My wife and I have a very difficult #Autism parenting decision to make

I’m not describing it very well but it’s very difficult to describe.

The boys know he’s going into the vet for a check up but we haven’t told them what might need to be done.

Kids with Autism often require special care in situations like these because they don’t process emotionally charged situations the same as their neurotypical peers. The feeling of loss is very profound and they (my kids) don’t cope very well with it. It’s very difficult to navigate and frankly, we avoid having to at all costs.

I’ve been speaking to other Autism parents, as well as the boys therapist about how to handle this.

The main question is do we prepare them for the possibility that he may need to be euthanized or do we send them to school, take Zane to the vet, deal with whatever happens and explain to the boys after the fact?

If we prepare them, it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to focus on anything else, meaning school (assuming we could even get them there) would be a nightmare. If we don’t prepare them for what might happen, and it happens, they won’t have had a chance to say goodbye.

I realize we’re talking about a ferret and most people don’t have an appreciation or understanding of ferrets, but they are highly intelligent animals that bond very deeply with their human family. Their human family likewise bonds deeply with them as well.

The loss would impact the boys for a very long time.

We’ve lost our cat Cleo to old age and our dog Maggie to cancer, all within the last year. Elliott sleeps next to Maggie’s collar.

I was messaging with the boys therapist last night and the recommendation is not to tell them anything. I reached out to my friend Holly Robinson Peete because she’s an experienced Autism parent. We chat from time to time and she always has good advice.

Lizze and I are hoping that everything will end up being fine but we are not going tell the boys anything.

We need them to go about their day without worrying about what may or may not happen.

Holly’s right, in that every child is different and advice is tough to give. She’s going to be going through something similar soon and is dreading it as well.

Lizze and I know the boys and we know what will happen if we say anything. I think we’re going to go to the appointment, hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. We’ll just have to deal with the fallout, if and when there is any.

This might seem like we’re making too big a deal out of this but kids on the spectrum typically DO NOT do well with change, especially when that change involves the loss of a beloved pet.

Sometimes, talking to other Autism parents about what they would do or have done in similar situations, can help put things into perspective. All we want to do is minimize the trauma for the boys as best we can.

Thank you to Dr. Pattie, Holly Robinson Peete and all the other Autism parents that shared their thoughts and experiences in regards to this particular situation.

Hopefully, everything will go well and none of this will even be necessary. ☺

I hope this makes sense. My brain is fried and I can’t keep my eyes open.

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And even NTs can get broken up over the (possible) death of a beloved pet.

Michael Arden Yows


Jimmy Rock

You pointed out the negative in preparing the kids in advance, but what are the benefits? Giving them a chance to say goodbye? First, it doesn’t seem like you even know yet if this is in fact goodbye. Second, do you really think that the opportunity to say goodbye really would help them cope anyway? With the challenges your kids have with processing death, my guess that the “closure” of saying goodbye isn’t going to soften the blow and could just drag things out.

This is going to be a difficult time for them no matter what. You know your kids. You’ve been through this before. Do what’s best for them. Don’t overthink it.

Sorry about your pet. Hopefully you’ll receive some positive news and this won’t be a moot point for now.

Hawai'i Nō Ka ʻOi

I’m sorry for your impending loss. Ferrets are such amazing creatures, it’s sad how short their liv…

Craig Kline

Very sorry

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