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How to explain divorce to a child with special needs

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | Divorce

A child with special needs can benefit from the support of both parents. Your child has the ability to understand what’s happening around them, even though they need more support than other kids may. As a result, it can be impactful talk to them about your divorce and get them prepared for the changes that may happen next.

Going through a divorce with a child with special needs is not simple. You will need to consider issues like where your child will live and if it’s reasonable for them to live in two homes with their medical equipment and support needs. You’ll need to think about how much contact they’ll have with each parent and how much child support will be paid. Regardless of these issues, you have to take action to help your child adjust to changes in what may be a fairly strict routine.

Make your discussion age-appropriate

When you talk to your child about divorce, you should keep the conversation as age-appropriate as you can. It may be that a conversation as simple as explaining a new schedule to your child is enough. For example, “Dad won’t be living here, but he will visit on Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” may be sufficient information for your child.

It might be hard to figure out how much your child needs to know or what they’ll understand, so leaving some time open to answer their questions or slowly working into a new schedule may be best. Starting with smaller changes in a schedule over time might be helpful as you and your ex try to find a balance that works for both of you while allowing you to separate.

Every family is different, and every child who has special needs will have varied needs when it comes to your divorce. You know your child best, but if you need further help, you may want to talk to your child’s medical team or psychologists to get more information on how you can help them adapt to these changes as they occur.