Autism Online Magazine

Autism: What Will Happen When Parents Are no Longer Around?

One of the concerns we parents have about children with autism is related to the future in all its dimensions. We know that we are not eternal and that temporality marks our passage through life: one day, inevitably, we will leave our children’s life.

The biggest question arises: who will take care in our absence of our son with autism when we are no longer around? It’s a concern that we carry within us; perhaps it’s not a topic that we discuss with the professionals who assist us in the intervention and care of our children. However, it’s something that worries us, and we need guidance.

What will happen to my child who has autism when I am no longer around?

If the child has siblings, we may begin to think of their brother or one of them as the future recipient of a special responsibility: to entrust the guardianship and custody. Our neurotypical children know this, or at least they intuit it as they get older. That is to say; his future already carries a component of commitment: his sibling with autism.

It’s a complex and delicate issue because we must not compromise the freedom of our neurotypical children. Therefore, within our possibilities, the planning of the lives of our children with some level of dependence has to be done, so it can be addressed when we are no longer there.

Assuming the guardianship must be a voluntary act of one of the brothers, it can’t be forced. The commitment arises from love, and that’s something we parents have to cultivate.

We must seek the highest level of financial autonomy for the person with autism (learning a job that ensures their livelihood), and achieve the greatest acquisition of independence of daily life and self-care skills of our child with autism. Prepare him to fend for himself as much as possible.

Talk openly to the family about the diagnosis and difficulties of the child with ASD, spend time with your neurotypical children, have a special time to share and talk with them too. We must avoid encouraging the feeling of “not being rewarded.” It’s also important to teach our child with autism to respect the personal space of their siblings.

As parents, we must create a family environment in which the autism of one of the children is lived naturally, without complexes and resolving fears. It facilitates the relationship between the members of the family and ensures that, in the absence of one, the others will come out in support.

In the absence of one, the others will come out in support.

Caring for our neurotypical children’s good relationship with their siblings with autism is a determining factor in their future quality of life.

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