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Grandparents Raising Asperger's Grandchildren


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


Diana said...

Are there any other grandparents out there that are raising an Asperger grandchild?? My husband and I were "gifted" as I call it my husbands 12 yr old grandson who was dx with Aspergers, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and ADHD. Its like a ball of fire all at once!!
We are in our 50's, been married for almost 6 years. I have a son who is almost 30 and he has a daughter 32. This child is his daughters who never raised the child as my husbands parents did. We received custody through the Social Service Department. Needless to say this past year has been a very trying and stressful time for all of us.
Our grandson has been doing pretty good through all of this with some exceptions. We have had him therapy with a behavior specialist for this entire time working on meds, social skills and much more.
I am an educated woman with a background in Social Work...I should know how to handle issues with him. However, I dont!!! I am lost, confused, anxious, angry, stressed, unsure of self confidence, scared and well I am sure I could come up with more.
I have attended support groups in our area which are wonderful if I were 20-30 yrs old and gave birth to this child. They dont seem to understand or have the same issues I am having. They want to play and go out to dinner with all of the children! Now dont get me wrong,,I love going out to dinner...but my patience is not that great to spend a dinner with 10 other Asperger kids at once!
Please do understand that I love our grandson!! I search daily for things for him to do. We have started Special Olympics with him so he can get involved with sports as well as learn to work on his social skills.
I feel very blessed that we have this great opportunity to raise him!! However, I am feeling very overwhelmed the past few months. I feel as if I have bitten off more than I can chew. When talking to my friends..I always hear.."You are so lucky to be able to raise him", "What a great job you are doing with him" and on and on. That is nice to hear...but there are days when I just want to scream!! I want to run around the house and rip my hair out!!!
I am just wanting to know if I am the only grandma that feels like this? If so, maybe I need to be put away!! I am feeling very overwhelmed as I said before. I am looking for others that feel like this, maybe we can chat, blog, yell and scream together!! So, please if you are a grandparent or other person caring for a child with Aspergers...chime on in!!!! Let me know if its time to call the men in the white coats for myself!!!

Anonymous said...

You are NOT the only grandma. I have been partially raising our 6 yr old grandson since he turned 3. I love him dearly but sometimes get so frustrated I could just scream. Take heart, you are not alone. Just do the best you can and know you are an amazing person.

Anonymous said...

Diana, your are not alone, My husband and I have been raising our grandson who is 7 most of his life. He has Aspergers and is also ADHD and it is a roller coaster. one thing that is hard is to keep your cool. When the child is upset or angery we need to stay calm talk to your grandson is a soft voice and let him no you care and that everything will be ok, talk him through his issues most of all we need the Lords help

Anonymous said...

my husband and i hace been raising our asperger granddaughter since she was 8 months old,she is now 13 yrs old and a sweetheart.looking to find friends in similar situations in the orlando,fl area/

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...