Dealing with Grief

  • Situation

    I am a long-term sub right now in a special education class. The teacher I have been covering for is out due to a serious illness. I am attempting to put together a presentation/information about anticipatory grief to help ease the anxiety the situation has created for the students. 3 students in the class have autism and I thought there might be a social story or other resources on your site to help with this issue. Can you share any resources on helping children cope with grief?

  • Summary

    Understanding and dealing with grief can be stressful for anyone. For children with Autism it can be particularly anxiety provoking. However, preparing them ahead of time can make the entire experience a bit easier. One way of doing this is through the use of visual supports such as Behavior Stories.

  • Definition

    A behavior story is a simple description of a situation, written from a child’s perspective. The situation is described in detail and focuses on the important social cues, events, expectations and ways for the student to react in the situation. Behavior stories are intended to be used with a child prior to an event. It is rehearsed with an adult so that when the event actually occurs, the child can use the story as a guide for behavior.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    Ability to read or understand a behavior story

  • Process

    1. Write or edit one of the attached Behavior Stories

    2. Have someone read this often with the children on a regular basis. (These are short stories, often with pictures and text describing different situations and activities that will help children with ASD have positive outcomes through gaining a better understanding of what to expect and how to respond in given situations.)

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Sometimes I Feel Sad – Behavior Story (Word document)


    Changes Changes Can Drive Me Crazy (Word document)


    Changes Changes Can Drive Me Crazy – Behavior Story (PDF)


    New York Life Foundation Bereavement Guide – After a Loved One Dies (PDF)


    Helping a Child Cope with Loss and Grief (Informational Hand-out  – PDF)


    Highmark Caring Place (Informational Sheet – Word document)


    Behavior Story about Death (Word document)


    Grief Speaks (website)


    Dreamcatchers Behavior Story (Word document)


    The Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children and Families (website)


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