Worried about my granddaughter

My son, 21, is ADHD to the max the docs told me he was the highest score that they have ever seen. My daughter in law, 20, has depression and a family history of asperger’s & autism as well as being fairly anti-social. She doesn't make friends only has a few acquaintances. Now my granddaughter is 3.5 years old. Her speak has been behind since she was born. She goes to speech or is supposted to go 2 times a week. I am pretty sure the kids lied to me about taking her for a good few months, long story. So now dgd, hardly talks only a few words and not often maybe 5 or 6 times a day. She mostly responds with NO but never says yes... She has been going to playtime but ignores the other kids and plays by herself all the time. She does play with her cousin but not all the time. She is sweet and cuddly but doesn't seem to understand when given directions. She just kind of stands there like a deer in headlights.
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It does sound like autism. Now I have to deal with the kids (son & daughter in law). I have been telling them this for about a year to have her tested. I technically have guardianship of Kira. So I guess I could take her for testing myself.


Roll With It
The earlier your dgd is diagnosed, the earlier she can get the help she NEEDS. If you wait, you may miss developmental windows that could have long lasting effects on her. So if you are her guardian, then it is your responsibility to take her for help. If you are not there, you won't know what history the doctor is given about the family and about her development. Her parents may not be aware or able to communicate with the doctors to the degree that is needed.

Given what you have said, speech therapy is part of what she needs. She likely also needs occupational therapy for sensory issues (most people with autism have sensory integration disorder to some extent, it is just part of the package). Getting help for this can actually help change the way her brain works in positive ways, ways that will help her for the rest of her life. Not all doctors who diagnose autism will tell you this. I know our doctors did NOT mention it until my youngest needed help. By then we had missed a window to significantly help our oldest son. Or so we were told. This is why I try to mention sensory problems to parents with kids who are on the spectrum.

I know it may be hard to just take her for the evaluation and therapies, but there is a reason that you are dgd's guardian and her parents are not. If they are withdrawn into their own worlds (Mom into depression and Dad dealing with severe adhd), they simply may be unable to fully help their daughter. Not because they don't want to, but because they don't see the need or simply cannot cope with their own issues.

You already have your hands MORE than full, and I know it is hard to pack all of the rounds of doctors and therapies into everything else. But with school, she is going to have problems that will lead her to feeling all alone and like no one understands anything. Her ability to communicate is already impaired, and it must be very hard to not be able to express herself. This can lead to outbursts and being unable to cope with the world at all. As a young child, my youngest was unable to cope with the sensory input that bombarded him at school every day. He would literally crawl under the table and shake uncontrollably. He completely freaked out his teacher and the other kids when it happened. We learned the signs and had a wonderful school that just allowed him to stay home the 2-3 days a week that he was overloaded. If he couldn't get somewhere quiet, and he was with me, he would sometimes have an outburst that sounded like a temper tantrum. It wasn't, and I understood what was going on. With the help of occupational therapy, he learned how to cope in much better ways. Now he is a college student with excellent grades and a job where he is really appreciated. Well, 2 of them really. WIthout the sensory integration therapies, he would have been left floundering and unable to cope with the world in any way other than to just retreat into himself and reject the world. That isn't a good life for anyone, not if it can be helped.

To learn more about this, read The Out of Sync Child. One of the wonderful things about therapy for sensory problems is that the child is drawn to the things that will help. My youngest spent HOURS sitting on the couch on his head, with his feet up in the air. The deep pressure on his head and spine were what he NEEDED, and he did it without us knowing that. We just thought it was a weird kid thing to do and we ignored it because it wasn't worth fighting over unless he was sticking his feet in someone's face. I got a book by the same author of The Out of Sync Child that is full of activities. The ones he thought were fun were the ones he actually needed as therapy. The book is The Out of Sync Child Has Fun and it is fun for everyone (we often had every kid in the neighborhood - all ages- show up if we started an activity from the book outside!). It is probably the ONLY type of therapy that wasn't an ordeal at some point. Such a relief to do something enjoyable, or set your child up for something they like and to have it actually be the therapy they desperately NEED!

I hope you can get some ideas out of what I have written. It really sounds like your dgd is in need of help and I hope you can find ways to get it for her.