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Joined: 1/11/2008
Msg: 1
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I just read a recent posting here re: autism. There have been many responses. Just makes me wonder how many of us are here and single in part because we have a child with autism. (Raising my hand) Me! Very high divorce rates in families with children with autism.

My child is very high functioning but not Aspergers.
Joined: 1/15/2008
Msg: 2
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/11/2008 4:32:30 PM
Raising hand over here. And no, my daughter's Autism was most DEFINITELY not caused by television. Considering the fact that she was read to, and interacted with on a constant basis, and her t.v. watching was limited to Sesame Street, and the occasional other quality program, I would have to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that t.v. had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I noticed the issue from about 2 months on. Just had no idea what the problem was, but kept working with her to overcome it throughout her living-at-home years. Her brain is wired that way. It's like saying men's brains are defective because they think like men, and focus on things that women find uninteresting. Or the reverse.

Autistic people have autistic brains. It's not a disease. It's a neurological difference. I wish everyone would stop wringing their hands and trying to find a "cure". There is no cure. There is only acceptance and support. Well, that's not true. There is a cure. It's called abortion. What a disgusting concept. Should we be screening for left-handedness and abort them too? It's a neurological difference that requires accomodation. Where does it end?

And who's to say that just because the majority of people are wired one way, that those wired the other way are the "diseased" ones, anyway? If people would stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes, and just start building some square holes, we'd all be a lot better off.

And then maybe some more of our marriages would survive when blessed with a paradoxical child.
Joined: 9/4/2006
Msg: 3
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Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/11/2008 5:43:43 PM
I think there are more factors involved when it comes to breaking amarriage due to having a child with disabilities of any sort. because kids with autism or whatever disorder require more attention, one parent is usually more involved than the other in terms of going to programs for the kids, while the other is a breadmaker. At one point, communication get lost, priorities are different in each spouse. Perspectives in how the child gets treatment is different too, one may feel the child needs more attention while the other parent doesn't which probably brings alot of strife to the relationship. I think definitely there is more stress that comes within the marriage with a child who has disabilities than non.
Joined: 2/7/2006
Msg: 4
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/11/2008 8:22:32 PM
If you don't have a strong marriage to begin with, having a child with autism is the kiss of death for a mariage. There is always one parent who deals with the day to day reality of coping with autism, and one who gets to go to work, go to lunch, be with adults and get social interaction while the other parent is going back and forth to therapy, doing therapy at home, isolated from social interaction because of sensory issues a child may have with different enviroments, and the total and complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion of getting through each day. Then, comes the weekend, the only opportunity for the caretaker to go out and run errands or get a break for an hour or two, which means that the other parent is now watching the child, meaning that quality time as a couple is very difficult to come by.

I disagree with the negative connotation the OP has put on the word "cure". While every child is different and there is no "cure", there are a great many opportunities to improve your child's quality of life, sensory integration, occupational therapy, speech therapy, discrete trials, social groups, PECS, assistive communication keyboards, etc....

My son was diagnosed at 18 months, and I did every available therapy with him from gf/cf diets, tried secretin, discrete trials, speech therapy, sensory intergration, etc....and now, at almost 8 years old he talks a mile a minute and is the happiest child around, very social, very intelligent and much better behaived. I can't imagine if I didn't work as hard as I did with him and he stayed non-verbal, his frustration at not being able to communicate was tremendous, and if he had not had occupational therapy he would not be able to hold a pen and write his name, he no longer has tantrums where he bites himself, screams for hours and hits other people, he is in second grade, he enjoys going to stores, playing sports, going to the beach, all the opportunities to enjoy life as any other person. He may be a little quirky, but who isn't?

Autism cannot be cured, but a child can be helped to enjoy his life and suceed to the best of their individual ability. If I had said he is what he is and let's leave him that way, there is nothing wrong, he would still be non-verbal, sitting in a corner, playing endlessly with a string of beads, and would probably have been stomach tubed as he was so sensory adversive to so many textures and tastes that he had completely stopped eating.

