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Going through a divorce when you have an autistic child

As a parent of an autistic child, you’ll know better than anyone how change and uncertainty can affect them in a negative way. The divorce of a child’s parents can affect even the most emotionally adjusted of children, and that’s why it’s important that you manage the process sensitively to minimize the emotional distress that your child will go through.

Even though you are divorcing your ex for a reason, you should try to work on your relationship so that you can both be there for your child. If this is a struggle, you may want to go to joint therapy so that you can work on your issues and be able to communicate better. Presenting a united front can be hugely beneficial to your child’s acceptance of the situation. The following are some tips for helping an autistic child through the changes that come with a divorce.

Breaking the news to your child

While you’re probably tempted to wait as long as possible before telling your child about the divorce, this could do more harm than good. It will delay rather than lessen the emotional pain, and by the time you break the news to your child, they may already have noticed some disruption within the family dynamic. Try to be factual in an age-appropriate way and make sure that you don’t burden your child with more information than they need to know.

Keep the routine

Most children with autism thrive off routine, and the necessary changes that come with a divorce are likely to be challenging for your child. While some changes will be inevitable, it’s important that you try to keep the routine as similar as possible. This gives them a feeling of safety and comfort, something that is particularly necessary during this challenging time.

If you are the parent of a child with autism and you are going through a divorce, make sure that you understand every aspect of the child custody process so that you can create a cohesive plan.