Home > Topic of the Week > The Grandparent Connection in Families Affected by Autism

The Grandparent Connection in Families Affected by Autism

In recognition of National Grandparents Day, on September 11th Autism Speaks is celebrating the  grandparent connection in families affected by autism. During the month of September, we are asking grandparents to share your experiences, so that other grandparents across the country can benefit from your knowledge and the road you have traveled. 

Like the parents of children with autism, grandparents can have different reactions and responses when they learn their grandchild was diagnosed with autism. What was this like for you? What helped you through this difficult time? What gave you hope for the future for your family and grandchild?

  1. Cindy
    September 13, 2011 at 9:37 am

    My 12 year old son has autism. He is the only grandchild of five grandchildren who sat with his grampa in hospice and held his hand for hours on the day he died.

    • wwaltz
      September 13, 2011 at 11:38 am

      What a beautiful comment; thank you for sharing.

    • proudmama
      September 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      That is so touching. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Nicole
    September 13, 2011 at 9:38 am

    They didn’t help us at all. Our son was diagnosed August 4,2010 and it has been about a year since we’ve seen them. We live in the same town about 8 blocks away. It was a horrible situation and continues to be. It breaks my heart that my children have 2 sets of active and healthy grandparents who want nothing to do with them. Heart breaking.

    • Carol Hiner
      September 13, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Oh Nicole, I cannot imagine the heartbreak you are going thru. The grandparents have no idea what they’re missing. My grandson has Aspergers. I will pray the grandparents hearts will be opened and they will see the need to love their grandson and see what they’re missing in their lives. God Bless you my dear.

      • Mary
        September 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        I can’t answer to the reaction of your family. Some just don’t know how to handle the disease or disabilities. For myself it was hard to admit he Justin had autism, for some reason other disabilities were easier. I wish I had realized it earlier, because it took my aceptance for my daughter to accept there was a problem. There is a light for you and your family as was for me. Justin has progressed with treatment and that hug he gives warms my heart. I will pray for you to have strength and forgiveness. They don’t know what they are missing. For the grandparents send them information and don’t push it, hopefully the more they learn will help them understand how you, your husband and child need them. You are not alone.

      • Jackie Brown
        September 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

        We are planning to move closer to where our family lives. Our Granddaughter is 13 years old and is sooo precious to us. We can’t wait to be closer to where she lives so that we can be with her more often. She is such a blessing to all of us.

  3. clif66
    September 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

    The immediate grandparents of my two boys deny there is a problem, say they will “grow out of it” and that we simply spoil the boys. Their great-grandparents, on the other hand, are very accepting and understanding of the boys’ challenges and help where they can.

    The immediate grandparents are not big parts of our lives now. We don’t need the negativity and considering every time they’re around it’s a great upset to the boys (the grandparents demand certain behaviors like hugs and kisses) we feel it’s better they aren’t around the boys.

  4. Wende Lindner
    September 13, 2011 at 9:49 am

    There were so many feelings. Being a retired nurse I knew there is such a large spectrum for Autism. My first concern was for my daughter, who was feeling so over whelmed. Our Grandson is so beautiful and we are hoping that because he was diagonsted early he will get the help he needs to lead a very full and active life.

  5. Margaret Granbom
    September 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

    My grandson is 11 and was diagnosed with autism in 2003. He’s lived with us since he left the hospital, he was progressing just as any other baby until his 15th month when the happy little boy with lots of energy, who loved to sing with the Wiggles went silent. I knew some of the signs of autism but when I took him into his doctor, he felt it was too early to diagnose the problem so there my sweet little boy sat in a fog until his 3rd birthday when the school district agreed to screen him for their Early Learning Program. Within 10 minutes of being there I was approached by the team and asked to have him evaluated at the University of Ill for possible hearing problems and to see a psychologist to review why he stopped communicating. It didn’t take long and we were given the dreaded news that this sweet little boy was engulfed in the world of autism. Two weeks after his diagnosis our school district called to say they had an opening in their program and our lives have never been the same. Those wonderful therapists and teachers saved our grandson, we were afraid that he would have limited opportunities in life with this illness but I’m so happy to say that even though it took until he was 6 yrs old, old grandson now speaks, is involved in regular sports programs, is in 6th grade and in many ways performing up to and exceeding his friends at the same age. Oh yes I said friends, he’s developed amazing social skills and overcame most limitations of the autism. He’s still has a challenge ahead of him but thanks to all the wonderful and caring people at Schaumburg School District 54 our grandson has a good chance of making a life for himself.

