A Visual Representation of the Grief Cycle for Use by Teachers with Families of Children with Disabilities

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Data from current studies of the grief process experienced by parents whose children have disabilities have been incorporated with the results of observations of 130 parents from two support groups to develop a visual representation of this process. The current model is useful in working with parents to facilitate their movement through stages of the grief process into more functional behavior. Behaviors from the traditional models of grief are organized into clusters for a conceptualization that will aid professionals in its use as a counseling tool with families of children with disabilities. Implications drawn from the grief cycle for use with parents and other family members are described including the full range of interactions in this model. These interactions make it unnecessary for the professional to view the parent or family members as dysfunctional.