Treating the varying symptoms of autism is not disrespecting who someone is as a person, but respecting them enough to help them enjoy the world they live in. I love my son beyond words, and am so proud of all he has accomplished. What other parents take for granted means so much more, the first time he said mom, he was three, and I think it was one of the most incredible gifts ever. The first time he drew a picture with crayons, granted it was on the living room wall, but to me, it was a priceless work of art. The first mother's day gift he made me in school was a little terra cotta pot he painted and planted a seed in, it was the best gift I ever got, and when he handed it to me and said "for you mommy" I got chills and was so happy I cried. I think his quirks make life interesting, and to me, he is normal, he is my son, and I wouldn't change who he is as a person for anything, but I have helped him be able to express who he is, and in turn, he is able to share with others the amazing little guy who was inside him all along.
Joined: 1/14/2008
Msg: 5
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/11/2008 9:15:06 PM
I found out 10 days ago that my daughter... who is 13 is not Autistic...grrrrrrrrrrr...which is great news....but she was misdiagnosed for close to 9 years now as an Aspie.

back to the topic... well I read somewhere a few months ago that Divorce Rates amongst parents of Autistic children is like 80%. That is mighty high rate.

the stresses of having an Austic child is trying....even more if you are juggling other kids and tight finances.
Joined: 1/11/2008
Msg: 6
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/11/2008 9:22:44 PM
I agree with you completely. I am OP and I did not mention a "cure", as I also don't feel a perosn is every "cured" of autism. But many can through therapies of many different types learn to adjust their behaviors. For us it has been baby steps. The biggest interventions that helped my child was GF/CF diet, dietery enzymes and treating her high yeast. She is now 9 and I now only use behaviorial intervention throughout her day. i.e. 2 yrs ago she would not put her own shoes on for school nor would she brush her hair. She would scream when her hair was brushed. Little by little as she would initate those actions on her own I reinforce this positive behavior. now she puts on her own shoes & ties them. She allows he to brush her hair without screaming and now even initiates brushing her own hair.

Since I am now separated I have changed my discussing what interventions are done with her from "we" to "I", because honestly it was all me the whole time. My ex could not and can not control himself through listening to her tantrums to look at the long term affect HIS reaction is having on shaping her behavior. Rather than using hand-over-hand followed by reinforcement with her he would rather just yell at her and call her a "baby." The longer we are separated I hear from her sisters that she doesn't do as much for herself when she is with Daddy and that he gets very angry with her. Do I get upset and aggrivated with her - no question - it happens. But I can maintain composure with her much better.

It is so much better to not have Daddy's tantrums to deal with on top of my daughters. When she would tantrum I would then have to listen to her and her father. How great it is to only have 3 children now.
Joined: 2/7/2006
Msg: 7
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/11/2008 10:31:46 PM
oops, sorry jifree, mixed up your post with the response about how autism is not a condition that needs to be cured...

Personally, since my divorce I have never had so much free time, the first weekend of visitation I was at a loss as to what people did with real actual free time, and was a bit nervous about my son being away from me for two days, almost packed up the entire house when my ex picked him up, toys, snacks, etc....

It is sad to say, but my divorce gave me a chance to slow down and enjoy life again, discover who I was as a person, not just a mother and a wife. During the hardest years after my son was first diagnosed, I became so burned-out and exhausted and had no free time for any kind of social life, even going to neighborhood get togethers meant my ex socializing and chatting, while I watched our son like a hawk, and took him home when the melt downs and tantrums became unbearable. If company was in town, I was the one who stayed home while he took them to dinner, as our son would flip out if I was out of his sight.

My ex became a workaholic as a reason to avoid coming home and dealing with the whole situation, and felt that it was the mother's job to research therapy, diets, etc...and implement them, and would escape to a car show or bs'ing down the block with a neighbor to unwind from "work" . His job to me was a vacation compared to what was going on at home, and yes, the brunt of it usually falls on the mother, and resentment does begin to build. Especially when your husband is free as a bird all day and with adults, conversing and going out to lunch, and you haven't been out of the house in two days except for therapies, and maybe food shopping. Food would have thought I was shopping in Paris, I would lose track of time with the exception of the phone calls every five minutes " are you coming home yet, he is freaking out"...."what's taking you so long, I can't take this any more". So, either I ended up taking our son, and shopped in between tantrums on the floor, in the parking lot, etc... or the ex decided that he should do the shopping since he shopped quicker and after all, it was on his way home from work. The finishing touch, when your husband says "you're the one who wanted a child, now deal with it"

So, husband out all day, wife home stressed, lonely and depressed, doesn't make for a happy household. Since the divorce my son spends much more time with his father than he ever did when we were married, he is with him every other weekend and one night during the week. I am happier, my ex is happier, and our son is doing great. Not a fairy tale ending, but it has worked out in the end.

