They may feel mixed emotions of confusion, disbelief and sadness, and even a sense of responsibility that the condition may be hereditary. It is worth remembering that many grandparents also lived through an age when disability was understood very differently to today, and they may still have misconceptions about the subject.
In many cases grandparents can benefit from finding out more about learning disability themselves. You can either speak to them about your child's diagnosis, or direct them to local and national organisations, libraries and GP surgeries for information and advice. Friends can also be a good source of support, although finding grandparents in a similar situation may be difficult as there are very few groups specifically for grandparents.
For some families, encouraging grandparents to get involved in their grandchild's life can also help them to come to terms with a diagnosis. You may want to invite them to a parents' support group with you, or suggest they meet your child's teacher at an open day at their school.
Giving them time to get to know your child as an individual is also very important, and with time, grandparents can offer vital support to families of a child with a learning disability.
- Read the Contact a Family factsheet for grandparents
- Pass on the Learning Disability Helpline number to grandparents - 0808 808 1111