Divorce & Children with Disabilities

When parents who have a special needs child divorce, it is imperative that the new routine and environment meets the unique special needs of the child.  For example, frequent changes or transitions between homes may be especially detrimental for a child who has a difficult time dealing with disruptions to her regular routine.  A well thought out plan can help minimize stress for the child and can help to ensure s/he stays on track in school and with regard to behavior at home.  Routines in both homes should compliment each other so that the child feels comfortable and settled despite living in two homes.  Because children with disabilities require special education and/or services, it is critical that parents get on the same page as to what services are available to and beneficial for their child.  Occasionally, one parent may not completely understand his/her child’s needs due to being in denial that the child actually suffers from a disability.  This makes co-parenting more difficult and may send a confusing message to the child, potentially causing unnecessary stress and harm.  Parents should be actively engaged with their child’s care providers, teachers and therapists.  These professionals are great resources for information about services and community activities that can benefit the whole family.