Grandparents... in the child's corner part II



This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Grandparents of children with autism deserve our help and support. We need to listen & provide them with resources. 

  • Grandma Nancy Thought
  • Her grandchildren would get to know her & she them & that they would have big & small adventures together.
  • She thought she would be an observer in their activities (school, sports)
  • She thought she would support her own children by listening to their tales of raising kids.
  • She thought she would be sharing stories with her friends of the joys of being a grandparent.
  • The Grandparents Survey Reported (IAN Research 2010 www.ianproject.org) that when they heard they had a grandchild with Autism
  • Grandparents felt at a lost & inadequate
  • Their dreams for their grandchild changed
  • They felt guilty being at a distance
  • They were sadden by the news
  • They worried if they would be able to handle them and their needs (sleep challenges, wandering, meltdowns, not toilet trained, no sense of danger, selective food intake)
  • What they thought would be fun and easy was now over shadowed by their anxiety
  • Autism Speaks Study Reported
  • Grandparents are generally shocked and feel a full range of emotions including sadness, blame, embarrassment and anger.
  • It is felt that grandparents go through a period of mourning similar to the parents
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Denial
  • Disappointment: Will I have a relationship with my grandchild?
  • Fear: What if I cannot help or only for a short time
  • Guilt: Did I do something to cause this?
  • Powerlessness: I wish I could make it go away
  • We must help grandparents move through these feelings and to replace those feelings with new ones
  • Acceptance, Confidence & realistic expectations
  • Remember your grandchild will have strengths and talents: appreciate them
  • Your children & experts can help you understand your grandchild & this will build your confidence
  • Learn to accept your grandchild for who he/she is & dream new dreams
  • Remember What You Can Offer
  • You can help raise the child, you have raised children before
  • You know more about life, you lived it longer
  • You may have the ability to spend time with your grandchild
  • You may have more patience having raised children
  • You may be more accepting than others
  • Remember Grandparents Can Help By
  • Starting to Learn about autism
  • Not blaming your children
  • Not criticizing for their failure to discipline
  • Remembering you are not living day to day with this child
  • Not taking things personally. These children don’t form relationships easy, so don’t give up, & don’t develop indifference. It’s okay to be disappointed but keep trying
  • Being careful with attention to the typical grandchild and to try to learn how to have a meaningful relationship & learn strategies
  • Remembering that fathers need support too
  • Finding out if financial help is needed
  • Offering to baby sit or support child care
  • Offering to house keep or find a housekeeper
  • Encouraging your grandchild’s independence
  • Grandparents Help When They
  • Listen to their children
  • Listen to their fears & grief
  • Affirm you will be there for them
  • Ask if they need something
  • Affirm that they are doing a good job
  • When they accept their grandchild for who he is and not what he will become
  • By Being someone to talk to
  • By Relating without judgment
  • By Remembering that the disability is only one part of your grandchild
  • By Being positive and hopeful
  • Respect boundaries: Encourage and validate (bite your tongue)
  • LEARN, LEARN, LEARN
  • BECOME AN ADVOCATE
  • Grandparents Can
  • Read to their grandchild
  • Play with their grandchild
  • Help teach them (dressing, setting table, cleaning up, teeth, bathing)
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Do sports
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

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Karen Kaplan
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