Grandparents....Also in the child's corner



As long as I have been facilitating the Autism Lecture Series I have had the honor to connect to several grandparents who attend to gain knowledge and insight into helping and supporting their own children who have a child with Autism or to learn how to engage with their special grandchild. I have often been asked to provide specific information for grandparents. Here is a begining.

  • Most grandparents are shocked when they hear that there grandson or daughter has been diagnosed with ASD
  • A huge range of emotions may be felt (anger, confusion, denial, disappointment, fear, guilt & powerlessness)
  • Many go through a period of loss that hopefully can lessen with time & with understanding & knowledge can offer a starting place for everyone
  • Knowledge on Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • What it looks like & feels
  • What are the suspected causes & statistics
  • What are some of the mostly widely accepted & beneficial interventions
  • What do the families go through
  • What are the roles grandparents can play
  • What supports & resources could help grandparents
  • What are positive strategies for interacting with grandchildren
  • Grandparents need to understand the communication, sensory, social & learning differences of their grandchild with ASD
  • Grandparents need to hear about the challenges their own children face as parents of children with ASD
  • Grandparents need connect to & support from other grandparents
  • Grandparents will need to acquire some basic skills in interacting with their grandchildren
  • Grandparents will need to learn how they can support their children
  • Grandparents will need to learn about resources to help their children & grandchildren
  • And Everyone will need to try & accept that every Grandchild Brings Special Gifts Into the World with them
  • Remember Grandparents dreamed about having a grandchild for a long time
  • Many, no longer feeling limited by work & managing a household & couldn’t wait to play with their children’s children
  • Many thought they would have an experience just like every typical grandparent’s experience
  • But Grandpa Keith said, it felt like this:
  • “I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
  • When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
  • After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
  • "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
  • But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
  • The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
  • So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
  • It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
  • But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
  • And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.
  • But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland. 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley
  • Grandma Sana:
  • Hoped & prayed that her two children would be blessed with children because they had such great parenting instincts.
  • She hoped that her grandchildren would be like her children….good hearted, loving, healthy, intelligent, beautiful, happy, lively, talented, engaging, and well-adjusted & that they would grow up in loving & supportive families, bringing joy to all their lives.
  • She looked forward to seeing her son & daughter’s children become playmates and good friends.
  • Grandma & grandpa thought they would even introduce them to foreign travel & they might learn to appreciate other cultures and ways of life

But they are in  Holland instead of Itlay & it is time to learn about Holland!!!

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Karen Kaplan
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