Death is a natural part of life, so as much as we might want to shield our children from its harsh realities, we simply cannot. That means that we, as parents, need to do what we can to prepare our children and get them through the difficult period that is bereavement.
This is a difficult process to go through with any child, but when your child has autism, it can be even more difficult, especially if they have trouble dealing with change. That’s why I’ve put together some tips to help you help your child through what is sure to be a difficult time…
Talk about death before it happens
You might find it difficult to talk about death with a child, especially when it feels like you don’t really have to bring up the subject. But, as a parent, you sometimes have to do difficult things for the sake of your child, and broaching the subject of death long before it is likely to be a real issue in their life is a really good way of helping them to understand what it is, why it happens and what it means for them and their loved ones.
To be forewarned, as they say, is to be forearmed, after all.
It’s natural to try and cushion the blow with euphemisms like saying a loved one has gone to sleep, but for autistic kids who tend to take things much more literally, this can just end up confusing them even more and they could end up thinking that the deceased person is likely to wake up ad come back to them at any moment.
It is far better to be literal, and explain death as simply and factually as possible, taking into account age and sensitivity, That way, your child is far less likely to end up confused and potentially even more distressed.
Think about therapy
If your child is really struggling with a bereavement, they may benefit from some form of professional therapy like that which is offered at https://www.acceltherapies.com/frisco-tx. Professional counselors often have a knack for putting kids at their ease and allowing them to explore their feelings without making matters worse, so if you are finding it tricky, three is absolutely no shame in seeking outside help – in fact, it could be the very best thing for your child.
Stick to a routine
It may be tough but if you can stick to your child’s routine even in the midst of bereavement it will be a lot easier on you all as a family and one less stress for your child to have to deal with at a time when they may be feeling very emotionally unsteady already. Try not to make them do anything they don’t want to either – such as attending funerals or visiting gravesides because that should cause extra stress too.
Death is never easy for parents and children to deal with, and autism can complicate matters further, but you can all get through it, and hopefully, the above will help. Take care.