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(15 Posts)
golfina Fri 07-Jun-13 17:53:57

Our 4 year old grandson has just been assessed as mild/moderate autistic spectrum (Aspergers), also as very gifted. His main problems are with emotional regulation and social skills. Luckily he is sociable and loving and has great parents, and goes to a very supportive nursery school, and the assessment team says he will be able to learn how to manage his difficulties. We want to help and support him and his parents as much as we can and would appreciate any tips from other grandparents.

HildaW Fri 07-Jun-13 19:26:53

Am sure his parents will get a lot of official support, there are certainly several specialist charities that you can get reading matter from - I'd be inclined to just enjoy and embrace him for who he is. Forget the labels and love and support him as any decent set of Grandparents would for any loved grandchild. Also it would be good if you were just sound non judgemental listeners for his parents so that they can 'off load' their worries,.
On the recent political drama 'The Politician's husband' The Grandfather figure played by the Wycliffe actor gave a wonderful example of how to help. He saw the boy - not the problems or the labels.

trendygran Fri 07-Jun-13 21:42:29

Hi golfina. It sounds as if your grandson has a good chance of a positive future, in spite of his diagnosis. He obviously has a good support network already with school and parental backing . If you and his parents want more information and help I would suggest you contact the NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY. They have a good website and facebook pages and ,in my opinion as a former worker with Autistic children ,they are the best source of knowledge for those recently diagnosed. Help is sometimes hard to find ,but they will advise on what is available in your area. Hope all goes well for you all.

merlotgran Fri 07-Jun-13 22:02:50

golfina, One of my grandsons was diagnosed with mild Aspergers when he was four. He is now fifteen, excels at maths, science and history and told me yesterday he will be deputy Head Boy when he goes into yr 11 in September. We are very proud of his achievements.

I agree with everything HildaW and trendygran have said. Enjoy the supporting role. It can be so rewarding.

inthefields Fri 07-Jun-13 22:36:40

Golfina - my eldest daughter was always a 'special kid' ....and finally tracked down a diagnosis of ASD when she was in her twenties. It wasn;t even on the diagnostic register when she was child. The profile for you GS seems quite similar to her level, and she also is highly intelligent.

The first thing to tell you is that she leads an independent life, with a steady job, a long-term partner, and good friends. Her life is good smile/ AS does not have to mean a life of isolation, or failure to cope.

She attributes much of her ability to "function up" to being treated normally as a child. We didn't know that she had a spectrum disorder, so expected her to behave politely. Because, at this higher level of function, ASDdoes very well with set rules and parameters which do not shift, the 'rules' gave her a strong framework in which to operate.

It will not be problem free, and have no doubt the parents will be driven to distraction....particularly in the teenage stages..... but I could not be more proud of the woman my daughter has become, and I am sure that you will feel just as proud of your GS.

flowers wine and [hugs]

Gorki Sat 08-Jun-13 08:37:39

I totally agree with the advice given above especially about treating the child as you would any other child if at all possible. Our grandson is 6 and is autistic but we try to treat him exactly the same as his twin sister bearing in mind that it takes him longer to process information and he finds it difficult to concentrate on things that he doesn't find particularly interesting. We expect him to conform to the normal rules of behaviour even if this sometimes seems like "nagging". He shouts and invades people's personal space and we have to show him that this is unacceptable .Because he is capable of learning he has to know these things. Anything to help him fit into "normal" society.

If your DG is going to a state primary school try and get him some support although he may not get/need to be statemented . My grandson was given 25 hours a week which was vital when he started school but this has been lessened and he is gradually learning to cope on his own and become part of the group. He gets good reports from school and we are so pleased with his progress.

You will find too that having such an early diagnosis , things will only get better and you will enjoy watching him progress as we do with our DG. Happy times ahead.

golfina Sun 09-Jun-13 22:33:33

Thank you all so much for this advice, it is SO encouraging and confirms what my daughter and son-in-law believe, that they should accept for what he is and also expect and encourage the same standards of politeness that they would from any child, but give him the support to do so that he needs.

I will follow up your advice Trendygran and will contact the National Autistic Society.

Thank you HildaW - we WILL enjoy and embrace our lovely grandson - and yes, we did appreciate the grandfather's role in The Politician's Wife - and we too have been in the car and gone the 'wrong' way!

