During my years as a behavior therapist for autistic children, I sat before many couples strained by the incompatibility in their behavior management styles. The tension between the parents surpassed the tension experienced in managing the ebbs and flows of their child’s behavior. Couples often times expend their energies on ensuring their child receives the best possible treatment, yet they neglect to operate as a unit in this process. It’s understandable autism impacts the entire family and each member internalizes and processes emotions differently, while these factors warrant consideration they should not overshadow agreement and consistency in addressing challenges with your child.
The instances where I recognized parents weren’t on the same page, I would focus the first few sessions in creating parent consistency. Any therapist can implement stellar interventions with the best outcomes and goals, however if the parents disagree on implementation they will not work. These disagreements can lead to increased tension and frustration when dealing with each other and your autistic child. The following exercises have proven successful in aligning parents and improving outcomes with their autistic child.
I encourage you to take some quiet time with your partner and make a decision to work together for your child and their future.
Venus A. David, M.Ed.