Grandparents on Father' Day

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June 16, 2015, ACES

Grandparents on Father' DayOften times grandparents are playing a critical part in supporting and encouraging their child raising a child with autism. Families with involved grandparents can lead to better outcomes not only for the child, but also for the grandparents. Your participation in your child's family activities keeps you content and fulfilled with purpose and helps manage a busy home with a child with autism.

Of course, grandparents must be educated about autism and the grandchild's specific issues in order for your child's family to make the most of your support. Autism Speaks provides a toolkit for grandparents that can be found here:

Download: Autism Speaks: A Grandparent’s Guide to Autism.

Once understanding and acceptance of the diagnosis has set in, you can and want to help contribute in a significant way, especially on important days like Father's Day.

Here are five helpful tips for how grandparents can help make Father's Day an extra special day for the dad, for you, and for your grandchild with autism.

  1. Engage the grandchild in a craft activity to give as a gift to dad (preferably something he is interested in). You may need assistance from mom in preparing the necessary supplies, signs and instructions. It is ok to ask for help. The end result will be worth it. Take pictures and include them with the gift. Dad will love it.
  2. Offer to babysit for a few hours or even overnight so dad can unwind and spend time with his spouse. This presumes you have established a predictable role in your grandchild's life; otherwise, this may not be a good idea. If you have done this before, ask mom to prepare the grandchild in the days leading up to Father's Day so he is not caught off guard when the time comes.
  3. Continue to learn effective techniques for interacting with your grandchild with autism. Use this knowledge to help teach him the importance of giving to others and that daddy is super special. It is key for your grandchild to see you as a role model in expressing your affection for his father.
  4. Prepare a no-fuss meal and take it to their house on Father's Day. Check with mom on which meal would be best and make sure it meets the dietary requirements of your grandchild with autism! Mom will really appreciate the break from the kitchen and Dad will enjoy the extra quality time with her.
  5. Be very positive and accommodating to the father on Father's Day. His struggle is real. Remaining strong, both physically and emotionally, is important to his parenting a child with autism. Offer to take over his daily routines for Father's Day and he will be very grateful to you.

It can be difficult to cultivate a connection with your grandchild with autism but keep trying. Be patient and persistent. Don't hesitate to ask for help or clarification from the parents. Your extra effort for Father's Day is a gift for the whole family.