Plan Stan?’, consisting of a CD and online DRR resources (Johnson et al. 2014). Such DRR programmes help increase risk awareness and perception and help in educating others around them (King & Tarrant 2013). Hazard awareness and knowledge of preparedness strategies is a crucial aspect of positive coping and can help children to understand the processes of natural hazards. Thus, they feel less stressed, are prepared and have a reduced anxiety towards disasters (Ronan & Johnston 2005). Case study background This article reports findings from Christchurch, New Zealand, as part of a multiple case study (Yin 2014). The research took place in late 2014, more than three years after the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The September 2010 earthquake (magnitude 7.1) caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure, liquefaction and flooding in Christchurch. The February 2011 (magnitude 6.3) earthquake devastated the city, causing the death of 185 people (Gibbs et al. 2013). During the recovery process, the needs of people with disabilities were often overlooked at the welfare centres. For example, temporary 93 shelters were insufficiently adapted to meet the needs of wheelchair users, highlighting gaps in arrangement for those with disabilities in a response context (Mitchell 2014). However, schools play an important role in the preparedness, response and recovery process and are often ‘associated with improved prosocial attitudes and behaviours’ (Masten & Osofsky 2010, p. 1035). Hence, following the 2011 earthquake, there were efforts to equip and support teachers with effective approaches as well as information to be used during the recovery process (Mitchell 2014). Against this background a school located seven kilometres from the central city was selected as a case study. For purposes of confidentiality, the school is referred to as ‘the Christchurch school’ and pseudonyms are used for all participants. The school has special class units for children who have diverse disabilities. These can be one or more of: autistic spectrum disorders; learning, hearing, seeing, mobility disability; and other degenerative conditions. All participants, whose lives are often structured and managed by adults, had first-hand experience of the Christchurch earthquakes and vividly recalled the aftermath. The school gave researchers access to one class of 10 children aged between 10 and 16 years. The setting has a high level of adult supervision with an average of between 1:3 and 1:4 in adult teacher-to-child ratio, indicating the high level of support that the children required. The school described most children as having difficulty with comprehension, memory, communication, relating to others, mobility issues, anxiety at changes in routines and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. In total, these diverse disabilities produced a heterogeneous group of participants. Two prior school visits were undertaken to seek access to the participants, firm up the research design, build rapport and establish trust with the school staff and students—strategies that are vital for focus groups (FGs), interviews and observation of the students (Boggis 2011). Human participants’ ethics approval was obtained from The University of Auckland, and consent (for adult) and assent (for children) was sought from all participants prior to study commencement. 94 S Ronoh et al. Study design This qualitative case study used FGs, semi-structured interviews and participant observations. The rationale for using multiple methods to obtain data is to triangulate evidence, increase reliability and serve to corroborate the data gathered from other sources (Baxter & Jack 2008; Yin 2014). The FGs and semi-structured interviews were recorded and transcribed. Coding for patterns and potential themes was guided by the six steps of thematic data analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006). Findings were analysed in relation to available literature on disaster, children and disabilities. The goal was to consider the findings in terms of their broader meanings and implications to DRR. More detail on each of the methods is outlined below. FGs comprising 10 children with disabilities took two hours (comprising 20 minute sessions) per day for four consecutive days. The FGs adopted participatory tools to accommodate the children’s disabilities, diverse interests and competencies. For example, one technique was the use of a proportional piling technique to explore participants’ awareness and understanding of natural hazards within Christchurch. This technique involved participants in identifying and making a list of potential natural hazards around Christchurch. The list of hazards identified was then transferred on to coloured A4 paper by participants and placed on the floor for proportional piling. Each participant was given three red, two orange and one purple fruit-flavoured sweet to distribute to the hazards in terms of how dangerous they were; first (most dangerous) to fourth (least dangerous) was obtained, based on participants’ individual perceptions. The total for each hazard was obtained for ranking (Fig. 1). Another FG activity Figure 1 Participant counting fruit sweet allocations and ranking of natural hazards by proportional piling. Source: FGs 2014. Children with disabilities and disaster preparedness involved assessing participants’ perceptions of the content of survival kits and categorising them as either very important or important (Fig. 3) . The rationale for FG activities was to blend in what Mutch (2013) refers to as a continuum of engagement with children: research for, on, with or by children. Crucially for children, hazards, risks and preparedness are abstract concepts and the use of mapping (Fig. 2) renders the concepts tangible and concrete (Gaillard & Maceda 2009). The tools enable participants to be actively involved, that is, research ‘with’ children, while the researcher and specialist teacher facilitate research activities and discussions. Attention was also directed at what was unsaid (Booth & Booth 1996), such as paying attention to body language, eye contact, eye pointing (gazing) and facial expression, as additional means of communication. The semi-structured interviews took between thirty minutes and one hour each, involved two teachers, two parents and one official each from Red Cross and MCDEM Christchurch. The aim was to obtain participants’ experience and thoughts on 95 the preparedness of children with disabilities and their potential contribution to DRR. Participant observation was undertaken to observe a pre-arranged school earthquake drill, including the actions of ‘drop, cover and hold’ to assess children’s preparedness. Disaster drills organised by the management team in consultation with the teachers take place once a school term. Observation notes and photographs were taken. Awareness and understanding of natural hazards Knowing the types of natural hazards, their potential effects and associated protective behaviours enhances individual or collective capacity preparedness in facing disaster (Paton 2003). From the children’s FGs, participants largely showed consistency in linking natural hazards in Christchurch, potential effects and associated protective actions. For example, participants linked ‘volcanoes’ to ‘lava’, ‘flooding’ to ‘drowning’ and ‘tornado’ to ‘violent wind’. However, it was the earthquake impacts that Figure 2 School map of safe and unsafe locations. Source: FGs 2014. 96 S Ronoh et al. Figure 3 Survival kit activity. Source: FGs 2014. prompted many responses that were experienced following the 22 February 2011 earthquake, including ground shaking, heightened anxiety, telephone communication problems, using bottled water for long periods of time, power outages, school closure and some people permanently leaving Christchurch. Significantly, variation in participants’ perceptions of natural hazards risk was evident from the ranking activity (Fig. 1). The percentage ranking order or the proportion of children’s choices was earthquakes (35%), tornadoes (30%), floods (22.5%) and volcanoes (12.5%) . The high scores for earthquake and tornado were attributed to their occurrence in the region in the recent past, particularly the 2011 earthquake that continued to dominate discussions among Christchurch residents. The children also had memories of tornadoes that devastated parts of the region in early 2014 (Irwin 2014). From observation, children’s perceptions appeared easily influenced by one student’s insistence that tornadoes caused serious injuries and death. The teacher also added that other sources of disaster information such as the internet, media and television may affect their perception. As such, the degree of potential devastation from the top two hazards was not accurately reflected by the close scores of 35% and 30%. Also, while some FG participants identified moving to higher ground as a protective action when flooding occurs, their understanding of landmarks beyond the school was limited due to lack of familiarity. Hart & Knight (2009) highlight that Christchurch is also exposed to remotely or locally generated tsunami. However, the children’s perception of a tsunami hazard in Christchurch is poor. According to Lorna (pseudonym), a teacher who was interviewed for this project, this low perception of the tsunami threat reflected variations in the levels of understanding about natural hazards or an indication of ineffective disaster information and education messages in the school: There are classes that have MCDEM personnel come in and do a talk, if the students understand that sort of thing … but not the majority of the school. They’re just too low functioning, don’t really understand it. (Lorna, teacher) However, another teacher attributed it to children’s familiarity with water (e.g. enjoyable swimming sessions) and thus rarely associating it with disaster, a perception that may be related to how tsunami information ...
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