There is almost as many diagnoses for mental illness in the United States today as there are diagnoses for autism. Therefore, it is not surprising when counselors encounter families that have both a child with autism and a family member with mental illness. If you have been ordered by the courts to share custody with your ex-spouse and he or she has a mental illness, your child will need some extreme family counseling at some point. Here is what you need to do to help your autistic child when you have to share time and placement with your ex.
Schedule Mental Health Therapy Visits for Your Child
While it is not wise for you to tell your child about the other parent's mental health issues, a therapist can help your autistic child appropriately frame his or her parent's situation. If your child finds your ex's behavior unsettling, the therapist can help your child work through what your child feels and put your ex's behavior in a perspective that your child understands. Additionally, your child's therapist can teach you some of the same techniques to use at home, should your autistic child have questions about his or her other parent which cannot wait for the next therapy session.
Including Your Ex-Spouse in Your Child's Therapy
If your ex is not resistant to the idea of your autistic child receiving mental health therapy, you might be able to coax it a step further and involve your ex in family therapy. While you certainly do not need couples' therapy in order to work as a family unit anymore, you both need to help your children, especially those with autism, understand what is happening to the family dynamic. It also gives your child's therapist the chance to talk to your ex about his or her mental health problems and get him or her to understand how behavior and mood affect your child.
If your ex is resistant to family therapy based on your child's needs alone, you at least have that documented for the courts. The therapist can continue to see your child and document any emotional or psychological struggles your child is having with the current situation as well as problems with shared placement and custody. The ongoing therapy will help your child cope with an extreme situation and that is more beneficial to him or her than whether or not the mentally unwell parent is involved with therapy. For more information, contact a company like Blue Spruce Counseling.Share
19 August 2015
Hi! My name is Claire Lewis. My husband and I have three beautiful children, two of which are adopted. We always talked about having four kids; adoption became the avenue through which we were able to make it happen. Actually, almost happen because we've decided to stop at three. We signed up with the adoption agency, completed all forms and evaluations, and waited a year and a half for our daughter. During that time, we received a few notices about emergency placement needs. These were babies that came from situations that would likely make them special needs children. We turned those down the first time, but when it came to adopting the second time we didn't. Our youngest son is a special needs child whom we love and adore. I hope you’ll find some value in learning about different relationships.