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8 year old with Asperger is it better for him to be raised alone or in a bigger family

By April 28, 2010 - 7:39am
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We are heading to court for custody of my step-son. He might have Asperger Syndrome and we are trying to find arguments that would weigh in court between him living a life alone with mom, in school where no full time services are available for special needs children, too many video games, no steady rules, living in small appartment in town and living with us in a structured family environment, 3 siblings ages 2, 9 and 11, 3 cats, 1 dog a house in the country. We have a school with 4 special educators and a special class as well but the child custody would have to change from 50%/50% to all weeks with us and arrangements with mom on weekends and holidays. He loves both parents equally but right now he needs a structured environment before things get worst. Any legal pointers or suugestions?

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EmpowHER Guest

As a mother of an autistic child, temper tantrums and executive function issues can make things look as if the parents are not structured. The child should be provided for and stay with the mother if possible it seems dangerous to have an us against them attitude when a child has a disability. Why is the father in a big home and the mother in an apartment seems that she needs a child support attorney.

September 3, 2011 - 1:43pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

The mother has been on welfare since the age of 19 (legal age in Ontario) and has never made efforts to find work while still sending the child to full time daycare as welfare provides the service for free. As for the father, he makes the same amount she does and this working full time at minimum wage, but I am the one making the big salary and in Ontario a new spouse's salary cannot be taken into account for child support, reason for the big home and car. I have worked all my life to support my family (I have 3 other children). I work in an attorney's office and here in Canada if the mother does not try to take herself off welfare (she has no disabilities and has her GED) and earn a decent living to support her child judges will not be sympathetic to the fact that she lives in a small apartment with no transportation so a child support attorney can't do anything. He needs specialized school educators, a regular psychological follow-up (all these are free to the mother through welfare) but we still pay (the father and I) since she won't make the effort to take the necessary steps. Right now she is trying to go through governmental channels to get him declared a disabled child so she can get the extra $10,000 a year. The father said she can't keep the money but does not believe his son is disabled, just needs a little bit of extra help.

September 3, 2011 - 4:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Made a mistake previously: the father says that the mother CAN keep the disability money if so declared but after doing some research it won't happen since he functions as a normal child at 90%. Parents need to set an example for the children in the future and get all the available services for them to grow up healthy and well supported, unfortunately some parents are selfish.

September 4, 2011 - 7:34am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)


Are you Caroline, who originally contacted us?

If so, are you looking for support for something in particular? Are things still the same with this situation?

Obviously we cannot offer legal advice but let us know if there are other ways in which we can help.


September 4, 2011 - 5:36pm

The child was acting violently, getting into sudden rages and pushing book shelves to the ground or breaking toys at the daycare. We are located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. There are many options for care and support but the mother just won't make the effort.

April 29, 2010 - 6:08am

Mediation was already tried last year and was unsuccessful and had to be decided by a judge. A temporary order was to leave him in the same school but with certain conditions such as improvement, french tutoring and no incidents of violent nature. None were respected. We do not want to take him away from his mother, he loves her very much and even if she is very selfish towards the needs of her son she doesn't esactly pose a threat, just a lack of special care, but it is the only option since the specialized school is close to our home and we live 50 km away and the mother has no means of transportation. It's not a battle for HAVING the child, it's a battle to get him what he needs at this point in life before things get out of control.

April 28, 2010 - 12:47pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Caroline Audet)


It's always extra heartbreaking when a child adores his parent, even when she isn't doing the right thing.

I'm sorry that mediation didn't work and that it's likely headed for court but maybe that's what is necessary in this case.

When you say "A temporary order was to leave him in the same school but with certain conditions such as improvement, french tutoring and no incidents of violent nature. None were respected."....who was/is being violent? The mom or child?

Also, I don't know where the mother lives but there are state and federal programs available (free of charge) where therapists come to the child's home on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. She may qualify for this. I used this myself, even though our insurance would have covered my own baby's physical therapy needs. This would facilitate the need for specialized care.

If it's not available and the child's therapy is being neglected and he suffering because of it, I would think a judge would seriously consider amending the first order, if it still stands.

April 28, 2010 - 1:02pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Caroline-

The body of your post did not show up when I first addressed this question!

Now that I know more, I have to say that the house in the country, with kids and a dog is considered pretty ideal, I know. However, many people don't have that opportunity and live wonderful lives with a single parent, often in small apartments. Is that ideal? Maybe not, but it's certainly no reason to take a child away! This does not mean a child in the small apartment is worse off. I know lots of people who grew up disadvantaged but are none the worse for it. Legally, I can't tell you what a judge might think but as a mother, I do not believe a house in the country with siblings automatically means a better life.

However, if there are no rules in the house or less than optimal care or any kind of neglect, then that certainly might be a factor in custody issues.

If your stepson has not been officially diagnosed yet, that needs to happen soon. Then both sides can present their cases. I am sure social services, medical professionals and educators will also have an impact.

We cannot give any kind of legal advice but you all have a long way to go before you can state your cases. It takes a lot to remove a mom from her child's life.

And in all cases, the best interests of the child is what counts.

I think you need to get your ducks in a row before proceeding, especially since he only "might" (for now) have AS.

Thank you for looking out for this little boy! Feel free to add more but you (I mean his Dad in this case, as it'll be Mom Vs. Dad) if there is a custody dispute. This is very sad in families and I do hope arbitration could work instead, for the child's sake, so that he is protected from any disharmony or feels he is a traitor to one parent.

Do you feel that getting a mediator in would work instead?

April 28, 2010 - 12:40pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Caroline,

Thank you for your question and welcome!

It is better for any child to be raised by his/her own parents, as long as the parents are loving, supportive and can provide for the child's physical and emotional needs.

Asperger's is a highly functioning level of autism. Sometimes it's not even easy to diagnose because someone living with this condition may be thought of as having some "quirks" but they are also quite successful and functioning nicely in life.

Any child with Asperger's needs therapy and attention from his/her caregivers but a family of any size can cope very well and long as they have the support system they need to help the child to his highest potential. That will include teachers and specialists who are trained in this area, as well as supportive family and friends and always - consistency. Every child needs that. Some children need it even more than others.

Do you think a child with Asperger's should be raised only as a single child or do you think he/she needs a big family? Do you have concerns about this?

April 28, 2010 - 12:26pm
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