Visual supports are an evidenced based practice for children with autism and can be used for communication, organization, task completion and preparing for new situations.  Visual supports are concrete items, pictures, photographs, symbols, printed words, and/or a combination of these.  You will see most of the resources below involve using visual supports to help support explaining the virus, changes in routine, and developing a new schedule.

social story covid

Our loved ones, no matter how much language they have,  pick up on anxiety, may hear parts of conversations and the news, and know there are changes in their routines.  The resources below are for a variety of age levels and can be helpful in explaining what is going on:

AFIRM’s COVID 19 TOOLKIT – 7 support strategies are designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with autism during this period of uncertainty. In addition, examples and ready-made resources are included to help caregivers implement these strategies quickly and easily.    

BrainPOP – Free cartoon video (about 4 min long) for upper elementary and middle schoolers –

Explaining the Coronavirus to Children with Anxiety or OCD – by a child therapist –

Lisa Hodgden’s page Autism and Coronavirus: Helping Students Understand –  Excellent article with tips about creating a notebook with visual supports to explain the ever-changing situation

An article, Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus

Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19

COVID-19 Information By and For People with DisabilitiesAnother great resource by in plain language by the Green Mountain Self-Advocates   –

New Boardmaker Icons – Boardmaker icons are commonly used for visual schedules and communication boards.  Boardmaker recently added new icons related to the virus.  You may sign up for a 30 day free trial.  For more info –

UNC team creates Online toolkit for those supporting autistic individuals during Covid-19 pandemic: A new online toolkit from an interdisciplinary team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will help families and caregivers supporting autistic individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Illinois Autism Partnership has created an excellent social story to explain the coronavirus and school closures:

How to Make a Cloth Face Mask: