Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I was thinking about responsibility and the desire to have more children. Is it irresponsible to have more children if you already have an autistic child? Or is it just crazy? A "friend of mine" and his wife are having this discussion as we speak. So naturally the question of how likely is it that they would have another child on the spectrum arises to the forefront of the discussion. There are some statistics out there, but the problem with these numbers is that they are impacted by the large number of those who practiced stoppage.

To further complicate matters, what if our friends had a girl who appeared to be developmentally typical? Is she in the clear, or could she be a carrier of the autism mutation(s)? Should the parents talk to their daughter as she gets older and advise her that this might be a problem when she starts to want children of her own?

At what point do the emotional, spiritual, and financial drawbacks of possibly having another autistic child tip the decision scale toward stoppage? And what about adoption? Adoption seems like it could fit the bill. But the younger the child, the more likely the chance s/he will have an undiscovered developmental delay. Does this ever end?

A good bit of me just wants to take our ball and go home. We've got it pretty good right now - I've certainly seen those who have it worse. It seems like the understanding husband hat and the conservative pragmatist hat may be mutally exclusive in this one.
-BC

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