Older couple read information on a laptop

Grandparents can be a support for not only their grandchild on the autism spectrum, but also for their adult child and other family members. Just as all parents react to a diagnosis of autism in different and highly personal ways, so do grandparents. When a child is diagnosed with autism grandparents often grieve twice; once for their child who is the parent and once for the grandchild (Sullivan et al, 2012; Hillman, 2007). Autism is a life-long developmental disability. Children on the autism spectrum have difficulty with communication, social interaction, sensory processing and restricted and repetitive behaviour. Parenting a child on the autism spectrum can be highly stressful. Grandparents' understanding of the diagnosis, and their ongoing involvement, can reduce feelings of isolation and stress for their adult child (Sullivan et al, 2012).

Related information:


Hillman, J. (2007). Grandparents of children with autism: A review with recommendations for education, practice and policy. Educational Gerontology, 33,.513-527.

Sullivan, A., Winograd, G., Verkuilen, J. & Fish, M. (2012). Children on the autism spectrum: Grandmother involvement and family functioning. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25, 484-494.