The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Supporting someone with a learning disability


How to support someone with a learning disability after a bereavement

When someone with a learning disability experiences the death of someone close, they may need more help to process the death. Grief can show as changes in behaviour and eating habits, or feeling tired, in pain or restless. Someone with a learning disability has often experienced multiple losses and may struggle with emotions and reactions they experience after a loss.

Someone with a learning disability is likely to need to talk about death and funerals in a very clear and simple way. They may need explanations to be repeated several times or to be given in small chunks.  

Support the person to have as much information as they need. It might help to be involved in, for example, planning the funeral or making a memory box.

Below are some links which may be helpful. Please click on the links to open the document or to go to the website.

British Institute of Learning Disabilities: Factsheets - a website containing information and resources about how to talk to someone with a learning disability about death and ways of supporting them

Supporting People with Disabilities coping with Grief and Loss - a leaflet containing easy read information about death and grief and information on supporting someone with a learning disability

Books Beyond Words - easy read books available to buy about death and bereavement; titles available are When Somebody Dies, When Mum Died, When Dad Died and Am I Going to Die?

National Autistic Society - information on bereavement, talking about death and remembering the person who has died

Funeral Zone - information and resources about supporting someone with a learning disability after a bereavement