Honestly, the marriage wasn't that great to begin with, the situation with our son just hastened it's demise. We started datomg when we were only 20, and grew apart. There are those rare couples who can survive something like this, but we weren't one of them.
Joined: 10/26/2007
Msg: 8
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/12/2008 3:03:02 AM
My son is in the PDD range, but it wasn't the cause of my divorce. The ex cheating was, among other factors.

But I did deal with all that went along with the early issues of my son's health and disabilities alone. I set up early intervention, I taught him sign language, I fought to deal with his hearing loss, I held him when they put him under for tubes in his ears, I took him to speach therapy for years, I worked with speach therapists-teachers-special ed...all to get him where he is today.

His father wasn't available physically to assist (his choice), but supported any decision that I made.
Joined: 3/23/2007
Msg: 9
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/12/2008 12:35:18 PM
I can say that the stresses of having a special needs child played a big part in my ex and I 'drifting' apart, but like another post says, the actual cause was him cheating.

My daughter has some autistic tendencies, but actually has a rare form of epilepsy that leaves her developmentally delayed and with frequent seizures. My ex totally resented that our sex life suffered and he could not grasp that it wasn't that I wasn't interested, I was just too worn out. He complained a few times, then found a mistress. He left me with our 3 kids (our oldest whom is about 2 developmentally, a 5 year old and a 3 year old), and is very happy living a 'normal' life with his mistress and her son. I fell apart for the first 2 years, but am now quite happy. I don't want to be with somebody so selfish anyway.

There is definitely a higher divorce rate when you have a special needs child, but there is a high divorce rate anyway. Every marriage is a struggle, and some people just can not put others (even their own kids) 100% ahead of themselves.

I wish you all the best in finding someone new. It is possible, and can be very rewarding for everyone!
Joined: 11/13/2007
Msg: 10
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/12/2008 2:28:05 PM
My youngest son has cerebal palsy. It takes alot of time. Running to therapy taking him to school everyday. I gave up my career to stay home. He is my son. My soon to be ex husband didnt understand the time it took to raise 3 children, one with a disability. He still wanted to live like a single man. So he did. Both women he cheated with knew he was married with children. They didnt have to face the tasks I did daily.

Im better off because he showed his true colors, not only to me but to his children as well.

My friend told me something Ill never forget the day I told her he had left us.

"You plan and pray for a healthy baby and then God decides that you are to be one of the special parents, so he gives you a special child, Kevin just couldnt live up to that"
Joined: 2/5/2008
Msg: 11
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/12/2008 4:28:34 PM
I have two children on the spectrum. My 8 year old is an Aspie, my 5 year old is an Autie.
Did their diagnoses contribute to my divorce? Nope, son wasn't dx'ed until last year, and daughter isn't my ex's.
Am I still single b/c of their ASD? Nope, I am still single b/c I refuse to settle.
Joined: 2/2/2008
Msg: 12
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/12/2008 5:15:07 PM
I have a daughter who is 11 who was diagnosed at age 2 with PDD. At age 10 she is now diagnosed as Aspergers. It had a great strain on my marriage for the facts that he was just unavailable, emotional, physically, educationally. I was the one that brought her to all her appt's. went to all her IEP meetings, therapy, tutoring, read every site or book i could get my hands on, and of course all her doc appt's. Ask him then or now what her diagnose is..he would have no idea. It put a great strain on me because i had to do everything. He still doesn't get involved other than a happy weekend of visitation every other weekend. As far as dating goes, it has never gone as serious that i felt the need to explain or involve them. It is our business.
 Autism Awareness
Joined: 5/22/2007
Msg: 13
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/19/2008 2:51:29 PM
I raise my hand to being a single parent of a child with Autism. FYI April and October are Autism Awareness Months!! He too is high functioning, not Aspergers either. He was non-verbal until about 4, sensory integration disorder, tactile defense, sensory seeker, GFCF diet did not help as he was addicted to the very things causing him so much harm and preventing him from progressing. He was placed on an enzyme, used ABA approach in a feeding therapy, 5-6 days a week of ABA, speech and occupational therapy.
The national stats for Autism 1:150, in Massachusetts 1:122 with some geographical areas even higher. Divorce rate is 80% with a special needs child. For me it gave me more strength and coping skills. As far as I feel about the stressors a child with Autism puts on a marriage-it is all about dealing with it! Embracing the very gift of a child who is created in the eyes of God. For those who just could not get beyond denial, God will deal with that on judgement day. Not to be a preacher but I learned in Bible study that a man who shall deny his child shall walk around with a millstone around his neck. I take this as he/she shall drown. Find your inner strength and pull it from within. It just enhances your entire beauty. For me dating has been a challenge for many reasons. I am totally fine on my own, have been since the diagnosis even before. I feel as I am a whole person and a relationship would simply enhance my life. I want it to be complimented not COMPLICATED! I invite any messages, exchange of information. I did a search last year on here to find only a handfull of folks in shich to converse. I did it again within the past few days to find so many more. I am making more friends on here with something we have in common-Autism.
Joined: 1/15/2008
Msg: 14
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/20/2008 4:01:04 PM
I'm the one that was discussing the topic of a "cure". I still stand by what I said, but I do absolutely agree that our duty is to provide as many learning opportunities as possible for our children, special needs or otherwise. We need to give them as many life-skills as they are able to learn. I have no problem with therapy as long as it is supportive and non-invasive.

