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Children Traumatized By War Join Specialized School
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 4, 2006

BAGHDAD, IRAQ--A Baghdad school that used to only accept children with developmental disabilities is finding itself catering to more children who are emotionally traumatized from the war.

Friday's Agence France Presse reported that the Al-Rajaa Institute for Special Needs has 70 students with Down syndrome and five who have experienced "nervous breakdowns" making it difficult for them to cope with daily living.

"There are definitely many more cases out there, but because of tradition and society most of the families prefer to keep them indoors," said the school's director, Hussein Ali Mohsen. "We never know about them until they approach us."

Mohsen said that all of the children in the school now experience panic every time a bomb explodes nearby or a helicopter flies overhead. When that happens, the school's teachers try to distract the children with toys or by leading them in songs and dances.

One mother explained: "No one escapes from the agony of this war. Even these children who do not understand what is happening are suffering."

The low-paid teachers themselves risk their lives every day to walk to the school, which continues to lack the resources needed to support the children, AFP noted.

"Iraqi school strives to meet needs of kids traumatized by war" (Agence France Presse via Lebanon Daily Star)
"Disabilities And The 'War On Terror'" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)


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