Supporting Grieving People of All Abilities

Line drawing of a couple sitting next to one another, one person has their arm wrapped around the other.

Every grief is unique and effective grief support will look different based on the needs of the individual. This is especially true when it comes to supporting people with neurodivergent conditions like Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and Down syndrome, among others. Below are a few resources that can help you offer meaningful support.

NACG Toolkit: Supporting Children of All Abilities Who Are Grieving

Bereavement and Autism: A Universal Experience with Unique Challenges

Supporting Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Coping with Grief and Loss through Death or Divorce

Autistic Grief is not Like Neurotypical Grief

Pathfinders for Autism: Death and Grieving Tips

Autism Alliance: Grief and Loss Resources

Social Stories

Social stories can be a helpful tool for helping children of all abilities understand death, loss, and grief. HEARTplay provided some examples of what a death/grief-related social story might look like.

What is Death?  Death is the end of life. Everybody's life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. When a person dies, it means that their body stops working. Their heart does not beat any more. They do not breathe. This means: They don't eat. They don't sleep. They don't talk. We will never see them alive again. It is ok to have questions about death.