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Grandparenting

Autistic grandson

(10 Posts)
Rosajoy1 Tue 16-Feb-21 14:26:40

My 28 month old grandson has been showing signs of ASD for a while, he doesn’t speak, point, make eye contact etc. He isn’t coping very well with the birth of his sister eight weeks ago. My son and daughter in law have contacted their health visitor but appointments are hard to come by at the moment. They have taken him to nursery for settling in sessions but after a positive start he became distressed and had a complete melt down. Feeling helpless as we don’t live nearby. I guess I would really like to hear some positive stories from Grans who have been in a similar position!

geekesse Tue 16-Feb-21 15:32:18

A two-and-a-bit year old child who as been disturbed by the arrival of a sibling may show these behaviours without necessarily being autistic. It’s quite urgent that the family try to get a diagnosis if they believe he may have ASD, because then they will be able to insist that the nursery take special account of his needs - time out in a quiet room, soothing sensory activities etc.

My grandson who was diagnosed with ASD about 5 years ago wears noise cancelling headphones in school, because he is hypersensitive to noise. Might be worth a try?

BlueBelle Tue 16-Feb-21 15:43:56

Oh dear poor lad having a new baby in the family, going through CoviD restrictions, and starting (or trying) nursery
i m not surprised he’s having meltdowns and not managing
Far too much for a very young baby (himself) to deal with
He’s confused probably scared and at that age can’t verbalise his fears and living in a situation totally out of his control and maybe understanding

Marydoll Tue 16-Feb-21 16:11:15

I second what geekesse has said. Obviously assessments have stalled, due to lockdown, but the wee one needs support sooner than later. It's not enough to just put it down to a new sibling. Poor mum and dad must be exhausted trying to cope with a new baby and worried about their son.

If the health visitor has been slow to respond, I would consider contacting their GP for advice in sourcing support.

Sarnia Tue 16-Feb-21 16:14:11

The signs you describe pre-sister's arrival could point to autism. My grandson, now aged 11, showed some worrying signs when he was coming up to 2 years of age. He 'lost' the few words he had been saying and would sit for quite some time spinning the wheels of a toy car, rather than push it along the floor. I used to take him to a toddler group but he would get very agitated and push on the doors to try to get out. His Mum took him to the GP who arranged a hearing test. This is usually the first procedure carried out as hearing loss could account for poor or no speech. Once this came back as normal he had a bit of a wait to be seen by other early years professionals, in both his home and nursery settings. Their reports were discussed and in my grandson's case a diagnosis of autism was made. It took a few more months for a Statement to be drawn up. This is a legal and binding document on the provisions that must be put in place for that particular autistic child to achieve their educational potential. Ask parents of children with special needs and most, if not all, will say that their major problem is fighting for their child's needs. Getting a Statement may be your son and DIL's first battle. These days money is tighter than ever so some local authorities may try to avoid issuing a Statement. Having been in that position, my advice would be to fight all the way. Statements open doors. If your grandson is autistic he may be able to attend a mainstream school but a Statement would likely say he would need a 1-1 teaching assistant for an agreed number of hours a week. Very important for him to have that extra input. If he needs a special school, as my grandson does, then it may involve the local authority paying for transport to and from school. Whichever nursey or school your son & DIL choose for him in the future, they will have to give him a place. Statemented children are high on the entry criteria of most schools. I hope your son & DIL get help with setting the ball in motion because at 28 months they have time to get all their ducks in a row should their son be autistic. Apart from the practical things that can be done for your grandson, the most important of all is total and unconditional love. I have a fridge magnet which says 'When you have met one autistic child, you have met one autistic child'. So true. They may be on the autistic spectrum but they can be very different one to another. They are just wired up differently to neuro-typicals. Whatever the future holds for your grandson I wish you and your family the courage to fight for his rights when you have to and the happiness he will surely bring in the coming years. thanks

Lolo81 Tue 16-Feb-21 16:35:51

The saying above is so true, when you have met one autistic child you have met one autistic child. There may be however some common “triggers” which cause him to melt down that mum and dad could try and identify and mitigate.
The national autistic society is a great resource and also had some great little videos on YouTube that can help.
My nephew’s “triggers” (I don’t really know how else to describe them hence the “”) are multiple, three main ones were unexpected loud noises, abrupt changes and uninvited contact. So the family mitigate these by making sure he can access his noise cancelling headphones. Rather than a rigid schedule which isn’t always possible we alert him to what’s coming next, e.g. we’re getting up now, next is shower time: we’ve had shower next is breakfast etc etc. And the biggy for us is no-one can touch him without his consent, which his maternal grandma never understood or respected so that was a nightmare!
As my nephew has got older (he’s a young teen now) his tolerance is so much better and he copes well most days, he’s an absolute ray of light and is so clever and affectionate - he just processes things a bit differently so the family now does things a bit differently too.
For supporting your son and DIL I’d advise just be there as a shoulder. As I mentioned earlier in my post my nephews maternal gran was a nightmare, she refused to accept his diagnosis or that autism is even a condition. It made it so hard for my bro and SIL at times, and my SIL said that having me reminding her she was (and is) a bloody great mum helped her on her bad days. She couldn’t get over the fact her mum thought that my nephew needed “fixed” and suggested myriad “solutions” instead of following the strategies that worked with him and loving him unconditionally like the rest of the family.

Greenfinch Tue 16-Feb-21 16:38:39

Excellent post Sarnia.Being the grandparent of a 13 year old with autism,I agree with everything you say. My DGS was diagnosed at 28 months and has received support ever since.He is now in a very large mainstream comprehensive with some TA support but he prefers to manage on his own if he can.

Rosajoy1 Tue 16-Feb-21 19:18:41

Thank you so much for all of your comments. I have a good relationship with my son and daughter in law and I have learnt from my own mother in law how not to respond!
Happy to support them every step of the way. Your positive messages have helped enormously.

M0nica Tue 16-Feb-21 20:19:19

His problem need not be autism, there are other conditions he could have that show similar symptoms at this very young age.

mrsbirdy Wed 14-Apr-21 18:04:14

Hi Rosajoy1. Speaking from a professionals view. Its too soon to say what this is about. Your grandson is too young for a diagnosis which is done by health, his nursery will keep an eye on him and manage any settling in, the HV will be starting home visits soon or clinics will start and nurseries can seek support from a HV and Early Years advisor. A useful tip for parents is to keep a diary-nothing too detailed or obsessive, just when and where he has difficulties, what they notice about him and have a think about what they do already that works to meet his needs. There's lots of ways to help with the areas you mention. And hopefully they won't be needed, that it's just a new baby wobble! Xx