Son's dad still does not believe autism diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Californiablonde, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Ever since my son has been diagnosed with Asperger's and ADHD his dad has shot us down every time we attempt to explain it to him. My son struggles greatly with his communication skills. Several of his teachers have suggested autism in the past and I used to brush it off as no big deal. Then as my son became older and his behavior became more odd, I finally accepted the fact that he was marching to the beat of a different drummer. He has been diagnosed as autisic by a very competent and thourough psychiatrist. The autisic questionaire that was filled out by both me and his 5th grade teacher scored him high on the autistic rating scale. His school psychiatric also says he has it. Why is his dad fighting it so much? My daughter says that anytime she brings up the word autism and my son in the same sentence, her dad quickly shoots out the response, "Your brother doesn't have autism or adhd. He's my only normal child. I at least have to have one normal kid, don't I?"

    This hurts difficult child 1 immensely when he says this to her. She interprets it as her being the "not normal one." She is always sticking up for her brother when he struggles to communicate. My son still has a very hard time communicating with adults, even relatives that he knows very well and he is close with. He cannot maintain conversation and he does not give eye contact. He is affectionate with me and loves to give me hugs and kisses, but he has a very hard time bringing himself to show any affection to anybody else. Whereas my daughter will give hugs freely to relatives, my son has to be prompted to do so. When he does give a hug, he is very stiff and awkward. You can tell it really bothers him to have to do it. His dad is not understanding at all. He says my son is just a little shy and has to be forced to come out of his shell. This past weekend when my kids were over there my ex told my daughter that My mom and I have "put ideas in the psychiatrist's head" and convinced him that difficult child 2 has autism. He thinks we have talked him into diagnosing my son as autistic.

    I am really upset at my ex for claiming I put ideas in a very well respected and competent neuropsychologist's head. The last thing I want is to have an autistic son. I fought the diagnosis at first just like he did. Finally I have come to accept it. So why can't he? My mom heard about what he said to difficult child 1 and she emailed him to confront him about it. Once again, she overstepped her boundaries and contacted him without my permission, but that is a whole other story for another time. Anyway, she explained to him that difficult child 1 has high functioning autism and that he has been diagnosed by several different sources. His response? (She forwarded it to me) Was that he was not autistic but just shy. When will he ever get it? He refuses to go to IEPs or any doctor appointments. I have given him the phone number to his former teacher so she could explain some of his behaviors, but he did not want to call her. He has never spoken to a teacher, psychiatrist, or therapist for his issues and he has no desire to do so. How do I get him to laly off difficult child and stop trying to make him become something he's not?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well, this doesn't really have anything to do with him being an X. You'll notice around here that there are DHs that are the same way...

    Accept the fact that X is probably a difficult child in his own right, and doesn't want to face THAT fact. All of these issues have a tendency to run in families. If X wants to keep up the appearance of being "normal", then he needs "normal" kids. The kids are not normal... and he feels it reflects on HIM. Therefore, defensive.

    Your kids may well grow up to be people of value in society. I expect my two kids - both of them - will do so. They will never be "like everybody else". But then again... neither were most of the people who changed the world. Your son could go on to be a research scientist, or an engineer, for example. The potential upside is as big as the downside. But... to get that message across, your husband would have to open the door just a crack.
  3. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Until your X wants to accept the fact that your son has autism, he is never going to. It's like an alcoholic is never going to kick the habit until he admits that he needs to. He may never choose to acknowledge that your son is on the spectrum and that is something that you and both of your kids will have to accept.

    I think that saying that he wants to have at least one normal kids is extremely hurtful to your daughter and I would address that with him, although from the sounds of it you are unlikely to get anywhere with him about it. But he needs to know that your daughter is upset about it because it's really mean. That's what I would expect to hear from a bully in the school hallways.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Tell your ex to not dump this load on your daughter, and not to take issue with you. Instead, tell him to argue with the doctor. if he insists that the doctor will only say what you have given him permission to, then tell him to say that to the doctor as well. tell him to either put it in writing to the doctor, or make a written list of his concerns and take each of them up with the doctor. Until he does this, he has no right to challenge the diagnosis.

    As for "I've got to have one normal kid, don't I?" NOBODY gets to have that as a right. We have to take what we get. By behaving this way he is losing out on spending quality time appreciating the two wonderful kids he does have.

    Nobody is perfect. Not you, not I, not him. Not the kids. My eldest daughter was born with a funny cast in her eye and a malformed retina. My firstborn was not perfect as I had thought she should have been. My second baby was very demanding and screamed constantly. My third baby always knew what she wanted even if it was not what I knew she needed. She was a challenge. Still is. My third seemed the easiest baby, until we realised at age 1 that he was not responding to anything said to him and didn't seem to even recognise his own name.

