Sunday, January 3, 2010

Acceptance Failure

So I have a spouse who refuses to acknowledge that our daughter is a child with sensory processing issues...anyone else experience this? Please tell me I'm not alone.

At first, I thought he'd come around. I'm aware that it takes people time to process information and accept a reality they did not initially expect. So I waited and waited and waited..........................

Then, I thought I'd provide further information that wasn't just coming from me. I bought books and asked him to read them. I printed out articles on the Internet from respectable sources. I even brought it up in front of our pediatrician while my husband was in the room.

So I waited some more, and dealt with what he believes is just a behavioral problem. I've had countless conversations with him about how to address her needs while maintaining boundaries. She doesn't wander through the world aiming to annoy him. She is trying to meet her sensory needs. Yes, she needs rules, routine, and structure. We've done that, and we do that. But most of all, she needs his love and acceptance.

Um, we're moving onto age 8 next, and still he is in complete and utter denial. Now, I'm just annoyed and angry and disappointed. How can a father not realize he is shattering her self-esteem? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The most unfortunate part of this is that she is learning that he discriminates against her. He'll pick her sister to assist him with chores, and tell her she is too clumsy to help. If she spills something at meal times, he acts like it was done on purpose to offend him.

There is something wrong with him.

Now, I'm trying to help her realize she has beautiful, amazing qualities which make her the perfect girl she is...and always will be. That no matter what he says...she should embrace herself with love.

I just wish he could do the same for her.

All I know is this:

I've got to lead by example, and maybe it is time for me to move along. She needs to know that I don't approve of this.

I've been cycling through this same pattern for far too many years. Obviously, it isn't working.

Anyone else deal with this?


  1. I do not deal with us and neither should you. You sound like an amazing mother, and your daughter is so fortunate to have you as her advocate. I hope you find the support you need and deserve, and I wish you the strength and stamina to figure it all out. Love and blessings to you.

  2. I wanted to add that even though I personally don't experience what you are, I know that you are not alone. Being the parents of a child with special needs is extremely stressful and accounts for a very high rate of divorce. I urge you to go speak, perhaps, with a counselor who is familiar to these unique stressors, someone who might help to guide you.

  3. yes, I deal with this! my ex purposefully pushed my son into sensory overload then had him put on antipsychotics for bipolar. my son now back with me and off the drugs and our next battle is how much does my son have to put up with during visitation. I wish the courts would understand it's unconcionable abuse, but parental rights are sancrosact :(

  4. oh yeah, my son is not bipolar. my ex described him as uncontrollably manic to get him medicated.

  5. I think I misspelled sacrosanct...?

  6. I don't struggle with this exact issue, but there are several that are similar. They usually rotate around therapies. For instance, the OT wanted my son to do listening therapy several years back. I thought it was a good idea. My husband didn't. I wasn't going to go behind my husband's back and start my son on listening therapy, but knowing that my son wasn't getting the therapy I thought he needed really created a lot of tension between my husband and me. (After several months of going back and forth, we ultimately tried listening therapy, which made only a negligible difference.)
    I wish I had an answer for you, but I don't. My husband and I still struggle with issues when there are black and white actions and we don't agree (meds vs. no meds, call the doctor vs. don't call the doctor...things like that).
    Have you tried making an appointment with an OT and getting a diagnosis once and for all? Maybe if you did that and the diagnosis was there for him to read, things would change?

  7. I had that problem with my ex-husband. He didn't get that my oldest, who among other things has an auditory processing disorder, really CAN'T remember to lower his voice in public (or me either for that matter--the kid comes by it honestly!). I wish you all the best in dealing with this however you choose.

  8. Oh Jen, so sorry to hear all this. You are THE most amazing Mom I've ever known, and don't ever forget that. You do so many amazing things for your girls and are always such a strong advocate for what's best for them........if what's best for them, and for you, means "moving along" as you said, then we support you 100%. I hope that, no matter what happens, you and the girls find the happiness and acceptance you deserve.

  9. i am thankful to have a husband who - though sometimes 'slow to process' as you say - works hard to understand our daughter's challenges. HOWEVER, i do have friends in exactly this situation. One's husband is constantly trying to discipline his son's disabilities away while another constanly says, 'when he grows out of it.'
    as elizabeth said, there's help out there. don't go it alone.
    all the best to you and your family, no matter what direction you may take.

  10. I want to echo what Jess said...don't go it alone. You are NOT alone. It's kind of like the big white elephant in the room for a lot of families. In my case it is not my husband but other family members, my father in particular. I know he loves my son but he doesn't get it and never will.
    How does your other daughter treat her sister ( I don't know how old she is)?
    Can you contact your local chapter of the ARC ( and ask for referrals to family counselors that deal with these sorts of issues? Or your state's department of health and human services? Even if your husband won't go, you and your daughters could benefit.

  11. I think that many families struggle with this to some extent. My husband is accepting of the diagnosis, and he can see how HARD things are for our son, but he often yells when he should just get down and lend a hand. The boy and VERY low muscle tone. It's almost impossible for him to get his shoes all the way on himself. He tries, and he wants to, but he still needs help. All we have to do is be willing to help, and willing to love them just as they are.
    I find it worth noting, too, that my husband gets SO FRUSTRATED with our neurotypical daughter but lavishes attention on our youngest son for the exact same behaviors. It makes me think that men (or at least my husband) don't understand the importance of fair and consistent.
    I'm sorry for your frustrations. We're here for you.

  12. unfortunately yes, and I know too many people who also have. It seems to be a common problem. I am also one of the people who had a special needs child and then got divorced. My daughter's father simply can't deal with her issues and because of that doesn't visit her very often. She adores him, so it breaks my heart. Luckily her step-dad is very supportive and loving, but he too has trouble. He gets really frustrated, especially over things he thinks she should be doing. We've spent YEARS working on eating skills, and food still falls out of her mouth. This is the type of thing he can't deal with. But he hangs in there and keeps trying. We both go to therapy to cope with the anger and frustration and he really tries hard. He is a good dad, regardless of the fact she isn't biologically his child (although he's been in her life since she was 2, so she can't remember a time without him).
    I suggest counseling for you both. If he won't go, then you should still go on your own. The needs of a disabled child are too great to do all alone. You need support, and a therapist can do wonders. But find one who is familiar with the issues of a family with a child with special needs. You don't want to spend a year analyzing your child hood, you want someone to help you cope with stress and hopefully help your husband learn to accept what has happened.
    Isn't the internet a wonderful place! You've heard from so many who "get it." I love it when i ask a question and people give me ideas.

  13. You are not alone. Even though it may feel that way in the moments of misunderstanding.
    You were very brave to share this with us and I know, there are moms reading your post who are feeling better knowing now that they are not alone, either.