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111. Experiencing Loss and Grief

podcast Nov 10, 2022

Grief can be complex for all of us.

Everyone responds to grief differently. Some may be angry, some may be sad, others may withdraw and some might seem totally unaffected. For our kids with autism, there could be a variety of emotional, behavioral, or physical reactions to grief. There might also be a delayed response because of their processing delays so their reactions are delayed or they may have either a more or less intense response.

When you have expectations of how your child or children should act or react and they don’t do it in the way you expected, you create your own feelings of sadness or disappointment, right? What if you just believe that they will grieve in their own way and you pay extra attention to the coming days to see if they might be somehow internalizing their grief and experiencing it differently than you do?

If they want to talk, talk with them. If they want to cry, acknowledge that their feelings of sadness are normal.

Most of our children will be resistant to questions about how they feel and I think a lot of that is because emotions are hard to understand, even for neurotypical people.

I think that any of us, including our children, while we know about death, we aren’t prepared for the intensity of grief when death takes someone from us, even if that is our animals.

Keep your discussions consistent with their level of development and what they will understand. Let them know that you are there to answer their questions if they have any, and be patient, there is no timeline for grief, no matter how big or small.

Keep their routines as normal as possible, we know that predictability goes a long way to help our kiddos feel safe and secure.

Loss and death and grief are difficult subjects to discuss and even more so with our kids who already struggle with talking about how they feel.

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Additional Resources:

Episode 45. Strategies for Talking about Tragedy and Death