How Divorce Rates are Linked to Autism

Autism affects nearly every aspect of your daily routine. From making breakfast in the morning to going to sleep at night, it takes constant awareness and attention from the individuals involved. This creates strain and hardship on families and their relationships, but does it affect marriage and divorce rates? Two recent studies have conflicting reports.

Family in Hand

According to a 2010 study from Dr. Freedman of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, there does not seem to be much of a correlation. Their research has shown that it is more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a reality. Freedman claims that when someone’s child is  diagnosed with autism  that individual in-turn goes online or does research regarding the disorder. When they find an abundance of articles or writings mentioning high divorce rates and separation during the ongoing struggle of a child with autism, the individual then feels automatically at a higher risk for divorce even if the thought hadn’t entered their mind before.

But parents studied and surveyed by Hartley et al in 2011 provide a different account. In the survey, 52 divorced parents who have a child diagnosed with autism were asked if their child’s autism had an impact on their divorce. 22% of individuals responded as “not sure,” 32% of individuals responded “no,” but 50% of parents said “yes” to the survey.

A wide range of statements were given for the reasoning behind it with most popular being “stress of family or relationships.”  Also “issues of acceptance of autism diagnosis” and “disagreement about therapy or treatments” were popular responses given for the reason of divorce.

It’s apparent that raising a child with autism can be a challenging experience, that’s why The Behavior Exchange has  Parent Training opportunities  for you and your spouse to not only improve your child’s behavior but to sync  your parenting styles. Let us help advise you in decision making regarding treatment and school issues. For more information or to make a consultation, call (972) 312-8733 or visit our website.

Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

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