Life in a Multigenerational Household

Life in a Multigenerational Household

Life in a Multigenerational Household

Life in a multigenerational household is so fascinating to experience. There is always an element of intrigue to the different interactions as long as learning about the family is the goal. Different educational backgrounds, different life experiences and different forms of communication make for perfectly imperfect learning opportunities that love and curiosity help convert into lifelong wisdom. 

The great grandparents always go for the most coveted price, a cure for autism. The time tested tool they have at their disposal is an application to one or many gods. When they are not telling me which temple to visit, they are telling me about the awesomeness of their gods. They are certain that I can be cured. When they talk about their lives and how much of it is centered around temples and religion, I understand that their ideas for my cure are just an expression of their love for me and their wishes for me to have a fulfilling life. I make peace with that and instead lean into their fascinating life stories to learn about who they are and what they have overcome. They always look out for me, in spite of their own frail bodies and age related loss of function.

The grandparents are a vibrant group. They are more spread out in age and understand my condition with various levels of depth. They run around to feed me and this becomes their primary objective. They also are willing to stretch their worldviews to help me find a place in that. They are loving and kind even if they do not always know how to engage me. They all try extremely hard to show up for me. 

The uncles and aunts and cousins have more exposure than any other group in the family. They have traveled and been to good schools and are worldly wise. Access to information about autism is readily available to them and they love following my work as well. We have made songs and videos together. Most of them attempt to talk to me in an age appropriate way and in general understand my evolution quite well.

We are rarely under the same roof together but when we do on our India trips it is always a happy chaotic experience- the chaos mainly from everyone telling each other how to deal with me.

Swarit Gopalan

About the Author

I am an 11-yr old autistic, nonspeaker that uses letterboard to spell/keyboard to type to communicate.I live with my family in Florida and go to Invictus Academy for school. 
I find a lot of solace in expressing myself through poetry. Music and nature also help me stay in the present, there is nothing better for me than to have my movement create a symphony with nature and to truly enjoy the sights and sounds. Living in harmony with nature is my life’s mission.
Right from the time of diagnosis, we are only told about all things we cannot or will not be able to do. Along with the check that is written to the doctor for the diagnosis, it often feels like our agency is written off too, especially without a reliable communication mechanism.  
Time to change the paradigm with more non speaker voices. It has always been a dream to share my thoughts and perspectives with the world so that I can be one of the catalysts to creating a better understanding of non speakers in general. 
My hope is that my words will help change the world from sympathy and pity for those like me to one of deeper understanding of our lives and allyship to ensure our rights.

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