Grandparent’s only! WE NEED HELP!

As we see things starting to come together with Life of Reilly this is one of the things I’ve felt most passionate about from day one.

There is nothing my mam and dad won’t do  for my children and my nephews.  They have always babysat for them, had them over night, took them to Disneyland Paris and the likes.  Usual grandparent stuff that makes our lives as parents that bit easier.  So it’s hard for me to see them struggle with Reilly.  My dad certainly gets stuck in and has a go but there is no denying it is difficult.  My mam feels helpless that she’s actually afraid to take him out alone a) he does a runner most of the time and b) I struggle with his meltdowns at 43 never mind 70.

As much as they listen to me about autism I don’t think anyone really gets it unless you live it 24/7.  We as parents sometimes withhold things that happen within our four walls to save them from worry, stress with relationships, money, lack of sleep, depression, anxiety etc.  We bite our tongues regularly at advice given with the best intentions.  We are tired, anxious and sharp sometimes, most of the time to be honest which is often mistaken for ungrateful, antisocial and rude.

I want them to feel more able to understand Reilly.  To not take things personally, to understand how they can help.  Grandparents play a crucial role in keeping the unit functioning well.  Without those little breaks I get when my dad takes Reilly on a bus journey or to Mcdonalds I am honestly screwed.

They also need support and can find a diagnosis difficult.  I always find comfort with people who know what I am going or have been through and I think this session on autism and the chance to converse with others is essential.  It’s informal and it’s free!


Judgey Faced Grandparent’s 


 What can grandparents do to help their family with an autistic child?

Lots of grandparents feel a bit hopeless when a child with autism comes along.  They’ve had brilliant relationships with the other grandchildren but this one needs a little more work.  This child doesn’t want nursery rhymes, books or chocolate.  I’ve found it’s always parents that are targeted with the awareness and the sessions to understand autism and it’s generally upto the parents to pass that knowledge along.  But who is it who cares for the children when parents have to work etc.  You find with an autistic child people aren’t exactly throwing themselves at your door offering their services.















I have one piece of advice for grandparents stop judging, like really stop.


Drop in on your son or daughter and there’s a pile of dishes on the bench, the washing hasn’t been done, the kids are having chicken nuggets for the 4th time this week, there’s toys tipped out of boxes in the living room and the kids have got odd socks on.  The LAST thing they need to see is your judgey face and a sly tut.  First world problems? – I don’t think so.

You see snippets of their stressful lives.  Often running on minimum sleep and maximum anxiety.  Marital problems can creep in and siblings crave more attention.  If you need to pick a battle I guarantee the dishes and washing will not win.  Autism parents can be burning the candle at both ends can’t sleep, won’t sleep being a major issue (if your little cherub allows of course in that 3 hour sleep window).   Exhausted but a mind full of worry waiting on their pillow.  Will he go to school tomorrow?, will he have a meltdown in the taxi?, is he going to eat? Will he sleep more than 3 hours? etc who do we have appointments with this week paediatrician, speech and language, educational psychologist then a little skip forward to what if I die tomorrow who will care for him, this plays on a loop every single night, not just mine but also my husbands.

You can help though.

Mow that lawn, put the washing through, offer your babysitting services even if it’s just for an hour, make them a pie and drop it in for tea.  Little things.

I’m very lucky that my parents pitch in.  My dad takes Reilly for walks and let’s us go for tea sometimes and my Mam does housey things to help, she’s still gets very upset during meltdowns and doesn’t look after Reilly alone, she’s pretty much terrified of him.  Rightly so just 2 days ago he was lining his paddling pool up underneath the upstairs bathroom window.  He never got the opportunity as the window is locked but he literally has no fear of anything other than the stampede on The Lion King.

All hands need to be on deck regardless of whether that deck is strewn with Thomas the Tank toys and the missing odd socks. Team work is essential.  You must remember that lots of parents feel like they are failing without anyone else’s judgement.  We are our own worst critics and trust me we don’t critique lightly.

Nickname for today : Stig (of the dump)

Grandparents all is not lost! watch this space for more info regarding grandparents and autism coming soon.
 Reilly at his Grandad’s.  Nutella on toast every night straight from school.