I don’t know if this is too personal a topic but I just wondered how you felt or decided about having another child with the possibility of having another autistic child?
We love our son dearly and we don’t want him to be the only child but we just don’t know how to decide whether we have another or not as we read all different kinds of resources saying what the % of having another autistic child is but they all seem to vary from 4% right up to 20%. Plus we are both almost 40 years of age and I know that adds to the %.
Just looking to see how other people felt in this position
Our daughter is 8 and awaiting diagnosis we have another daughter aged 7 and a 14 month old neither one of the younger children show any signs I am 39 now so close in age to you, but you never know this is a decision only you and your family can make x
Thank you for your response. I think I’ve just got thinking about it more because I went on a course Friday last week and there were 7 other women on this course all had more than one child and more than one child diagnosed autistic. It’s just got me thinking about the odds that’s all x
Apologies in advance, but I tend to ask direct and difficult questions.
How well do you perceive autism? How are you finding dealing with your son? Is it burning you out or is it a joy? Is having a 'faulty' child damaging your self image? How accepting are your extended family and friends? How much time and energy can you give to your child?
An only child is hard work because you have to be their playmate, parent, teacher, annoying older brother (to fight with them and knock the edges off) and mentor. A second child can be good for the first child. I've no idea about how much stress having more than one autistic child could be.
Plastic said:An only child is hard work because you have to be their playmate, parent, teacher, annoying older brother (to fight with them and knock the edges off) and mentor.
A single parent myself -- well expressed Plastic.
I am in my mid-forties now and would have loved to had had more children, it is with some sadness that that will not happen. There is a certain amount of guilt (from my perspective) in being an aspie single parent in that you are very conscious of your deficiencies as well as your strengths. My son now is nearly 15 and more independent from me which helps knowing that he is able to spread his wings in terms of friends and sociability without me holding him back!
Good luck with your choice and I agree with Plastic, your perception of autism is rather key.
I think Plastic makes some interesting points.
I'm also curious as to why you automatically assume an autistic child will be any better or worse than having a NT child. For example, myself and my brother are ND (my sister is NT) and our autistic tendencies caused so few issues as children that neither of us received a diagnosis until later in life. Due to our delayed speech and introverted tendencies we were deamed dream toddlers by other parents as we sat quietly and behaved wherever we were, whereas a lot of our peers (especially young boys) were unruly. Although we were easy children, on the other side of the family I had a NT cousin who had such severe emotional and behaviour problems he was put in care to safeguard his siblings. Therefore this NT child was a lot more hard work than his ND cousins.
Even if you were able to accurately predict the likelihood of having another autistic child you wouldn't be able to predict how their autism would present or what their personality would be like.
My little boy struggles everyday as he is non verbal, I see him struggle daily to get through without a tremendous amount of support from me which is why I stay at home with him. My son at the moment has some challenging behaviours and doesn’t sleep very well either so those long nights yes sometimes it catches up with me and it’s difficult. My partner works away through his job because he has to to provide for all of us to enable me to be the one bringing our son up. I would by no means call my child faulty he’s perfect to me as he is and thinking of it as damaging to my self image I couldn’t care less what people think of my self image. Immediate family are struggling acceptance but they are getting used to it and how my little boy sees the world different. That is what I am most concerned about when my son needs me as he does then how would I find the time for another child or would I just find it without realising.
I am not automatically assuming it would be better or worse I don’t know how it would be. My son is non verbal he struggles every day he needs me 100% of the time my worry is my time for another child.
You would find the time without realising, my daughter only sleeps about 3 hours a night has done for years and we worried this would be a problem with a baby but it actually made it easier! As I was used to being up, if I plan for time for each child I end up failing but when I just accept it and go with it they all get enough time.
I know it's different as my daughter is verbal and in mainstream school, but the additional needs of any child if you think about it you will always find difficulties but when it happens you just deal with it
Paddy McGuiness's children were non-verbal and now two are in mainstream primary school and are verbal - the other is too young, so things can change over time. As Paddy is away a lot due to working in showbusiness it might help to look at how his wife coped. She does a lot of work around autism awareness.
If your worrying about certain things could you create a table and put issues down one side and then document ways to deal with it down another side? Having a few strategies in mind might help you to decide what you want.
I'm currently pregnant and have already had to start working out what are likely to be stressors for me and ways to cope. For example, I need alone time so am currently doing a lot of overtime to be able to afford to put the baby in nursery two mornings a week to prevent my MH from taking a nose dive.
Hi Julie. I ask the difficult questions to make you examine your own thoughts. When parents think about having children they imagine what their child will be like and how successful they will be and what high-powered job they will get - like rocket scientist or nuclear physicist. You dream about being grandparents one day when they are happily married with 2.4 kids and a Labrador.
When you have a child with special needs, all those dreams go out of the window and you're then left with perpetually worrying if they will be ok and able to live indepentently. There's every chance that he will turn out perfectly fine but there's a chance he may not.
As a parent, you will find yourself grieving for what might have been. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety as you re-evaluate their future. It can also cause a lot of marital and family stress because everyone knows what to do with a normal child (the same as everyone else with children) but they also have a strong and possibly conflicting opinion on the best route for a special needs child.
These opinions can cause a lot of arguements and, as you only get one chance about bringing up a child, it causes a lot of blame if things don't turn out well.
It all comes down to how you feel about your son's difficulties and how well you cope with everything and what support you have to manage it all.