Grandchildren with ASD

Grandfather with ASD.jpeg

Grandchildren with ASD

by Chris D. Tallent, OK, USA

 

Okay, I'm not gen X, Y, or Z. I'm from the Baby Boomers generation and we are helping to raise our autistic granddaughter.

 

Her Dad took off when she was 5 (before we knew she was autistic) so we've helped to support and raise her since. She is 19 now and she still amazes us in many ways. She is so bright about the subjects she enjoys (like math, chemistry, and Greek Mythology). It's truly amazing how she retains and categorizes information.

 

Unfortunately, she has fallen through all the cracks of the system since she started school. I think mostly because they were not considering autism and labeled her with ADHD. Seeing how the local schools would do nothing but punish her for not being a 'normal' child, we decided to home school her after the first semester of her second grade.

 

It wasn't until she was 14 that we got a diagnosis of ASD. Boy, did that make sense. So, we started learning everything we could about ASD. She is not social at all but she is shy and polite in crowds. She can get frustrated (especially when she tries to express herself) and has had some meltdowns. She really relates to kids a few years younger than herself and feels more comfortable among them.

 

Living in rural Oklahoma has also presented some challenges. With no local support groups and few resources, we have been her counselor, occupational therapist, and advocate. I hope others who are not as patient, understanding, or mature are able to find the help and support they need. It's not easy raising kids and that is certainly true raising one with autism. It's key to learn that these kids are just themselves. They are not odd or abnormal. They simply function differently. Like they are wired differently than most. Most of all though, they are ours. Ours to love and care for. Ours to teach and to learn from. Ours to be proud of every day.