Autism and Aspergers
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Should you force children with ASD

indie0885indie0885 Member Posts: 5 Listener
hello, I really hope someone can give me some advise. here goes! I’ve a 6 yr old with autism, he’s always hated going to his dads but in the last year he’s really hated going, he’s to go every Sunday for 6 hours! he now hates the weekends, doesn’t sleep through the week because he’s stressing about going and when he dooe go to sleep 1-2am he wakes with nightmares! I don’t want to medicate him at night times I really really don’t want to because growing up his sleep has been great until now. He’s always crying even counting down the days until he’s to go! I don’t know what to do anymore should I be forcing him to go? I don’t think it’s right a 6 yr old having any sort off stress/worry in there life’s! This is actually destroying him! He says he hates dad when I ask why he doesn’t want to go and he hates his house! He’s not excited about santa coming anymore because it’s almost Sunday! I found out today that he’s been telling the kids at school he doesn’t have a dad! 
Ive spoke to his dad about the issue but he just laughs doesn’t seem to care what damage this is doing to our wee boy! He does nothing with him! Didn’t even have many toys for him.


  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @indie0885
    Welcome to the community and thanks for sharing.  This must be a really upsetting time for you all! 

    We have an ASD advisor @VioletFenn who may have some thoughts on this.

    It sounds like this is a big issue, is there any way to have a clear and honest conversation with your child's dad? Perhaps he needs some support in understanding where his son is coming from too? 

    Are you getting any support with your son from a professional?
    Senior online community officer
  • indie0885indie0885 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi @Sam_Scope sadly no there’s no way talking to him, he’s not intreasted in our sons feelings at all, won’t come to meetings with me when I have them.  yeh he get help at school and also his nurse is contacting a professional for me to get some advise on what to do.  I know fathers have rights but if it’s getting to the point when it’s making the child I’ll with anxiety when do you say enough is enough. He doesn’t care as long as he looks good by taking him. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 740 Listener
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  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    It sounds like a really tough time for you and your son @indie0885 :(
    Senior online community officer
  • indie0885indie0885 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thanx very much @DannyMoore for your reply, it’s very interesting hearing that from someone with autism! Yes he does get headaches now you mention it, I didn’t even think they would be connected but always start near the weekend.
    Yes as much as I would love to give him a break for a while my sons dad isn’t someone who would let that lie!  I’ve managed to use the he’s not well/we’re away excuses quite a lot, last weekend I said he’s refusing to get dressed (which he was) and was a emotional wreck, dad’s reply to that was CAN YOU NOT CALM HIM DOWN!!!!!.

    All the progress he’s made in the last year just seems to off gone down the pan since this problem has started regarding him not wanting to go to his dads!  
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 740 Listener
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  • indie0885indie0885 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    someone I was talking to actually said to show him that reply! 
    Yeh I’ve actually noticed he’s going back to his Star Wars obsession, could that be him using that to get his mind off things? Hes extremely obsessive over things (mario,Star Wars,sonic,Lego) he went off Star Wars this year but within the last few weeks seems to be back on it, he’s not even aware off the new film either. This is so interesting finding all this out! All the specialist this year have ditched my son, speech and language discharged him in September, which I’m wild at, the doctor discarded him in March only help we get is from School! But since this issue started to get real bad I’ve been intouch with his care worker and she’s on the ball about getting something done/help. Since he got his diagnose 2 years ago we have just been forgotten about. 

    Hes doesn’t have aggressive melt downs, he’s just very shy, doesn’t like change in routine, he won’t stay with anyone but me, obsessive, very emotional, has issues with food (smell,taste,texture,colour) basically lives on chips but yet again the nuterionist helping him seen him once and discarded him a year ago. Well soon be Sunday, let’s see what heppens! That’s if my son even sleeps tonight 
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  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,375 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @indie0885 and welcome to the community.

    This is a realy difficult one, yes the father has rights, as does the child in knowing where they are from and to have contact. If his father is not on board with his son's autism then this can be very difficult.

    That said the current situation seems far from ideal and I fully understand your concerns.

    I am going to stick my neck out a little for the father, from my experience many men find it hard to talk openly about their emotions and it does sound as if he is either in denial of your son's autism or has a very poor understanding of it. As he is unwilling to talk to you it makes it very difficult for you to approach the subject of what is going on. So this is probably best done with an intermediary of some sort.

    Does he have family you regularly see and get on with, would they support  you?

    The best advice I can offer you is to consider family councelling before you go down the route of cutting contact between your son and his father. You might have to be firm with him, yes he does have rights but with rights he has responsibilities that come with them.

    I noticed you mentioned that he hates his dad's home. There can be any number of reasons for this sensitivity to smell, the home being to chaotic for him, down to him trying to make the most of their time together and trying to do to much with him. Part of the problem could be that he is expecting too much of your son and there could be a level frustration, it doesn't even have to be a lot for your son to pick up on it.

    My memory of my dad when I was kid he was a nightmare. For some reason my daughter would not go to him and it took a few months of him being patient to a level I never thought he had before he won her over. I went through a very rough patch with her and practically wrecked our relationship. Again it took a lot of patience and some changes from me to eventually mend it, we now have a great relationship. So while things are difficult at the moment they can change, but it does mean dad has to be open to change.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • indie0885indie0885 Member Posts: 5 Listener

    Hello and thank you for your help,

    There’s no relationship between me and his family, they don’t even have one with my son never have. You would think he does to much with his son, the problem is he does nothing with him! I keep saying he needs one 2 one and all I get back is I’m not ditching my other kids to do one 2 one with him! So I’ve gave up even saying anything now. 

