It is approximated that one in every ninety children born in the United States suffers from Autism. Autism has been described as a pervasive developmental disorder of the brain. It creates symptoms involving children who have difficulty speaking; who speak in monotones and engage in obsessive compulsive behavior. Autistic children throw temper tantrums involving behavior which causes them to injure themselves and have a reduced ability to understand dangerous activities. Autistic children have special needs. Unfortunately these special needs create a significant burden on the parents of autistic children and the rest of their family members.
Divorce Rate Among Families with Autistic Children
The huge burden autistic children place on families can also have a debilitating effect on the marital relationship of the parents. The divorce rates among families with autistic children is higher than that of the general populace.
Autism and Custody Issues
Autistic children have special needs. The special needs of autistic children should be considered with regard to custody issues in divorces. The residential custodial parent of an autistic child has a much greater burden than the parent of a normal child. This places a far greater burden on the residential custodial parent, especially with regards to issues of schooling, medical and psychological care for the autistic child.
Financial Issues and Autistic Children
Autistic children require much greater care, training, medical and psychological treatment than normal children. All of these issues require greater financial obligations. Autistic children often require speech therapy, sensory integration and behavioral therapy. These costs are far above the normal costs for medical care for children. Autistic children also require greater attention than normal children which can have a negative impact on the ability of the residential custodial parent to leave the home for purposes of employment.
Courts should take into consideration when, they are presented with divorce cases involving autistic children, the additional responsibilities, costs, and problems the residential custodial parent of an autistic child will be facing.