    • wwaltz
      September 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

      This is an excellent post; thank you for sharing. Our autistic granddaughter is 7 & even though going to school was somewhat frightening for our daughter, it has been the best thing for our granddaughter & we are all overjoyed w/her progress.

  6. Alberta
    September 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

    at first I was in denial, and told my daughter to get a second opinion…I didnt want my grandson to grow up with a “Label”…. I was an emotional wreck, “How did this happen?, was it genentic?, was it something my daughter did while she was pregnat?..as I read up on Autism, I realized he had some simalar symptoms. All I could think about was, this is my grandson, hes a little human bein, he has emotions, he shows me love, and is such a happy baby! he just shows it in a different way! my next defense was to learn as much as I could about Autism, and try help him in his dailey struggle to survive.I still dont know everything there is to know about Autism.and I have encouraged my daughter to sign up for things such as this, as a family, I want to pull our resourses together to help my now 4yr old grandson be a productive member of socitey!

  7. Ann
    September 13, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Funny you should post this on facebook today, September 13th, because it is my grandson’s 5th birthday. “B” was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 18 months of age. For me it was a relief to finally be able to validate the constant nagging feeling that something wasn’t “quite right” with his development since very early on.
    Like most families, we have gone through the whole gamut of therapies with him, and at a great financial burden, especially to his parents. We are fortunate to have a loving support system of family and friends who have helped a lot, and love “B” and treat him like any other typical child, with love and respect for who he is.
    Since “B’ is non-verbal, my greatest hope is that he will talk one day. My greatest fear is who will take care of him, if need be, when we, and then his parents, are gone.

  8. September 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I knew nothing of Austim before my grandson’s diagnosis. I suspected something wrong early on but hoped I was wrong. My daughter and I are very close and at the time she was living in Florida (I am in Upstate NY). To make a long story short, after receiving a diagnosis of “possible Autism” – more tests were necessary, she, and the baby’s daddy moved back home with her dad I .

    The afternoon of the day of his appointment for the diagnosis I came home from work. She met me in the dining room and broke down. Eric has Autism. He was 2 years old. I am all choked up and fighting tears just remembering. She cried — and I cried. Together she and I are fighting back. This battle has brought us even closer than before — and I absolutely adore my little guy. He adores me back, even though he can’t say it as he is non-verbal. I am her respite, her fellow researcher and her very best friend.

    I am there for them — not because I have to be, but because I want to be. And I always will be. He will turn 6 on September 27th of this year — and oh the progress we have made and will continue to make.

  9. Tabitha
    September 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

    My son was diagnosed with autism in 2008, my mom was by my side the whole time and supports me. She did the research on autism to help her understand everything about it. My in-law which is not my sons biological grandparents still loved and cared for my son even after learning that he has autism.

  10. September 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

    My son was diagnosed about six months ago. I came home and explain to my grandmother what autism is. She looked and my son and said to him ” nothing is wrong with you God just designed you different”. She took it better than I thought. Grandparents know things we don’t and it does not bother them. They love there grandchildren no matter what.

  11. Brooke
    September 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

    My son and his grandfather (papa) have always had a special connection. When he received his diagnosis, he denied it, although grandma was ready to accept and help any way she could. Later, I found out that he broke down and cried in front of my son’s aunt. Although papa has enabled and anticipated him way to much, (and spoiled him every other way possible) he also has spent hours teaching him and coaching him with animal names and sounds. Overall, we have been very lucky, I think. I am so sorry and sad to hear of grandparents who are not supportive in any way.

  12. September 13, 2011 at 10:19 am

    You have to be careful how you say things around him. He get’s embarrassed easy, and don’t like to be the center of attention. He also get’s his feelings hurt easily too.

  13. September 13, 2011 at 10:19 am

    My son’s maternal grandparent’s have been amazingly supportive. They do research, they take him on vacation, they pick him up from school when I am not able to. I am very fortunate to have such involved parents. My ex-husband’s mother has not seen my son in over 10 years. My current husbands parents have very limited involvement since my kids are not their natural grandchildren. It’s all good, my parents make up for what is missing.

  14. Diane
    September 13, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Our beautiful granddaughter was diagnosed when she was 3. She is now 4 1/2 and goes to preschool. She is not verbal yet, but I pray everyday that she will be one day. Our daughter is so good with her and they have such a special bond between them. It was very hard at first to accept the diagnosis, but we have learned to deal with it. She is such a sweet, adorable child and we see her improving everyday. She’s also very intelligent! She is getting therapy and hopefully things will continue to improve.

  15. September 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

    When we found out my grandson had aspergers, we did much research on our own. My daughter came up with a plan and I tried to do whate es she did. My hardest thing is giving him the extra time and attention he needs without hurting the feelings of my other grandchilldren. Tbey all live close enough to me to walk to my house.

  16. Laura
    September 13, 2011 at 10:27 am

    My parents have been wonderful! It was actually my dad who noticed the first signs and wanted him evaluated. They have been a constant source of help and encouragement to me as a single mom of an autistic son. They always defend him to others bein judgmental, including extended family! They really are like an extra set of parents for my son, and he is very close to them for it!

  17. Gayle
    September 13, 2011 at 10:29 am

    My 7 year old son has recently been diagnosed wth high funcationing autism. My husband and I have always felt his behaviour was not ‘normal’ as we have other children but his grandparents just kept saying he will grow out of it. Now they say they disagree with the diagnosis and he is just a lovely boy as apparently you cannot be lovely and autistic. I know they love him and they want to pretend everything is ok but that makes me feel like they think we are trying to label him for no reason and they refuse to accept it. Very frustrating as I want them to understand and accept his needs rather than pretend they are not there.

  18. September 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Our son and our daughter each have child with autism in their family. We are so proud of both families for recognizing that something ‘was different’ and getting an early diagnosis and help. Both boys are handsome, unique in temperament and deeply loved by our whole family! One is 11, the other 3 now and both have made great strides. We’ve all gone through a HUGE learning curve about autism – and aren’t done yet, I’m sure. It’s the parents who know more than the doctors who attend the boys! As far as being a help as grandparents, God knows, and that’s enough.

  19. Coleen
    September 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

    As a famly we look at things with an opened mind. I have many grandchildren and this one was my first biological grandson. I was not shocked because of his health issues at birth. I am embracing this with great love and understanding. I am active in his education and OT,PT, and ST. My background as a Para Pro is working with children with special needs and I am both knowledgeable and proactive in his care and developement. I am very proud of my son for recognising and demanding that test be done. My grandson has SPD, sensory processing disorder. Mason has his father and step mother working diligently on his behalf and his mother as well. He has a team of professionals that he loves spending time with and has made remarkable improvements toward better communicaton. As a family we are all learning ways of communicating to minimize meltdowns by using patients and key words, such as ” First”, we will pick up toys, then watch a movie”. When things are put in an order that he can process he is very cooperative. This is just basic for any child so this is all very easy for me. My husband is having a very tough time. He thinks inside a box and expects children to just sit quietly on his lap. He looks at Mason’s developement as a behaiviour issue. I am trying to educate him a bit on all of this. I must admit that it takes much more energy, “both physical and emotional” to play with a child with special needs, however the rewards far override the negatives. We all love our Mason. He is a Blessing.

  20. jackie farmer
    September 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

    my granddaughter was 6 when diagnosed.i wasn’t too surprised,since i had noticed some things with her since she was very young.i did know that i immediately wanted to learn all i could about autism and aspergers and asked my daughter what i could do to help.she sent me info to read and i researched on the computer.i wanted to be a part of her team.
    my daughter keeps me very well informed.i learn something new almost every day.
    i am disappointed that her school is not giving her the support she needs.but my daughter and son in law have continued in their battle to get her help there.i am amazed at her intelligence.she beats me at games i’ve played my entire life.lol.i know this is a life long battle for her,and i hope to be able to give them all the support they need.

  21. Rich Mahoney
    September 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

    My only grandson who will be 5 next month was diagnosed with infantile spasms when he was 6 months old right after his DTAP vaccination. We started noticing seizure activity and upon further testing, brain scans and EEG’s it was determined that our boy was autistic. We were devastated. My daughter, a single mom immediately began intense studies on this awful disease and enrolled in college to study this area. After years of hard work and straight A’s she is now a special needs care provider and teacher. We area very close knit family and have many other nieces and nephews his age so it’s rather obvious that he struggles daily and it becomes somewhat more obvious as he gets older. Nevertheless he is my pride and joy. I spend every Sunday with him doing things he likes to do. He looks 100% normal and you would never he’s autistic by looking at him. He attends Chicago Autism Academy and has a plug above his belly button used to administer his meds. We are dealing with this rather well but I cry at least once a day, usually when I am praying. I try to stay positive knowing that he is getting the best possible care available and that things could be worse. The good part of all of this is that it has brought all of us closer to God and the church.

    • Kris
      September 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      Rich, as a mother of an Autistic child who is now 10 and was diagnosed at 3, it is very important to remember this is not a disease, it is a disorder, neurological disorder to be specific. I certainly hope you do not allow your grandchild or daugther hear you refer to it is an awful disease. God would not have given your daughter her son with Autism if he did not feel she would be the best mother for him. Very important to remember that. There are worse things in this world than Autism, incurable cancer being one of them, so be thankful for what you and your family have please.

  22. Linda Walls
    September 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

    My beautiful six year old Grandson Dakota, is Autistic. He is the sweetest most gentle boy you could ask for. In some ways he suffers from it more than others, but he is very bright, has a wonderful ever growing vocabulary. We are so lucky that he is a very warm affectionate person, so there he does not miss out and neither do we. Dakota is extremely close to his Grandpa, and he really does bring out the best in his Grandpa, they are like two peas in a pod. Like many things that people are affected by in their lives, you try and make the best of what you are given in life. We are very lucky to have him and his sister in our lives and could not imagine it without them!

  23. Tracy Lourie
    September 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

    My grandson Shaun is 5yrs old and started Kindergarten this yr.Shaun is the light of my life and such a special little guy. I knew in my heart that he was autistic, just hard to accept. I try to be there to support my daughter and son in law because it is a tough road and they have been through the trials and tribulations of diagnosing him and all the issues that were overlooked by his previous pediatrician. Shaun has had to work very hard to get to where he is today. He has made such great strides and know in my heart he will continue to do so because he has such great parents. They are so patient and loving with him. I tell my daughter when she gets frustrated that God only sends special children to special parents and Shaun is truly a gift from god.

  24. September 13, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I am younger than by brother by five years so I can’t remember my grandparents’ reactions to finding out that John was, as we used to say “retarded.” But I do remember how all four of our grandparents went out of their way to show love and support to John especially my mother’s mother and my father’s father. They took extra time with John and encouraged him with love every step of the way. They are all long gone, but John always says that he knows they are looking down on him with the same approval and love they showed him in life.

  25. Eileen
    September 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

    My grandson was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years he is now 7 and a wonderful loving boy. When we got the word I was sad for just a short time and told my daughter that God loved her so much he gave her one of His “Special” children. I love him so much and treat him no different than my other 3 grandchildren.

  26. September 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    My grandson, Gray, is autistic, is now 10 1/2, has no expressive language beyond a few words..does have receptive language…he understands what is being said. My feelings..so many…..I’m trying to write a book about how our family has responded to Gray…in the hopes of educating others. How he sees and deals with the world is unique.

