Grief and Bereavement Resources

Helping a Child Living with Autism to Deal with Tragedy
Individuals with ASD tend to be inquisitive, seeking to learn more about topics they are interested in. Autism has provided some suggestions from school psychologists Peter Faustino and Andrew Livanis to help in processing information about tragedy for various groups along the spectrum

Helping Kids with Autism Understand Death
Family members and caregivers of children with autism understandably want to help their child comprehend what is happening both when anticipating and after the death of a loved one. Stages Learning provides some ideas about how to help kids with autism understand and cope with death and bereavement.

Understanding Death and Illness and What They Teach about Life: An Interactive Guide for Individuals with Autism or Asperger’s and their Loved Ones
by Catherine Flaherty
Author Catherine Faherty offers detailed, concrete explanations of illness, dying, life after death, losing a pet, and numerous other issues. Her descriptions are written with such care; even caregivers will be comforted by her words. The Communication Forms following each short topic will engage learners and include them in the conversation, allowing them to share personal experiences, thoughts, and concerns. Wonderful chapters such as “What People May Learn When Facing Death” and “Role Models and Mentors” put death into perspective in terms of life, and encourage us all to live fully.

Autism and Loss
by Rachel Forrester-Jones
People with autism often experience difficulty in understanding and expressing their emotions and react to losses in different ways or in ways that care givers do not understand. In order to provide effective support, care givers need to have the understanding, the skills and appropriate resources to work through these emotional reactions with them. “Autism and Loss” is a complete resource that covers a variety of kinds of loss, including bereavement, loss of friends or staff, loss of home or possessions and loss of health.

Finding Your Own Way to Grieve: A Creative Activity Workbook for Kids and Teens on the Autism Spectrum
by Karla Helbert
Children and teenagers with autism can struggle to cope with the loss of a loved one, and the complicated and painful emotions of bereavement. This book explains death in concrete terms that the child with autism will understand, explores feelings that the child may encounter as a part of bereavement, and offers creative and expressive activities that facilitate healing.

It’s Ok to Feel This Way
by Susan M. Funk
“It’s Ok to Feel This Way” is a Healing Art coloring book that deals exclusively with children’s swirl of emotions through trauma. While children may recognize themselves through some of the drawings, adults will also have a tool for reaching out to a troubled child. This book is a vehicle for discussion, for children to see that life happens without it being their fault.

Loss and Bereavement in Autism
Children with autism have the right and capacity to grieve. As they spend the majority of their time at school, teachers and staff members will be their primary source of care and support and therefore should be trained to enable them to complete the tasks of grieving in their own way and in their own time.

Death, Bereavement and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Death and bereavement are subjects we do not find easy to discuss. This natural reluctance means that we avoid discussing death until it is too late, especially with someone who has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Explaining Death to Children with Autism
by Dang U. Koe

Saying Goodbye
A blog from Autism After 16 by Liane Kupferberg Carter a mother of two adult sons, one of whom has autism and epilepsy about the loss of their cat.

COMPASS Information Series: Understanding Death
If possible, a person with autism needs to experience rituals and grieving with people who love them. They will be well aware that people around them are upset and that routines are disrupted. They will react in their individual ways. This document provides a list of resources and books concerning children and young adults and death.