Signs of autism spectrum disorder are a bit difficult to detect at an early age. A child with autism may show delays in development. But it’s also important to know that each child is different and may have their own pace of development. This gives rise to the debate of whether is it worth getting an autism diagnosis for your little one.
A man on Reddit recently shared similar concerns over his "possibly autistic" son. He also asked the public what he can do about his wife who isn’t taking the news very well.
Wife frustrated with possibly autistic son
The father says that his three-year-old son is about to get started on the diagnosis process for autism. He says his son seemed to have a relatively normal development “with a few quirks here and there”. But his wife didn’t react positively after their recent visit to the paediatrician.
“She is constantly researching autism topics, attempting to confirm his diagnosis herself, constantly crying, and talking about every negative that could ever possibly be,” he writes.
She raised concerns that their son might never have friends, go to prom, go fishing or play sports. His wife also added that they might “have to care for him until we die” as she is sure that he would “never be potty trained” or tell them if he is sick.
'Wife said she hates our (maybe) autistic son'
The distressed father also shares that at bedtime, things get worst between his wife and son. The boy will often lay still in his crib for hours wide awake, which bothers his wife.
He writes, “She just stares at the monitor and gets so angry. Constantly yelling at him to leave his blanket alone, close his eyes, take your feet off the bars, etc.”
'I tell her to turn off the monitor but she refuses to do so'
Their son does fall asleep at night. But he often wakes up again from midnight to 4am, which further frustrates his wife.
“She can hear him in the monitor and will just start crying in the middle of the night. I am a heavy sleeper and she will often wake me just to complain or stress over it,” he writes.
He adds, “He is safe in his crib but just awake. I tell her to turn off the monitor but she refuses to do so. She said she needs to know what he is doing, so she can tell the doctors.”
Mealtimes are also difficult as their son has sensory issues. He writes how his son refuses to use a fork or spoon and often gags leading to vomiting. Since their son gets distracted by anything, he says most meals take 45 minutes.
Because of this, his wife yells at their son and complains that “she can’t make him anything”. When the father tells her to calm down, she only gets more angry.
He adds that his wife is not only frustrated with their son but with him as well. She complains how he isn’t consistent and that their child acts differently around him.
But he defends that he parents him differently.
He writes, “I may not put his shirt and pants on in the same order she does or I may not discipline him the way she feels is appropriate, but he always eats around the same time, gets put down for a nap at the same time, and has the same bedtime routine at the same time.”
Situation causes conflict between the married couple
It seems that the user’s problem is more than just the debate on whether is it worth getting an autism diagnosis.
The father writes, "She has said that she would be better off dead, that it would be easier if he was completely handicapped, and that this is the worst case scenario.” While he doesn’t mean it, he adds that he has also told his wife that she should just leave if this is not what she wants for herself.
“I can’t stand all of the negativity, the yelling, the complaining. I want to be able to help her but she refuses anything I try to offer,” he writes.
The concerned dad adds, “She thinks I don’t care because I don’t have the same level of anxiety she does, but that is simply not true. I just manage it very differently.”
The father also confesses that their marriage isn’t the healthiest and “probably wasn’t before he was born”.
He knows that none of this is their son’s fault. But he feels his wife hates their child more and more each day.
Is it worth getting an autism diagnosis? Netizens offer advice
He concluded his post by writing: “Apologies for the vent session, I just really don’t know what to do or how to handle all of this.”
Many other Reddit users shared their advice and comforted the troubled father.
1.'Autism is a spectrum. Every individual is different. No two people on the spectrum will be exactly alike.'
On whether it is worth getting an autism diagnosis, Reddit user destinyisntfree suggests they talk to a pediatrician. They write, “Once they diagnose the autism officially, they can give him medications to help with the sleep if he is really having sleep issues like you describe.”
“It is easy, at the beginning of the journey, to feel super, super overwhelmed and like everything is coming crashing down around you. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Your son will have to learn different ways to do things. That’s all,” they helpfully add.
2. 'I think your wife need[s] some help managing her anxiety and depression.'
Aside from deciding whether it is worth getting an autism diagnosis on their child, user TaiDollWave says the mother may need help as well. Managing one’s mental health is just as important after all.
Redditor Disastrous-Soup-5413 also adds how the mother “needs to be led by someone that will bring peace and patience into your life.”
3. 'What he needs is consistency and love.'
Kids do need as much support and love from their parents. This is why aside from debating if it is worth getting an autism diagnosis for their son, it is also important that he is loved.
“It can be really hard coping with the fact that your child is different, but it’s not his fault,” writes another user.
4. 'Have you considered counselling?'
“It can be really helpful to have a third party for you (and maybe your wife) to talk to,” advises Redditor dwigtschrute32.
This is important since the couple’s problems extend beyond getting an autism diagnosis for their son. Reconnecting and saving their marriage is just as important in this situation, too.
5. “Be kind to yourself and your family.”
“Parenting almost three year olds is hard under the best circumstances and much, much harder if you feel your child needs a diagnosis,” adds user BuffyTheMoronSlayer.
On whether it is worth getting an autism diagnosis, they also suggest, “Definitely try to get your son identified and then look into family therapy as well.”
So is it worth getting an autism diagnosis for your child? If you happen to recognise early signs, it may be best to check with a healthcare professional rather than making a diagnosis yourself. It is, after all, better to be prepared than sorry.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.