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Children lucky enough to grow up knowing their grandparents mostly
find it an enriching relationship. Your grandchild might see you as
a person with whom they can have fun, and you have all the pleasure
of being with children without the responsibilities of being a
parent. Many grandparents tell us that this has helped them learn
more about disability and strengthened all the family
The tips on this page will help you support your grandchild and
their parents. You might also find this page useful if you're a
friend or other relative of a parent with a disabled children.
We asked some grandparents to share their experiences - here are
"I think that the time when a young person's difficulties
and worries may become more obvious to him or herself, may be the
very time when they are more reluctant to draw attention to
themselves, therefore problems are often overlooked, causing even
more anxiety for the young person."
Disabled children become young people and then disabled adults.
They don't grow out of the condition. In fact you could say that
they grow into it. The challenges they face not only don't go away,
they in fact become more complex. At first glance they may appear
to be fine, but they still need continued support and
understanding. You can read more about this in our section on sex,
relationships and growing up.
All this means that you can still have a very valuable role to
play. This could be by taking the young person out (a show, a
football match, a shopping expedition, a new activity or just a
pizza or coffee). You could offer to help with any schoolwork that
might be causing difficulties, or just being a good listener.
Teenagers and young adults don't always find it easy to be open
about their difficulties, but may be very happy to find someone
they can talk to who isn't a parent or teacher.
And don't forget that parents also still need a break or a
sympathetic ear - it can be hard constantly hearing about other
young people's exploits and achievements when your son or daughter
is finding growing up a frustrating process.
If you are helping the parents by providing a substantial amount
of care to your grandchild, you might be able to claim certain
benefits like Carer's Allowance.
Your eligibility will depend on a number of factors, such as
income and whether anyone else is already claiming as a carer for
that child. Visit our benefits and tax credits pages
to find out more about financial support, or call our freephone