### Inexperienced Husband Struggles with Parenting Autistic Daughter

Dear Annie: My 8-year-old daughter recently received an autism diagnosis at age 7, though I had suspected it since she was 3 due to severe speech delays. Despite my concerns over the years, my husband dismissed them, attributing her behaviors to being “a little bit behind” or “stubborn and hot-headed like her daddy.” However, he could no longer ignore the signs when her meltdowns led to her classroom being evacuated last year.

During evaluations, he remained confident she wouldn’t be diagnosed, and when she was, he struggled to accept it. As she has grown, I’ve required more assistance, especially on challenging days. While I’ve attended parent training and followed advice on helping her regulate her emotions, my husband, now working fewer hours, has hired a caregiver to support me. Despite being more present, he struggles to handle her meltdowns effectively.

I try to educate him on better approaches, as his reactions of frustration, yelling, or attempting to distract her with physical touch only escalate her meltdowns. He interprets my guidance as criticism of his parenting, which is not my intention. How can I help him grasp her diagnosis and build confidence in supporting her without the tension that arises when I offer advice? — Overstimulated

Dear Overstimulated: Parenting a child with special needs can strain even the strongest relationships. Your husband may simply need more information and support to navigate this journey effectively. Seeking guidance from your pediatrician or support groups tailored to your daughter’s needs can equip both of you with the tools to nurture her development. Remember to carve out time for yourselves as a couple to reconnect amid the challenges of parenting.

For more insightful advice on relationships, communication, and reconciliation, check out Annie Lane’s latest anthology, “How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” available in paperback and e-book formats at http://www.creatorspublishing.com. Share your queries with Annie Lane at [email protected].