My daughter was not diagnosed until age 14, so we had no outside intervention. It was all me. The ex could not handle her sensory issues, and was threatened by her adult vocabulary and comprehension. He just zoned out. Refused to be "in the moment" with her at all, and just checked out, letting me handle everything unless he had something to criticize, or complain about (like if she was loud while there was a sporting event on t.v.).

So yeah, FAR better off without the adult male "third child". Life was much better when I only had the chronologically juvenile kids to take care of. For 14 years I just tackled each tree as I bumped into it, never knowing there was a name for the "forest".

I certainly do not advocate just pretending the problems are not there. That certainly does not do the child a service, and all that denial is terribly hard on the parents. No, I believe it's best to just face the fact that you have a paradoxical child and dive into teaching them to have the best life possible, whatever it takes to do that.
Joined: 2/16/2008
Msg: 15
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/20/2008 10:38:37 PM
My child does not have autism but she has ODD (opitional defiance disorder) and she has made it really hard to have a relationship. I warn men befor hand she is hard to be around but they think they can handle it and they end up getting mad and saying that I didn't tell them it be this hard but it is. She is getting older and they have her on meds now that seem to be helping maybe now I can soon have relationship that will work out.
Joined: 8/29/2006
Msg: 16
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Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/21/2008 7:54:28 AM
I suppose I am the only male here and feel a little of the male bashing needs a response. Discussing this issue and pointing fingers at the men without a response is hardly fair.

A kid with special needs puts more strain on the relationship and tends to find the weaknesses in that realtionship. With all the possible "treatments", debates are bound to occure as to what path to take.

The traditional male role is to be the provider and although that reality has changed some, the traditional point of veiw has not. With all the therapies, the father is pushed to be even more of a provider to pay for the therapies. That makes them appear workaholics when the reality may be more a result of efforts to step up his role as provider. The job may officially be 8 to 5 but the politics of raises etc. require at least the appearance of dedication and long hours. That is in direct conflict with "quality" time at home.

For another facet, I would argue that women tend to be more emotionally needy and if dad does spend the quality time with a special needs child, the woman "feels" less loved. Add to that a little bit of mom portraying herslf as a "marter for the cause" and men are driven away by the spouse, not the child.

To answer the question about my own situation, its the economy. An economic crash in the telecom industry, starting with 9/11, trashed my income temporarily and when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. That is what the women say and that is what she did. Now, not only do I pay for the therapies, but I am the primary person involved in the logistics. Not only that, but I volunteer and help other people raising their kids both normal and challenged. Not much of a social life but I have never been tall, abusive, or a good liar so most women don't give someone like me a second thought. They tend to prefer gushing platitudes about how wonderful they are. Until I find someone with more self honesty and less brain atrophy, the kids come first. At the same time, I stay here to keep the door open but I sometimes wonder if I'm just buying a lottery ticket with little chance of winning.
Joined: 6/11/2005
Msg: 17
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Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/21/2008 9:57:11 AM
I have a not 15yo Cerebral Palsy (severe) and 11yo Autistic, diagnosed at 3.

It put a tremendous amount of strain on the relationship, all the work, appointments, school issues, medical issues, how much who does, it really does add a ton of extra stresses to a relationship. Particularly nowadays where it is almost a demand that you have a two people income.
Joined: 12/13/2007
Msg: 18
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/23/2008 9:51:18 PM
My 5 year old just got diagnosed with high functioning autism last week. I do not view it as a negative at all, my dating life sucked anyway, as in non exsitant. My fault because I am a big chicken having a difficult time re-entering the singles life, but in all honesty, when I do start dating again and meet some body of interest they would accept things as they are, or I won't want them. I am content being on my own so no biggy. My little girl is first and don't need anyone who would view this as a negative.
Joined: 1/24/2004
Msg: 19
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 2/25/2008 9:32:44 PM
My youngest is adhd/odd & has so many siliarities of aspies &/pdd kids. it doesn't limit my dating. I strongly agree w/ an above poster. I don't not date b/c of it. We deserve the best.

