New sensory story helps explain coronavirus

A Coronavirus Sensory Story, developed by experts at The Children’s Trust, uses tactile experiences to help explain the virus and its impact.

Published on: 17/04/20

Created specifically for families to do at home with children who have had a brain injury, the Coronavirus Sensory Story uses objects to explain coronavirus in an accessible way – such as rice to show the tiny virus germ, and warm objects to illustrate a high temperature.

The story also includes actions that can be used to show practical things such as hand washing, and symbols that can help children express emotions they may be feeling around the virus.

Developed and authored by Tina Chen, specialist occupational therapist, Dr Louise Owen, principal clinical psychologist, and Katrina Moore, highly specialist speech and language therapist, at The Children’s Trust, the story aims to help children make sense of the changes in their daily routine due to precautions around coronavirus, and help to reduce anxieties.

Tina explains: “Sensory stories use sensory experiences to help individuals understand and engage in a narrative in a meaningful way.

“We’ve read the story with children at The Children’s Trust and it has been well received by the children and young people – they are engaged and supported to explore elements of the story through their senses.”

Sharing her tips for parents talking to children at home, Tina says: “Remember to speak slowly and give your child time to explore the sensory aspects of the story.

“Feel free to find a suitable alternative if you don’t have the resources listed at home. And most importantly, have fun!”

There is also this version of the sensory story for professionals working with children and young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, which includes the use of PPE. 

You can find out more tips and resources here for families during coronavirus lockdown.