A panel talk titled "Being a Child in an Earthquake Zone" was organized by our university on Monday, April 17, as part of the "23 April National Sovereignty and Children's Day" week.
Our Deputy Rector Prof. Dr. Fadime Üney Yüksektepe delivered the opening speech of the event held at the Önder Öztunalı Conference Hall in our Ataköy campus. To the program moderated by Ece Karaboncuk, one of our Department of Psychology academicians, Assoc. Prof. Ayhan Erbay, Head of the Department of Special Education Prof. Dr. Arzu Özen, one of the academicians of the Faculty of Law, Department of Criminal and Criminal Procedure Assist. Prof. Özge Sırma Gezer and KALBEN Association Vice Chairperson Müge Yelekçi participated as speakers and explained what should be done in the field of psychological, legal, and special education for children in the earthquake area.
“We All Need a Basic Level of Knowledge”
Our Deputy Rector Prof. Dr. Fadime Üney Yüksektepe said, “As Istanbul Kültür University, we discussed the week of April 23 with a panel on 'Being a Child in an Earthquake Zone'. In our panel, we listened to experts from all perspectives in terms of legal, psychological, and special education, and we wanted to raise awareness of everyone in this field. We tried to determine what we could do together.
Legally, we all need a basic level of knowledge. We need to know what we ought to do. Psychologically, we should know what we can do more beneficial for the children in the earthquake zone by protecting our own health, the health of our family, and the health of our children. We need to carry out studies that can support their psychology. Of course, children with special educational needs also have a special place. Different studies should be organized for them as well. As a university, we try to improve with all our academicians and students as much as we can.”
“We Think These Children Are Severely Depressed”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ayhan Erbay said that a good registration system should be established in order to follow up the traumas of children in the earthquake zone and said, “It is necessary to identify the needs of children in need of psychosocial support, to bring them together with experts, to design, implement and follow up the training programs to be organized. Children in the earthquake area may have lost their family, lost their hometown, been away from their friends and may feel abandoned. We Think These Children Are Severely Depressed. They may also have all the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, we need to act consciously in all services to be produced for these children. We need to carry out some work by understanding children, listening to them and taking care of their needs, without rushing them. In this regard, the Ministry of Health, psychiatry clinics, our specialist doctors working in child and adolescent psychiatry clinics, our psychiatrists, qualified psychologists who provide services in this field in our country, psychological counselors, social workers who will follow up after therapy and everyone in general have a duty.”
“Using Visuals to Communicate with Children is Extremely Important”
Prof. Dr. Arzu Özen stated that children with special needs can show very different inadequacies from each other and said, “Children can show very different disabilities such as vision, hearing, behavioral problems, intellectual disability, autism, and spectrum disorders. This example could go even further. It is extremely important to show the necessary interventions and the necessary behavior patterns, taking into account the characteristics of each disability group. Behaviors such as giving instructions different from those with normal development, that is, children with typical development, to these children much shorter and more clearly, and perhaps asking permission from them before touching them, should be done. Since these children are not able to express themselves yet, we can benefit a lot from visuals. Again, in relation to this issue, it is extremely important to use visuals to communicate with children.”
"Children Should Be Given Positive Discrimination”
Assist. Prof. Özge Sırma Gezer stated that children's rights are not a concept completely independent from human rights and added the following:
“First of all, as with every human being, rights such as life and protection of physical integrity are also valid for children, but apart from this, there are rights regulated by contracts to which children are protected in particular, and to which we are a party. It is also important for the child to be taken into account as an individual, to have a say as an individual in the decisions made about them, in matters that concern them, and to apply for their opinion if they are old enough to perceive it. We can say the following about the earthquake; since we are a party to international conventions, our legislation is under constitutional guarantee. We have a children's legislation that is secured in terms of international law and rights. There is no problem with this, but there have been problems in practice and they continue to happen. At this point, I think that we can reduce this to a minimum if the practitioners perform the law without leaving the legal ground and in compliance with the legal rules. One of the most important issues regarding children is, of course, positive discrimination in terms of them. In other words, it is very important that we first take children under protection in disaster situations and provide their basic needs."