by Mark Arnold
Many children are worried about the Coronavirus (also known as Covid-19), and as parents, other family members, or children’s and youth workers we are likely to be worried about how to keep them safe. Much of the information circulating at the moment is scary and over-hyped and sensationalized and this can really upset children, especially children with additional needs who may struggle to comprehend what they are seeing and hearing. Image what they are thinking when they see people fighting over toilet rolls!
Here are some resources that you can use to help the children that you are in contact with, as well as some information that as adults gives you some background data.
For children (1):
A really helpful social story* resource has been put together by the Triple A Alliance (@TripleAAlliance), a social story that helps us to explain more about how to stay safe from Coronavirus to children:
*As with all social stories, those that have been written by others should only be used as a template. Every social story should be personalized for the people they are being written for if possible. If you want to find out more about how to create social stories, Lynn McCann’s site here: https://www.reachoutasc.com/resources (scroll to the bottom for links to info on social stories).
For children (2):
For some really great and useful information, social stories, and symbols/graphics from the Widget website about Staying Safe from Germs and Washing Your Hands, click here for a free printable .pdf download: Widget washing-your-hands
And here’s a great Widget resource to help children understand about school being closed:
For children (3):
And now that children are mostly home from school, here’s a resource to help parents to plan each day with their children through a visual timetable/planner. You can download the free printable .pdf download here:
Our day at home
For children: (4)
A great social story resource from MindHeart (@mindheart.kids) about the coronavirus that helps children to get to know about the virus a little bit.
You can download the free printable .pdf download social story here: Hello I’m Coronavirus
For adults supporting children (1):
There are inspirational lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment, interactive activities, resource packs, PowerPoints, teaching ideas at Twinkl. Now Twinkl are offering free access to their site and resources to support you as you work with children at home:
For adults supporting children (2) (data updated 03-19-20):
There is so much hysteria and scaremongering going on at the moment, both thorough mainstream media channels bit especially on social media. As adults we need some facts that can inform and help us to help the children we are caring for, and so the folk at https://informationisbeautiful.net have put together a coronavirus infographic data pack, gathering the best scientifically-sourced charts in one place (all sources provided) and adding some of their own. This information is dated March 31, but updates are available from their website: https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/covid-19-coronavirus-infographic-datapack/
For adults supporting children (3):
These are some really helpful resources from the Council for Intellectual Disability in Australia, and are a great way of explaining coronavirus/covid-19 to teenagers or young adults with intellectual/learning disability:
Staying safe from Coronavirus (free printable .pdf download):
Viruses and Staying Healthy (free printable .pdf download):
For adults supporting children (4):
There is also an excellent prayer/office including Widget symbols provided by our friends Disability and Jesus, which you might like to look at and use at this time, especially if you are unable to get to church: http://anordinaryoffice.org.uk/index.php/covid-19/
I hope these resources and infographics help you to stay informed about coronavirus and to be able to inform and support the children you are engaged with, either as family or as children’s/youth workers, to stay safe and healthy. Let’s keep aware of the facts and look for more ways to protect and help rather than stockpiling toilet roll.
About Mark Arnold
Mark Arnold (The Additional Needs Blogfather) is dad to James, a 17-year-old Autistic, with epilepsy and learning disability. He’s also the Additional Needs Ministry Director for Urban Saints’ pioneering additional needs ministry, including training, consultancy, conference speaking and resourcing: http://www.urbansaints.org/additionalneeds.