Below is a post from Nana, Matthew's mumma describing her thoughts on what it's like to have a grandsons with ASD.
"Sophie asked me to write a grandparent's side of the boys’ story so far and Matthew told me to write from the heart! So here goes......
Xander and Joey entered our world very suddenly and very, very early on 14th January, 2012.......we will never forget the frantic phone call from Matthew asking us to get to the hospital as the twins were coming......I dashed home from Oxford with half a haircut to collect Bill, and we got to Kingston in time to be there for Matthew.....Sophie was otherwise engaged!
As a parent all you ever want to do for your children is keep them safe and make everything all right by “waving a magic wand” - since the early, and sudden, arrival of Xander and Joey into our lives, I feel I have failed to do that for Matthew. This feeling of failure on my part, I think, has left me questioning my contribution as a parent, and as a grandmother, and has left me unsure of my role. As a result I am tentative towards the boys and there is no doubt they pick up on this (children can sense this and the twins are no exception).
The first time I heard the word autism linked to Xander and Joey I went between sorrow for the two gorgeous boys, who had already had such a hard start to life with their prem birth and 4 months in intensive care before coming home, and anger at the unfairness of it all, and I wept for them and for Matthew and Sophie.
When the autism was confirmed we were thousands of miles away on our way to Australia and, not for the first time, felt completely helpless as we could not be there to support. This feeling of impotence, of not being able to help in the way I instinctively wanted to, of being unsure of the “right” thing to say, or do, continued for some time. Then I thought I can't do the usual grandmotherly things of practical help so what can I do ........I decided I needed to understand what autism actually is and once I began to read about it I began to understand so much of the boys’ behaviour, and the reasons behind how they are, and, most importantly, to understand what Matthew and Sophie were trying to do to help their boys, and to help them to reach their full potential.
I hope this has led to me being a better sounding block, more supportive, not patronising – more of a grandmother!I love these little boys so much and just want to be the best Nana I can be for them. Now I need to learn how to do it.
My admiration and pride for my son knows no bounds - and Sophie could not rise any further in my estimation as I have watched this gentlest of women grow into the most loving, nurturing mother any child could want - and the strength she has shown in fighting for her boys - a true tiger mother.