Sunday, October 24, 2010

Parenthood and Misleading Divorce Statistics

I'm never quite up to date on TV viewing, since I watch everything off my DVR, so I'm commenting about a show from a few weeks ago. Parenthood, Season 2, Episode 4, which features a family dealing with a child's Asperger's, talked about the dreaded divorce statistic "80% of families with an autistic kid get divorced."

Fortunately, that's just not true. The 80% statistic is an enduring myth I see quoted frequently, but studies just don't back it up. The divorce rate seems to be about the same, whether a child is autistic or not. Even worse, the show quoted that the character's therapist told her that it was true. Lesson 1: Don't believe everything your therapist tells you! Lesson 2: Just because your child is autistic, doesn't mean you're doomed to divorce.

You can read an earlier discussion of this topic on my Divorce and Autism post. Please don't skip the show because of one bad statistic. Autistic kids are varied, and every family is different, but in general, Parenthood seems to do a pretty good job of presenting the joys and struggles of raising an autistic child.