I Have a Question about Death: A Book for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Other Special Needs


SKU: 9781785927508 Categories: , , ,

“What does it mean when someone dies?” “Why did someone I love have to die?” This book asks questions like these that a child might have about death before offering answers. It uses straightforward text, illustrations and a social story format to explain what death means specifically to children with ASD and other Special Needs aged 5-11.

Death is a difficult topic for any parent or educator to explain to a child, perhaps even more so when the child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Special Needs. This book is designed specifically to help children with these additional needs to understand what happens when someone dies.

The first book of its kind, I Have a Question about Death uses straightforward text and features of a social story to walk children through what it means when someone dies, as well as ways they might want to react or to think about the person. Using clear illustrations throughout and with information for parents and guardians, this book is essential for families with a child aged 5-11 with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other special needs.


  • 1. The complete story.
  • 2. Social Story.
  • 3. Suggestions for parents and caregivers.

Author Bio:

Arlen Grad Gaines is a licensed clinical social worker based in Maryland, USA.

Meredith Englander Polsky has been working in social work and special education for more than 15 years and lives in Maryland, USA


β€œI’m a kid who likes when there are answers to my questions.” In this one sentence, Gaines and Polsky eloquently and succinctly sum up the reason why death and dying can be such hard concepts for children with ASD and social skills issues, as well as for kids who are just concrete thinkers. In combining a social story and a discussion guide, the authors have written a thoughtful, multi-faceted resource that allows children and parents to work through grief together. I Have a Question will help children understand not only what death and dying means, but also teach them that there’s no one right reaction to it.” – Amanda Morin, Writer/Expert at Understood.org and author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education

β€œIn the wake of my husband’s unexpected death, I searched for a book to help me talk about grief with my 8 year old son with Autism. I was surprised not to find anything to meet his needs – the books focused on much older people dying, or used metaphors that were beyond his reach. I Have a Question about Death is a book that every family should have on hand when they are experiencing the death of someone in their lives. It addresses the types of questions I got from both my sons (one with Autism and one ‘neuro-typical’) and answers them in a clear, concrete way. Our family would have benefited immensely from this invaluable resource and I’m thrilled it now exists to help others.” – Benay Josselson, Mother of child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

”I Have a Question about Death is a wonderful, practical resource to help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs process grief and loss issues. It is especially important for guiding this specific population of young people that are concrete thinkers who may struggle with anxiety. I know it’s appealing visual approach and clear language will be valuable tools for parents and professionals serving families with issues of bereavement.” – Linda Goldman, author of Great Answers to Difficult Questions About Death and Children Also Grieve.