Hoffmann Foundation for Autism

Grandson with special needs

I posted on here some time ago. The family noticed that our grandson had some special needs. He will be turning 5 on Tuesday the 4th and our son and his wife are both in denial. Our grandson still cannot speak, he has extreme anger issues, screams, spits, kicks, hits his mother, brother and anyone else except for me. My wife and I raised our down syndrome son and believe as parents it's our job to give our children every opportunity to be independent from us. Our grandson still cannot dress himself because mommy does it for him, I won't do that. The parents believe that once he begins talking he will be normal. For us he shows all the signs of autism spectrum and the longer our son and his wife wait for him to be tested the harder it will be. Our down syndrome son was doing twice as much at 4 years old then our grandson is doing now and we don't know what to do.

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Wish the lad a 'Happiest Birthday' and carry on doing what you're doing. Give him all the love you can, that's what good grandparents do best.

It's the hardest thing to do, to admit that your child isn't perfect, especially to yourself and no matter the imperfection. Some imperfections are obvious at first sight and this makes them impossible to deny. The thing with autism, and this only comes from observing my niece's little boy (8 next week) on an almost daily basis, is that sometimes it's hard to believe that he suffers with autism at all. Perhaps this is the reason for the denial.

Also try to remember that this is your grandson, not your child. By being always in the background, unopinionated but supportive, if the day comes when your beliefs are supported, then you will be the first person the parents will turn to for help. If you do try and offer advice, even out of kindness and concern, it will be seen as interfering and cause a rift between the parents and yourself. This would be of no benifit to anyone, especially your grandson.

One day soon, he will start school and things have come a long way within these environments. If indeed he is suffering with autism, it will be very quickly picked up and the ball will start rolling in getting everyone the support and help needed. Even if he is home educated, he will still require assessment visits on a regular basis, especially in his early years.

I can only imagine the anguish and anxiety that you must feel and all I can say is, for now, carry on doing what you're doing, be supportive but impartial. don't alienate yourself from your child, now is not the time for confrontation, save that energy for the battles that lie ahead should you be right in your thoughts. and keep telling yourself, your day will come and you r support will be welcomed and needed.

I wish you patience and strength, kindness you already obviously have and I know it's a bit whacky to say but 'spread the love' it's the best thing you can do.

God Bless.

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RE: Home Education.

Home Educated children are not monitored by any authority.

theguardian.com/society/201...

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Thank you for your kind words and compassion during this obvious troubling time that my wife and I are currently in. Shane has completed preschool last year and he started kindergarten this year. Yes of course our concerns are that Shane is diagnosed as soon as possible and we all know, the faster he is diagnosed the quicker he can begin getting the specific help he needs because the longer our son and his wife wait the harder it's going to be for Shane. Both our son and his wife know Shane is a special needs child and part of the denial comes from guilt, ignorance. But they truly both believe that once Shane begins talking he will miraculously be a "Normal Child". I think it's more frustrating on the part of my wife and I with our son because he's the oldest of 3 boys and his brother Damion, our second child was born with Down Syndrome. And he saw first hand the work that mom and dad had to do everyday to teach Damion to become independent from us not dependent and the fights and arguments with my wife's side of the family because they felt sorry for Damion that they would want to do everything for him. I remember one incident where my wife and I just needed a break, so we took 5 days and her and I went on a mini vacation. We gave special instructions to her parents not to carry or feed Damion that be knows how to walk on his own and knows how to feed himself. When we returned from our vacation we brought Damion home and he wouldn't walk or feed himself so I told my wife that her parents went against our instructions and carried and fed him, of course she defended them. Well come to find out, I was correct. I told them it took me a year and a half of working with Damion every day to teach him to walk and a year to teach him to eat on his own and in 5 days they destroyed the years of work I put in, not them, not even their daughter, me, and I'm just the step-dad. I said Damion will not be allowed to stay with them unsupervised. Of course they got mad, called me names and said you can't do that your not even Damion's real father. And I said, you are right, Damion's real father abandoned your daughter while she was still in the hospital after giving birth to Damion after he learned Damion was mentally retarded. But I fell in love with your daughter and your grandchildren and I love Damion enough to give him a chance of a life. All the specialist told my wife that Damion was so severely retarded she would be his caregiver for life and he would never learn to do anything for himself. Today Damion is 38 years old, has lived in a group home for the past 15 years, has his own bedroom, has his own job and loves life. But it didn't come easy, it came by hard tedious work, but I wasn't willing to give up on Damion. His brother, our oldest son was witness to all of it and it surprises me and his mom that he hasn't even attempted to get Shane evaluated. So I don't say a word, I let my wife handle this one. For us what makes the the situation worse is Shane has an older brother Anthony, who is 6 years old and our sons wife, for whatever reason Shane is her favorite, can do no wrong angel and Anthony gets pushed aside. There are 2 sets of rules in the house, rules for Anthony, that he better follow and no rules for Shane. We live with our son and his family due to my physical and neurological disabilities. I finally had enough and I told my wife that she needs to begin speaking with our son. He travels a lot with his job and my wife has already begun. I told my wife emotional abuse is worse then physical abuse and if she ever crossed that line I would call CPS immediately. Anthony and I have a very special relationship and he makes sure grandpa takes his medication everyday. I use a walker to get around and everyday he would go with me for my daily walks. When he was 4 years old, getting ready to turn 5 Anthony and I were walking down the street from the house, Anthony said, grandpa, would you run away with me? I said Anthony, why would you want to run away and he said did I won't have to live in that house with mommy or Shane. He told me that 2 different times on our walks. So there's more to this story then just Shane getting evaluated. My son told me that his wife blames herself for Shane because she smoked. I said Tony, I understand all that but your wife needs to get over her pitty party and begin focusing on Shane because this isn't about her, it's about him and what's best for him. I said time flies by and before you know it Shane will be 5 then 8 then 12 then 15, what then?. I said that 2 years ago. I told him, that Damion, at the same age as Shane, 3 years old could do 10 times more then Shane. I said, son, your wife is still feeding him, dressing him, I said at this rate nothing will change in 2 years, he will still be in diapers. Well Shane turned 5 last month and mommy still feeds him, dresses him, when he wants something he screams until he gets it and while he's screaming she's saying oh baby sweetie what do you want mama to get you. He loves the quick stove top pasta with cheese suff, whenever he wants that she will cook it up for him even if he doesn't eat his dinner because he'd rather watch cartoons, but on the other hand Anthony better eat all his dinner or it's the corner. I finally told her one day, it's a shame that Anthony pays for Shanes disability.

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