Navigating Grief: Healthy Goals to Help Neurodivergent Individuals to Heal

Sam

By Guest Blogger Justin Black

Both neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals may experience a wide range of emotions while grieving the loss of a loved one, from anger and restlessness to trouble eating, drinking, and concentrating. Grief can also affect one’s self-esteem and independence, leading to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

While five stages of grief are commonly observed among neurotypical individuals, those who are Autistic won’t necessarily cycle through these stages in the same way or at all after the death of a friend, family member, or other loved one. The stages are outlined thus: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often struggle to express their grief in an expected way, or their grief may be delayed. The overwhelm they experience while grieving may also cause them to behave aggressively or display feelings of excitement. They may have trouble understanding death or navigating social situations such as funeral services.

Bereavement may affect neurodivergent individuals differently than neurotypical people, but it’s just as important for those with ASD to talk about their grief and express themselves as best as possible. Here are several healthy goals for neurodivergent individuals to work toward while grieving the death of a loved one, from seeking talk therapy to familiarizing themselves with the different services and events that commonly take place after someone dies

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