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Aspia's Handbook for Partner Support


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Carol is a greatly blessed mother of five adult children, but who has sadly been divorced from the father of her children since 2003 because of the unmanaged effects and behaviours related to his Asperger's Syndrome. Late diagnosis of adults with Asperger's Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) can render someone affected rather wilful, seemingly arrogant and typically resistant to a diagnostic process. A relationship with an adult on the Spectrum can be extremely confusing and disorientating, often resulting in emotional brokenness and isolation for the partner. Often the difficulties are not identified early in the relationship, and only emerge and multiply as the partner looks for deepening emotional intimacy and the family dynamic adds additional factors, eg, children, moving house, changing jobs, widening family group, etc, which the adult with ASD does not appear to cope with or manage effectively. The context for Carol's marriage and family situation was a church and school in a Christian fundamentalist movement where divorce was viewed with disdain, and where wives seeking pastoral support were advised to go home, pray for their husbands and keep submitting to them. Over many years Carol sought to know God's mind on the matter, and found the more she understood God's love, grace and intention for believers and human beings in general, the more she was filled with confusion and rage at what she perceived to be "group think," inconsistencies and spiritual abuse taking place in these fundamental contexts. What made things particularly tricky for her was that she was a senior pastor's daughter. Carol founded a support group for partners of adults with Asperger's Syndrome in 2003, has gone on to secure a counselling qualification, writes regular newsletter thoughts, and has also written several self-published books about Asperger's Syndrome in relationships, with two more in the making. She has also recently released her first book that focuses mostly on the spiritual and emotional pain she experienced while trying to find answers and someone in the church to believe and support her prior to diagnosis, after diagnosis, and then through the steps of separation and divorce. She is delighted to report that her parents have been unwavering in their emotional support of her and her children. Carol writes because she knows the value of written expression and how this can provide validation for other hurting hearts going through similar circumstances.

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