Kelly M · Non-Fiction · Quick Read!

How People With Autism Grieve, and How to Help | by Deborah Lipsky

How People With Autism Grieve

How People With Autism Grieve, and How to Help
by Deborah Lipsky
(Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2013, 128 pages)

When non-autistic people grieve the loss of a loved one, they usually get in touch with and express their feelings. There is also often a need to seek comfort in others. The opposite is true of people with autism. In How People with Autism Grieve, and How to Help, Lipsky—an autistic person herself—explains that autistic people are logical problem-solvers who are first and foremost concerned with how the death of someone close will change their established routines. This may appear to others as cold, heartless, and lacking empathy, but broken routines are such a stressor to them that it has to be dealt with before any other emotions can be experienced. Sticking to routines, engaging in special interests, and being alone are ways many autistic people deal with stress. Autistic people do feel deeply, but they usually choose the more soothing isolation over sharing emotion with others.

Lipsky offers advice on how to deliver the news of death to an autistic person, how to help them get through funeral services, and how to help them develop new routines to replace those that involved the loved one. She does warn that there are individual differences among people with autism, so it is important to have a plan in place in advance to help a specific person deal with death. She offers an outline of questions to help develop this plan. In the final chapter, the author explains why death sometimes becomes the special interest of an autistic person. There are many books that address anxiety and autism, but the specific focus on death makes this book unique. It is a quick read and highly recommended.


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