Having a child with special needs or learning differences can mean having to adapt to relatively common situations differently. For example, many parents in Arkansas and elsewhere get divorced, decide to co-parent and come up with a child custody schedule. However, for parents who have a child on the autism spectrum, that decision can involve more in-depth planning than for parents whose children are not on the spectrum.
Children on the autism spectrum often thrive on routine. The parents’ divorce may be a gigantic hurdle in itself that the child would have to adapt to, but parents should try to make the future custody schedule as easy and consistent as possible. Creating a calendar could not only help parents keep up with transitions, but it could also help a child, depending on his or her age, visually see when the exchanges are going to take place.
Having a consistent routine in relation to preparing for custody exchanges that is the same in both households could also help children on the spectrum adapt to going from one parent’s house to the other. This could mean having the same routine the night before and morning of the exchange to signal that the transition is coming. For example, maybe both parents commit to creating a routine that involves the child gathering his or her necessary items before transitioning from one house to the other.
Though having a child on the autism spectrum can certainly mean looking at things differently, it does not mean that situations have to be impossible. New child custody arrangements can take time to get used to for everyone, and it may be particularly difficult for a child on the spectrum. If Arkansas parents believe that their custody arrangement is not benefitting their child, they may need to revisit their plan and possibly make modifications.