We autism grandparents can benefit greatly from the website of the Grandparent Autism Network (www.ganinfo.org) that is headquartered in Orange County, California. The organization’s in-person events take place locally, but its website information serves a global community.
“The Grandparent Autism Network informs grandparents about autism and the medical, educational, legal and social issues that affect their families, enabling them to share how they may improve the quality of life for their children and grandchildren.”
Founded in 2006 by Executive Director Bonnie Gillman a few years after her grandson was diagnosed with ASD, the Grandparent Autism Network provides a robust website that’s worthy of attention from autism grandparents.
New information and expertise is posted on a regular basis. For example, the following is one of today’s (10/17/2020) prominent articles:
Increasing Support For Your Children - and Grandchildren
“During this pandemic, our families are experiencing more stress than ever before. Tasks for caregivers have increased as professional autism support for families has decreased. Here are some ways you can help them now - and always: . . .”
And this article provides a list of things we grandparents can do to be supportive during COVID, such as, “Compliment everything your grandchildren's parents are doing to meet their increased responsibilities - and ask what you can do to help them.” And the article also suggests contents for a care package that we can send to our grandchildren if we can’t see them in person.
The website also provides instructions regarding how we grandparents can create a “Care Notebook” for our grandchildren’s parents:
“Families that have special needs children are typically overwhelmed with school, medical and therapy reports that need to be easily accessible when requested for Independent Education Planning sessions, progress evaluations and for filing insurance claims. Giving your family a Care Notebook, may be the best gift they will receive for years to come. It helps them to organize the huge amount of paperwork they have and relieves a lot of stress. It is easy to find the components at any office supply store and should cost approximately $25. Here’s how you can make one: . . .”
One of my favorite parts of the website is called “Tips and Suggestions” that can be found by clicking on RESOURCES and scrolling down. There are dozens of entries, such as, “Software for Speech Impaired People,” “Respite Care Options,” “30 Things Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum Want You to Know,” and “Go Take a Hike With Your Special Needs Grandchild.”
And finally, GAN’s seasonal Newsletter always contains beneficial information. For example the most recent Summer Newsletter contains these topics, “Safe Outdoor Activities,” “Best Movies About Autism,” [The list includes my personal favorite: “The Boy Who Could Fly.], and “Best TV Shows About Autism.”
The Grandparent Autism Network is an important and highly beneficial organization, and we’re missing out if we aren’t regular visitors to the website.