    I love all my kids. I also work to help them with their issues, we work as a team. I show them how I value them ads they are, how they can value themselves for their abilities and find ways around their deficits.

    It's what we do as parents.

    Good luck with this one, but don't engage him. Tell him to engage the doctor, and let the doctor have it with all barrels. And warn the doctor to stand firm, your kids need it.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Some family members - it doesnt just have to be dad's, it can be grandparents, aunts or uncles- just dont want to believe any sort of issue could happen to "someone in their family" because that would mean they have to take a look at the possibility that they could have passed it down or had a role in the issue. I got lucky that Tony never doubted the boys had issues. His family however swore they were just spoiled brats and we were using medication to drug them into submission. Thankfully he told them to stuff it or take the boys unmedicated. Oddly no one
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry he is such an idiot about this. You cannot make him understand or accept this. You CAN teach your kids to stand up to him and tell him that his comments are hurtful and mean and that they are unacceptable. You can also begin to prepare yourself for children who refuse to go on visitation to his home or to spend time with him. That is sad, but ifyu feel so hurt and rejected you don't want to be in that situation. If the ages in your sig are correct, they are soon reaching ages where the court won't force them to go spend time with him.

    It sounds like a big part of his denial stems from the "I am perfect so my kids are and if I recognize some imperfection/problem in the kids then it means that I might not be perfect!" . Some people simply cannot cope with that.

    by the way, why is normal something he needs so badly? I want my kids to be extraordinary, special, unique, and fabulous. Normal is booooooooooooooooring in the extreme, in my opinion. My kids are a lot of things, good and bad things, but they are NOT normal.

    I am willing to bet you would throw your ex's brain into a tailspin if you asked him why he wanted to settle for normal? Why he doesn't want them to be extraordinary, super, wonderful, fantabulous, and amazing? I wonder if he could name ten 'normal' people who changed the world?

    It is a shame he thinks that you created this diagnosis, but he sure does think you are powerful! Maybe he should be a bit afraid of you? After all, you DID convince a well respected neuropsychologist, the school, the other docs and tdocs, etc... that your son is autistic when he is just shy. That took some major powers of persuasion. You need to start wearing a cape with a big P on it. We can call you "The Persuader!"
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Here's another instance where the Serenity Prayer is likely needed. You can't change X. You can't change your Mom.
    You can influence your children but some of their behaviors you just can't change. "Accepting the things you can not change" is a long stressful process.

    My X and I separated in 1970. He is an educated man who is a regular church goer and his current wife (#4 ??) is a kind loving woman who raised eight children after her husband died at the age of 31. Ex still does not believe that GFGmom has any problems other than I did not discipline enough. Ex still believes that I should have left the children with her and let CPS taking them "so she would learn how to be a Mother"...AND...he thinks Aspergers, BiPolar (BP) and of course ADHD are all bogus diagnosis's.

    I'm not trying to make this about me. I'm pointing out that life moves on and from experience I think the best and only thing you can do is try to keep your children safe and under the care of qualified people. No reason to butt your head against a wall trying to change can't. DDD
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    What a sad situation. And unfortunately all too common. I'm sorry for both Of your children. Your son would for sure benefit from his dad being on the same page and therefore helping rather than hindering. Your daughter absolutely cannot be hearing those cruel statements from
    Her father. Period. End stop. Both children need to be taken for who and what they are. Supported through their difficulties in order to make the best of them, and praised for their accomplishments and strong points in order to see themselves as more than the sum total of their personal struggles.

    I know there are many parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and grands who dont want to "get it". In my opinion though, when a parent behaves as your ex is to your two children? The damage is too far and long reaching for you to allow it to continue.

    I believe like the others, that you cannot make your ex get it. I also know that your ex threatens you regarding custody, abuses your goodness via child support, and controls you through fear.

    So let's see. He neglects one child's serious mental health needs. He abuses his other child's emotional health in serious ways. He threatens and controls you as an ex, via your kids and threats of family court.

    First , I'm glad as heck that he is an ex! It must have been hades to be involved with a man like this. Sadly, we don't get to undo their contribution to the creation of our children (I sure have wished I could do do so myself!).

    Second, I highly advise you speak to a family law attorney about your options. Money being a huge issue for most working single parents, I advise seeking a affordable option for legal help in your area. I don't know what is available to you, I live in a different country with different programs for legal help. I encourage you to seek out what is available to you there.

