A Ventography!

Just two moms letting off some steam

GRANDPARENTS – THE UNSUNG HEROES OF THE AUTISM WORLD

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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. 

Our parents have supported us emotionally and financially every step of the way. It has changed their entire lives – from the way they view health to the way they thought they will spend their retirement.

According to an online survey by the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), “preliminary results from the survey of 2,600 grandparents found that many of them responded to a grandchild’s diagnosis by changing everything from where they lived to how they spent their retirement savings.”  
  • 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.
The grandparents surveyed also talked a lot about the emotional stress autism has caused in their lives because they not only worry about their grandchildren but also their children’s health and well being. They see their grown children suffer from anxiety, worry, and sleep deprivation. Grandparents are concerned about what will happen when they are no longer around to help financially and emotionally.

In a follow up survey by IAN, they asked grandparents more specifically what sacrifices they have made for their grandchild with ASD. The responses were as follows:
  • 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 
When asked about the gifts they have received as a result of their grandchildren with ASD, they reported:
  • 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
One precious grandmother summed it up by saying about her grandson, “My joy is to spend time with him – he’s not easily impressed and I impress him – what more can I ask?”

THANK YOU to all the grandparents out there supporting their children and grandchildren affected by autism. 

To our Mom and Dad – we cannot put into words how much we appreciate your sacrifices. We are so blessed to have parents that are supportive on so many different levels. 


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Author: A Ventography!

A Ventography is about: 1. Encouraging and empathizing with other parents on the autism spectrum. 2. Recycling and simplifying information on the latest autism news and health and diet tips. 3. Asking thought provoking questions designed to make us rethink what we've been told about autism. 4. Helping connect the dots that show, in some cases, autism is more than a brain disorder. 5. Challenging parents to rethink what they've been told, refuse the status quo, and escape the whirlwind of confusion.

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