Grandparents of Autism: Survey Tells All

(Photo by Flickr/Jason DeRusha)

A recent survey, the first of its kind, was issued to grandparents of children with autism. It revealed insight into an interesting conclusion: grandparents are often the first within the immediate family to realize that a young grandchild has autism.

However, according to this survey, they bite their tongues out of the fear that comes with telling their children (the parents) what they do not want to hear.  The problem that this then creates is that the child could be missing out on getting the earliest possible treatment.

Although, the blame does not rest necessarily on the grandparent for keeping quiet when they should be upfront.  According to the answers on the survey, the grandparents of children with autism feel that parents usually do not make it easy for the grandparent to be upfront without hurting someone’s feelings.

One grandmother reported that her child had said that the grandchild’s “strange” behavior was because the grandparents scared him.  This is even though the child would scream constantly, refuse to let anyone touch him, and generally behaved radically different from his peers.  According to the results of this survey, the parents of children with autism endure behavior instead of considering it as offensive or a warning sign.  Also, according to the grandparents surveyed, they tend to not honor the grandparent’s suggestions.

One grandmother recalled that her son was bitter with her when she questioned her grandchild having autism, and that her son remains bitter towards her for it.

Over half of the grandparents who took the survey explained that they put great efforts not into helping the grandchild. They also reported that they try to help their child with the stresses that come along with being a parent of a child with autism.

Grandparents, who took this survey, reported quitting jobs so they could look after their autistic grandchild, and also finding jobs so that one of the parents could spend more time at home.

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