Asperger's and Divorce

April is Autism Awareness month. This week, the San Francisco divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan have posted several articles and blogs about divorce with special needs children. We hope you find these articles helpful.

Children with Asperger’s Syndrome or high functioning autism are very sensitive and do not adjust well to change. For these children, divorce can be very difficult. Here are some tips that can help ease the transition.

  • Talk to your child about your plan. Offer reassurance about the future. Instead of saying all will be fine, explain what will change and what will stay the same. If you and your spouse can get along, do this together. 
  • Most kids believe that they are the cause of divorce. This belief may be intensified in a child with Asperger’s. Explain that the divorce is not his fault. 
  • Let your child know that sadness, grief, anger, and confusion are acceptable. Listen to your child as he expresses his feelings and fears about the divorce. This can take a while. Try not to interrupt unless he asks you a question. If your child doesn’t want to talk, he can express his thoughts through drawing, writing, cartoons, or email. It may take time for your child to express his feelings.
  • Answer any questions as honestly as is appropriate.
  • Read a book on divorce. 
  • Avoid discussing the problems with your marriage while your child is present. Keep conflict and legal talk away from your child.
  • Try to maintain daily routines.
  • When possible, involve your child in decision making. 
  • Warn your child in advance of any major changes. If you can, make lists. Lists can be reassuring.
  • Watch for unusual behavior that indicates stress.

Consider your child’s needs when creating your California divorce agreement. Some things will have to change, but you may be able to minimize the disruption to your child’s routine by staying in the same home or neighborhood. Our San Francisco divorce attorneys can help you find a solution that works for you and your child.

To schedule an appointment, contact The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.

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