To the A list of illnesses that affect older Americans — Alzheimer’s disease, which disables minds, and arthritis, which disables bodies — we must add autism, which disables grandchildren and breaks their grandparents’ hearts.
“It is definitely a heartbreaker,’’ said Lee Granell, whose 17-year-old grandsons, identical twins Alex and Michael, have autism. She and her husband, Don, members of Christ Lutheran Church, Palatine, Ill., are far from alone in their heartache or involvement in their grandsons’ lives.
|Bob Mueller, 15, responds to a hug from his grandmother Carol with a smile. The autistic teen is nonverbal.|
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