Losing someone you love is extraordinarily difficult. It can also prompt some complex conversations if you have children. Children on the autism spectrum may have more trouble coming to terms with grief. In this post, we’ll discuss dealing with grief and bereavement with children on the spectrum.
When dealing with grief and bereavement, first things first- take care of yourself. Losing a loved one can be traumatic, life changing and very draining. Beyond the heartbreak, dealing with the logistics of wake and funeral planning can be an added stressor. Ask for help and support when you need it.
When it comes to helping your child cope, keep in mind some of the tips below.
Help them Understand
Explaining death conceptually is difficult in and of itself. Take stock of how you and your family discuss and come to terms with grieving loss, and do your best to translate that in to terms your child will understand. Meeting them at their level is the most important part.
As you explain and help your child understand bereavement, they will likely come to you with questions. This is their way of learning more and trying to understand the concepts you introduce to them. Don’t be afraid to answer questions truthfully and make sure your child feels comfortable asking them.
If you get a question you can’t seem to answer or just need a little more help supporting your child through grief, don’t forget that there are plenty of resources available for grieving families. There are even children’s books that help children come to terms with and explain death and other tragedies.
Bereavement and experiencing grief can be a long process. Once your child has a grasp of what it means, they will need support to work through it. Check-in with them often and encourage them to express what they’re feeling. Grief can also be an influencer when it comes to behavior and tantrums. Be extra patient during this time and practice the usual reinforcement strategies that work for you.
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