The information and resources in this portal are intended to help you provide support to a grieving autistic adult. and grief responses are both highly individualized, making each person’s life experience and grief journey unique. The suggestions in this portal should be adapted based on needs of the individual.
In the summary below you will find links to topics that may be relevant to the unique situation and needs of the autistic adult in your care. Each person, situation, and grief response is unique: please tailor these tips to meet the expressed needs of the autistic person. You will find further information and guidance in the attachments, resource pages, and social stories linked to this portal.
Professional Education Programs
These programs and continuing education credit are provided by the Hospice Foundation of America (HFA). Clicking the View Program links below will redirect you to the HFA website to view the programs on demand. Instructions for obtaining continuing education credit is provided at the end of each program.
Autism and Grief: The Role of Clergy and Faith Leaders
90 minutes (1.5 CEs)
This program focuses on supporting adults with autism in their grief and loss and explains ways in which autistic adults may experience and express grief. It features experts who provide tools, resources, and strategies for clergy and faith leaders to use in their communities to enfranchise and support those with autism throughout their grief journey.
Target Audience: Clergy, chaplains, pastoral care professionals, youth ministry leaders, religious educators, and others from any spiritual or faith traditions.
This program empowers professionals in their service to adults with autism experiencing grief and loss. Expert panelists examine the disenfranchisement that can occur for grieving people with autism and discuss ways to enfranchise them during their grief journey. The program also addresses grief after non-death losses, anticipatory mourning, and how adults with autism may best be supported.
Target Audience: Social workers, nurses, paraprofessionals, speech therapists, occupational therapists, funeral directors, and other caring professionals.
Professionals in a range of roles and disciplines have a high probability of interacting with someone on the , in their professional capacities and/or in their personal lives. Click the button below to learn more about autism, grief, and suggestions to provide support to a grieving autistic adult. Content in this section covers:
About Autism & Grief
You Know an Adult with Autism
Characteristics of Autism
Grief Reactions in Adults with Autism
Guidelines for Interacting with a Grieving Autistic Adult
Click the button below to learn more about religion, spirituality, the role of rituals, and the importance of inclusion and choice when supporting a grieving autistic adult. Content in this section discusses:
When grief is disenfranchised, complications in the grieving process can occur. These complications can be magnified for a person with autism as well as for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click the button below to learn more about:
Every person’s way of coping with grief and loss will be shaped by their own strengths and experiences. Often referred to as “grieving styles,” these responses may be influenced, but are not determined by, factors such as gender, ethnicity, and culture. Click the button below to learn about:
While current research has not included adults with autism, understanding current grief theory is helpful to any professional working with any grieving individual. While these theories are based on neurotypical populations, they can illustrate some of the issues that may complicate grief in persons on the spectrum. Click the button below to learn about:
The diagnosis of a life-limiting illness is a difficult time for families. Whether the loved one is a family member, close friend, direct support staff, or pet, a serious illness can cause distress, confusion, and worry. Click the button below to learn about: