Celebrating Grandparents (Particularly Those in Special-Needs Families!)

20 Sep

September is National Grandparents Month, and I’m overwhelmed once more thinking how much my parents have done for my family, particularly my 15-year-old daughter with autism.  My mother flew from California to join us for Paige’s neurology appointment in the spring of 2000, the horrible one during which she received the definitive autism diagnosis.  A year later, my parents moved here from the Silicon Valley to support us.  Five years after that, when I gave birth to Paige’s baby brother, my mom came over every school morning before 7 a.m. to watch Chip so I could get Paige off to school.

My dad’s no slacker, either.  He’s provided boundless financial and emotional support—neither of which I can imagine doing without.  He has bonded with our neurotypical son, Chip, to the extent that they have LEGO playdates, go see movies together and just talk.

All grandparents who choose to involve themselves (in a thoughtful, encouraging way) in the lives of their children’s kids deserve high praise.  It can be tricky sometimes with a disabled child, especially one like my own who is non-verbal.

In honor of National Grandparents Month, Autism Speaks (the nationwide nonprofit founded by grandparents of a child with autism) has created A Grandparent’s Guide to Autism.  This family support tool kit is designed to help guide and encourage grandparents to establish positive and successful relationships with their grandchildren and the rest of their families.

Click here to read A Grandparent’s Guide to Autism or visit Grandparents Autism Network at www.ganinfo.org.

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