Most children in Illinois have a very hard time coping with their parent's divorce. Even older children, who may understand why their parents are separating and even believe it is for the best, usually struggle with anger, resentment, and fear of abandonment. For children who have autism, however, divorce can present an overwhelming emotional challenge.
Children with autism often struggle to manage major changes and may also struggle to communicate what they are feeling. Add to this the fact that autism can make it difficult to cultivate close emotional relationships, and divorce - which removes one parent from the child’s home on an ongoing basis - can prove to be a very difficult challenge for everyone involved. If you are considering divorce and have a child on the autism spectrum, here are some tips that may make the transition easier.
Explain Changes Before They Happen
Most parents with children on the autism spectrum find that their child thrives on predictability. Change, especially sudden or unexpected change, can be very difficult for autistic children to manage well. Whenever possible, preface changes by letting your child know before they happen. Some parents find visual aids helpful, including regular reminders like calendars that make custody arrangements easy to visualize and understand. Rather than making changes all at once, try to make changes gradually so your child is not overwhelmed by everything changing at the same time.
Create a Highly Detailed Parenting Plan
Parents often experience conflict about differing parenting strategies after divorce. For parents with autistic children, the lack of consistency can spell disaster for the child’s happiness and emotional regulation. Having a highly detailed parenting plan can help parents start the co-parenting process on the same page, break down shared responsibilities into manageable segments, and make it easier to hold a non-compliant parent responsible.
Seek Professional Help
Your child may benefit from having the help of a professional psychologist who specializes in working with children with autism during divorce. Such a professional can help your child process their emotions, verbalize their feelings, and understand and anticipate the changes they are experiencing. While not all autistic children are verbal and the nature of the professional may change with the child’s needs, many parents find that having additional support is essential to making the transition from one to two households.
Call a Compassionate Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer
Managing divorce is never easy, but when you have a child with autism, there are unique challenges to address. For help with all aspects of your divorce, including parenting time and parental responsibilities, call the experienced and caring Wheaton, IL divorce lawyers with Andrew Cores Family Law Group. Your family’s needs matter to us and we will work with you to craft a plan for divorce that meets your priorities. Call us now at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free case review.