The balancing act of raising 2 kids with ASD

On October 28th 2009 I had an official diagnosis of autism for our second son, I thought how in the world am I going to raise 2 kids with autism spectrum disorders? The time, energy and patience it takes to raise one child affected by autism is exhausting. It was not easy with one child with ASD and now we were faced with the daunting responsiblity of two.

As challenging as it may be, I manage to do it on a day-to-day basis. I guess my style is divide and conquer. I separate the kids to do age appropriate things individually with them. This doesn’t always end well and often we have many meltdowns during the day. But a lot of tears doesn’t really bother me I just keep on trying.

If my husband is home from work, we like to take one on one time with each of the boys. Hunter is a computer and technology wiz, so we try to watch him play and find things on the computer to help him learn. He also enjoys reading his online books from school to us.

Tristan is a more sensory driven child. He loves getting messy and playing very rough. So, my husband spins, tumbles and wrestles with him. He craves all this activity and Hunter doesn’t really care for it much, so he doesn’t feel left out if dad is with Tristan.

If we have 2 adults at home, it isn’t nearly as difficult to balance time, since we have one child to one adult. It can be very overwhelming when you are on your own with both boys. I describe it as being pulled in two separate directions like a wish bone.

We try our best to get in some fun family-based activity. Family game night is an interesting adventure for us. Hunter knows how to share and take turns, however, he doesn’t like to do any of that with his baby brother. Tristan doesn’t really have any concept of sharing or turn taking, so it can be war at the table when trying to teach those skills.

There really aren’t any rules about raising 2 kids with ASD or, for that matter, raising any kids. We find the divide and conquer method works for us. One on one time helps keep fighting down to a manageable level. The boys have their own play skills developing with each other. They are playing chase games and beginning hide and seek. Although hide and seek really is just more like one saying “hide and seek” really loud from where ever they chose to hide, they are still playing together. Even if it is so loud that the neighbors can hear them, they are starting to play together.

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