anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, grief, social emotional learning, social isolation, social stories


Core deficits in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) center around social communication and behavior. For those with ASD, these deficits complicate the task of learning how to cope with and manage complex social emotional issues. Although individuals with ASD may receive sufficient academic and basic behavioral support in school settings, supports for dealing with complex social emotional issues are more difficult to access, even though these issues significantly impact student learning. When addressing these challenging social- and emotional-based issues, school and professional personnel need more specific instructional skill sets and resources to effectively and compassionately support students with ASD. In this article, we address three challenging areas of social emotional development that are commonly experienced by individuals with ASD: Anxiety, social isolation, and grief. We briefly explore the existing research on these three topics, identify evidence-based practices and learning strategies to support social emotional learning in individuals with ASD, and include descriptive lists of practical resources that address anxiety, social isolation, and grief.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


SAGE: School Psychology International




David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor