Having a grandchild on the autism spectrum

Jill: Interview 04

Age at interview: 69

Brief outline: Jill has full-time care of her grandson who has been diagnosed with autism and semantic pragmatic disorder.

Background: Jill has one daughter and a grandson. She is a retired journalist. Ethnicity/nationality: White British.

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Jill has full-time care of her only grandson who she describes as “bright, good-natured and sweet-tempered”. He was diagnosed with autism and semantic pragmatic disorder after his behaviour caused concern at school. 
Jill and her grandson have to rely on public transport to travel. As she only receives a State pension and not a carer’s allowance, funding travel is expensive. She feels his future potential and opportunities are becoming more restricted because the cost of buses and taxis is limiting his ability to get around. 
She explains how he is not aware of danger and, as a result, she has to “be on the alert and aware” all the time. She would like to find a professional to work with him and to teach him how to “walk without zigzagging” and how to behave on the street and on public transport. She worries he does not take her advice about dangers seriously. She explains that she is bossy about lots of things and so he may not be able to distinguish serious advice or warnings from more trivial ones.
Jill is very happy being a carer-grandmother and doesn’t begrudge giving up her previous lifestyle. She describes her experience with her grandson as “very broadening” and feels she is “getting something extra with a lovely little boy”.


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