People with learning disabilities

People often underestimate the capacity of a person with a learning disability to understand the concept of death and their ability to grieve.

Sometimes people with learning disabilities have difficulties expressing themselves verbally, and may be treated as if they have no feelings. If the person who has died was the one who could best understand their individual way of communication, this may make their loss even more painful. People looking after them may fail to interpret signs of behavioural disturbance as reactions to bereavement. The person with a learning disability may need help to understand the feelings associated with loss. They should be given a truthful explanation of what has happened and be encouraged to participate in rituals like the funeral and allowed to express their grief.