HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for 12/12]

I'm ashamed to admit that I can't stand living with my 20 yr (9-6) old son w aspergers. Everyone tells me to take him to homeless shelter, let him go. I m entitled to live a life. My son’s father has nothing to do w any of his children (narcissistic) unless he wants to hurt me. He tried to remove our son from IEP in 2007 while planning divorce (school called me)&ignored him for almost one year while favoring our daughter & keeping her from me& her brother. My ex saw him August 2010 and told him he doesn't have to listen to me when he's 18& there's nothing wrong with him, I just want to take care of him! Things got progressively worse & although psychiatrist, school helped some, it’s still like living in hell. Last summer, I moved my son to his own apt (not far from me) & he started community college. He also worked part time. I still checked on him, but things were getting better. This past march, my ex moved him out of his apt, left it for me to clean& rent again(there was a lease). He quit school& his job. After two weeks, they (3rd wife) kicked him out& left him crying in his car not knowing what to do. In June I moved us out of area to the city with more opportunities. On his own, he got a job as a host at Applebee’s. He spent 5 days in hospital after calling therapist to say he wanted to hang himself. He blames me for everything. He doesn't respect me & or anything I say.  Simple things like take shoes off in house, clean up your dishes, do your laundry etc becomes a war. I’m so sad to say I actually said I hate him.  My parents are deceased& so is my mother in law who I cared for (17yrs) …no support except a few close friends who say kick him out.

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RE: By making accomodations for him during childhood, will this better prepare him for his future, or hinder him to come to expect to be treated specially as he becomes an adult?

Answer:

Good question…     I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you that the long term outcomes for those with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism depends on the severity of their symptoms, their baseline IQ, their ability to communicate, and what kinds of interventions and support they receive. Those who come from supportive families, retain a reasonable sense of self-esteem, and become relatively well-educated, stand a good chance of getting into solid relationships, finding good jobs, and having a normal life. In any event, I would say that the advantages of your son receiving special attention outweigh the disadvantages!

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RE: What is your thought about OMEGA 3- DHA and Autism?

I think it helps with attention difficulties for sure.

RE: Do you think any type of supplement can help Autistic symptoms?

There are many such supplements, but so little evidence that they have a significant benefit.

To determine whether or not OMEGA 3- DHA is actually helping your child, you need to be able to measure how much change there is over time, because these substances do not work overnight.

Assuming your child will go along with this attempt at natural treatment, try giving OMEGA 3- DHA for one whole year. If there is no significant improvement in his behavior or academic performance after the recommended time has elapsed, then stop the treatment.

The good news is there are few side effects -- usually just indigestion and burping (although in rare cases, an Aspergers  kid may become agitated on OMEGA 3- DHA).

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Hi Mark,

We had a chance to watch session 4 videos yesterday and my husband and I have had a chance to think this through.   What we have come up with is that we are going to sit him down and let him know (with our poker face) that we know he has used drugs and we suspect him of selling them.   We will let him know that we love him and won’t tolerate this destructive behavior and  breaking the law.  We are going to drug test him, ground him and take away the phone for 3 days.   We are also going to let him know that we will be checking for any other signs of this type of behavior and if he tests positive in the future for drugs we will involve the police, we will meet with all his friend’s parents to let them know what is going on,  and we will revoke his driving privilege with the DMV (since this is our right to do with the DMV the 1st year of licensing). We are also going to explain (again) that this is how his Uncle who is now 42 and has been in/out of jail and is still on drugs got started when he was a teenager.

Thank you so much for your help. Honestly this program has given us tools we really needed at the perfect timing.

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My grandson recently went through a school evaluation with a questionaire type assessment for Aspergers. He was found "unlikely" to have it. Some of the questions were explained to us in a way that if he does not exhibit extreme behavior, then it would not apply. For example, his conversation is limited to indian rocks and a particular video. He doesn't necessarily force this on others, but if they are not talking about his topic, he will not engage in the conversation or he will leave the area. Also he will allow some changes in his routine, but at times will totally freeze when changes are made. My question is, can Aspergers be mild, moderate or severe? Just because a child is not "over the top" does it mean that he should not have services or his IEP should not address some of the issues?

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I'd be greatful if you could suggest some good ways of dealing with this problem. My boy is 6 1/2 and has a diagnosis of Aspergers. He sometimes becomes very aggressive - ie tries to hit, kick, scratch and sometimes bite and we haven't yet found a way of dealing effectively with this behaviour. He has been like this since he was a toddler. Most of the time he is a lovely child who is quite responsive to guidance but usually later on in the day, I think when he is a bit tired, he turns into Mr Hyde and lashes out when asked to for example stop doing something. Eg he starts getting annoyed with the computer and I say, "can you please stop bashing the computer, you'll break it" so then he gets off his chair and physically attacks me. When he starts swearing and I ask him to stop I get the same response. He seems very sensitive to tone of voice. This summer we were sitting outside with the computer while he was in the paddling tool. In fun he tried to splash us but obviously not good to get computer wet so I exclaimed - "No No No" even though I wasn't telling him off but then he got out of the pool in a rage to attack me. I tried to explain I wasn't telling him off etc but to no avail - too late! From his point of view I think he feels like he is being attacked by us when we are at all negative towards him and I also think he finds it difficult to tolerate the fact that we are not pleased with him so he lashes out to cover up feeling 'bad' about himself.  Whatever the reason for him being in these 'touchy' mood states how should we respond?

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Hi Mark! Thank you for all that you do! Your emails are so helpful. I am a parent of a 16 year old daughter  who was just diagnosed with Aspergers this past year. Unfortunately she was misdiagnosed when she was in 5th grad with an auditory processing disability. My parents are both highly educated, but for some reason or another are not educating themselves in regards to my daughter. Can you please add both of them to your email list so they can receive all the wonderful information and education?

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I have a 21 yr old daughter who is still living with us.  She has completed about 1.5 years of post-secondary education before burning out.  She has no real tangible skills she can "sell" other than working a retail job. (which she loved and was good at)-but we've recently moved from that area...
She is looking for work, but lacks some real important marketable skills.  She is very hard to engage when it come to doing certain tasks around the house(like learning how to cook etc..).  She wants to be independent eventually and finish her education but is really afraid to be on her own.  I feel that if she would spend some time learning some basic life skills she would be ok, but she is not convinced...and refuses to learn or do...how do I help her to help herself and to see the bigger picture?

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Hello, my name is Janet and I have a 13 yr old son that was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was approximately 7 yrs old. I have found little to no help in dealing with him aside from the wonderful ladies that he had in his elementary school. They were god sends. He is an awesome child in school. At home is totally another story. I try the things that they tell me but it doesn’t seem to go any good. I also have 2 other adolescent children that live with me as well as my boyfriend. Our relationship is on the verge of ending because we are always at odds because of my son.  He exhibits some of the traits of Autism but some he does not. Some people have told me that he is not Autistic because of those specific traits that he does not exhibit. I do plan on having him re-evaluated but I’m having trouble finding a place that will do that, as well as finding a place I think will work. He thrives on one on one attention and therefore individual counselors/therapists don’t find many things wrong with him. Also, although he is pretty socially inept he is quite talkative to strangers and very outgoing. He just doesn’t understand the “social cues” most people pick up on. There are times when I feel like I am fighting a losing battle, losing my mind and beating my head against a brick wall. I’m at my wits end.  I have heard in recent years there has been discussing about changing the Asperger’s diagnosis to just “on the spectrum” but I am not sure because I haven’t found any information regarding that topic. 

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This is all so new to me.  I have had a child who is now 16 that has had emotional issues since she was 12.  When she hit middle school she really started to unravel and after several years of ADD, anxiety, OCD and depression diagnoses, someone finally hit the nail on the head.  They have diagnosed her with Aspergers.  The bigger fall out for me was the fact that I have since realized that I've been married to a husband with Aspergers for 20 years and never knew it.  I have struggled for so long over these years with loneliness and feeling so disconnected and kept blaming myself.  It all makes so much sense, but freaks me out at the same time!  I've wanted to end my marriage at several points in the past 10 years but I have four children (possibly two with Aspergers) and I live with chronic cancer.

My major problem is that I am interested in your book, however, my husband is unaware of his own situation and I don't believe he will EVER accept that this is his life.   He always accuses me of treating him like he is "broken", but I believe that comes from his own fears.  I feel like I'm living in hell...with this new revelation on my relationship due to my daughter's diagnosis (which btw he doesn't agree with 100%) I need this on the table if I'm going to continue with our marriage.  How do I proceed?

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. If he is not open to exploring this possibility, then my marriage is over and what's the point... I'm desperate at this point...my life has been a lonely charade for way too long and having what I believe to be the reason in my hands, I can't go back to living the charade anymore.

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I have a 14 year old in Perth Western Australia and I just read most of your website with amazement. How it matches my experience is really uncanny. I am really stressed and suffering anxiety among other things as a result of the misery caused by problems associated with my son. Nothing seems to help. I am really not sure how much more I can take before having a mental or physical breakdown. I am so ashamed and horrified at how disrespectful he has always been.  His grandfather is bi-polar and we have come to assume that he is heading down the same road of antisocial behaviour and self focus that his grand dad did. I sincerely hope not.

I do note that my son's defiance is partially and importantly associated with internet and computer addiction - an issue not really emphasised in your site - a rapidly growing and perhaps more recent problem for many kids and parents. The counsellor my son has been seeing (without much impact other than feeding the attention monster perhaps) says she is overwhelmed by this issue with child and family clients. We have removed computers from the house making business, work and higher education for an older sibling tougher for all of us - we just can't take the tantrums when turning them off anymore.

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Hi everyone, im just looking for a bit of advice, my lovely 9 year old boy has A S and is of above average intelligence, and is in mainstream school. Although the school does the best they can, resources are limited, i feel Kian needs more stimulation in school as when he comes home he needs to be busy if not gets angry and lashes out at me. Although thankfully he does not lash out at school, has problems with paranoia some times and concentration. I am wondering would anyone recommend anything or would Kian be more suited to a school specialising in A S.

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RE: My 6 year old aspie daughter embarrasses me so many times for not sharing something of hers, whether it’s markers at our home school co op, or a pair of gloves or bike with her cousin who she loves very much. She just has a complete meltdown when I try to make her share certain things. I get so exhausted when things like this happen. I try and try to persuade her but her meltdown just depresses me! I get so angry inside myself and try not to show it, then after 10-15 minutes, she’s fine like nothing happened. It’s so frustrating, and I’m so sad……


Answer:

Don't force a child to share. Instead, create attitudes and an environment that encourage your daughter to want to share. There is power in possession. To you, they're only toys. To your daughter, they're a valuable, prized collection that has taken years to assemble. Respect the normal possessiveness of kids while you encourage and model sharing. Then watch how your daughter operates in a group play setting -- you'll learn a lot about her and about what kind of guidance she'll need. If your daughter is always the grabber, she'll learn that other kids won't want to play with her. If she's always the victim, she needs to learn the power of saying "no." At age 6, your daughter naturally goes through a "what's in it for me" stage, which will progress into a more socially aware "what's in it for us" stage. Gradually, with a little help from you, kids learn that life runs more smoothly if they share.

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Good morning Dr. Hutten,
You may recall back when I sent you a form about a child find, from the school.  I live in SC.  I was reserved to fill it out.  I am so glad that I filled it out with only using medical terms, such a PDD, orOCD...ect.  As it turned out, I was with a meeting, in the psychological report, there was so many things as such:

1. IEP liaison, I spoke to such and such this is what they said.
2. same thing different people on the other end of the phone.
Then it lead to my son's reaction's to different things, as Jacob laughed...then he asked if it was Okay to laugh?...like I had no reaction.  Due to the fact there so what...if he had cryed, he would of been perceived as who knows what.
I have no regrets on still retaining my Attorney, as he and I will have to amend this ludicrous paperwork.  I am from Fla. I do not speak with a southern tone.  During the meeting the lady that was reading the information, has a strong southern voice.  I felt as if I was at a gossip party about my son.
It seemed the more she spoke and has it in a documents, about all the people she spoke with and what they said, I was fit to be tied.
I will forward these to you, to share how ludicrous these things can turn out.
Then during the meeting, since the first was not so called a formal meeting, yet it was.  Theyconveniently forgot things that were stated.  During these meeting, I generally listen, and recall everything.  As this is my job as a parent.
Now, I have them all on defense mode.  I guess when I told them my attorney would review it and get back with them, that i was blowing smoke.  As they really did not believe me at that time.  then they came back via email, that they would have to speak to their attorneys about a change or to amend this document.
Now, this psychic evaluation will follow my son, from the 9th grade on.  It is only fair to him it be 100% accurate.  Then they gave me a Conner's test where you bubble in the answer's, and then gave me and in depth evaluation, in this document about me.  That is not fine with me.  I do have Bipolar, along with other things.  But to put me on a data sheet of rating's,of at risk or not at risk.  Was a little to much for me.  I will soon have all reports emailed, so I will share with you.  As never in my life has anyone put a report about myself.  I do not want to be part of this extensive, report.  I do not feel it is accurate enough to be even read by one person.  Let alone every school we come into contact with next.
I am used to IEP meeting's being a little more formal.  I needed to share this with you for several reason's.  As it seemed to me to be so accurate in some area's, but some of the information, I really do not feel needed to be shared with anyone. 
Also, it answered my question about the previous school he attended online, called South Carolina Connection's Academy, with is all over the USA.  This was a public school.  So, this virtual academy was given money for my son's IEP.  Which in the 2 yr period, they did nothing for him, nor even had an IEP for him.  I feel very strongly about this, due to other public school's are suffering financially, yet this busineess is dipping into the states funds, for special needs students, and are not being utilized for each student.
Most would not really care.  But , when I found out that their home visit from SCCA, to us my son and I .  Was not a normal protocol for them at all.  Only to leave me with DSS at my door, with false statements, which lead to faster care for 48 hrs.  Then due to their negligence of Not reporting to a truant officer upon the 5th unexcused absents, they waited till 30.  So, I had to face the judge and be told I was charged with School neglect, for his attendance.
Yet, they are not being held accountable for their negligence, for not following through with the proper protocol, as written to me.  That is how they would handle his absence's.  When I questioned the Ass. Principle he said he was doing my a favor?  No one does favors, when it come down to a school, on line or off.  There are procedures to be followed.  By the state.
I wanted to share this, as you come into contact with more parents, that may be seeking this as an alternative education.  I want to tell my story, at this point and time.  if it leads to me taking action's to get the point across, then so be it.  With every crisis comes change.
I am one of those that will see that changes are made, when I am part of a situation like this.  I feel if I stay quite and say the heck with it, for some reason there is no closure for me.  My heart tells me to follow through, with a clean conscious, never am I out to get anyone.  But, in the end when I finally get to the right person, that hears me clearly, then changes are made. 
I appreciate your website, and all the tools you have shared with me.  I have recommended you to many.  After you read this, I am putting time into an area, that possibly I or most would not care about?
Very truly yours,
Kristine

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Hi Dr. Hutten,
Your newsletter could not have been more timely as I just lost my Father and my son of course has difficulty expressing how he feels/or telling someone, "Sorry for your loss," as he said to his Dad/why do I have to do that?! It's my loss too.  Thought that was actually well, truthful...it sort of threw us for a loop. 
Thank you for your continual support, as we are doing our best to ensure our son is a law-abiding individual/one that can hopefully one day live independently.
Vr,
Lisa

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RE: It seems that my AS husband can´t stop checking the girls out. He is obsessed with the young, blond girls (Playboy bunny look alike). He is 56 years old and started ogling when he was 13. He promises always “I have stopped it” – but it is not over. It hurts, as I am 55 years now. What can I do – it is very painful for me?

Answer:
First, you need to come to grips with your own emotions. It may help to write down the feelings you have when you notice him doing this so you can sort through it and decide what needs to be shared with your husband. Go beyond your surface feelings to see if there are deeper issues underneath. Ask yourself why this really bothers you. For example: Do you question his faithfulness? Are you uncertain about your friendship with your husband? Are you insecure with how you look? If you have underlying insecurities, you will need to work through that even as your husband deals with his issues.
Second, accept that Aspergers men tend to be visually-oriented and thus easily drawn to notice feminine shapes. It is how they are wired. In fact, it can be a good thing – it’s probably one of the things that attracted your husband to you in the first place. But I certainly understand your concerns. Just because the Aspergers man is visually drawn to women does not make it okay to engage in lustful looks. You need to let him see how this is affecting you. Rather than coming at him with anger and resentment, which would push him away, open up your heart and tell him how it makes you feel when you see him looking at other women.
Third, with your husband’s permission, ask some other men whom you both respect what they think about the issue. In fact, if your husband is open to it, encourage him to get into an accountability relationship with another man. When two men spur one another to love their wives, it’s a powerful thing. Be less threatened, and more focused on working with him to face the issue, without excusing it.

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Our son was diagnosed last year with Aspergers. He was 16. It has taken a year for us as parents to get it together and realize our son needs help.  Looking at your website, he definitely needs social skills training and also looking at the tools for helping him to successfully be launched after high school looks like tools we need.  Here is our problem.

Our son is very angry at us.  I believe it is from the frustration he has felt for so many years of not being seen by us.  He was always quiet and shy, but it has only been since he has had to face the unforgiving teen social world that caused us to realize that something was not right with him.  He wants to minimize the diagnosis and just move on.  I wish he would be open to his father and I helping him by using some of the tools on your website. 

We also have an excellent church and Pastors that love Jordan (our son) and are ready to help in any way.

We have finally been shaken awake to our son's disorder and want to engage in helping him.  We just don't know where to start.  Any thoughts.

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My nephew is 17 and in talking to his mom, I think he is showing signs of Asperger’s syndrome.  The part that has me questioning is that he seemed perfectly normal until he was around 11 years old, then his mom started noticing a change in behavior.  I thought kids with Asperger’s generally showed symptoms when they were very young, but my nephew did not.  Is it possible that he could have Asperger’s and not show it until later?

He is very, very smart, has always been quiet, and since he was 11 has been obsessed with computers.  He used to come straight home from school and get on the computer.  If his parents took it away, he would get it and hide in the closet with it.  When they took the door off the closet so he couldn’t hide the computer, he would get into the closet and stay in there anyway.  He is very introverted – don’t know if this is a symptom of Asperger’s or if he is just that way.  I feel a lot of empathy for him as I am introverted myself and need time away from people.

He shows no emotion and is very monotone when he talks. He is completely uninterested in other people.   If he has to be around people for more than a couple of hours, he gets very upset and jittery.

So, in your opinion, does my nephew fall within the parameters for Asperger’s syndrome and would you recommend that he be tested?  If so, what type of doctor should he see?

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Any chance you have help for acute situation? Grandson 6yr. old - his pediatrician says Asperger's But school system requires further study to treat as such. This is (has) taken months. Last school term Jack exhibited "frozen" passive resistance - this year striking out, leaving building, refusing to go to school at all etc etc. Seems school policy of not "touching" the child gives him more and more power - as he acts out teachers stand a distance from him (like coralling a frightening animal.) End resort school phones parents at work where they cannot leave, then I, the grandmother go to the school and rescue Jack (or the teachers??) Jack comes with me willingly, no ill will and we endeavor to have a day of positive experience where he talks with great astuteness, and actually is enlightening company.

My worried question - school is like a toxic experience, seems to be destroying him, His parents believe he must go to school But I think a time away (me at the ready, I guess) until he gets more help and the school realizes or learns some techniques to enable him. He is so darn bright that I weep at his problem. Any immediate advice?

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I just married a man whose son I think, has aspergers.  All his behavior is very classic.  I've read tons about it.  
My husband is not so willing to say that's what it is.  He wants to blame the ex, and his domineering mother.  I'm inclinded to believe these ladies have had a large effect on the child, but I can tell 
he is who he is, you know what I mean?  
The problem is, if his dad won't accept the thought of aspergers as a possiblity, then what do you do?  I've convinced my husband that his son needs therapy for his behavior and lack of social skills, and I'm thinking

"GREAT, the therapist will catch that he has aspergers and we can get some real help" But he has been 4 times now and not a word about any developmental problems.  
 I have my hands tied.  I need help helping this boy, but if no one admits to anything then what do you do?  Everyone plays the blame game and this poor kid keeps getting worse. 
 
Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.  

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I don’t know what to do or where to begin. I am having some relationship difficulty with my best friend/boyfriend who demonstrates some very classic signs of Aspergers Syndrome. He too believes that he has some higher functioning degree of this condition [for lack of a better word.]

Because he is incredibly bright, well traveled, kind/warm, educated and attractive and often smiles – I have mistaken him as uncaring, indifferent and self-important, especially as it relates to communication and intimacy. Many times I am hurt by the fact that my emotional needs are not met and it is beyond frustrating when I explain that and his only reply is, “I don’t know what to tell you.” There seems to be no attempt on his part to figure it out and no matter how delicately I try to approach things he is overwhelmed.           

This leaves a lot of unresolved issues where I am forced to deal with on my own and pretend that I am over it so not to frustrate him. They matters are too important to dismiss, but bringing it up later even after he’s had time to consider is still aggravating to him.

What do I do???

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I am trying to come to terms with the fact that my 10 year old daughter, my parents who are in their 80s and myself (age 41) may have Aspergers, or some form of autism. My husband has some traits and so does my 13 year old son but they are not as strong as mine and my daughters. I also have an older sister who may have aspergers too. It feels like a nuclear bomb explosion that you see on tv with no sound and I am trying to cope with it and choose the best path for my daughter and our family. Please could you help point me in the right direction.
We have no formal diagnosis, and I am very reluctant to single my daughter out with the teachers at school because she absolutely hates to be seen as different or 'special'. She will be starting secondary school (high school) next September.

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My daughter is 9 years old. She has Asperger's. She was diagnosed about 2 years ago. She has been acting a lot different lately. She has not been getting any work done at school. She did really great last year. She had an excellent teacher last year. The first couple of nights that she started acting like this she cried at night before bed. She says she doesn't want to do anything fun or eat anything she might enjoy, like sweets. It's almost like she is punishing herself. She won't go to the bathroom at home unless I go with her. She would not sit in the chair to get her hair cut and she always did before. She won't eat lunch at school in the cafeteria, so they sent her to the office to eat and she still won't eat. I went in one day and stayed with her in the office and she ended up eating with me sitting there with her. She never did any of these things before, it just started a couple of weeks ago. Of course, we can't get anaything out of her about what the reason might be. She just shuts down when we ask her. Just wondering if you have ever heard of anything like this before or if you might have some advice on something we might do to help her. We are very concerned and have to talked to the school and an autism consultant that sees her once in awhile and she's not sure what to do to help her.

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Our son Brian is 8 years old and in the 3rd grade.  His Aspergers was diagnosed by the school system.  He is treated for ADHD by a psychiatrist and is currently taking 20mg of Vyvanse.  He previously took Concerta and we asked to have the prescription changed because we were afraid the Concerta might be contributing to his horrendous meltdowns but hes had some doozies on the Vyvanse also.  He saw a social worker in the same practice as the psychiatrist for about a year with no real results.  The psychiatrist referred us to another counselor in her practice and after one meeting he said he cannot help us because my husband absolutely refuses to set any boundaries for our son. My husbands opinion of the meeting was that the counselor did not like Brian.  I did not get that impression.  The counselor did demand respect, and he got it after 15 or 20 minutes.

My biggest issue is violent meltdowns, sometimes three or four a day.  They are almost always at home.  I ca;t recall any in public and he is well behaved at school although sometimes a little too talkative or fidgity.  He has put holes in our walls, pulled curtains off the wall, broken a dining room chair and come close to breaking some bannisters.  He'll often lay on the floor kicking and screaming.  He will occasionally grab me or hang off of me but tends not to get too physical with me.  The grabbing or hanging is when I try to walk away from a meltdown.  He often pushes and hits his father and frequently tries to push him down the stairs.  He has not succeeded in this yet but its only a matter of time as he is very strong.  He is extremely rude and disrespectful to his dad.  He has his moments with me but much more low key and often in an attempt to be funny.     Toward his father hes usually rude and insulting, often talking about how stupid his father is. His father is a mathematician,  certainly quite intelligent but not so good at dealing with the day to day problems of life and this seems to annoy Brian, who is a quick thinker with a ready answer for any situation.  The meltdowns are almost always when his father is at home.

I dont know if this is pertinent but after all the reading Ive done on Aspergers I suspect my husband may have it also.  I realize I am in no way qualified to diagnose but he definitely fits many of the criteria.


Answer—

RE: My biggest issue is violent meltdowns, sometimes three or four a day.

Based on what you’ve told me so far, it appears to me that Brian is gathering steam for his meltdowns way ahead of time, long before they are expressed behaviorally (e.g., a meltdown at 8:00 PM on a Friday night may have little to do with what is actually gone on at that exact time). Also, the meltdowns reveal themselves most readily when Brian is (a) at home and (b) around his father. But this may have little to do with his father or being at home; rather, being at home with his father is the straw that breaks the camel’s back (so to speak). We have to look at all the other stuff piled on that camel’s back underneath the straw (make sense?).

Just because the behavior occurs at home around his father doesn’t necessarily mean the “cause” of the behavior lies there. Your son may find school very stressful, but keeps his emotions bottled-up until he gets home. Most kids with Aspergers do not display the body language and facial expressions you would expect to see when a youngster is feeling a particular way. While Brian may appear relatively calm at school, he may be experiencing very different emotions under the surface.

But, asking an Aspergers youngster how he feels may not get the correct response, because most Aspies struggle to explain their emotions to someone. Some Aspergers kids find carrying visual “stress scales” helpful for overcoming these communication problems. These scales can be either in the format of a scale from 1-5, a thermometer, or a traffic light system. The idea is that when the youngster indicates that he is at a '4' or 'amber' (before he reaches a '5' or 'red'), he needs to be helped in some way to calm down again.

Instead of adults asking your son how he is feeling, he can show them the appropriate number or color. Scales can turn “emotions” (which are abstract concepts that require imagination to understand fully) into concrete examples of numbers or colors. This is something that kids with Aspergers find easier to understand. If Brian finds it difficult to use a scale, he could use a “help card” instead. This could be a red card, or have the word ‘help’ or a meaningful symbol on it, which he could carry around. When he begins to feel stressed-out or mad, he can show it to adults. It is important that everyone in contact with your son knows what to do if they are shown a card or a stress scale.

Some moms and dads report behavioral difficulties in their Aspergers kids when they first come home after school, which might be because they are releasing the stress of the school day. If Brian does this, it might be helpful to have a period of time right after school when he can relax. You could do this by reducing the amount of social interaction he has immediately after school (especially with his father) and by providing an activity which you think may help him de-stress. This activity will depend on his preferences. If he is relatively physical in his method of stress-release (e.g., pushing, kicking or hitting), providing a trampoline, punching bag, or letting him run around the yard may help relieve the stress. Other Aspergers kids like to clam-down by watching television or listening to music. Some find lights especially soothing (e.g., a bubble tube or spinning light).

For some Aspergers kids, the timetable of the school day provides enough structure and routine to help contain any anxiety and stress. Aspies have a strong preference for routine, and this is automatically incorporated into most school environments. Your son may benefit from having a visual timetable for home as well (it will make the environment more predictable for him). A timetable can either be constructed showing the whole day's activities, half the day, or simply the activities that are now and next.

Lastly, you and your husband need to begin to pay close attention to what happens minutes and even hours before the meltdown. Think of a meltdown as Brian’s delayed response to something that happened much earlier in the day. If you can identify some precursors to the meltdowns, then you stand a chance of preventing them. Stopping a meltdown that is already underway is nearly impossible, so we must think in terms of prevention.

Mark

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My son was doing well at school & is particularly good at Maths. He scored 99% in his last exam and was really happy until his classmate got 100%. He says everyone congratulated her but not him. Since then he started calling her names and physically hitting her. I told him that i was very happy and proud that he achieved excellent results but it is not good enough for him. This girl is a top student in all subjects and always receives medal. He is so unhappy and cannot let it go. The only way i could get him to stop calling her names and hitting her was to take his video games away. I only let him have it if he manages to go through his school day without violence and bad language. However, he is now not doing much of his classwork which he has had no trouble with before. When i asked him about it, his reply is that  "why try when i can never be better than the top student?" He also says that he cannot both behave and do his classwork. He can only either behave OR do his work.. How do i know if he us just making an excuse or if this is indeed too much to ask of him? Whenever he gets in trouble at school he says his life is a misery and is not worth living. I have to calm him down and remind him of all the things he should be thankful for. Am i just being an overindulgent parent?? How do i know if he really feels overwhelmed or is trying to manipulate me?

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RE: I was wondering if anybody had any tips for me please? My daughter has to have a blood test done, and the last time we took her, she freaked out big time and never got it done. I was wondering should I tell her now as its not till next week and keep reminding her that its going to happen. Or should I not tell her that its going to happen so she won't get anxious?

Answer:

Many moms and dads are uncomfortable talking to their youngster about having a blood test. However, being honest with your daughter will help to foster a sense of trust between the two of you.

Tell your daughter what to expect in advance so she can prepare herself for the experience and ask questions. This will also give you time to reassure her that the blood test is necessary. Finally, telling her in advance will give you time to work together to develop a plan for coping that will work for both of you.

·         Avoid statements like, "You won’t feel anything." This can be misleading. Follow up with your daughter to make sure she understands what you have said. Ask questions. Have your daughter explain back what you have talked about, or describe the plan you have developed together.
·         Choose a quiet time to talk with your daughter. Use a calm and relaxed tone of voice. Use honest, simple explanations that your daughter will understand. It is important that your daughter understands that having this blood test is the right thing to do.
·         If your daughter asks if the blood test will hurt, be honest. You could say, "Some kids say a blood draw feels like a mosquito bite, or a quick pinch, and some kids don't feel the blood test at all." Tell your daughter that you can stay with her the entire time.
·         You could say, "The doctor needs to make sure that you are healthy, so we are going to have a blood test." Or, "We need to have a blood test to see what is making you feel sick."

Most kids have some fear of needles. It is natural to feel uneasy about having a blood draw. If your daughter is feeling uneasy, you can work together to develop a plan to deal with her emotions. This will help your daughter feel more in control.

·         Assure your daughter that the person who draws her blood cares about her comfort.
·         Avoid statements like, "Don't be nervous," or "Big girls don't cry." These statements could make your daughter feel ashamed if she does feel nervous or needs to cry.

Developing a plan allows kids to feel more in control and less frightened. Together, you and your daughter can decide if she would like to:

·         Count to three
·         Go in on her own
·         Hold your hand
·         Look at a book
·         Sing a song
·         Sit on your lap or by herself
·         Sit up or lie down
·         Squeeze a stress ball
·         Take slow, deep breaths
·         Watch the blood draw

Good luck !

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Though it’s been nearly 30 years since our son with A.S. was born, there have been some interesting discoveries along the way that may or may not prove useful or relevant as the pool of knowledge about A.S. grows.  For a little background, our son’s name is Robert.  The unfortunate truth is that even though his mother is a high school teacher working closely with school psychologists and counselors, we never heard of A.S. until  sometime after Robert’s 17th birthday.  At the time we could find little to assist neophyte Aspie parents in understanding how our role needed to change in order to accomplish a successful “launch”.  Twelve and a half years later, we’re still struggling and find your information very helpful.

Our doctor expressed immediate concern about the size of Robert’s head and its growth rate within his first 24 hours.  Hydrocephalus was feared.  We were transferred to Children’s Orthopedic in Seattle where extensive studies were conducted.  One of the tests was a CT scan.

The chief neurologist consulted with us after four days of tests, and offered the following [paraphrased] remarks:

·         Hydrocephalus has been ruled out as a concern.  But Robert’s head size (circumference)  is a little off the “normal” chart for newborns.  But then his father’s head circumference is also fairly large, so there is no indication this is a matter for concern.
·         The CT scan indicates Robert has what appears to be an unusually large amount of “grey matter”.  But there are no studies of the grey matter in newborns to necessarily suggest that this is cause for concern, or that it’s indicative of anything particularly abnormal.
·         He has a condition known as cavum septum pellucidum, or a small central cavity in the brain filled with cerebrospinal fluid.  When this cavity is present it usually disappears within a few months of birth - but not always.  Again, it’s not necessarily an indicator of any neurological abnormality.
·         All of Robert’s other neurological functions and physiology appear to fall within the “normal” range.
·         And the crowning remark, ‘He may grow and develop normally.’

As a newborn, Robert’s head shape was clearly unusual, but by age 3 or 4 his appearance was not noticeably different in any way.  He was a happy child, and his rare tantrums did not seem at all out of the ordinary.  For a time we feared his language development was delayed, but when he finally decided to speak he spoke in full sentences.  His spelling and reading abilities were also quite advanced for his age.  Aside from a small incident in the 2nd grade (which may have been an indicator if anyone had known what they were witnessing), Robert’s development and I/Q were exceeding expectations.  He was bright, seemed socially well adjusted, and eventually participated in the GATE (gifted and talented education) program at school.   

But in the 4th grade everything seemed to change.  Robert was ostracized by his classmates, sometimes overtly – a behavior that, unfortunately, was at least tacitly sanctioned by his teacher.  He dropped out of the GATE program.  He didn’t socialize with classmates and avoided them on the playground.  In most respects, Robert’s history from this point forward will probably read like thousands of others; brilliant, but terminally disorganized; better able to communicate with adults than with peers; a near photographic memory (if properly challenged); an obsessive interest in computers, video games, or other narrow-focus interest; a social group that includes only children with similar behavior traits; a mysterious tendency to vacillate between what might be described as typical child  and monstrously ill tempered behavior; an apparent lack of empathy and personal motivation; etc.

Other interesting discoveries (aside from those at Children’s Orthopedic) include food allergies - an item touched upon in your recently shared  article on Crisis Intervention.  In his pre-adolescent life, Robert had what appeared to be thousands of tiny pockets of white blood cells just beneath his facial skin.  They were only noticeable with very close scrutiny.  We eventually worked with medical professionals in subjecting Robert to a barrage of tests for allergies.  No helpful conclusions were reached at the time. 

