Social Stories on Grief & Death

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

While there is no right way to deal with grief and death, there are things you can do to support your students with special needs when they are struggling with these issues. This lesson offers some social stories oriented around the mourning process.

Using Social Stories for Grieving and Death

Social stories, or tales told from the point of view of a student going through a particularly stressful or complicated situation, can teach students about concepts, vocabulary, and strategies that will help them cope with life's challenges. These explicit stories can be particularly helpful and meaningful for students with a variety of special needs. When it comes to grief and death, of course, there is no single 'right' social response, but the stories in this lesson will give students some of the language they might need to help them mourn and work through their saddest feelings.

These sample social stories are highly specific, but you can modify them to meet the situational needs of the students you work with.

Social Story for Grief

I am lucky to have so many people and things I love. I love my family and I love my friends. I love my cat and I love my school. Love is a feeling that makes me close to people and things and gives me a tingling sensation inside my heart.

Sometimes, really sad things happen in the world. One really sad thing that can happen is losing something I love. When there was a fire in my neighborhood, my house burned down. The fire was big, and my family lost our furniture, our toys, our clothes, and all of our important things.

I am very, very sad about losing these things. Everyone in my family is safe, and that is the most important thing, but it is okay for me to still be sad. I am so sad that I want to cry all the time. I am so sad that my sadness is making me angry. When I am angry, I want to yell and punch. This kind of sadness and anger is called grief. Grief is when you are really sad and angry because you lost something important to you.

It is not my job to cheer up right away, but it is my job to tell my feelings to the people I love. I can say to my family, 'I feel really sad!' I can cry and tell them what I am thinking. I can draw pictures that show my feelings. I can hug and cuddle with people I love at times when that feels good to me.

Sometimes, I might not want to think about the really sad thing. That is okay, too. I can say, 'I am taking a break from grief.' I can play or have fun with my friends.

Grief is one of the hardest feelings in the world. It is hard, but it is an okay way to feel. My grief can help bring me closer to people I love.

Social Story for Death

There are many people and animals I love. I love my family and I love my friends. I love my dog, my teachers and my fish.

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