Autism & Grief

May 31st, 2024 | Episode 289

The Autism & Grief Project is a new online platform designed to help adults with autism navigate and cope with the complexities of grief arising from both death and non-death losses. Alex LaMorie, A.A.S is a member of the project's Advisory Board and brings his lived experience with both autism and grief to this work. Dr. Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv, brings years of both professional and personal grief knowledge to his role on the project's Development Team. The Autism & Grief Project is unique - just as grief and autism are unique - and the site provides information not only for adults with autism who are grieving, but also the people who are supporting them.

We discuss:

  • Parallels between the uniqueness of grief and the individual experience of autism
  • What Alex found to be helpul and unhelpful in his grief
  • Being open to different forms of communication and emotional expression
  • Learning to ask for help
  • The goals for the Autism & Grief Project
  • What Alex and Dr. Doka learned from being part of the project

Alex D. LaMorie, A.A.S is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland Global Campus and autism advocate. Alex's expressive grief artwork was recently featured in the textbook Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss (2021, Routledge). He serves as an advisor on the Hospice Foundation of America's Autism & Grief Project. In his spare time, he loves movies and TV shows as well as traveling to Comic Con and Anime conventions with his older sister. Alex also loves creative writing and spending time with his New York family so he can eat the world's best pizza and bagels!

Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv, is Senior Vice President of Grief Programs at Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) and recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling. He serves as editor of HFA’s Living with Grief® book series and its Journeys bereavement newsletter. He is a prolific author, editor, and lecturer; past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC); and a member and past chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement (IWG). In 2018, the IWG presented Doka with the Herman Feifel Award for outstanding achievement in thanatology. He received an award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Death Education from ADEC in 1998. Doka is an ordained Lutheran minister and a licensed mental health counselor in the state of New York.

This episode is the second in our 2024 three-part series highlighting the voices of communities who have historically been underrepresented in the grief world. The series is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dougy Center and The New York Life Foundation. We are deeply grateful for New York Life Foundation's tireless support and advocacy for children and teens who are grieving.

Ep 289 GOL

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Grief Out Loud is supported in part by the Chester Stephan Endowment Fund in loving memory by the estate of Theodore R. Stephan.