Medical students release COVID-19 educational social story for exceptional children

medical students in masks

Exceptional Camels Interest Group leaders Kayla Distin and Jack Thomas partnered with illustrator Sumerlyn Carruthers to create “Coronavirus Social Story” to help exceptional children understand the virus and what they can do to help themselves and others stay well.

“The idea for the story came from our passion to care for exceptional children,” said Thomas, a second-year student at the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine. “We hope it will be helpful to all children, but we wanted to create something that could specifically help teachers and parents of exceptional children.”

“Rural special needs children and their families are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to lack of access to relatable and understandable educational materials,” added Distin. “We hope this resource can serve as an interactive and accessible way for this population to learn about COVID-19 and ways to slow down it’s spread.”

Exceptional Camels Interest Group is a sub-group of the Campbell Medicine Pediatrics Club; its focus is to provide engaging opportunities for medical students to interact with individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. 

“They did such a wonderful job getting such an important message across to a potentially vulnerable population,” said Dr. David Tolentino, associate dean for clinical affairs.  

“I especially like how they explain the importance of masks and not to be afraid of them because this is definitely a potential issue with children and exceptional members of our community regarding such a key concept in preventing the spread of COVID-19.” 

The animated story is on the Campbell Medicine YouTube Channel and print copies will be available thanks to a COVID-19 response grant.

Special thanks to Dr. Joe Cacioppo and Rev. Doug Short, Community and Global Health Department and Mr. Charles Philips for animating the illustrations.