Explaining the Coronavirus to People With Special Needs and Disabilities

by Apr 14, 2020How-Tos0 comments

Explaining the coronavirus to people with special needs and disabilities requires creativity and good resources. This post offers plenty of both.

Explaining the coronavirus to people with special needs and disabilities requires creativity and unique resources. Guest blogger Mark Arnold offers both in today’s post.

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, over-hyped and sensationalized. This can upset those who struggle to comprehend what they are seeing and hearing, what is true and what is false. Imagine what they think when they see people fighting over toilet rolls, or when someone tells them that school is closed and that they can’t see their friends for weeks or even months?

The resources below can help with explaining the Coronavirus to people with special needs and disabilities, as well as why things are so different at the moment. 

MindHeart Social Story About Coronavirus
This social story* from MindHeart helps children learn about the Coronavirus. Click here to download the free printable PDF file.

Triple A Alliance Social Story
This helpful social story* has been put together by the Triple A Alliance. It helps explain more about how to stay safe from Coronavirus. Click this link to access the Staying Safe social story.

*Social stories 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. To find out more about how to create social stories, visit this link at my friend Lynn McCann’s website and scroll to the bottom for links to information on social stories.

The Widget Website
This site has useful information, social stories, and symbols/graphics about staying safe from germs and washing your hands. Click here to download a free printable PDF.

Disability and Jesus has an excellent prayer visual using Widget symbols for this time when we are unable to get to church.

Free Twinkl Homeschool Resources 
Inspirational lesson plans, assessments, interactive activities, resource packs, PowerPoints, and teaching ideas are available at Twinkl. The site is offering free access to their resources to support parents with children at home. Visit Twinkl and use the promotional code PARENTSTWINKLHELPS for free access to resources while schools are closed.

The Council for Intellectual Disability in Australia
This organization offers resources for teenagers and young adults. Staying Safe through the Council for Intellectual Disability in Australia.

Click here for an easy-to-read free printable PDF about staying safe from Coronavirus.

You can also click here for another easy-to-read free printable about viruses and staying healthy.

The Additional Needs Alliance

These and additional resources are available at the Additional Needs Alliance website. Click here and then choose “Resources” and “Our Time At Home.”

I hope these resources help with explaining the Coronavirus to people with special needs and disabilities so you can assist them in staying safe and healthy. 

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By Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, a leading national Christian children’s and youth organization. He is co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, a national and international advocate for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities. Mark is a Churches for All and Living Fully Network partner, a member of the Council for Disabled Children and the European Disability Network. He writes an additional needs column for Premier Youth and Children’s Work (YCW) magazine and blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. He is father to James, who has autism spectrum condition, associated learning disability, and epilepsy. To find out more about how Mark’s work can help you, contact him at: marnold@urbansaints.org or @Mark_J_Arnold.


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Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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