To promote awareness and understanding of autism and to enhance the resources essential to community responsiveness
A community sensitive to and supportive of those living with autism
Autism is epidemic today and it is estimated that there are over 6,000 children with autism living in Orange County, California. While there are many support groups for parents of children with autism, the Grandparent Autism Network was founded in April 2006 to meet the unique needs of grandparents in our community. In March 2012, the board of directors voted to open membership to grandparents who are residents outside of Orange County, California.
GAN is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization. There is no charge for membership or for e-newsletters which have suggestions about how we can improve the quality of life for our families and how we can develop new resources in our communities. Well respected professionals, grandparents and parents contribute information about how to make things easier and better for every generation in our families.
The Grandparent Autism Network sponsors this website and the Family Autism Network website, www.faninfo.org. The FAN website has an Orange County Calendar of Autism Events and it posts information and links to both local and national autism resources.
Unlike our children, who are totally focused on their children’s needs, grandparents are concerned about the effects of autism on their children, grandchildren and every future generation. We want to know about current research studies, what treatments are considered most effective and how autism might be prevented. We seek assistive technologies to make life easier for our family members. We want our grandchildren to grow up in a social environment that is both understanding and supportive to them. We share their frustrations in coping with autism, applaud their hard earned accomplishments and we have the potential to be their best advocates. GAN strives to increase awareness and resources for autism on both local and national levels.
Because autism causes emotional and financial strains on marriage, grandparents frequently play a significant role in helping their families. It is estimated that the divorce rate may be as high as 80 percent in families with children who have autism. Many grandparents provide respite time for their children, transport their grandchildren to special programs and underwrite costs to provide services for their special needs. Some grandparents live with their grandchildren and are legally responsible for them. It is important for us to learn about the therapies and possible dietary, environmental and therapeutic interventions prescribed for them. We need to understand why certain protocols are being recommended or followed.
This GAN website shares the community programs, projects and presentations our organization sponsors. While there are no GAN chapters outside of Orange County, California, we invite grandparents everywhere to replicate our programs or projects in their own communities. Most of GAN’s activities can be successfully duplicated at little or no cost. GAN collaborates and shares resources with other community organizations and it is likely that grandparents in other areas can also partner with local autism causes.
Frequently, the best information is communicated from grandparent-to-grandparent.. We can offer practical solutions to common problems, based upon personal experiences with our grandchildren. We invite and encourage you to submit suggestions and recommendations. We know that grandparents networking together are a vital resource for autism … and each other.