Each person responds differently to events, including learning about a diagnosis of ASD. This news probably feels overwhelming for grandparents just as it does for you as the parent. There may be another layer there in that it is not their child that has been diagnosed, but rather their grandchild and they may also be […]
Each person responds differently to events, including learning about a diagnosis of ASD. This news probably feels overwhelming for grandparents just as it does for you as the parent. There may be another layer there in that it is not their child that has been diagnosed, but rather their grandchild and they may also be worried about the impact it will have on their child, you, who is now the parent. ASD was not as prevalent during grandparents’ upbringing so they may benefit from learning more about what ASD is and what it isn’t. Learning more may help them feel more prepared which helps decrease anxiety. Helping grandparents to connect with other grandparents of children with ASD can also be a great source of information and support. The Grandparents Autism Network is a great online resource. Ensuring that they are getting the support they may need helps to enable them to be able to provide support to you, their adult child, who has just received this news. You may be unsure how to talk to your parent about the diagnosis or what it means and it’s OK to say that. Sharing your own vulnerability and uncertainty, may help a grandparent feels more comfortable showing theirs. As a family with a child with ASD, you may need additional childcare support. Again, through open communication you and grandparents can talk about what feels manageable to them and helping them set up their home in a way that leads to greater success (i.e. a quiet, cool down area or sensory items). Grandparents can also learn the strategies that are most effective with your child, and likely already know many of them as they’ve likely been around the child his/her whole life. Reminding grandparents that the child is the same child they were before the diagnosis may also be helpful. Sometimes the diagnosis tricks us into focusing on the label and we forget that this is the same delightful, active, and unique child as they were before the diagnosis. Check out Autism Speaks’ Grandparents Guide to Autism for more information. Its an 18 page document available for free to print and share with anyone who may benefit.