  27. September 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    As a Speech Pathologist that worked extensively with Autistic children I recognized the signs before my daughter. It took a long time to convince my daughter to have her daughter evaluated, but once it was done everyone had a positive attitude. We have learned that we have to wait for hugs until my grandaughter is ready and we accept anything she is willing to share with us, no matter what it is or where we are. My husband and I couldn’t love her more if we tried!

  28. Carol Hiner
    September 13, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I have a grandson who will soon be 7 years old. He has Asperger’s. He was born premature and has a lot of health issues along w/the Autism disorder. But I wouldn’t trade him for a perfect grandson. Since he was diagnosed early and started immediate therapy he is doing very well. He is extremely bright for his age, can read on a 8th grade level and writes and illustrates his own books! To see him go from being totally withdrawn and non-loving to where he is now is so exciting! My heart goes out to all you who have grandchildren who are severely affected by Autism. I have a friend who has a grandson who does not speak, it’s heartbreaking but they need our love and attention whether they seem to accept it or not. They key is to get the child diagnosed early and start therapy immediately. If you don’t feel you got a proper diagnosis for the child’s abnormality, go to another doctor. Our grandson goes to Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, OH. They take such good care of him and all his health issues. We pray soon they will find what’s causing Autism and have preventative measures for it. Grandparents, please love your grandchild if they have Autism, don’t turn your back on them, they need you and they love you whether they can express it or not.

  29. wwaltz
    September 13, 2011 at 11:37 am

    When it was first suspected that my granddaughter was autistic, I chose not to believe it. I wanted to believe that she was just holding back, waiting for just the right time to surprise all of us with her wisdom & knowledge! My daughter, Karis’ mother, never doubted the diagnosis, at least she never let me see any doubts. She went right to work researching, studying, learning everything she could about autism. Karis has food allergies & other chemical imbalances & our daughter works with a homeopath to keep all of these things under control as much as they are able to. She also has an older sister, a younger brother & a younger sister, who, as much as they are able, help their mom with their seven year old special sister. Karis has brought much insight into all of our lives. Without her we would not have been as aware of others with special needs. ALL children are gifts from God & we are grateful to have been chosen.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:55 am


  31. Sandi Marcus
    September 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    My amazing twin grandsons were DX with autism at 2 years old. They are now 8. I take a very active part in all therapies. I also advocate for them on many different levels. My daughter is a single mom. I try to help by researching. They now live with me. I have 3 older grand children, but the twins had to face so many battles starting with their premature birth at 29 weeks. I try to support my daughter daily. Yes, we griefed together. Now we share miracles every day as they make progress in their daily lifes.

  32. Dr, Ascelita Luz
    September 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I am a psychiatrist and while I was still active, autism was not as rampant as now. I dealt with adult patients so my experience and knowledge about autism was limited since I have retired in 1982.. We knew there was something amiss but we were in denial. We were not able to accept the diagnosis of the first psychiatrist and had to go for a second opinion.

    there was so much pain and sorrow bec he will not be the same as the other kids. My only
    consolation is that my daughter -in-law got in touch with Geneva and from them he entered all the available programs. His mother also attended all the seminars and is qualified to be
    helping other kids with autism.

    He has his bad days and good days but the bad days are more or less getting rare.
    His main problem now is his difficulty re his sensitivity to certain sounds esp. high pitched
    sounds. He is now in his teens and is a tall and handsome young man. His speech is normal.
    He attends after school programs 2X a week and attends day camp and other programs
    to help him with his social skills and other foreseen difficulties.

    We love him dearly and we treat him like he is normal but he needs a lot of compassion and
    patience . His mom is the best mother ever as well as his dad since they have provided
    him the emotinal support , love . and nurturing he needs. is siblings are very supportive of their brother and they love him dearly.

  33. Hope Benson
    September 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    My parents took it in stride and have treated him no better or no worse than their other grandchildren. In fact, my mother has used the experience to help other school bus drivers understand their “special charges”. However, my husband’s parents have been less willing to accept and learn. They believe the problem is lax parneting (on my part). Unfortunately, because of a job loss we are currently living with my in-laws. While they are not actively hostile to my son’s support staff, they are not very welcoming either. They refuse to let us hang any schedules or charts anywhere besides our bedrooms. They often verbally interfere when we are dealing with our son, often turning a small exchange into a behavioral episode that can last hours. It is frustrating and stressful. To make matters worse, they are both educators. We’ve tried talking to them. Therapists and behavioral staff have tried to talk to them. Argh!!!

    • September 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      I am sorry that they don’t see the special in your child. These children are just as normal as any other child, just in different ways. My granddaughter lives with us. Her mother doesn’t understand the things going on and does not want to take the time to understand or try to be patient with her. Our grand daughter has lived with us since birth and has a very strong bond with us. I wouldn’t change a thing. Keep your head up and charge on. Maybe someday the in-laws will see what they have missed.

  34. sue McCormick
    September 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I was a teacher and had already seen the signs. It was no surprise, and I tried to help my daughter and son-in-law , who were both devastated. Everyone is on board now and my grandson is the joy of our lives. God sent him to where he would be loved and cared for. His autisim is mild and he is making progress. All the credit goes to GOD.

  35. September 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    My 11 yr old son was diagnosed with moderate to high classic autism when he was almost 3 yrs old. I knew something was wrong almost from birth. He didnt coo, didnt react to noises or voices. My mom is the one who suggested to me that my son might have autism. We actually had to fight with doctors to get him diagnosed. They kept saying that his development was a little delayed thats all. They wernt listening to what i was telling them. We finally got lucky and found a doctor who sent him to a neurologist. He looked at my son and within 5 minutes told me my son was autistic. Ever since that day my mother has been right there for my son and I. She goes to doctors appointments, the dentist, takes him to get french fries (his favorite), you name it she is there. I have a 13 yr old daughter who gets jealous at times because my son demands so much of my time. My mother will come and get my son a couple times a week and let him spend the night so i can get a break and my daughter and i can have time together just the two of us. I am very lucky to have a mother who loves her grandchildren no matter what.

  36. proudmama
    September 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    We don’t have much of a support group from my son’s grandparents on either side. My husband family is all about themselves and what we can do for them and my dad is too wrapped around his girlfriends finger to even notice he has 3 amazing grandsons with autism (one mine and two my sisters). However, if my beloved mother was still here she would be very supportive. But I have to say I have an awesome support group with my four amazing sisters and their families and my oldest sister is the best Aunt my son could ever ask for or want. She would make my mother proud. I love you so much my sissy!!

  37. September 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Our oldest granddaughter ( 5yrs old) lives with us and has since she was born. She was diagnosed with Autism a year ago. I knew she was not the same as my grown children, but is very smart. We have routines that don’t vary. And things that change on a slow basis. She is very comfortable with Daddy (PawPaw) and Mommy ( Mamaw) ( she chose to call us that.) We were very accepting of the difference. And deal with things accordingly.

  38. Cheryl Klawitter
    September 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    My daughter-in-law researched every article and avenue of treatment available for my grandson after his diagnosis. She found a “DAN” Dr. (Defeat Autism Now) in Oregon City, Oregon. Evergreen Clinic. I know many do not agree with this sort of treatment. All I know is after being diagnosed (by Drs that were not in any way affiliated with the DAN clinic) at 2, my now almost 6 year old Grandson just cleared his last series of tests and is no longer classified as learning disabled. His motor skills still lag but he starts regular school this month. Many things led to this. Not just the clinic. I have to give my daughter-in-law full credit. She is constantly researching and educating herself on the subject. My Grandson will always have Autism spectrum disorder, but at this point, he is able to function again.

  39. September 14, 2011 at 12:40 am

    I just found out my 2 year old grandson has autism. He is the love of my life. Although oral communication is difficult, he expresses so much with his face. He lights up when he smiles. He is learning new words daily and coming up with ways to get his point across. We celebrate every little step he takes in “his” learning. I am a teacher and have taught students from remedial to gifted. Every child has a wonderful “something” to share in this world. Each will tell their story and make their mark. May all people be loved and honored for who they are and what they can share. I love you little Ky-ky!

  40. Barbara Pons
    September 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

    His grandfather doesn’t come around much anymore and my mother is trying hard but it is still hard for her to understand what he needs. she use to always hug him and get upset when he didn’t want it. he wanted his space and would hug when he was ready to. that would hurt her feelings. It isn’t easy.

  41. Glenn Larkin
    September 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I’m Grandpa to a 4 year old autistic boy who I totally adore. I’m the “go-to” person when his Mom is struggeling to handle the work and preasures of William’s conditions. I find that I have his trust in areas where his own parents don’t have the time to develop him. My license plate includes the Autism puzzle symbol and says “4Will”. Together with Williams parents, his preschool teachers and me (Grandpa) we are making great strides.

  42. Susan L. Preston
    September 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    In May, 2003, I began the most rewarding job ever–that of grandmother. I first grew concerned about Justin’s development when he was about 10 months of age. I was a special educator and saw signs that suggested neurological concerns. At thirteen months of age I first suspected autism and made the excruciating decision to discuss these with my daughter. Before I could even spit out the feared word, she voiced her concerns and research and used the “autism” word. And so began our journey. In my career I had assisted many families in finding the correct program/approaches for their special needs children, but as a grandparent, the impact is a double one emotionally–not only does your heart ache for your grandchild–but this child’s parent is also my own child. No parent wants their child to experience such pain and turmoil. And four years later we welcomed another grandson into our lives, Zachary, who also received a diagnosis of mild autism at 18 months of age. Each boy is different, each has his successes and difficulties, but each is a joy. My daughter and son-in-law have done an incredible job raising them both, making many financial and career choices to meet the needs of these great kids. Both boys are who they are today because of their parents’ dedication and love.
    And as grandmom, this Job has definitely been a bit more complex than anticipated! But the joy, love, pride and experiences that I have with my two incredible grandsons are exactly what I had hoped for. I celebrate each of their accomplishments and have learned to take “One
    day at a time”. I thank God for the gift of Justin and Zachary each day.

  43. Kristie
    September 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I wish my child’s grandparents would be a positive in his life. Neither set of grandparents can even really stand to have him around and are very negative. He is eleven years old now and is diagnosed with PDD. It breaks my heart really that they don’t even want to begin to understand. I have provided information to them but they are not interested in learning about him. He and I were talking one night a few years ago and he said ” nobody loves me.” I asked him how often he feels that way and he said ” all of the time.”

  44. sidney Smart
    September 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I have two grandchildren on the spectrum and one adult son. They are so awesome and I love them so much! I try to advocate as much as I can because I have such a heart for people on the spectrum as well as those with other disabilities. It is a challenge but all life is challenging. There must be those of us who stand up and advocate, fighting the good fight! Bless all of you who advocate, you are wonderful and strong!

  45. Elizabeth
    September 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    My grandson Max is4 1/2 and is autistic but his clicks and whistles and wild antics keep me laughing these children are so special there message is there look and listen.I love him unconditionally and this old lady thanks God every day for his hugs and smile.I know I’m blessed.He’s a runner so he keeps us vigilant too bad others can’t see or listen to thier silent gifts God bless us all who have one of these angels we are lucky!

  46. Michelle
    September 21, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Danny is the greatest gift I have been given in my life. Along the way we have learned little tricks to encourage him to engage others. He has learned to shake hands and say “how doin’?”. He can’t wait to extend his hand in greeting, this seems to have created a bridge that allows him to interact with people. Most people seem to enjoy taking the time to stop and shake his hand, and will go further by talking with him about his favorite subject, cars. It has been interesting to slowly learn that this child knows alot more about what is going on around him than we realized. My daughter and son in-law adore Danny and have made it clear that they will celebrate Danny for every wonderful part of him! As will MeMa and PopPop :)

  1. September 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm
  2. September 14, 2011 at 10:27 am

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