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Behavior / Communication / Education Therapies

Divorce and Autism: They don’t have to go hand in hand. A father’s struggle to heal his son, his family and beat the odds

Let me introduce myself. I’m Emerson Donnell. Born and raised in New Jersey I waited until my 40’s to have a child. Little did I know I was a perfect match, a statistical poster of the typical parent who sires an autistic child, (an older white male living in New Jersey, the state with the highest incidence of autism.) And little did I know after the birth of my son Emerson that my wife Jen and I were being railroaded right into the next widely accepted statistic. Supposedly over 80% of marriages that sire an autistic child end in divorce. Some even say it’s more like 85%.

Teaching My Child to "Wait"

Teaching your child to “wait a minute”, “not now, but later”, or “after you get done…” can be a difficult skill to teach. Many times the ability to wait for delayed gratification must be directly taught. Parents can begin teaching this skill by using a timer to directly teach the meaning of these words as well as the concept of time. Parents should begin by teaching this skill “out of the heat of the moment” and very systematically.

To begin teaching this skill use a preferred item or activity and a timer with an auditory signal.

Meltdown and Tantrums

We're all familiar with the meltdowns/tantrums of those on the Autistic Spectrum...varied though the behaviours may be, parents of those on the spectrum know exactly what a "meltdown" in their child looks like. Many can "feel" their children building to an inevitable outburst. Some tantrums are short-lived; others can continue for hours.

Parents Communication with Your Childs Teachers and Therapists is Vital, Informational Packet to Assist with this Process.

Establishing a communication protocol between family members, educators and therapists into the beginning of the child’s school year and thought-out his or her education is vital.
Immediate communication will assist in bridging the gap between the parents at home and teachers in the classroom.
Implementing this communication system will help to avoid any panic or crisis situations, it will help take the guess work out of getting to know the child through trail and error.

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Managing and Transforming ...

Using an approach to building rapport he helps parents to transform negative behavior into positive behavior that children actually enjoy doing.