Loss and Bereavement and Autism

Reports of children on the Autism Spectrum wandering off and drowning have focused attention on the question of what help can we offer in situations of loss and bereavement to families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In addition, trauma and bereavement have profound effects on education and learning. In fact, childhood bereavement is included under ‘additional educational needs’ category. Commonly, a range of theories is employed in an effort to understand and explain the human experience of bereavement, loss, and separation. No-one knows if and how these theories do hold true when it comes to Autism. Social and communication difficulties in autism, such as social disconnect and ‘aloofness’ can leave children with autism somewhat detached from the bereavement experience, but we just simply don’t understand enough how this affects their coping with the death of a loved one. Research conducted with this project will help understanding about how children with ASD understand and deal with death. We also need to understand better how parents deal the death of a child on the autism spectrum. The question addressed in this proposal are.

1 - How do individuals on the Autism Spectrum cope with the death of a loved one?
2 - How do parents cope with the death of a child on the Autism Spectrum?