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Communicating with children in a time of crisis

We are all, as individuals, families and organisations, concentrating on how to manage our work and personal lives over the next several weeks as a result of COVID-19.  This includes an emphasis on how we can support those who are most vulnerable at this time. 

At I CAN, we feel that an important factor in supporting others is our ability to communicate – clearly and with sympathy - particularly with children and young people who may have difficulty understanding. In this edition, we are focusing on developing children's communication skills at home, which is now even more important. 

By working together at this time, we can make a real difference to thousands of children and their families. We wish our many readers from the voluntary, education and health sectors success in their efforts, as the nation needs your support now more than ever. 

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of I CAN

Home-learning and helping children understand

The current situation poses lots of challenges for parents – how to explain events to children without overwhelming them, how to help them feel safe, and how to support their learning in the home environment. We have produced some tips and resources to help parents and those who work with children to make the most of the quarantine period.
Home is the first place children learn to speak and an ideal place to keep on learning - no text books needed for these fun indoor activities which help to develop children's speech, language and communication.
I CAN's speech and language therapists recommend ways of speaking to children about coronavirus, particularly if they are worried or are finding the current situation difficult to understand.
Try out activities
See our recommendations

More recommended resources to support children 

We have searched the web for the best ways of explaining the virus to children as well as linked to some additional activities for developing speech, language and communication skills at home.
Read more


I CAN remains open for business

During these uncertain times, children with speech, language and communication needs continue to need the best possible support, especially if they are struggling to understand the news. We’re therefore working to ensure that parents and professionals can continue to access our services as normal. 

The I CAN shop will remain open for orders and you are welcome to get in touch with our product team on 020 7843 2515 or

The I CAN Enquiry Service continues to operate on Mondays to Wednesdays between 9.30 - 12.30 and 1.30 - 4.30. You can reach us on 020 7843 2544 to discuss concerns about a child’s communication with one of our speech and language therapists. 

Helping children find their voice in difficult times

While our health services face an unprecedented strain, our concerns naturally shift to the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. However, we urge you not to forget the 1.4 million children in the UK who have speech, language and communication needs and the impact that the current situation will have on their wellbeing. 

For many children with SLCN, disruptions to their routine, and temporary loss of support from their school or from health professionals, means that they are in need of support now more than ever. With your help, we can continue to ensure that no child is left out or left behind due to a difficulty speaking or understanding. 

Find out more about making a donation here

Contact us
I CAN, 31 Angel Gate (Gate 5), Goswell Road, London, EC1V 2PT | 
0207 843 2510 / Charity Registration Number: 210031
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I CAN · 31 Angel Gate (Gate 5) · Goswell Road · London, Lnd EC1V 2PT · United Kingdom