Autism Awareness Day was April 2, but Autism Awareness Month continues through the whole month of April. Autism continues to increase and to make news headlines every month but April is a time to really focus on the issue. I thought it would make an excellent topic for this week’s Thursday Current Events Meme as many of us may have grandkids who are directly impacted by it.
Medical News Today has an interesting article with the headline, Early Diagnosis Of Autism To Maximize Positive Outcomes . I can certainly agree with that. I have several friends dealing with this and each one has commented on what a difference it made getting the diagnosis early. Over and over I’ve heard different ones explain that because their children were diagnosed early and got started with the special therapy each child needed, the families were seeing major progress. And because they come into contact with so many other families with autism, they also have sad stories of kids who didn’t get diagnosed until much later and what a difficult time they are having.
Finding out your grandchild has autism can be difficult. But ignoring the very real possibility doesn’t make things any better. Instead it frequently makes things worse. It’s so vital that we, as grandparents, choose to deal with this situation in a positive manner and encourage our adult kids by being supportive of whatever choices they make. There are a lot of differing opinions out there. They are the ones who have to make the hard choices and we just have to be there to encourage them. We can also help with babysitting the other kids so the parents can take our grandchild into therapy appointments and have time to talk to the therapist. Alternatively we can take the grandkids to the therapy appointments, giving their moms and dads a much needed break.
Being a caregiver to an autistic grandchild is definitely a challenge, but it is a tremendous blessing as well. Age Of Autism has a delightful article showing the positive impact two grandparents made and the various ways they supported their family including their grandson who was diagnosed with autism.
Another excellent gift you can give your kids and grandkids is the gift of knowledge. Read up on autism so you can discuss it knowledgeably with your adult kids. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important for us to be aware that there can be considerable variation in the treatment options available. Since specialists are still learning about autism, that is not surprising. What’s important for us is to be supportive of the direction our adult kids and their doctors take. Some resource sites include:
Autism Society of America
Autism Spectrum Disorders Site – This page has a compilation of radio programs that cover the autism spectrum on a variety of topics and issues.
Here are two books that might be useful:
Whether our grandkids are on the high end of the Autism spectrum or the low end, they and their parents need our love, our support, and our caregiving. What a blessing it is to them and to us when we are in a position to provide that. 🙂