Family Court and Supreme Court judges tend to stick to the same old visitation schedules that worked for other families and order them for all cases. When autism is ignored, visitations become a setup for disaster. Especially if a typical schedule includes alternate weekends, and one or two weeknights.
Imagine trying to explain to an autistic kid, who is so rigid and sticks to his or her routine. Imagine trying to explain that on THIS Saturday you will NOT be with Mommy, you will be with Daddy. Try putting that on a Picture Activity Schedule Board and PECS!
While changes in daily routine and the home environments can be tough on all kids whose parents are separating or separated, children with autism typically have heightened sensitivity to such changes, said Dr. Cynthia Sortisio, a child psychologist based in Durham, North Carolina who has worked with autistic children and teen-agers for more than fifteen years. “Even small changes in the environment that would be unnoticed by other children, or deemed insignificant, such as changes in the lighting or smells in a home can prove bothersome to a child with autism,” she said.
If you try to appeal to the judge about this, you will most likely be accused of Parental Alienation Syndrome and so many other creative disorders, designed to make it easier for the judges to come to swift conclusions. How wrong.