Grandparents & Autism

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Think carefully before you speak. Choose expressions that suggest sympathy and genuine curiosity, and avoid those that convey criticism.
Nancy Mucklow
Culver, 73, said he and Sandy, 70, couldn't help falling in love with their great grandchild, Cub Anthony Blocker, whose unusual take on life baffled, intrigued and charmed them. The Kuhens said they were concerned about Cub, 13, who has autism spectrum disorder, because their granddaughter had a difficult time addressing Cub's unique needs while raising his younger siblings.
Cynthia Beaudette, Muscatine Journal
Grandparents (70) and parents (115) completed a survey about grandparent support, involvement, and helpfulness with grandchildren with disabilities. Grandparents reported on activities they did with their grandchildren and answered open-ended questions regarding who helped them learn about the grandchild's disability and what their general reaction was to the disability. Parents answered open-ended questions regarding what were the most and least helpful things that the grandparents did to help the grandchild with the disability. Grandparents' affectional solidarity was related positively to the number of activities they did with their grandchild. Grandparents reported that information and explanations about the disability were most useful in helping grandparents understand the grandchild's situation. Grandparents also identified professionals, parents and grandparents of other children with disabilities, and printed information about the disability as things they would have found helpful. Asked for general comments, grandparents shared both optimism and concern about the grandchild's future and the stresses on the parents of the child. Parents listed instrumental (e.g., financial, childcare) and emotional (e.g., unconditional love, praying for the family) support of grandparents as most helpful. Least helpful things included grandparents overstepping boundaries with the parents or the grandchild, not providing any or only minimal help, not understanding the grandchild's disability, blaming the parent for the grandchild's disability, and being overprotective of the grandchild. The results provide information that can be of assistance in lending insight into what grandparents and parents may want and need in terms of dealing with a disabled child. Grandparents and parents needs are discussed, as are limitations of the study, and suggestions for future researcj/
Laureen Coutts-Clarke
Grandparent support and conflict were associated with mothers' but not fathers' ratings of stress on the QRS. Both grandparent support and conflict made independent contributions to the prediction of mothers' stress.
Richard P. Hastings, Hannah Thomas, Nicole Delwiche
Figure out their motive and then communicate to that motive. Remember communication is a two way street so be willing to listen. But never forget you are in charge of your child and his/his treatments. No one can take that control unless you give it away.
Adelle Jameson Tilton
Marilyn Rasmussen is mother of seven and grandmother of 19, but she has a special gratitude and fondness for Caleb, the only one with autism. "This is the greatest gift I've gotten because it has opened me up to looking at the world in a different way," Rasmussen says of the 6-year-old who likes to stir waffle batter at her elbow. "This kid looks at the world and sees all the things we miss." Lucky for Caleb and Washington state's other residents with autism, Rasmussen also happens to be a state senator. She has been an impassioned advocate for dealing with this mysterious developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact socially.
Kate Reilly, Seattle Times

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