New support group in New Haven for grandparents of kids with autism

NEW HAVEN - When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents often turn to support groups for advice and understanding.

Grandparents need the same sort of outlet.  That's why a New Haven mother-daughter duo are launching a support group for grandparents of kids with ASD in January.

After grandson TJay was diagnosed with the developmental disorder, Phyllis Foskey wasn't sure how to help his mother, her daughter, Tracey.

"She was running here and running there.  My thing was, 'When am I going to pitch in? I have to pitch in, I have to help out'," said Phyllis.  "When I started doing that, I noticed that my family started pitching in, my hair stylist, my pastor.  All of us came together as a village raising this child."

Tracey thinks a support group for grandparents - to be held monthly, starting in January - will give an older generation, not as versed on autism, valuable tips.

"Patience and being open-minded and knowing that every kid is different and finding what works for that child," she said.

The single mom has experience in this field.  Two years ago, she created the TJAY Foundation, offering a support group for parents in New Haven.  This started a conversation that wasn't common in the inner-city.

"Culturally, I’d go back to years ago, (people thought), 'What goes on in this house stays in this house.'  We have to get out of that mind frame," she said.

Phyllis put-in the effort and feels she's come a long way in understanding TJay, now twelve.

"He’s my strength in so many ways when I’m down because I look at my problem then I look at this child coming up in the world," she said. "My problem is nothing.  He has the whole world to face."

Learn more about the support group by contacting Tracey Foskey on her Facebook page or at traceyfoskey@gmail.com.