Autism diagnosis doesn’t equal divorce diagnosis
Time to throw conventional wisdom out the window, at least according to a new study. The study’s author spoke about the findings, published in U.S. News and World Report, but the organization isn’t listed. Using data from a 2007 national survey of nearly 78,000 children from ages 3-17, researchers found that autistic children are just as likely to live with two married parents as everyone else. The numbers are by no means encouraging; the divorce rate of parents with autistic children was 64% versus 65% for non-autistic kids, but it may debunk the stat thrown around that suggested 80% of parents with autistic children would eventually split.
Studies are often tricky, since articles generally report the findings but rarely explain the methodology used to get there. The discussion and conclusion sections of a study also note flaws in their findings for future researchers to note when they conduct their own studies. However, given the high levels of stress that do come with an autistic child, parents may find some solace knowing that everyone else isn’t necessarily luckier. Relationships are tough to match from the start, but that’s another blog. However, the fact that something other than autistic kids is getting press time is noteworthy. The parental aspect plays a large role when stories on children are published, but the trials and tribulations of the parenting role is often ignored in mainstream coverage.
Spending more time on parents would be a fruitful topic to harvest for journalists. We know a lot about how kids with the disability interact with the world, but many parents still drill me when I bring up my condition. Perhaps it’s time I and fellow reporters change course and discover the treasure of information that can be found with parents who raise autistic kids.