Kate E. Reynolds

  • Feature in Emirates Woman

    Her autistic son caused

    a strain on her marriage

    Kate Reynolds

    The mother of an eight-year-old autistic

    boy wrote explaining that the child was

    sleeping in bed with her and her husband

    most nights. This often resulted in her

    husband sleeping in the spare room and

    was fundamentally affecting everyone's

    night-time routine. The relationship between

    the couple was strained, partly due to lack

    of sleep and the general pressure of having

    a child who had extreme tantrums, and

    partly because the husband was angry

    that his wife wasn’t fixing the problem.

    The letter was one of the first one I’d

    answered that really made me look at

    my own marriage, which had dissolved

    within months of the diagnosis of our son

    with ‘classic’ autism at the age of three.

    I slept with our son most of the time in

    his bed, because he would wander or

    get distressed without someone there

    – a common complaint of parents of

    autistic children. One of the parts in

    the letter that struck a chord was that

    this woman’s husband expected her

    to “sort out” the problem, which was

    similar to my husband’s expectations.

    When I first read it I felt sick because

    it touched what I hadn’t recognised

    were still raw feelings, even six years

    after my marriage dissolved. I had to be

    careful because I still felt anger towards

    my ex-husband and I had to be wary of

    conveying this in my response. Looking

    back at my advice, I’m surprised at how

    balanced it was, considering the strength of

    my feelings. But it made me remember how

    I felt at the time – the realisation that autism

    was going to be a long-term issue led me

    to choose between my son or my husband.

    Ultimately, it was a decision I had to make.


Kate E Reynolds - blogging

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