Resources for Individuals

Grief is a natural response to loss.  Losing someone or something you love or care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never let up. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to deal with the pain that, in time, can renew you and permit you to move on.

The following resources are intended to help individuals with disabilities cope with grief and loss.  Hope Centre Ministries is available to come alongside you to help personalize these resources if you would like.

  • Picture Book  Understanding is an important step in acceptance.  This resource uses simple language and helps explain death and events surrounding it. Picture Book Download
  • Social Story  Preserving words– sharing a story.  This is simple and very effective.  Social Story Download
  • Grief Support Journal   L’Arche offers a unique perspective on the contribution of those living with intellectual disabilities to our understanding of how to support people who are aging and fragile. This resource is available for DOWNLOAD.
  • Informal 1:1 Supports are available from a variety of agencies.  Contact information and a brief description is available HERE
  • Group Support  Hope Centre Ministries  offers a 5 week bible study:  When People Die.   Please CONTACT US to be on the list to receive information on upcoming groups.  If needed, we will add additional time slots.  There are also materials available through L’Arche to help facilitate a group.  You can find those materials HERE
  • Activity Ideas  Shared activities are a great way for individuals with disabilities to process grief and loss.  Making a SCRAPBOOK or a MEMORY BOX are fun projects that also empower individuals by honouring their story and give them a way to share this story with others.  There are many other fun activities that we’ve listed HERE for you!
  • My Faith Story  Religious and spiritual beliefs are very important.  Hope Centre Ministries can help you put words to your beliefs that will help explain these beliefs to others who support you (who may have very different beliefs).   This process can be done with all faiths.
  • Counseling  If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.   We’ve compiled a list of  places that have indicated a willingness to adapt techniques to suit the needs of a client with disabilities.  You can access that list HERE.
  • Books  Reading about grief and seeing/hearing other people’s journey can help us explore our own journey.  This book list can help you find some helpful resources.

Loss and Bereavement Resources Available from Down’s Syndrome Scotland


  • Coping with Loss: A fact sheet to help people with a learning disability cope with the loss of a loved one.
  • Let’s Talk About Death: A booklet about death and funerals for people who have a learning disability
  • Depression: A fact sheet about depression in people with Down’s syndrome

Can be purchased as a pack or separately

Breaking Bad News

Excellent website providing resources and guidelines for breaking bad news to people living with intellectual disabilities.

  • Unique and flexible guidelines that can be used by practitioners, families and carers to ease the process of breaking bad news to people with intellectual disabilities
  • Guidelines are adaptable to individual communication ability and level of understanding
  • Background information, explanations of the guidelines, practical tips and exercises
  • Ten top tips for breaking bad news
  • Video testimonials by individuals with intellectual disabilities