    His his house is hectic, there’s 2 other kids in it and my son doesn’t like them, there always in his face being bad to him and his dad does nothing to stop this. 

    He’s got a full understanding off autism, I told him the score also gave him a tone off information and highlight the bits he needed to take note off.  I’ve tried talking to him so many times but he always comes back with oh you need to get over this (our break up) it’s been 5 years so I’m clearly over it but his mind doesn’t work like that.

  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,375 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @indie0885

    Unfortunatley he can be given all the information in the world if he is not taking any notice of it then his understanding is going to be poor, but that is his choice.
    Unfortunately with choices come consequences and not just for him.

    Despite of everything I am still reluctant to suggest that it is time to drop their contact, but at the same time it is no fair on your son that his progress is negatively affected by the situation.

    Wait to see what the nurse says, she may have an alternative. While I appreciate you don't want to use medication to help your son sleep I would still suggest you talk to the doctor as this will add to your son's problems and his progress at school. 

    The bottom line though is you are the parent he is living with and you have to do what is best for your son. As you said, he is not likely to take this lying down so stopping the regular contact would take the power from him and back to you. This might even offer you the chance to change the framework in which they have contact - just trying to keep your options open.

    What ever you choose, please know we are here to support and help you

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • JennysDadJennysDad Member Posts: 2,308 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @indie0885 and welcome to the community. You've talked to some good people already here.
    Parental separation/divorce is tough on kids who do not have autism, so what it must be like for youngsters with autism is difficult to imagine. New routines take a long time to become established and 'going to dad at the weekend' will only become a routine if the child feels happy and secure there and if dad makes sufficient effort.
    Does your son have stayovers at dad's? It may be irrelevant, but one of my first wife's primary concerns (I had custody) about seeing her son was that the stayovers reduced the amount of maintenance she was required to pay.
    Whatever the facts, you do seem to need professional help with this. Others here are far better qualified than I at advising you who to turn to.
    Wishing you the best possible Christmas in the circumstances,
  • VioletFennVioletFenn Member Posts: 124 Pioneering
    Hi @indie0885

    Firstly, I'm so sorry to have taken a while to reply - things are hectic and I just didn't see the notification. I'm really sorry.

    Others have already given you so much good advice that I'm not sure there's very much I can add. However my personal opinion is that no autistic child should be forced to do anything that is upsetting them to this degree (and this really is just my personal opinion - the law doesn't necessarily agree, as we all know).

    Yes, all children should know their parents and have contact where possible, but on the other hand what is gained from forcing them to have contact with someone who's attitude is clearly damaging them? 

    I absolutely agree with other that it is better to get as much information and support as possible - counselling could really help to work out what you need to do for your boy's sake, whichever way you decide to go.

    As for the sleeping - my own son is prescribed melatonin and took it for a long time, then we tailed it off because he no longer needed it. However, we still use it on occasion when he has difficulty sleeping, because lack of sleep causes far more problems than any medication side effects. In fact melatonin has almost zero side effects and is not - so far as I am aware - addictive. See it as a way of keeping your son's sleep habits regular.

    All the very best to you and your boy - you'll get there.

    ASD advisor, Scope.
  • Blue FrogBlue Frog Member Posts: 373 Pioneering
    Coming at it from a different perspective (I don’t know much about ASD but know a few families in similar situations) 

    How was this contact arranged? Is there a court decision in place? If contact is having such a negative effect then you may have a case to get the arrangement changed and it might be worth getting some legal advice. 

    Contrary to popular belief, contact with the non-resident parent is for the child’s benefit not the parents and there is no such thing as parental RIGHTS it’s parental RESPONSIBILITY. 

    I noticed you said ‘wee boy’ and if you are in Scotland things may work slightly differently to here in England? 

    Hope you get something sorted out it must be very difficult for you both. I am a single parent and it’s very hard - but thankfully don’t have issues with an ex like this!!  x 
  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,375 Disability Gamechanger
    @Blue Frog

    Parents do have rights, and it is in law

    Parental Responsibility is defined in s 3(1) Children Act 1989 as being:

    “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

    The term ‘Parental Responsibility’ attempts to focus on the parent’s duties towards their child rather than the parent’s rights over their child.

    3Meaning of “parental responsibility”.

    (1)In this Act “parental responsibility” means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.

    (2)It also includes the rights, powers and duties which a guardian of the child’s estate (appointed, before the commencement of section 5, to act generally) would have had in relation to the child and his property.

    (3)The rights referred to in subsection (2) include, in particular, the right of the guardian to receive or recover in his own name, for the benefit of the child, property of whatever description and wherever situated which the child is entitled to receive or recover.

    (4)The fact that a person has, or does not have, parental responsibility for a child shall not affect—

    (a)any obligation which he may have in relation to the child (such as a statutory duty to maintain the child); or

    (b)any rights which, in the event of the child’s death, he (or any other person) may have in relation to the child’s property.

    (5)A person who—

    (a)does not have parental responsibility for a particular child; but

    (b)has care of the child,

    may (subject to the provisions of this Act) do what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare.


    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

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