God & the higher powers will lead us to the one & if not, I'm where I should have been all along-there for my son. He is my richter scale for reality when/if an aquaintance is allowed further in my life. That person's reaction to my son's fit throwing, screaming on the floor @ some of the worst tell the tale of the person in front of us.
Joined: 4/6/2008
Msg: 20
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 4/13/2008 5:08:53 PM
Many years ago we knew my older son was not the "normal" kid- eventually it came out that he was high functioning autistic. I waited 6 yrs to have my 2nd child, who I hoped would be the one to take care of (even if it was as a legal guardian) of my older son when my ex & I were gone. I shouldn't have complained that my 1st son was autistic, cuz the 2nd one also turned out to have high functioning autism. Well, I complained about that...then 3 days after his 7th birthday ( I made him an ice cream cake that looked like a giant peanut butter cup per his request) he was diagnosed w/ juvenile diabetes. That was almost 11 years ago. You what I learned? Don't complain about it, as bad as the situation is. Try to accept things & don't waste your life worrying or questioning things.

Over the years, I have made some changes is my thinking...when i see things saying a "cure" for autism...I cringe...what about autism acceptance? How would I feel if someone said they wanted me to be cured from being the person who I am?

I will be d*mned if I will let anyone stop me from living or let the fact that the kids have autism run my life. Nor will I allow my son's diabetes be an excuse for us not to live.
they are 23 & 18 & are starting to get adult services...there is increasing public awareness & i haven't crawled off in a corner like a whipped dog.

When i was w/ the ex, I did it all, why wouldn't I do it all now??
 Ms. Beavenhouse
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 21
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 4/14/2008 1:49:25 PM
My marriage couldn't take the stress of raising a child with special needs. He needed someone to blame, he wanted to remain in denial that anything was wrong with our son.

I was angry for years that I was left alone to raise our children but realized his negativity would have ultimately hurt our children's self image. We might be weird little family but we are a happy weird little family.
Joined: 11/18/2007
Msg: 22
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Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 4/15/2008 12:54:36 AM
Ahoytheredave... you are not alone brother. Ladies, quit bashing us guys. See there are some good men still out there... you just won't give us the time of day
Joined: 11/18/2007
Msg: 23
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Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 4/15/2008 1:03:10 AM
Sorry I forgot to raise my hands ... read my profile and you'll notice I walk in the same shoes as most of you on this forum and do my best to balance my life for my kids. I swear I must have been the chick in the relationship, but I kick butt playing mom and dad to my kids... the sacrifices one has to make to be SUPERDAD! but it's damn worth it!!!
Joined: 11/12/2007
Msg: 24
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 4/15/2008 5:30:31 PM
Once you find out that your child is disabled, your life ,marriage is put under tremendous stress. Almost insurmoutable.Essentially (depends on the severity)your life as a married couple is over unless both parents are willing to give up theirs for their disabled children.At first the school helps(in ontario canada) but summers and when they are over 21 its you you you Especially if they are low functioning and incontinent some point in life you dont and cant devote alot of time to your spouse.And then comes the separation, divorce.There is a tremendous money issue witch adds to more stress. It gets to a point where you cannot afford a disabled child as a single parent. Then there is a worry of who will look after them (to your standards) when you pass away.There is no greater love, but there is no greater worry of having disabled children

Joined: 1/27/2008
Msg: 25
Who is here & single in part b/c of the stressors a child with autism puts on a marriage?
Posted: 4/17/2008 4:43:03 AM
Hello Everyone! I've been single since before my child was diagnosed with Autism. Maybe because I don't know any other way to me dealing with his Autism and being single has made me focus in his recovery. At this point he's made enough progress that I can take some time to date. Babysitting doesn't come often because I do not leave him with just anyone. But I don't think that my son having autism has been a deal breaker when dating. Maybe because I tend to date people that already have kids and they have a better understanding of raising children. I am a little picky though as to who I pick because I want to make sure that there's not going to be any drama. And I'm a very happy person, so is my child, we need someone to cumpliment that not sabotage it with baggage.
Anyways, happy dating!
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