Support Autism Awareness in April
as Part of National Autism Awareness Month
Share autism stories and information (yours or others) in April and use hashtags like #CelebrateDifferences, #KindnessCounts, and #WorldAutismMonth and #LightItUpBlue. Hashtags are a way to organize specific topics that people can follow on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.
Write or send emails to your local and national government representatives to advocate for additional autism support. Describe how autism has affected three generations in your family. CLICK HERE for more info on how to advocate and how to contact your representatives.
Learn More About Autism
To learn more about autism go to:
- Autism Screening
- Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Developmental Milestones from the CDC
- NIH Autism Fact Sheet
- CDC Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Autism Speaks Website
Staying in Touch with Grandchildren
How to Increase Communication
You can make a deep and life changing impact on your grandchildren by being supportive to their parents and them whether you live nearby or far away. Springtime is usually a time when families plan to celebrate the holidays of Easter or Passover or go on family vacations together. Grandparents, especially those who live at a distance from their grandchildren, may return home concerned about how they can continue to stay in touch with their grandchildren. Here are some suggestions about how you can regularly communicate and play an important role in your grandchildren’s lives:
- Learn as much as possible about autism and how it is affecting your grandchild. Ask about the best way to communicate because your grandchild may need more time to process information. You may need to use gestures or other ways to communicate besides words. Praise and reward good behavior and, do not take things personally if their responses are blunt.
- If you communicate online, be kind and flexible until your grandchild adapts to the new format of being together. There are many free video chat services available such as Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangout and Skype. Set up a regular timeline that works best for everyone to meet.
- If you or your grandchild have difficulty communicating online, these accessibility features may help people with disabilities to use technology more easily. For example a text-to-speech feature may read text out loud for people with limited vision while a speech recognition feature allows one with limited mobility to control the computer with their voice.
Computers: Windows, Mac, Chromebooks
Tablets: iPad, Android
Go here for more tips
Siblings Also Need Your Support
Because children with autism require more attention, therapies and support, the needs of their brothers and sisters are frequently overlooked. Siblings share many of the same concerns their parents have regarding social isolation, the need for information and they worry about the caregiving expectations their parents have for them in the future. Sometimes, they feel resentment, embarrassment and under great pressure to achieve. They are frequently in the waiting room when “family centered” counseling and services are offered and are overlooked by support agencies. Here are some ways you can help them:
- Plan to spend special time with siblings and be a good listener. If you provide a safe, comfortable environment, they may express their concerns to you.
- When siblings argue, try to remember that typically developing children deserve a life where they, like other children, sometimes misbehave get angry and fight. Try not to intervene with statements like “Leave your brother alone. You are bigger, you are stronger, you should know better. It is your job to compromise.” They are already more likely to feel guilty about their sibling’s developmental needs. Even typical siblings have disagreements from time to time.
- Siblings deserve to have their own personal safety given as much as their brother or sister who has special needs. If they are in vulnerable situations due to aggressive or challenging behaviors, try to provide as much respite time as possible for them. Plan activities that will keep them apart and enable you to give your full attention to only one of them at a time.
- Offer to care for your grandchild with autism so that parents can spend more time together with their other children.
- One child’s special needs should not overshadow another’s achievements and milestones. Celebrate and reinforce the accomplishments of all of your grandchildren.
You may find more information about sibling support groups by calling your local children’s hospital or go online to these sites: http://www.siblingsupport.org/ and http://siblingleadership.org
Apps To Share With Grandchildren
Making Learning Fun
Helping kids to make their own snacks builds confidence! Here are some fun recipes that are sure to tickle their taste buds. All of the recipes are pictorial recipes. Print the recipe and have your grandchildren prepare the recipe by following pictures.
This has a collection of free visual recipes and other resources to help teach cooking skills to individuals with disabilities at home or in a special education classroom.
A New Great Amusement Park
This new park has been specifically designed to meet the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. It may be a great vacation destination for your grandchildren because it is close to other kid friendly places.
Now is the perfect time to sort through cupboards, drawers and closets. Most of us have collectibles and other worthwhile items that our children do not want. Donations to the Grandparent Autism Network are tax-deductible. Create more space for all the fabulous things that you love AND benefit grandparents and their families affected by autism.
All donated items are sold through our e-Bay for Charity store, raising money to support our programs, services and websites. We welcome donated goods such as:
- New unwanted gifts
- Collectibles, Home Accessories, Craft Items
- New Clothing, Shoes and Handbags
- Fine, Vintage and Costume Jewelry
- Mobile Phones, Tablets and Laptops
You can mail or drop off donations for GAN at the store located at 23785 El Toro Road, #103, Lake Forest, CA. Contact us at email@example.com for possible pickup options in Orange County, CA and for tax-donation forms.
Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Tax ID# 20-5230144