Thank you inthefields - it is so encouraging to hear your story of your granddaughter and salutary advice about treating our grandson as normally as possible.

Just what Gorki is saying - thank you for that - our grandson will be starting at a state primary school next year and will have some support we hope.

I shed a few tears of gratitude as I read your replies - they are just so supportive. We adore our grandson and just want to do our best for him and, as I said, support his lovely parents as they guide him through.

golfina Sun 09-Jun-13 22:49:51

Thank you too merlotgran - I think I had had a little too much rioja when I replied because I read your comment and thought - great, I can imagine our grandson as a future deputy head boy! - and then didn't thank you. It has been so so helpful to get these replies.

golfina Sun 09-Jun-13 23:00:09

I mean 'The Politician's Husband', of course!

FlicketyB Mon 10-Jun-13 15:33:05

I think what all children who have special needs of any kind need is people to love them and accept them as they are and not to be constantly looking at how they vary from other children.

My experience is as an advisor to parents of highly gifted children and I always told parents, if you have a four year old who wants a desk in his room and wants to spend his free time solving maths problems, let him. He is behaving perfectly naturally for a 4 year old - with his abilities and interests. Sure, sooner or later he will embarrass you by telling a till operator, correctly, that they have given you the wrong change but every child whatever their abilities or needs embarrasses their parents at some time or another.

golfina Fri 12-Jul-13 17:12:33

Thank you all. This has been really helpful and encouraging.

Nonu Fri 12-Jul-13 17:18:08

GOLFINA hugs for you and your family .

GadaboutGran Fri 12-Jul-13 19:37:53

It is so unfortunate that differences in the way people's brains are wired are viewed as a deficit just because they don't fit the way the modern world works or society's expectations of what is normal. Yet who do we need when the status quo needs to be challenged & new answers need to be found - the people who think differently & are exceptionally intelligent & creative if only given the support they need. Many modern inventions & new enterprises are the creations of people with neuro-diversities like Aspergers, ADHD, Dyslexia etc. You are so fortunate to know that your grandson has these special gifts while he is still young & can help create the framework in which his gifts can flourish. Those who aren't diagnosed until adulthood have the consequences of years of misunderstanding at home & school to deal with as well as trying to fit in with society's demands.

Midwifecf Sun 21-Jul-13 14:09:27

Aspergers runs in our family. My husband has it and because it was never recognised when he was young he has just got on with his life. He was obviously rather a strange boy and young man but so adored by his Mum and Dad that he got through. Trained as a lawyer and has had a very successful career (as long as he doesn't go near clients)! We have had a very very happy marriage since I realised that I had to be very clear in my conversations with him, I can't expect him just to empathise, he needs to be told.
Our son also has Aspergers, never diagnosed,unknown in those days, had a terrible time at school, bullied by teachers, terribly disliked - tragic. Expelled at 15. He is now happily married and a successful University Lecturer.
When our grandson began to show symptoms of the same, I determined that he would not suffer like our son had so I took him to an Educational Psychologist, paid for him to go to a school which specialised in treatment. He is now 14 . Happy, has friends, smiles and laughs a lot, clever and successful. Such a delight to see him. there is hope. Schools are so much better now and there is so much more understanding that we are all different. Our grandson went to a special club for children with Aspergers, they really like each other and enjoy each other's company even if it entails all of them at different computers but in the same room!

Gorki Sun 21-Jul-13 14:40:30

I found your post very interesting Midwifecf for a variety of reasons. Our 6 year old grandson was diagnosed with autism at 3 and I sometimes wish he hadn't been as he now goes through life with this label but as you say, so much more help is at hand nowadays and to access it a label is necessary which your husband and son didn't have.
My grandson goes to a mainstream school and has found it difficult to make friends because of his "funny ways ".However he eventually palled up with a lad who we think has undiagnosed Aspergers because they are very similar in many ways. It is lovely that he has a real friend but sadly the school is going to put them in different classes next year (it seems to be the policy to mix up the classes ) even though my daughter requested for them to be together. I can understand the school though as the boys are very loud together and the needs of the rest of the class need to be considered.
I liked the idea of the special club. Our grandson sometimes goes to a centre which specialises in autism and it is lovely because all the children accept each other for who they are. Those on the spectrum don't have prejudices. Thanks for your post :I found it encouraging.