Are there many other grandparents like me helping to raise kids with Aspergers? And what qualities do you think we bring to this task?
There are many grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who are involved in helping to raise kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism). The degree to which relatives are involved in the care of the kids can vary greatly, but grandparents often have a special place in kid’s hearts.
Grandparents bring a unique set of skills to the raising of their grandkids. Many grandparents have the ability to spend a great deal of time with their grandkids because they are retired or have cut back on their work schedule. This gift of time is typically accompanied by patience. Parents are often harried, rushing from here to there to get things accomplished according to the schedule. Grandparents often don’t have those pressures. This gift of time and patience can be especially important to a youngster with Aspergers. Grandparents can often ease the chaos of transition periods for a youngster with Aspergers. Grandparents are often more patient when explaining something or encouraging a youngster to try a new experience.
Grandparents often have reached a place in their lives where they care less about what other people’s perceptions of them are. This can be a special gift when raising a youngster with Aspergers. Grandparents tend to be more accepting and less embarrassed by public outbursts or tantrums, or even behaviors that might strike others as odd.
Grandparents often have more time to try to develop new and different ways to relate to a youngster with Aspergers. They are often less discouraged when a strategy meets with failure and tend to look at the big picture, rather than the small detail.
Grandparents can be a gift not only to the kids with Aspergers but also to their moms and dads. They can function as trusted caregivers for their kids, as well as being a sounding board for concerns or fears or frustrations the parents may have. Sometimes, simply being there for the parents and offering support can be very important.
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook