04 Feb Helping Your Child with Special Needs Deal with the Loss of a Loved One
Unfortunately, death is a part of life. Losing someone who was close to you and your child is never easy. Dealing with the grief that goes along with the loss can be a difficult issue to address, especially if your child has special needs. Grief is a powerful emotion, and helping him navigate it can be a bit tricky. There are a few things things to keep in mind, when comforting him.
Do be open and honest.
There is no need to share every detail with your child, but don’t lie about it either. Telling her the person is “asleep”, for example, will further complicate things, as well as can cause stress and even fear to go asleep. Talk about the deceased person by using their name, and give her chances to talk about her feelings and ask any questions she may have.
Don’t delay telling your child.
Waiting to tell him can do more harm then good. He may overhear someone else talking, and he will likely notice changes in you and your family’s behavior and mood, and he may become confused or even more upset.
Do keep your child’s routine as similar to normal as possible.
Children with special needs tend to rely on routines as a part of their daily life. The loss of someone close to her, is enough of a challenge and change. Keeping her daily routine as close to what it is normally, will help reduce even more added stress and confusion.
Don’t expect your child to grieve like everyone else.
Everyone grieves in their own way, and children with special needs are no different. His emotions are often processed differently. It may take him longer to process his grief. It is not uncommon for, his behavior and actions to seem uncaring or callous. It is important to realize that this is often a coping mechanism and should be respected.
Do cherish the memories.
Letting your child know that even though the person is gone, they are not forgotten, is beneficial to the grieving process. Creating a “memory book” with pictures and stories about the loved one, is a great way to keep their memory alive for her. A framed photo in her room may also provide comfort.
Don’t do it alone.
His therapists and teachers should be made aware about his loss, not only to prepare for changes in his behavior and attitude, but so that they can help provide support as well. If his behavior is causing concern, he seems overly depressed, or is having a very hard time grieving, consider consulting a psychologist or mental help specialist for extra support.
Let us know if we can be of any help to you and your family. Call 828.670.8056.
Helping Your Child with Special Needs Deal with the Loss of a Loved One
Shandy Marso, Contributor