Thursday, March 26, 2020

Explaining COVID-19 in Their Language

People in the US who are Deaf are raised with American Sign Language (ASL) as their first language. For ASL-fluent Deaf persons, written English is a second language, if they learn it at all. It is important for Deaf individuals to receive information about the COVID-19 pandemic and measures they should use to protect themselves from infection in their first language. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has produced five videos in ASL for the Deaf community. View them here:

Children of all ages have been impacted by the many changes in their daily routines due to the spread of the novel coronavirus and measures taken to combat the pandemic. This understandably creates stress, so communicating with children should always be done in a calm manner. Let them take the lead by answering their questions when they come up with reassurance that adults are working to keep them safe. Emphasize hand-washing and other hygiene practices that they should have been doing all along. Take the opportunity to do fun things as a family if you are staying home together, but try to establish a consistent daily routine.

The National Association of School Psychologists has produced this parent resource to aid adults in explaining the COVID-19 pandemic situation to children of various ages:

Some persons need information about the COVID-19 pandemic and how to protect themselves provided in plain language. Green Mountain Self-Advocates is a group of people with developmental disabilities and their allies, based in Vermont. They have produced a PDF booklet that explains COVID-19 in simple words and images. It is available here: 

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