Grief & Intellectual Disabilities

Grief includes big feelings.

Intellectual Disabilities: Problems with thinking that can mean people have trouble planning and doing things in daily life, and adjusting when things change.

Grief: The thoughts and feelings we have when we lose someone or something important to us.

It can be hard to know how to handle the feelings we have when someone important in our life dies.

end of life, confused, worried, lonely, sad

It can feel like you are the only one who is going through this.

When you watch these videos, you will see and hear stories from people who have felt grief because someone they care about died. You might learn some things that will help you know what you can do when you have big feelings because you are grieving.

There are also some stories from people who support people with Intellectual Disabilities. These stories might help the people who support you understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviour so that they can help you through this hard time.

disability, support, learn

Grief & Intellectual Disabilities Playlist

View video playlists related to specific topics, including both participants and grief professionals. Use the controls at the top-left to navigate videos within each playlist or use the larger arrows to view additional playlists.

Grief Stories features short videos, podcast interviews, and blog posts offering ideas for coping with grief. The tools and activities on this website are intended to be used as a resource for people who are grieving, those who are supporting grievers and healthcare professionals. The information provided is NOT meant to be a substitute for professional therapy.

All content, including our videos, is vetted by health care experts.

Content Funded By

HarryEFosterFoundationLogo

Harry E. Foster Charitable Foundation

We are thankful to the Harry E. Foster Charitable Foundation for funding this content about grieving as a person with lived experience of intellectual disability or as someone supporting a person with an intellectual disability through their grief.

Disability-Related Blog

a dirt path appears between greenery and under trees

Alongside

Posted in , , , ,

That is also our best, and only role, when supporting a person with a developmental disability to grieve. We must be the one that comes alongside. There is no closer place we can get to. We must be present, be with, perhaps not understanding or comprehending what the person we support is experiencing, but alongside them nonetheless. We must be there, ready to provide whatever we can discover of their unique need in grief.

a bridge in the fog

Grief Literacy and Developmental Disability

Posted in ,

Grief literacy has become a popular topic, yet it is a topic that is untapped within the disability community, specifically within the developmental sector. The sector supports and empowers people with a developmental disability and consists of families, their loved ones and service providers.

a wooden boardwalk goes straight through a marsh. Overgrown tall grass and reeds grow slightly over the sides of the boardwalk as it disappears into the forest.

Grief and Disability: Carrie’s Story

Posted in , , , ,

It has become clear to me over time that we have much work to do to ensure the delivery of disability-sensitive grief literacy and grief support. In March of 2022 my proposal for four 1-hour sessions was approved, we provided the program for 20 participants. My heart was full in each session.

My heart remains full of hope that conversations, education, and expertise about disability sensitive end of life care and grief support will gain momentum as more and more people join in on this vital conversation.

an orange sunset over a lake. There is lad in the distance and a small piece of land poking out on the right side of the photo.

Grief and Parenting in the Disability Community

Posted in , , , , , , ,

In this blog post, Carrie writes about being the parent and primary caregiver to a child with disabilities and grieving the loss of a child dying from their disabilities.

All Disability-Related Videos

ALL DISABILITY RELATED VIDEOS
  • ALL DISABILITY RELATED VIDEOS

Katie – My Story

Katie – My Story

Katie shares about her story and losing her Dad to cancer during COVID

Cara – Grief and intellectual disabilities is a topic that needs to “get out there”

Cara – Grief and intellectual disabilities is a topic that needs to “get out there”

Cara shares some information from a participant in her research on intellectual disabilities and the bereaved. A person with an intellectual disability said... "Grief: It's a topic that needs to get out there" Grief is something that so many people are hesitant to talk about, to display, to show, because there's so many social rules around how we grieve. This is particularily challenging for the intellectually disabled.

Teresa – Moving forward with support for people with intellectual disabilities and grief

Teresa – Moving forward with support for people with intellectual disabilities and grief

Teresa talks about the history of palliative care in how people with intellectual disabilities were supported and how it should be now

Cara – The real issues for grieving people with intellectual disabilities

Cara – The real issues for grieving people with intellectual disabilities

Cara provides some context for the real issue of grief in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and those supporting them, including that we consider that there's not a lot of education or information out there about how best to support someone with an intellectual disability who is grieving.

Katie – Reminders in nature

Katie – Reminders in nature

Katie talks about crying privately and how nature can help. Cardinals remind her of her father

Cara – Defining Intellectual disabilities and grief

Cara – Defining Intellectual disabilities and grief

Cara discusses how grief literacy needs to be improved across the board for people with intellectual disabilities to learn more about grief, death and dying. There is a great need to include them in this natural, normal part of life that we'll all experience.

Katie – Journaling

Katie – Journaling

Katie talks about grief triggers and mental health triggers

Adam – Story 2

Adam – Story 2

Adam discusses his busy life and how he has coped after losing his mother

Katie – Intellectual disabilities and grief

Katie – Intellectual disabilities and grief

Katie discusses how many people don't realize people with disabilities grieve too.

Teresa – The journey in supporting people with intellectual disabilities and grief

Teresa – The journey in supporting people with intellectual disabilities and grief

Teresa talks about the importance of the philosophical change in helping people with intellectual disabilities die with dignity, how we can focus on what they need and the individual experiences