Support Understanding about COVID-19

Adapted from an article by Kelsey Mandak, April 8, 2020

Read Kelsey Mandak’s full article on the RERC website

If you care for someone with complex communication needs who has difficulty understanding spoken communication, here are some pointers and resources:

  • Use short sentences to explain the situation. Speak slowly.
  • Use familiar vocabulary. Relate information to familiar experiences. Use concrete terms.
  • Show pictures to assist with understanding. For example, show a photo of an ambulance or a medical worker in protective gear as you explain what happens when people go to the hospital
  • Use gestures or demonstrate instructions as you speak.  For example, demonstrate washing hands, staying at least 6 feet away from people, wearing a mask
  • Write down key words as you speak to support understanding.
  • Provide a visual schedule of the steps that will occur
  • Use a social story to explain what will happen
    For example, use pictures and photos to tell a story of what will happen when the individual goes for a COVID-19 test
  • Repeat information regularly as required to support understanding and learning.

Download PDF Version