Talking About Gun Violence with Autistic Individuals

More Americans died of gun-related violence in 2021 than any other year on record1, and thus, sadly, conversations about gun violence with autistic youth are likely necessary.

These conversations may relate to lockdown drills, and how the changes in routine and sensory experiences during those drills may result in feelings of being overwhelmed or worry. They may be linked to content children and youth hear on the news or in their environment, discussing acts of gun violence that may not directly affect them, but cause feelings of concern or anxiety. Finally, these conversations may be necessary with autistic children and youth who are directly impacted by gun violence and are processing their fear and grief. All of these conversations require thoughtful presentation of information, a safe environment, and consideration of the comprehension, social, and mental health needs of the children and youth.

Resource Packet:

Talking About Gun Violence with Autistic Individuals

Suggested Citation:

Waters, V., Tomaszewski, B., Reszka, S., & Sam, A., Steinbrenner, J. (2023). Talking about gun violence with autistic individuals. Chapel Hill, NC: School of Education, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and Allied Health of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved from: