Theme of the week: Grief
Obviously the best thing to do is seek out a grief counselor who has experience working with children with the hope that the counselor also has help dealing with autistic children. The sooner a qualified counselor is found, the better.
The other obvious thing is to guide your child the best you can. Let the child know what the social expectations are. Communicate somehow about what the proper things to do, say and feel are.
Confession: I wasn't all that successful in finding much while searching the Internet for good sources on this topic. Using the key words "autism and grief" brought me plenty of sites that dealt with parental grief and autism. I also don't have a whole lot of experience dealing directly with this topic--unlike the topic of yesterday's post. Ok, I do have some. My son was introduced to grief and death a year ago when his great grandpa died and he also went to a funeral for a former classmate. The latter experience was difficult and much social guidance was needed. I guess what I meant was that I have little experience in how to guide a child with ASD if an immediate family member dies--mom, dad, or a sibling.
I also searched Amazon for children's books. This is the best I could come up with. Please scroll down the linked to Amazon page for a list of books. I wouldn't suggest Gentle Willow. It's a book that is intended to help dying children.
What Might Work: What on Earth Do You Do When Someone? dies by Trevor Romain. It received excellent reviews by the "critics" on Amazon. There wasn't a bad review there. I suspect though, that this book may be more helpful in inspiring a parent who reads the book rather than a child with ASD.
What am I thinking: How on Earth do you Help an Autistic Child Grieve? I think there is a niche that needs to be filled here in terms of children's books. Paging experienced author Kathy Hoopmann...
Maria Shriver's Book What's Heaven? may work well too. A quote from one review by author Carolyn Rowe Hill:
"Maria Shriver does a beautiful job of putting together a story that helps explain loss to children...and she should know. She has lost many loved ones in her life, among them our country's president, her Uncle Jack (Kennedy), when she was eight. Her family had to endure much intrusion into their private grief during that difficult time for our nation."
Help Needed: I'd appreciate hearing from anyone with a better suggestion than the ones I made (though I gave it my best try.) Surely there has to be something out there on this topic...