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Family

How do you give a child struggling with autism more stability? Call in the grandparents.

Who better than family to make sure you and your child with autism are getting every service available?

In 2009, the CDC estimated that 1 in 110 children in the U.S. had autism spectrum disorders.

That was an increase from 1 in 150 just two years prior, and the number keeps increasing. But for families of children with autism, the reality is much more nuanced than those numbers can portray.

Parents of kids with autism tend to struggle with things that many of us cannot understand. They have less time to socialize and little time to do research on services available to their kids. Those services can be quite expensive, too. And sadly, some parents may even find themselves shunned by family and friends who don't quite understand autism. But of course, these parents are also blessed with unique and vibrant children — as with most of parenting, the experience is a mixed bag.


Image via iStock.

But now there's an exciting approach for families of kids with autism. Enter: grandparents.

Sociologist Eva Kahana, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, conducted a literature review of dozens of studies about parenting, special needs kids, and familial relationships. She suggests grandparents are ideal hangout buddies for children, especially those diagnosed with autism.

She found that grandparents can help parents raise autistic children who are better adapted because grandparents often build a bridge to understanding autism for everyone in the family. And because grandma and grandpa are often able to act as neutral "spokespeople" between the family of a child with autism and their extended family or the outside world. Grandparents often end up serving as surrogates, educating people and dispelling any misguided perceptions about autism, including fear and discomfort.

Most grandparents have already raised children, so they may be more aware than parents if their grandchild is showing signs of developing autism.

Most grandparents are extremely emotionally invested in their grandchildren, often second only to parents, so they are more likely to notice and push for an early diagnosis and treatment plan, too.

Image via iStock.

Also, grandparents typically have more time for caretaking and special attention.

That means they are able to do research on after-school programs and other services offered to children with autism that parents may not know about.

“Parents often accept limited services offered to the child at their local public schools, unaware of additional services that schools are required by law to provide to a child with a disability,” Kahana says.

Then there's the issue of money — there's something called a "special needs trust" that grandparents can open for a grandchild who has autism. The trust ensures that the child's future public benefits are never put at risk.

And who better to watch your kids?

Kahana found that children who struggle with autism are less likely to become agitated when grandma or grandpa babysit, as opposed to a babysitter they don't know at all. (Not to mention the added benefit of not having to pay them for their services — that frees up a lot of money parents can spend to improve the quality of life of their children!)

Image via iStock.

The best part is that these are just findings from one article dealing specifically with autism.

Other studies have shown lots of added benefits for children who spend time with their grandparents.

Grandmas and grandpas rule. They're there to spoil you, to say "yes" when your parents say "no," and to send you a lot of unconditional love. But while the bonds between kids and their grandparents are beautiful, they're also functional: They could drastically improve life for kids with autism and other special needs all over the world.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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"AI art isn't cute."

Odds are you’ve probably seen those Lensa AI avatars floating around social media. You know, the app that turns even the most basic of selfies into fantasy art masterpieces? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have your own series of images filling up your photo bank right now. Who wouldn’t want to see themselves looking like a badass video game character or magical fairy alien?

While getting these images might seem like a bit of innocent, inexpensive fun, many are unaware that it comes at a heavy price to real digital artists whose work has been copied to make it happen. A now-viral Facebook and Instagram post, made by a couple of digital illustrators, explains how.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


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A Home Depot store in Newington, Connecticut.

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The value is so important that it is written on all of its employees' work vests.

There’s no better example of employees following the company’s values than an incident that happened late last month at a Home Depot store in Bellevue, Tennessee. This story was originally reported by WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee, and we thought it was such a good deed that we wanted to share it far and wide through our Upworthy audience.

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