Parents of Autistic Children, advice please - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-29-2008, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are foster parents who are being considered for a sibling group, ages 4, 3, and possibly 4 months. The 3 year old is on the autism spectrum, but they are unsure where, only being sure that he is very high functioning. I have 3 bio children, ages 9, 7, and 5. We are very interested in adopting this group, but unsure if it would be a mistake. Can we possibly be good parents to all 6 of these children, when one has autism? Can we give them each enough attention? Would it be fair to the kids to take in a child with autism?
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:21 PM
 
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I guess that depends one what you mean by "fair". Will you need to spend extra time with your child that has autism? probably, he may need to be transported to therapies and require more attention. Six kids is alot, hands down. Whether any are differently abled or not, that's a lot of children and your older three can expect to lose some time with you. You will have to deal with adjustment and attachment issues with all three regardless of autism or not. IMO, autism would be less of a concern than taking on three foster kids and having a total of children in my home. I guess I am having a hard time answering your question because I am not sure what to say. I'm not sure that I see why having an autistic family member would be considered unfair to the nonautistic family members.

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Old 08-29-2008, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by wytchywoman View Post
I guess that depends one what you mean by "fair". Will you need to spend extra time with your child that has autism? probably, he may need to be transported to therapies and require more attention. Six kids is alot, hands down. Whether any are differently abled or not, that's a lot of children and your older three can expect to lose some time with you. You will have to deal with adjustment and attachment issues with all three regardless of autism or not. IMO, autism would be less of a concern than taking on three foster kids and having a total of children in my home. I guess I am having a hard time answering your question because I am not sure what to say. I'm not sure that I see why having an autistic family member would be considered unfair to the nonautistic family members.
I'm concerned that by adopting an autistic child, I will not be able to give the other children the attention that they need. I will end up following this child around all day to keep him safe, and will unintentially ignore the other children. I could really use some advice from other parents of autistic children, especially those who have large families.
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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Well I have two autistic children although I am not a mom to a large family. I still stand by what I said. You will have to give extra attention to the three foster kids because all three will come with special needs, whether they are autistic or not. Now as to how much time the autistic child will need in comparison to the nonautistic children, that is anyone's guess at this point. My younger son, who is more classically autistic , actually requires less of my time and attention than my teenaged "mild" aspergian son. The amount of time that will be needed for each child is dependant on a wide variety of factors, not simply whether one has autism or not. No one here could answer your question because we have no clue what this child is like. Autism is a spectrum disorder which means you could be dealing with any number of issues frmo mild to very severe. Perhaps you could speak to the social worker at your foster care agency to help you determine whether or not you would be an appropriate placement for differently abled children.

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Old 08-29-2008, 11:09 PM
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I have 4 children, the youngest is autistic and essentially non-verbal. My older children are a tremendous help to dh, me and ds3. I think ds3 really benefits from having older siblings who play, wrestle, talk with and just live with him.

The burden on the older children is more than just having another little sibling though. It is hard on them sometimes. The tantrums, the demands, the watching. Ds3 sees somelthing he wants from an older sibling and then we have to figure out whether to listen to him cry (or scream-- depends on his mood and desire level)... or do we give in? Short term peace vs long-term lessons to learn. The older kids have to get on board, or they will be resentful. The autism just makes it more intense I think. Ds2 was given a shirt. If Ds3 sees it in the clean laundry pile, he takes it. Thankfully ds2 is a pretty easy going kid-- but it does wear on him over time. (pardon the pun)

Do your older kids do activities that might be compromised by a younger sibling needing therapy services that would have to be coordinated?

Our autie is an awesome munchkin, well integrated in the family and full of love for all of us too. He's a neat kid. He does bring a different vantage point to our world and we do make accomodations for him-- but they are so normal for us. We do sign language at home, as best we can. We have one of the older kids stay with him at Sunday school (mainly for comm reasons more than behavior reasons). In our case, ds isn't a runner.

Different auties have different issues too. What I might say about how we accomodate ds3 might not apply at all to what you'd be dealing with.
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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I had some ideas but typed out they are dumb. I just don't know.
Those are all such legit concerns. I have a 7 yo Autistic son. He is in the middle of two girls.

It could be an amazing experience for your family. It sounds like a challenging group, reguardless of the Autism. They are so close, and so young. Can you observe them? Meet them? I am just rambling I don't know. Do you home school? What services are available in your area? He could be in therapy for quite a few hours every day. That has been a lifesaver for us. Good luck in your decision and please let us know what you decide. Feel free to ask any more question.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:49 AM
 
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YoungSon, 12, bio-Dumpling, has ASC. But he is by far my easiest kid. Autism doesn't necessarily equal difficult, lots of therapy, or disabled. He wants less attention than my others, and is quick to accept other's differences. He is really very easy to be around.

I am also planning to adopt a sibling group (5 kids between 4 & 10). I already am the foster parent of the 7 YO girl, and I know all the siblings well. None of them have autism, but my, have they got problems! Please understand that was said with love. Seriously, any child in care has had major losses, and WILL need extra attention.

I have no idea about the needs of the kid you are talking about. If you can talk with the current foster parent, perhaps you can get an idea of his needs. But environment plays a huge role, and how well he does or doesn't do in one home may not predict how well he functions in another.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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Old 08-30-2008, 03:08 AM
 
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I have two kids on the spectrum. One is very easy to deal with most of the time and the other is a handful. However with some things the opposite is true. You would have to spend a bit more time with all of these children. I guess the real question might be that if one of your kids were autistic, would you still want to adopt? If the answer is yes or probably, go for it. At least you understand it might be a challenge.

Misty, mama to my nurslings William(11/4/02) and Parker(7/13/04).
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:10 AM
 
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By the way, ther is a guy I work with that says he would trade me in a heartbeat. Meaning that even though he knows it is a lot of work, it is very rewarding. I told him today that no matter how tired I was, I would never trade for typical kids. Mine are wonderful just the way they are.

Misty, mama to my nurslings William(11/4/02) and Parker(7/13/04).
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:24 PM
 
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I agree- taking on a sibling group, even of NT kids, will be a hard adjustment for your 3 kids. One having autism won't be that much more of an adjustment, as long as you don't allow it to be. Each child has specific needs. Yes, my 6yo w/autism has many hours of therapy that I have to take him to, or arrange for someone to take him. Yes, my other kids have to also log hours in the car to and from. Yes, we have to arrange our schedules around those therapies. Does that mean they're 'missing out'? I don't think so. Yes, it's a bummer to have to rearrange schedules, but it's also teaching them to be empathetic, sympathetic, and caring to each other.

And, once you re-babyproof your house, you probably won't be following the child w/autism around all day andy mroe than you would need to follow a typical 3 yo around. Good luck.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:42 AM
 
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Autistic kids don't necessarily need to be followed around. My neurotypical child is my most challenging.

I would recommend, however, that you do some reading about autism and the different ways that autistic people process their environments.
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