Neurodivergence is a term that refers to the diversity of human brains and minds, especially those that differ from the normative expectations of society. Neurodivergent people may have autism, ADHD, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, or Tourette syndrome.
Raising their neurodivergent grandkids is a role that some grandparents may assume, either by choice or necessity, depending on their family situation. This can be a challenging but rewarding experience, as grandparents have to navigate their grandkids’ complex needs, strengths, and health and well-being. They may also opt to give more support and care to their family.
Raising grandkids who are neurodiverse can be both challenging and rewarding for grandparents. This blog post will explore common difficulties and joys they experience and share tips and resources to support them.
- Lack of knowledge and awareness: Grandparents may not be familiar with the latest research and terminology on neurodiversity and may have misconceptions or stereotypes about their grandkids’ conditions. They may also face stigma and discrimination from others who do not understand or accept neurodiversity.
- Lack of support and services: Grandparents may need help accessing appropriate and affordable services and support for their grandkids, such as education, health care, therapy, or social activities. They may also have difficulty finding peer support or respite care for themselves.
- Financial and legal issues: Grandparents may incur additional expenses and responsibilities when raising their grandkids, such as housing, food, clothing, transportation, or medical bills. They may also face legal challenges in obtaining custody, guardianship, or other rights for their grandkids.
- Emotional and physical stress: Grandparents may experience emotional stress from dealing with their grandkids’ challenges and behaviours, as well as their feelings of grief, guilt, anger, or isolation. They may also face physical stress from ageing, illness, or injury.
- Bonding and love: Grandparents can enjoy a close and loving relationship with their grandkids and witness their growth and development. They can also share their wisdom, values, and experiences with their grandkids and learn from them.
- Pride and satisfaction: Grandparents can feel proud and satisfied with their role and contribution to their grandkids’ lives. They can also celebrate their grandkids’ achievements and successes, big or small.
- Joy and fun: Grandparents can have fun and joy with their grandkids and explore their interests and hobbies together. They can also discover new things and perspectives from their grandkids’ unique ways of thinking and being.
Tips and resources:
- Educate yourself: on your grandkids’ conditions and needs, and stay informed with the most recent information and research. Seek out reliable sources such as books, websites, podcasts, or documentaries that explain neurodiversity respectfully and positively.
- Advocate for your grandkids: Speak up for your grandkids’ rights and interests by joining or creating groups or networks that advocate for neurodiversity and inclusion in various settings such as school, health care, or community. Seek out professional help or legal advice if needed.
- Seek support for yourself: Reach out to other grandparents in a similar situation, either online or in person. Join or create groups or forums to share your experiences, challenges, tips, and resources. Seek professional help or counselling if you feel overwhelmed or depressed. Find respite care or other services that can give you a break or relief from your caregiving duties.
- Take care of yourself: Attend to your physical and mental health needs. Follow a balanced diet, exercise often, get enough rest, and reduce stress levels. Find happiness and meaning in your life by pursuing your passions, taking a break, being with friends, or contributing to society.
- Appreciate your grandkids: Focus on the positive aspects of your grandkids’ personalities and abilities. Acknowledge their abilities and skills, and support them to follow their interests. Respect their preferences and choices, and accommodate their needs. Express your love and affection for them often.
Raising neurodivergent grandkids can be a challenging but rewarding journey for grandparents. By educating themselves, advocating for their grandkids, seeking support for themselves, taking care of themselves, and appreciating their grandkids, grandparents can make the most of this unique opportunity to enrich their lives and their grandkids’ lives.
Leave a Reply