Divorce is often a watershed moment for children and teens. It can change everything in their lives, from where they go to school and where they live to their feeling of security. When your child has specific struggles with emotional and social issues, divorce can have a lasting and confusing impact on the child. Autistic children often have intense emotions that they can struggle to communicate effectively at younger ages. As a result, these children need special support and engagement during divorce proceedings. Being proactive in your approach is the best way to protect autistic children.
If you know that divorce is inevitable, there are certain things you can do to help reduce the negative impact it will have on your autistic child. One of the most important things you can do is to retain the services of a Texas family law and divorce attorney who understands the specific needs of autistic children. The right attorney can offer you sound advice and connect you with resources to help ease the strain on your autistic child. From mediation to private counseling, there are many options available to help your autistic child deal with the changes in your family.
An autism spectrum disorder impacts how your child perceives the situation
Many children feel guilt when their parents divorce, wondering if something that they did contributed to the end of their parents' marriage. When the child in question is autistic, it may be a struggle for him or her to communicate what is happening emotionally. Even worse, many autistic children depend on their parents for the routine and scheduling that allows them to thrive. Changing where you live, adding visitation to the schedule and alternating parenting times can cause chaos for your autistic child, who needs stability and routine even more than most children.
Your child may also struggle with transitions. When the non-custodial parent arrives for parenting time, a meltdown could ensue, no matter how excited your child is to go. Repetitive behaviors, meltdowns and other nontypical behaviors may increase during and immediately after a divorce. As parents, you and your former spouse both need to be supportive of and compassionate toward your autistic child during these changes. Any way you can work together to decrease the stress on your child, such as agreeing to not discuss issues in front of your child, can help.
The right attorney can help protect your autistic child
Not all divorce attorneys can understand the emotional and social implications of a divorce on children with autism. Given that roughly one in 68 kids born are diagnosed with some form of autism, it's inevitable that some of these children will witness the dissolution of their parents' marriages. It may not be easy, but with the right attorney, it can be somewhat simpler. You don't have to handle everything on your own, and you shouldn't have to be the only person advocating for your child's special needs.