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A Caregiver's Guide for Supporting Children on the Autism Spectrum Experiencing Grief

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In Arizona, there are virtually no established support groups or services for children on the autism spectrum and their families when experiencing the loss of a loved one. This is due to many factors, including the complexity of autism, an

In Arizona, there are virtually no established support groups or services for children on the autism spectrum and their families when experiencing the loss of a loved one. This is due to many factors, including the complexity of autism, an inconsistent belief that children with autism are capable of grieving, and a general lack of research conducted on the crossover of children with autism and grief. This proposal is based on the social work strengths perspective, in which I argue that children living with autism are capable of grieving and need support to do so. The way families and practitioners approach grief among children with autism is with individual counseling based on a therapist's discretion, grief books and guides, and virtual communities. I attempt to compile evidence-based and practical activities, interviews with parents and professionals, and my experience in order to recommend effective support for children with autism experiencing loss. My hope is that caregivers will use this material in order to understand and help a neglected population find the language and means to safely grieve.

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2016-05

The Butanding: A Narrative Illustration Book and Exhibition

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My work focuses on the themes of grief, closure, and celebration of life. Life is a catalyst both celebration and grief. Feeling joy when a life is introduced is as common as feeling pain when a life is lost. When

My work focuses on the themes of grief, closure, and celebration of life. Life is a catalyst both celebration and grief. Feeling joy when a life is introduced is as common as feeling pain when a life is lost. When I lost my maternal grandmother nearly a year ago, I felt grief accompanied with guilt. I never got a chance to say goodbye since we lived so far apart, her residing in the Philippines and me residing in the United States. In order to get rid of these negative emotions, I sought closure. I attended her funeral, and now I want to celebrate her life through my artwork.
My work comes in two parts: an illustration book titled The Butanding and an illustration exhibition. The book will be published through lulu.com and made available to the public. The exhibition component will be held from March 2nd to March 6th in Gallery 100 as part of my senior exhibition Post Pre-Production with six other colleagues in the School of Art. The illustration book is a narration of a little girl and her growing friendship with a whale shark. The overarching theme of the creative project is closure with the passing away of loved ones.
The Butanding is a narrative illustration book about a young girl befriending the local menace of her village, the whale shark. Similar to my own experience, the main subject—the young girl—of my narrative is shown suffering from grief and guilt over her grandmother’s death. My work illustrates a progression of the young girl’s emotional state as she goes on a journey with the whale shark or locally known in the Philippines as the “butanding”. It provides the scenario of a grieving individual who gets the chance to reconnect with a deceased loved one and rebuild relationships that were lost.

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2015-05