Children with SEND, in particular children with an ASD diagnosis, may be struggling at the moment to understand what is happening in the world around them and why they are not at school. Please click here to view a simple social story that might help you talk about the closure with your child.
The STePS Team at Derby City have sent out guidance on how to discuss the virus with children at home. You may find some of their ideas useful:
Some of the changes, like people wearing face masks or empty supermarket shelves, can be scary for children, so they are likely to need to talk to someone they trust about some of the imaginative misinformation they might have heard from friends at school.
The advice stresses that it is important to be truthful, but remember your child’s age. Give them factual information, but adjust the amount and detail to fit their age.
For example, you might say ‘we don’t yet have a vaccination for Coronavirus, but doctors are working very hard on it’ or ‘a lot of people might get sick, but for most people it is like a cold or flu and they get better’.
Other advice from the BPS’ Division of Educational and Child Psychology includes:
- Allow children to ask questions: It is natural that children will have questions and worries about Coronavirus. Giving them the space to ask these questions and have answers is a good way to ease anxiety.
- Younger children might understand a cartoon or picture better than an explanation.
- It is ok to say you don’t know – at the moment, there are questions we don’t have answers to about Coronavirus.
- Maybe your child has an idea too – let them tell you or draw them.
- Try to manage your own worries: Uncertainty can make all of us feel anxious or worried. Identify other adults you can talk to about your own worries. Use techniques that help to make you feel a bit calmer – if you are at home, music, breathing and relaxation techniques, distraction (such as watching something funny), and time with family can all help.
- Give practical guidance: Remind your child of the most important things they can do to stay healthy but find motivation for keeping going, like thinking of a song they want to sing while washing their hands).
SEND Learning Resources – Please click to view and download