Divorce among parents of older autism affected children is measured at a higher rate than a group of parents without autism affected children. (link) Suppostions now come streaming in about what the increase rate means. Some professionals have supposed that it is because more services are needed in order to take the burden off of the family. Perhaps not.
Is it possible that the over inundation with regard to parents being compelled to make normal, in many intances that which is not intended to become normal - is the root of the higher divorce rate?
Is it possible that the parents' burden to identify programming in order to normalize children across an entire spectrum - programming that is hypothesized as fact but does not yet exist - causes a tremendous strain and stress on them? Parents are compelled to do what the experts have not even done.
Experts often proclaim the normalization of those higher functioning, higher IQ autism spectrum individuals who clinically would have presented to be normal without intervention - according to research. (See Onset Patterns & IQ Might Matter or False Pos Epidemic & Autism)
Experts move on after a couple years and tout success when many times the lifetime of the children they have worked with, hums a tune of continued and profound involvement in autistic features after those couple years of success.
Might the divorce rate be higher because the parents' focus, many times, becomes solely that of the autism affected child and his or her need, and differences of opinion between parents can become profound. This affects the husband wife dynamic significantly. As a comparison, it is one thing when parents have a difference in opinion about what college a typically developing child might attend - this can be argued about and gotten over. It is entirely another thing when the difference in opinion about how to deal with an autism affected child means that one spouse percieves the other as costing the child his or her life, or best said quality of life.
Professionals' mantras which have been applied about the field of autism treatment, across the board, have been hugely responsible for creating the pressure that parents feel - to be compelled to advocate so strongly until the affected child's issues have been intervened upon in a way that leads to significant improvement. When in some cases, the only kind of improvement that will prevail is the one day at a time, may never be quite normal improvement.
After all is said and done and many years have passed, never quite normal - is sometimes going to have to be good enough, especially for those who have always been a whole, just a different kind of whole.
The eight year old range is a time of worsening for many in the spectrum. The fabrications about intervention successes that are being emphasized in media and the learned halls - have caused a dyamic where parents continue to feel blame for not normalizing or significantly altering their affected child's presentation. This in turn is resulting in the harmful split between two partners that might have stayed together, if the pressure had not be so great as far as trying to make normal that which cannot be normal.
It is important to keep trying, but it is also important not to created the fire drill scenario. First tell the parent his or her child is autistic, suggest the impending emergency and doom. Then, present the mantra about normalization. For those children with the higher IQ (and their family) the warning bell stops sounding alarms about impending doom, and eventually they resume their life as if looming doom was never present. For those children with lower IQ, they have to remain within emergency status much longer since their life represents impending doom to so many - they are usually not invited back to life with the rest of us because the emergency is never allowed to end so that they can integrate.