    I hope you understand that I do not at all take your fears lightly about your ex's threats. I full well, from too many (7!) experiences of long family court processes, know that black cloud of threat over your head. I also however know that they want us afraid. They want us to take all of their criticisms and all of their attacks on us as somehow evidence that can ruin us and our family in a court. Well of course they want us in that position! Control and power play is a strong motivator for them. The thing is, what your ex threatens is not going to happen. This man would not win custody! And your children are well provided for in all areas. Your personal struggles and any past mistakes are part of life. And apply in various ways To most of us in some fashion. The key is not viewing your role as parent through his off kilter glasses! He wants to paint you one way and he is darn good at making you so fear ridden you buy into the fear he wishes to trap you into. I say to you, with total understanding of been there done that, view yourself through realistic glasses!!!! A family law attorney can help you see this about yourself.

    Then, be preemptive. File against him for a family court hearing. It is time that this man be taught to treat his children's needs as valid and to stop his form of abuse. And make no doubt about it, his behavior is abuse. And your children deserve and need protection from that. Sad to say regarding their own father. But trust me? I just spent 7 months, again, in court over my easy child with the same type of control freak and the same fear mongerer. And I'd do it again tomorrow if need be. Because recently I learned just how serious the damage is to our kids and how desperately they need protection. My daughter doesn't even have the problems of a difficult child, and she has environment induced mental health problems because of the control and abuse of her emotional health. I'm talking anxiety attacks of severe form, self worth and value issues, self loathing, serious depression and suicidal ideation. That's a easy child. Imagine if she was a difficult child to boot?

    I also want to say, my pcs dad also took his visitation, paid some type of support. But it didn't make him some bloody hero at all. I allowed myself to use those traits as
    Reason to convince myself I would suck up his control and fear mongering because I could take it for the team so to speak. Well guess what? I was so wrong. It made things so much worse for my child. Her suffering is immense. And she needed more from me. Hindsight is 20 20 they say. Well I wanted to share mine with you because I truly do feel for your situation so closely. I truly believe that you need to stop trying to make this difficult child ex into something he isn't. Won't work anyhow. It never does. That energy really must go into eliminating the harm his difficult child side does to your children. I truly believe family court is your personal supporter and helper, and not the place to fear as your x would have you believe.

    You and both of your kids need a long term solution to end your ex's effects on your lives. I know that court may affect their visitation with him. And I Know you need breaks and down time as much as anyone does. I get it. It however can't be a solution for those breaks to come at the expense of this type of psychological warfare from your ex. You may wish to put up for your own reasons. Unfortunately your kids need you to make sure they don't have to. What a bind huh? Please don't take that statement as a lack of understanding for your position. I truly do get it. I also know what is ahead for you and your children first hand as your ex gets away with this behavior. And the work ahead on your part to help your kids as they get more messed up from this abuse from ex? Far more demanding than finding alternate paths to alone time. And worth conquering the fear that ex keeps you trapped in when he continuously threatens custody applications against you.
  9. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well, Mattsmom, it's funny that you should mention the whole custody battle thing. He just brought it up again to the kids his last weekend visit with them. He told difficult child 1 that he is looking to buy a new house, and when he moves that her and her brother will be living with him. difficult child 1 spoke up and said she doesn't want to live with him. She told him she doesn't want to leave her school or her friends. He told her that she can always make new friends. She then asked him what he had against me that he can use against me in court to win custody. He told her that he will use the fact that her hygiene is poor and that she doesn't take enough showers against me. difficult child told me that she thought her dad was stupid for thinking a judge would take away the kids from their mother all because of oily hair. I agree with her. I know that no judge will take them away for that reason, BUT he can always use difficult child 1 skipping school against me and he could win based on that. That is what I'm really afraid of.

    Once again difficult child refused to get up for school this morning. She fell asleep at 10:30 last night so she got eight hours of rest. There was no reason for her to be extra tired this morning. Now she's just making up excuses not to go. I argued and battled with her this morning until I absolutely had to leave for work or I was going to be late. I don't want her dad finding out, but my mom has threatened to go above my head and tell him all about her missing so much school. I begged her not to tell him, but she said she cares about the welfare of my kids more than she cares about his reaction to it all. I don't know what else to do with difficult child. I borrowed a SARB letter from my work and typed in difficult child's school district instead of mine. I put her name on it and I am going to bring it home and tell difficult child that I got it in the mail. I don't like lying to her but I don't know what else to do. In the letter is clearly states that the said child is truant and the parent can be found liable and incarcerated for up to a year if the attendance doesn't change. I am going to tell difficult child that if she doesn't straighten up then I can go to jail and this is serious business. It also states in the letter that the child will also be held accountable and that she can have her driver's license delayed and well as being put in juvie if her attendance doesn't improve. I am hoping the letter will scare her into coming into school. I don't know what else to do. I certainly don't want her dad finding out and using it against me. I really hope this works.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're starting a medications adjustment tonight, right?

    Remember... "it's always darkest before the dawn"...
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    by the way, if your X is an informed guy he may feel he is "right" because there has recently been a change in the evaluation and identification of Aspergers. Sigh. DDD