### Husband’s Inexperience Parenting Autistic Daughter: Dear Annie’s Insight

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Annie Lane, Advice Columnist

Dear Annie: My daughter, who is 8 years old, recently received an autism diagnosis. This revelation came at age 7, but my suspicions arose around age 3 due to her significant speech delay. Despite my concerns voiced to my husband over the years, he dismissed them, attributing her delays to simply being “a little bit behind” or inheriting traits from him like being “stubborn and hot-headed.” However, his dismissive stance changed last year when her classroom had to be evacuated due to her throwing furniture during a meltdown.

Even during the evaluation process, my husband remained confident that she wouldn’t be diagnosed with autism. When the diagnosis was confirmed, he seemed to struggle to accept it. As she has grown older and stronger, I have found it increasingly challenging to manage her needs. Being a stay-at-home mom of three, I face difficulties on her tough days.

Fortunately, my husband has been working reduced hours and has arranged for a caregiver to assist me on his working days, for which I am grateful. With his increased presence at home, he has witnessed firsthand the meltdowns I have been coping with for years. Regrettably, he has not been handling them effectively.

Since her diagnosis, I have undergone parent training and diligently followed the advice given to me. I remain patient with my daughter, helping her regulate her emotions when self-regulation is not feasible. On the other hand, my husband easily gets frustrated, resorting to yelling at her to “just stop” or attempting to distract her with hugs or tickles, which exacerbate her meltdowns as she dislikes physical touch during those moments. When I try to explain that his methods are counterproductive and that she can’t simply stop, he redirects his frustration towards me. He misconstrues my intentions, believing that I doubt his parenting abilities, which is not the case.

I have accumulated extensive experience in managing her meltdowns and am eager to offer him guidance to handle them better. My husband is a loving father and husband, a remarkable individual. How can I assist him in comprehending our daughter’s diagnosis better and empower him to support her regulation without succumbing to frustration and conflict whenever I intervene? – Overstimulated

Dear Overstimulated: Raising children, especially one with special needs, can strain even the strongest of relationships. You are doing an admirable job, and it’s essential to recognize that. Your husband simply needs to educate himself, much like you did, on effective parenting strategies for your daughter. Seek advice from your pediatrician or join support groups tailored to parents in similar situations. Remember, your husband’s intentions are not malicious; he is merely lacking information. Additionally, prioritize quality time together through date nights or activities to reconnect and strengthen your bond.

Annie Lane, a Compassionate and Insightful Advice Columnist

Annie Lane is a multifaceted individual—a mother, daughter, sister, and wife. Raised in California, she ventured east at 18, embarking on a journey that led her to graduate with honors from New York University, majoring in English literature with a specialization in psychology. Her pursuit of knowledge continued as she obtained her Juris Doctor from New York Law School.

Throughout her academic endeavors, Annie explored various roles, including a stint at Barnes & Noble fueled by her love for books. She is a certified yoga instructor, with experience in sales at an internet advertising startup and a tenure at a law firm. However, her true calling emerged in offering practical solutions to everyday challenges, akin to the renowned Ann Landers.

Residing outside Manhattan with her husband, two children, and two dogs, Annie now focuses on her family and the beloved Dear Annie column. When not penning insightful advice, she indulges in play dates and quality time with her loved ones.

Annie Lane’s wisdom and wit shine through in her column, resonating with readers seeking guidance on relationships, communication, and personal growth. Her latest anthology, “How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” delves into themes of marriage, infidelity, and reconciliation, offering a blend of empathy and sound advice. For more information on her work, visit Creators Publishing. Share your queries with Annie Lane at [email protected].