Just months ago, 3-year-old Allie Stout was cowering in a hallway beneath her parents — and a violently flapping mattress — as the monster tornado ripped her house apart. In seconds, Allie's world flipped upside down: room gone, toys gone, parents hurt, dog missing. Weeks ago, she was still "playing tornado" all the time.
"We spin around in circles," she says, "and we get in a house, and we lie down, and it's blasting off, and we have to lie on the ground."
Allie's mother, Tiffany Stout, says her daughter slips into this grim play in groups and alone, here in the family's freshly furnished, but sparsely decorated, new house.
"It's nothing for us to go back into her room and hear her telling her 'babies' that it's time to take cover," Stout says, "and they have to lay down on the floor and put their hands over their heads and hold on tight, pray — pray for God's protection and pray that they make it through the storm."
It's not easy, Stout says, seeing your daughter relive the worst moments of her life, over and over and over again. But apparently, it's normal.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Psychological damage from tornado persists for Joplin's children
National Public Radio offered a sobering study of the psychological damage Joplin children have suffered after the May 22 tornado: