Kids with Aspergers/ autism and divorce

Emily - posted on 02/11/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have very recently ( today) decided that we are getting a divorce. This is hard enough on any child, but how do I explain it to my 7 year old with aspergers? Also, with finances being what they are, he will not be moving out until this summer. Do we wait until then so as not to confuse him? I don't know what to do. I'm so overwhelmed and saddened on my own and know that my son is picking up on it. He's sucking his thumb and using other self soothing techniques more over the last two weeks. Is it better to tell him now and hope he's not confused? And just keepreassuring him that I love him and he can always talk to me?

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Roni - posted on 02/04/2013

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I'm going through the same thing. My son is 11, in 5th grade. This process started about 2 weeks ago, and we're going through the lawyer thing now. He's been exhibiting a lot of grumpiness lately, even before this, we've been fighting a lot, so he's probably reacting to that. I don't think it would have been better earlier or later. When he was really young, like 3 or so I couldn't even contemplate it because it was hard with him and the other 3 kids. He's hurting, and tonight he finally told me that he's mad at me because of the divorce and that I shouldn't have ever got married to someone who fights with me and is not nice to me. I was just amazed that he was able to tell me, the counseling he's been in lately may be helping. I tried to explain that it was okay because then I wouldn't have had him or his sister and I love them to death, its just dad and I fight too much and can't get along together. So I know how he feels, but his logic circuit is broken, you know? I hope his dad will keep in mind his need for his room and his stuff, for security, and not insist that he spend a whole weekend away if he doesn't want to. It's heartbreaking because I miss my little man who was attached at the hip! Between pre-adolescence he's getting further away. When we come out the other end of this wormhole maybe he'll feel better. I would recommend a flexible custody arrangement that puts your son's needs first, And counseling for him if he starts to exhibit problems because after all transitions are so hard for these guys. Keep in mind how much child support is appropriate when you consider doctor visits, co-pays, medicine costs, etc. I think telling him is good, just be prepared for an unusual response. And boy do I need some encouragement too! Good luck!

Emily - posted on 08/12/2012

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Thank you all for your kind words, advise and prayers. It has now been 2 1/2 years and the divorce is still not final (he refused to file so I finally did when our son had to be admitted to a children's psychiatric hospital for 6 weeks.). My son wasn't all that affected by his dad moving out, although we still have our problems with communication we have been able to work together to make our son feel secure, safe and loved. He is doing so much better these days and I have started to rebuild My life into a better one for me and my son. We will get there eventually. I have handed it over to God and have come such a long way, although I do tend to try to be super mom often, I am trying to ask for help once in a while. Thank you all again, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Karina - posted on 08/12/2012

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I understand first hand how you feel Emily. I remember when i was in junior high school and my parents divorced. It was hard for me. I did not know how to cope. The way i coped was by eating french fries in the cafeteria at lunchtime. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Natasha - posted on 03/04/2010

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Hello Emily, I am sorry about your situation. Like someone has commented earlier to your post that God will help your situation. I am still married, but it has couple of times crossed my mind to separate from my husband due to stress with my oldest Asperger's son, and my younger son with a severe case of autism.

God is a miracle worker because there were nights that I literally pray and cry for Him to help me deal with my childrens' issues as well as my husband being in denial. With all that being said, prayer does change things and keep the faith and don't give up hope. Whatever your case may be, if God worked it out for me, then he can work it out for you too:)

Be blessed and encouraged!

Natasha

Tammy - posted on 03/03/2010

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Hi Emily i to am going through divorce at the moment my aspergers son is only three and really doesnt seem to care that daddy isnt there when he comes to see the kids he says "hi daddy" and will answer him the best he can my problem is my ex he has no patience for him especially when there r meltdowns keep it simple when explaining it i guess ur little ones reaction might depend on how close he is to dad and i agree with the others let him know ur always gonna be there :)

Patricia - posted on 03/02/2010

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I hae been divorced from my x for 5 years now, and I came from a VERY abusive marriage. At the time, both of my autisic children never really understood what was taking place. I can tell you that it did make dealing with both of their idiocrincies more difficult, only because HE did not know how to relate to them. NOT that he did when we were married. My son did not speak, and my daughter did NOT use the bath room or eat properly at the time. I KNOW its hard enough, going through a divorce, but dealing with issues from special needs children can make it even more difficult. I say just make sure he knows that YOU arent going anywhere, and KEEP reasuring him of this. Repition works at my house!!!! :)

Angela - posted on 02/17/2010

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My son was diagnosed with AS after my divorce but he was 5 when his dad left. It' such a difficult time for everyone to begin with and having anything more than that just makes it harder. My son went to a counseling series at school on divorce that seemed to help him quite a bit. Ours was unusual in that my son did not see his dad after the divorce but his dad is trying o get back into his life now after 4 years. That was the harder part for him. If you and your husband reassure him that both parents will still be part of his life, I'm sure that will help him. Unfortunately, it is still going to be difficult but time really does help. You may want to check the bookstores to see if there are any books that deal with divorce and AS or checkwith counselors and Dr.s to see what resources they know of. My prayers are with your family.

Shana - posted on 02/16/2010

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I am right along with you,my husband and I separted oct.2008 my son was 8.H e is a very smart child iq 127 at age 4.hes behavior started going dpwn hill when his dad started taking things away from us,he seeen the stress on me they are so smart they catch on no matter all you hide anythimg starts out lieing about homework to get attention,acying out in school,suspended,now hanving to go to a behavoir school!!just make sure he knows both them him!!!!

Grainne - posted on 02/12/2010

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hello,. I went through a very similar period tis time las year..

I am so sorry tat u all are suffering and struggling with all that is going on in your lives.

Make sure for you that you reach out to your friends and family and do not try to be supermom..talk, talk , talk like u r a broken record, it really helps, my one friend needs a medal after all that she did for me. !!



It may be better in the long run for your child as there will be a more peaceful house for them, which will both help him and will also help you. You will be able to get into a routine. You may be feeling that shock omg feelings, but you will surprise yourself and with hopfully the good weather coming back, you will be able to get out and about.



I always remember my son talking to me about his father leaving the home last Feb, he said Mom you did not know how I felt about dad leaving, my heart was breaking...he was only nine at the time !! but here we are 1 year on, and dad is now on much more friendly terms with me and is having a blast with his son each week, and is more supportive now then when he was living with us.

He was in total denial re our son's diagnosis, the struggles we were having, i was not getting the support I needed, but feel I am getting more now.



My son goes to play therapy once a week, which is fantastic, I could hear him singing at his session today. wow. He knows that I love him and he knows that his dad loves him and that is what is so important to keep saying this to him.

Also when your husband gets settled he can hav your son overnight asap... which will both help him and your son, get into their routine.

Try not to fight over the bricks and mortar and the pennies, as they are not important. they have a way of sorting out in its own time. (u need to mind urself and not blame all on you). This may be only a trial seperation, u don't know what may be around the corner for all of you..

u take care and if u need to chat u can add me..

Amanda - posted on 02/11/2010

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I know this is a very hard time for you. You certainly have the right to be emotional right now. But when discussing this with you child you need to be very calm. Keep it simple. When my first husband and I got divorced I told my son (not the autistic one) "Daddy is going to get a new house. We decided that Mommy has to many shoes and Daddy snores to much, so he needed to get his own place. Now you have two houses!" Hopefully your husband will support you on this. Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 02/11/2010

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Hi Emily,
I too have a 7 yr old with Aspergers and me and my husband of 10 yrs are getting divorced...Yes as I read your post it mirrors my situation to a "t".. I used my sons area of focus, in his case animals, as a way to explain it to him..I also asked the Child Study Team to help get me some info on how to talk to him and my other special needs son. It never is easy but I have to say honestly with support from my pastor things for my boys and me have been much better. His thumb sucking and self stimulating has all but stopped..I will pray for you sweetie.. Keep your head up...
Warmly,
Jeni

Angela - posted on 02/11/2010

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First of all sweetie, the two of you are dealing with this loss and very emotional I imagine. No way to hide this from a kid they pick up on it all. You may not tell him you've made a definate decision until closer to the time your husband leaves but you do want to prepare him for it. Try to find a way to do that. It would help if both of you do it together. MAKE sure he understands that it's not his fault, kids will feel this way anyway but both of you reassurring him will help ease it. Kids "bounce" and he will too. If you two can "parent" together and makes sure that doesn't change when the move is made you son will retain some sense of stability while he adjusts to new living arrangements. First and foremost, give this problem to God. He loves you , your husband , and your son. I'm not saying he will fix your marriage, although all things are possible with the Lord, but he will heal your hearts! I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless

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