Jan 6, 2014

How Will Divorce Affect My Autistic Son?

Category: Childhood Disorders
Posted By: Andrea

Question: I am a mother of a child on the Autistic Spectrum, he was diagnosed at 2 1/2, and is now 4 years old.  His father and I are trying to work out custody.  The whole time his father and I were living together he had multiple affairs and took my son with him while seeing these women.  Then he would come home and lie to me in front of our son.  My son has a speech delay but does understand what is going on.

My concern is that he is cheating on the woman he is with now, she is also the one that he was with for 6 months prior to moving out.  I would like to know what kind of effects this behavior can have on my child.  The mediator we just saw said he had be a social worker seeing children that had been burned and physically abused, so my concern was petty.  I would like your thoughts please.


Answer: Hi Andrea, it sounds like a very difficult divorce and I can understand that you are distressed by what has gone on.

It is difficult to comment on what the effects are on your son without knowing the details.  However, I would agree with you that a speech delay would not stop your son having a feeling about what is going on and what he is exposed to.  For children who have cognitive difficulties or difficulties in understanding or communication it is important that they are helped to make sense of the world and make links between experience and understanding.

Children with autism need stability and routine so that they can feel safe.  Although you are in the middle of a very difficult battle with his father, it is important that you make sure you pick the battles that are most important to your son.

I would normally recommend mediation in such a difficult custody battle, however, I can see that you had a difficult experience of this.  I would recommend looking carefully to find someone that you both feel you can work with and trying again to come to some agreement on how to manage the co-parenting of your son.

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