How Grandparents Can Help Special Needs Grandchildren

How To Best Help Your Parents

One topic we’ve had multiple requests to talk about is working with grandparents. We love our grandparents! I can tell you my parents were an absolute godsend when my kids were younger and I had to work, and they were sick.

That being said, grandparents, and other family members, sometimes don’t understand the issues our kids are going through. They think, “Oh, they’ll just grow out of it.” Or, “There’s nothing going on.” But we know the process, and we know what’s going on.

We ask you to be very patient with them. They don’t understand. Unless they’ve walked through this process the way we have, they will not understand it. So be very patient. But include them in the process! We have grandparents who take their grandkids to therapy every week, and they are clued in and know exactly what they’re doing. That’s because they’re involved in the process, and they’re vested in learning about it.

Educate Your Parents

Understand that a lot of how grandparents may react is just plain ignorance. They just don’t know. Educate them as best as they can tolerate, and as you can tolerate. Grandparents who are not in the area, who are far away, are at even more of a disadvantage because they can’t be involved in the process. Then you have a family event, and they’re overwhelmed because they’re not prepared for the issues your family has. It’s especially important to educate them, to have as much discussion and preparation as you can before an event. If you have any written information, specific things we’ve given you, feel free to pass this on to them. And talk to your therapist! If you’d like to film a short video of what treatment looks like to send to Grandma, talk to your therapist and we can have one of our techs to that. If Grandma would like to come in to tour the facility, we’re more than happy to set that up.

Keeping Your Kids on Schedule When They’re With Your Mom and Dad

But if grandparents are going to be caring for your child, realize and understand that they’re not going to follow the same schedule you do. You have to be prepared to readjust that schedule when you get them back home. If you’re prepared, that will help you to not be frustrated. If the roles were reversed, you would not understand and probably make the same types of mistakes.

Many of our kids have specific diet issues, many of them have specific rigidities with their schedule, textural issues, attention issues—all these different things—and you’ve been living and working with it on a daily basis, and they haven’t.


To make your events a little more peaceful and fun, set your expectations a little bit lower. Each time you go, as your child changes, you’re going to improve in the process.

For many people it’s just like you have a newborn baby, and you hand them over to a grandparent who just wants to hold them all the time and you’re thinking, “Don’t hold my baby all the time, because it has to learn to self-soothe and sleep, and I have a schedule laid out …” But they’re just trying to be loving grandparents.

Please reach out to us if you have any specific questions about dealing with your kids’ grandparents, and talk to your therapist—they’re a wealth of knowledge!

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