Having a child with autism can really turn parents’ lives upside down, but its affect on the lives of grandparents is usually not given much thought or discussion. We know that, without our parents, we would be nowhere in our fight against autism.
- 14% said they and their grandchild’s family had moved closer to each other in order to take better care of a child with autism.
- 7% said they actually combined households.
- 57% said they contributed money every month for autism-related expenses.
- 21% said they have “gone without” things they need
- 17% said they are the “main babysitter”
- 11% said they have “raided their retirement”
- 8% said they have “continued working”
- 7% said they have “borrowed money”
- 3% said they had to “return to work”
In the follow up survey, grandparents were asked about some of the biggest challenges they have encountered dealing with autism. They mentioned:
- learning how to communicate with their grandchild
- dealing with their grandchild’s tantrums and the public’s reactions to them
- having an “intense connection” with their grandchild
- rejoicing over every gain their grandchildren have made
- experiencing the pure innocence of their grandchildren because they are not prone to “manipulate others, play mind games, or tell little white lies”
- Viewing the world through the eyes of their grandchild