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Autism Does Not Cause Divorce

A new study at IMFAR reports:

Brian Freedman, PhD, lead author of the study and clinical director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute, said the findings seem to debunk a lot of the general understanding about high divorce rates among parents of children with autism. Dr. Freedman and his research team found that 64 percent of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) belong to a family with two married biological or adoptive parents, compared with 65 percent of children who do not have an ASD.

This is the first scientific study (I believe) that has actually addressed this question. We can of course all recall the utterly unfounded scare stories of 80%, put about by know-nothings such as Jenny McCarthy, who said on an episode of Oprah:

Soon after Evan’s diagnosis, Jenny says the stress of raising a child with autism began to take a toll on her marriage. An autism advocacy organization reports that the divorce rate within the autism community is staggering. According to its research, 80 percent of all marriages end.

“I believe it, because I lived it,” she says. “I felt very alone in my marriage.”

And which autism organisation was that? You might not be amazed to discover it's the equally know-nothing bunch at the National Autism Association.

NAA is presently conducting a national divorce survey of autism families. Several organizations and news outlets have used the often-quoted autism divorce rate of 80%—NAA hopes to confirm or update that percentage before referencing it in its program materials.

Get a clue, NAA - maybe you should’ve done the research before letting Rent-a-Gob loose on the Oprah show.


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