How you involve yourself in the life of your autistic grandchildren can make or break your entire family. Parents of autistic children often have to distance themselves from negative family members, because of the harm it causes for their children to be around such influences.
Do you want to find yourself on the outer fringes of your children's and grand children's lives?
If you can admit to having said things like, "But there's nothing wrong with him," or, "A bit of discipline will fix that," or, "It's all in the parenting style," then sadly, you have to also admit that these are judgmental statements and you have been a negative influence in your family.
So you need to make a decision - do I want to have positive involvement or not? If your answer is yes, then I highly recommend the following page:
Especially for Grandparents... <--click!
What if I don’t believe the diagnosis?
That’s your privilege. But keep in mind that the child’s parents believe it. They live and work with the child daily and are in a unique position to notice the deficits. Because they care deeply about that child’s future, they aren’t concerned about the stigma of a label, as long as it means the child is eligible for the specialized programming she needs. They have put their pride aside for the sake of the child and expect the same from the rest of the family.
Consider carefully what could possibly be gained by refusing to believe the diagnosis. Then consider what could be lost. The parents are already living with a great deal more stress than other parents, and they don’t need the added strain of skeptical or judgmental grandparents. Otherwise you may suddenly be faced with the pain of being unwelcome in your grandchild’s home.
The article is focussed on Asperger's Syndrome, but all of the content also applies to autism spectrum disorders in general. If you want to have positive relationships in your family, then I hope you will follow the instructions in that article.