We now have decades of research on the risk and resiliency factors associated with divorce. One of the primary rules for parents navigating a divorce is the importance of minimizing unnecessary disruptions to children’s lives, relationships, and daily routines. This is important for all children, but it is critically important for kids with special needs, very much including autism.
Specifically, for parents of kids with autism going through a divorce, that means:
Although divorce can disrupt a child’s life and development, the basic principles of good parenting hold true. Consistency and routine provide comfort and familiarity, something it’s especially important to remember during times of disruption. As true as this is for every child, it is critically true for kids with special needs, very much including autism.
When parents prioritize their children's needs during divorce--and provide the loving support and consistency the kids need--they ameliorate the inevitable trauma of divorce, and increase the likelihood of optimal outcomes into adulthood.
For more on these ideas:
Targeting Autism: What We Know, Don’t Know, and Can Do to Help Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, by Shirley Cohen
“Telling Your Kids You’re Getting a Divorce,” by Shelly Allred, Pathfinders for Autism
"Is Divorce Bad for Children?" Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld
“After Divorce: Ten Principles for Parenting,” by Dona Matthews
For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, by Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly
What About the Kids? By Judith Wallerstein
Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids, by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster