The teachers of my son since he was Playschool until Kindergarten have repeatedly told me to bring him to a neuro-developmental specialist. They said he was displaying unusual behavior like too hyper and overly impulsive. He was also manifesting delays in several developmental skills like his cognitive functioning and motor skills.
At first, I was offended. In my mind, I thought, they were singling out my child and “diagnosing” him of something that he doesn’t have. But when my son’s grades were slipping, I had no choice but to bring him to a specialist.
No surprise there, though. After three hours of one-on-one testing and interview, the neuro-developmental pediatrician told me that my son is in the spectrum. He has ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder with signs of hyper activeness, impulsivity, and developmental delays. It hurt a lot, but what can I do? My husband also took it to heart, and it somewhat affected our relationship. “Families of those with autism are constantly seeking alternative ways to support their children and there are billions of research dollars spent to find the best method, the best approach, and the best way to help people with autism rise to their fullest potential.” As Christina Devereaux Ph.D, BC-DMT used to say.
Having a child with autism requires a lot of effort, time and patience. It will not only wear you out as a parent, but it can also create a strain on your relationship with your spouse. As the number of kids with autism soars up, failed relationships also increase. And one of the uncovered reasons for these broken marriages has to do with the stress brought by the disorder of their ASD child. It is essential to note that “Healthy boundaries are necessary for self-care, and healthy relationships and most people are not equipped with these important life skills.” Janeen Herskovitz, LMHC said.
Ideally, this shouldn’t be the case, since the child needs the support of both parents for the matter. With that, here are some tips for keeping your relationship strong despite the challenges brought by your child’s ASD.
Have Date Nights
As a parent and as a couple, you also need some time off in a while. Bond with your partner, go out on a date, just the two of you. This will help further deepen the relationship between you two and enable you to face the spectrum situation strong as a couple.
My husband and I recognized that we had an issue, and we both committed to making an effort. So for date ideas, we do it once a week. We’ve been to Starbucks, bowling, checked in a motel, spa and massage treatment, movies, dinner, lunch, breakfast, and other date ideas. As long as we’re together having fun, that’s all that mattered.
Be Partners And Teammates
Always bear in mind that you two are not just partners but teammates as well. This means that you two should work in pairs and do the task that you ought to do. If you are unable to do so, it will send you back to frustration.
My husband and I have a schedule with our son. I take charge every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while he is responsible for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Sundays are usually are off day, and my mother helps out during that day. (God bless her!)
Spend Family Time Together
A family get-together or family bonding is highly encouraged. These family events will allow you to catch up with your kids, have fun with them, and discover new things about them and more. Such family time is useful in building an open rapport amongst the other members of the family. “what’s more important than the quantity of time you spend with your kids is the quality of the time you do have together.” Francyne Zeltser, Psy.D. explains.
We are not moneyed, but at least once a month, we go out as a family. We’ve been to the beach, a family video bar, a marathon race, concerts and more. When the budget is tight, my husband cooks his famous lasagna while I order pizza, and we all sit in the living room to watch three movies in a row.
These tips are straightforward, but it works in mysterious ways. The next blog will feature more ideas about building a healthy relationship with your spouse amidst the ASD issues with your child. I am looking forward to your success in this matter.