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Ties That Bind: A letter to the grandparents of children with autism

This guest post is from Linda Mastroianni who is the founder of and a contributing blogger for Huffington Post Canada. This post is part of our Ties That Bind blog series that highlights the shared experiences that people in our autism community have had. Have a story you want to share? Email us your blog submission at!

I am blessed in my life that I have a very strong support system with my family.  If it wasn’t for my parents and my sister, I don’t know how I would have managed half of what I needed to do for son.  They were (and still are) always there for me and for my kids.

But I also think of my friends whose children never had a chance to meet or get to know their grandparents.  Grandma and grandpa received their calling way too soon.  I have you in my heart as I write these words.  I’d like to think that somehow, they are watching from the heavens above guiding you all on your journey.

The month of April is all about raising autism acceptance and understanding but for every family living with autism, we all know that we do this every single day of our lives.

Today I’d like to pay a tribute to all the grandparents of children with autism because they too help raise autism awareness and understanding.    They play such a critical role in the family and especially in supporting us with our children.

To all the grandparents and step-grandparents, this one is for you:

Thank you for being the rock that kept us grounded when our world was turned upside down.

Thank you for adapting your home before anyone even asked you to.

Thank you for the times we found unexpected cooked meals, a clean house and the laundry done; we are grateful.

Thank you for being there to pick them up at school after a meltdown because we couldn’t leave work.

Thank you for coming with us at therapy for the moral support and to not feel so alone.

Thank you for keeping them overnight so we could sleep in; the respite was much needed.

Thank you for your encouraging words and your endless supply of unconditional love to all of us.

Thank you for making more than one meal because you wanted to make sure they ate something.

Thank you for buying the identical items to keep at your home so we didn’t have carry them around.

Thank you for taking the time to understand the triggers that can cause a meltdown.

Thank you for the countless times you held us while we wept out of frustration and helplessness that we felt at the lack of services for our children.

Thank you for not judging us when we lost it.

Thank you for educating others about autism because we know it affects you too.

Thank you for always staying strong and never showing your fear or concern in front of us.  We couldn’t have done this without you.

Your strength and unwavering support is what got us through this.

We shine a spotlight on you because you all have played a very significant role in the lives of your grandchildren.

Please never forget how precious you are to them and to us.

Have a blog that you wanted highlighted in our Ties That Bind blog series? Email us your blog submission at!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.