Mom Urged To Collect Son From Ex's House As He Doesn't Have a 'Proper Bed'

A woman online is asking for advice on a tricky situation involving her ex-partner and their son. In a post on Mumsnet, user SplunkPostGres described how she had just received a call from her 9-year-old son who was "anxious" about the sleeping arrangements while staying at his father's house.

"He has to sleep on inflatable mattress in the living room because his father's daughter (18) from his first marriage is sleeping in the spare room."

"This always happens," SplunkPostGres continued. "He doesn't have a proper room at his dad's because it's kept as a spare room. Whenever both children are there, it's always DS [darling son] who sleeps in the lounge. Tonight they're packing for a holiday tomorrow and DS with a bad knee can't go to bed until they do. He is 9. He has ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. He needs to go to bed. And I'm 250 miles away and unable to do anything about it. AIBU [am I being unreasonable] to say that DS should have a proper bed at his Dad's house?"

Out of 537 votes on the site, 88 percent of readers said that the post was not unreasonable.

Upset child sitting on the stairs. Stock Image. Children with autism have a need for routine around daily activities such as meals or bedtime. Routines can become almost ritualistic in nature, followed precisely and with attention paid to the tiniest details. Getty Images

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

The World Health Organization defines autism spectrum disorders as "a diverse group of conditions. They are characterized by some degree of difficulty with social interaction and communication. Other characteristics are atypical patterns of activities and behaviors, such as difficulty with transition from one activity to another, a focus on details and unusual reactions to sensations."

It can be hard for someone with autism to navigate their way through the daily challenges of life, and things that may seem unsurprising to most people, may seem unpredictable and worrying to someone with autism. For this reason, routine and familiarity can be extremely important.

"Sometimes minor changes such as moving between two activities, can be distressing; for others big events like holidays, starting or changing school, moving house or Christmas, which can create change and upheaval, can cause anxiety," wrote the National Autistic Society, "Some autistic people have daily timetables so that they know what is going to happen, when. However, the need for routine and sameness can extend beyond this. You might see:

  • changes to the physical environment (such as the layout of furniture in a room), or the presence of new people or absence of familiar ones, being difficult to manage
  • a need for routine around daily activities such as meals or bedtime. Routines can become almost ritualistic in nature, followed precisely and with attention paid to the tiniest details

"Pick Him Up"

Many users urged the mother to drive and pick her son up, despite the 500-mile round trip. "Pick him up," urged one person, while another wrote: "My son has ASD and I'd be collecting him, OP. Can you drive?"

Another user referenced the disruption to the son's routine, "it's not just about the sleeping arrangements - it's about causing disregulation and anxiety to your DS, and how long it can take autistic little people to recover from both. Your ex wouldn't ask a child in a wheelchair to run for a bus and he shouldn't be expecting your DS to cope with this."

"It's sh*t but to be honest...there isn't anything you can do," said one user, while another said: "His dad should give him his bedroom. Really can't understand why he hasn't done this!"

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