Covid-19 without words – Charlie and the C Monsters

Covid-19 Response & Impact on Children’s Mental Health

Update August 2023: This post now seems to be an artefact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The comics and resources created to support children through the pandemic were creative and continue to influence practice today. We now know there has been a dramatic negative impact on children’s mental health following lockdowns and school closures.

Children’s mental health has been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns and school closures leading to increased anxiety, depression, and loneliness. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that one in five children in the United States reported experiencing mental health problems during the pandemic. This is a significant increase from before the pandemic, when one in ten children reported having mental health problems.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the increase in mental health problems among children during the pandemic. One is the disruption to their normal routines and activities. Children have been forced to stay home from school, miss out on extracurricular activities, and spend more time online. This has led to feelings of isolation, boredom, and loneliness.

Another factor is the increased stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. Children are worried about their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of their loved ones. They are also concerned about the economic impact of the pandemic, and how it will affect their families.

The lockdowns and school closures have also made it more difficult for children to get the mental health care they need. Many mental health providers are not seeing patients in person, and some have even closed their practices altogether. This has made it difficult for children to access the help they need.

The Original Post

A new, free-to-download printable comic and colouring book and six-minute animated film – Charlie & the C Monsters – has been created. This is designed for the unique purpose of explaining non-verbally how Covid-19 is spread. It explains steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It also shows children visually how to recognise some of the key symptoms of coronavirus. The brainchild of Disabled artist and multimedia storyteller Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90 and Hannah Ensor of Stickman Communications Ltd. The word free comic resource is published by Together! 2012 CIC – a Paralympic Legacy Organisation.

Covid-19 teaching resource printable comic

Charlie and the C Monsters is completely free to view online as a PDF or film, and to download, print and colour. There is also an audio-described version to aid accessibility. This would be great to use in class as part of your recovery curriculum or in conjunction with other Covid-19 resources.

As Dr Ju Gosling, who is Artistic Director of Together! 2012 CIC, explains: “It became apparent to us early on that basic information on how infection spreads and how it is stopped was missing from official communications, meaning that significant numbers of the audiences we work with, including those with SEN, had only a limited understanding of what they needed to do to prevent infection.”

Communicating the dangers of Covid-19

The need to communicate the already complex public health messaging around Covid-19 to both children and adults with SEN was key to the development of the book and film. While other resources presented the information using more accessible language, there was clearly a need to create something which didn’t use words at all.

Disability art and culture coronavirus comic

In developing the resource Ju and Hannah decided to create the book in black and white so that it could also be used as a colouring book. The aim of this was to increase the time that people spent engaging with it. This enables them to learn for themselves, and at their own pace. The images were also deliberately created to be as non-threatening as possible. Many children are already negatively affected by the the virus. It is important to send the message of how to keep safe rather than to spread fear.

Coronavirus  hand washing visual

It is Ju and Hannah’s hope that this important and timely resource will help communicate more effectively about Covid-19 across language, literacy and impairment barriers. Suitable for all ages and abilities, Charlie & the C Monsters is released under a Creative Commons licence, meaning it is free for anyone to use or reproduce. This is particularly useful for those who wish to use the images as the basis for lesson plans or teaching resources.

1 thought on “Covid-19 without words – Charlie and the C Monsters”

  1. Pingback: The Impact of Lockdown on Autistic Children's Mental Health

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