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How Do I Explain the Coronavirus COVID-19 to My Child with Special Needs?

Child CoronavirusThe coronavirus—COVID-19 is stirring up conversation, and children with special needs are bound to have questions about what it is. Especially with the increasing number of school-closure announcements, and news of the outbreak dominating headlines and social-media platforms, children are likely to be exposed to loads of information and misinformation. They may react with emotions such as fear, worry, shock and grief. And if you have a child with special needs, he may respond in ways that are difficult to handle. And while we may not be able to shield our children from what is happening, there are plenty of ways to explain the coronavirus COVID-19 to your child with special needs without causing undue alarm.

Sit Your Child Down and Talk about Coronavirus

The best response is to talk with your child with a disability to help her understand what is happening. It will also help her feel safe.

Take time to think about what you want to say. Ask your child what she understands about coronavirus. Find out what questions or concerns she may have. Your child’s answers should help to direct what to say.

Bottom line, here are some tips to help you through:
  1. Try to stay calm. Your child will look to you on how to react to the coronavirus. It’s okay for your child to see you sad or crying. However, if you have an extreme emotional response, consider leaving the room until you can calm down.
  2. Get down to your child’s eye level. Speak in a calm, gentle voice. Use words she will understand.
  3. Listen closely to your child for inaccurate information, along with any fears or feelings that are in relation to the incorrect data. Validate his feelings but let him know the correct information.
  4. Be honest but focus on basic information. Don’t give out unnecessary details that may upset him.
  5. Limit your child’s news and social media viewing. If you have a young child, don’t allow him to see recurring coverage of the coronavirus. That will increase his level of worry.
  6. Spend time together. Stay loyal to your regular dinner, bedtime, and morning schedule.
  7. Make sure your child knows it’s okay to be upset or to cry. Let him write about or draw what he is feeling.

If you need help with more resources, please contact us.

American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.

Contact us for help. Dial (888) 323-2133 or email us at [email protected]