Speech Pathologist Creates Books To Help Kids With Autism Understand COVID
Her stories talk about masks, school, bus rides and more
Teaching children about the pandemic and all of the changes happening in their world hasn’t been easy. One speech/language pathologist who started Autism Little Learners to help teach children with autism created some incredible stories to help them navigate the uncertainty they may be feeling.
Tara Tuchel has specialized in autism for the past 20 years and created Autism Little Learners as a resource for families and educators. When the pandemic started, a friend of hers asked her to write a story for her daughter to help explain what is happening and she took that and created more stories as interest grew. All you do is print them out and share them. You can also buy licenses to share with other parents or teachers.
“As the Coronavirus pandemic started, I had a friend who asked if I could write a social story for her daughter, who was having a hard time suddenly having to stay home,” Tuchel tells Scary Mommy. “She missed going to her favorite stores and restaurants. So, I wrote her a story about Coronavirus and staying home.”
Tuchel said it helped her friend’s daughter a lot so she put that story out for free on her social media platforms. She said the demand for more spurred her to create several more stories about what was happening in the world. “I wrote stories about COVID and staying 6 feet apart. Then, about distance learning and how-to video chat,” she said. “Then, it moved to seeing people wearing masks followed by wearing a mask. Then, a story about not going back to school.”
“The new topics just kept coming and I was getting requests for stories on these new topics,” Tuchel shares. “So, I relied a lot on what parents and teachers were asking for. The stories spread around the globe and started being translated into many, many different languages. This really made me realize that the entire world was in this together and facing the same challenges.”
Tuchel has a bunch of awesome tools on her site including stories and flashcards on toilet training, screaming, fire drills, and school safety as well as speech and language resources for parents and teachers to help children with autism. She also has a tab dedicated to COVID-19 so her resources are easily downloadable for sharing.
She also received requests for a story about speech/language pathologists wearing masks during speech therapy sessions, so she created special ones just for her fellow speech/language pathologists! “I’ve also added stories for OT’s, PT’s, Psychologists and Therapists in general,” she said on her website.
What a wonderful way to help kids learn and feel better about what’s happening in their world.