As he reached puberty, these nearly indiscernible facial anomalies  erupted into an extreme case of acne.  Shortly after we learned about A.S. we discovered Robert has an allergy to milk products; an allergy that causes both severe acne and an extreme Jeckyll and Hyde kind of behavior change.  Making matters worse was the almost addictive hold foods with milk or cheese have on his dietary choices.  Gluten may also play a part in the occasional and seemingly random shift into negative behavior, but it could simply be that most foods that contain gluten also contain some milk products.  All we know for certain is that during the single ten day period in which we successfully removed both milk products and gluten from Robert’s diet, peace and tranquility reigned.  The specter of working cooperatively toward a successful “launch” reemerged – but all too briefly.  Young adult A.S. children can be frustratingly adamant about controlling their own lives and indulging themselves as they make dietary choices they know to be unhealthy for themselves and their social relationships.

We have found that discovering and controlling dietary issues can be a huge step toward any hope for the successful parenting of A.S. children; the child will likely exhibit a more even temperament, and the parents will be less tempted to react out of frustration.  To the extent we are able to remove any peripheral negative influences that diet may be imposing on our relationship, we create the opportunity to increase focus on the parenting adjustments that are the subject of your shared writings – and life at home with an A.S. adult becomes just a little bit easier.

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I am a mom to a 3 1/2 year old little boy. He's an awesome kid, but has some issues. He just started Early Childhood at our elementary last week. His vocabulary is wonderful, but his actual communication is lacking. For example, if he is playing with a truck, he looks at me and says: Are you playing with a truck? Meaning he wants me to ask him that question. Odd, but not devastating, right?

Another thing is an increase in trantrums and meltdowns. I have no idea what to do. He bit his tongue last night and lost his mind because it hurt so bad. He threw things, hit himself, cried and rolled around on the floor kicking and screaming. He is so miserable at times it breaks my heart. I really don't know what to do. I have a very poor support system for myself as well. I know the more frustrated I get, the more frustrated he gets and the circle is getting smaller!  Another thing that makes me curious is he is much, much, much worse at home than at school. He goes to a sitter about 10 hours a week too and he doesn't have but a couple outbursts there. I feel like its me alot of the time; like I'm stressing him out, could that be?
 
I'm currently trying to get him in for an evaluation/diagnosis. He has some signs of Aspergers but I've been reading about Hyperlexia and Ithink he is 100% hyperlexic. There seems to be a huge difference of professional opinion on hyperlexia. Some say it is on the Autism Spectrum and others say its not.  I've read article after article and there's no clear answer.


His teachers at school don't really want to even talk about it because its something they're not familiar with.. they just skipped over it when I mentioned Hyperlexia at his IEP meeting.


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RE: My son stopped going to school at 9th grade due to the overwhelming of it all (High School). He went downhill due to the social anxiety and not having any support. I was his only support.  Well, now he is 19 and I am still fighting for him (education). Now he says he was motivated in the pass but it took too long for me to get the help. He feel he can’t do it now, he wants it but knows he does not know how to communicate to people, socialize and feels that people are going to treat him different and that he’s old and can’t do anything he feels it’s too late.  I found support but now what do I do to get him motivated again and through the social anxiety.


Answer:



Anyone who has been out of an academic setting for a number of years understands first hand all the anxieties associated with going back to school. One of the easiest explanations for the hesitation to go back to school is the simple, honest fear of failure – especially for those who didn't excel in high school. Older teens returning to school understand that they are living entirely different lifestyles than when they were younger.



The "unknowns" are as numerous as the "potential failures." The good news is that many of those concerns can be alleviated by taking a few simple steps to build confidence. Here are some tips to share with your son:



Getting organized will help even the most petrified students overcome some of their fears. Get a planner and use it. Pencil everything in (e.g., upcoming class times, appointments, etc.). Being able to see from week to week, day to day, and hour to hour what you have to do offers a certain comfort in itself. It gives you confidence that you can manage all you've been given to do.



Most students are able to get their course schedules long before their classes begin. If this is the case, take yourself on a field trip. Walk around the school grounds a couple times to familiarize yourself with the buildings your classes are in. If you can walk inside the building, take the time to locate what rooms they're in. Then go for a dry run. See how long it takes to get from class to class. This really does alleviate worries about being late for classes, where to go, and how to get where you need to be.



Familiarize yourself with - and then utilize - all the resources the school offers. Some people feel too intimidated to walk around an unfamiliar campus on their own. For some, looking at a map of all those buildings and locations is like reading a letter in an unknown language. In this case, call the admissions office and ask if they offer tours. Not only are you likely to feel better about where you're at, but you might make a friend and find out you aren't the only person scared out of your wits to be starting college. A tour will also help you learn what other resources your school offers. You will find out where the writing center is, and what tutors are available for other subjects like math or science. You'll be able to locate the career center to help you understand what kind of degree or career would be appropriate for you.



Find some friends who can help. When friends offer assistance, it's because they want to see you achieve your goals. Don't be too proud to let them lend a hand. If it came right down to it, chances are you would do the same for them.



No matter how much you plan or prepare, or how many supportive people you have in your life, there will always be an element of fear until you've gotten into the swing of things. Also, remember that half the things we worry about never come to pass. With a little preparation and time, you will make a nice transition into a GED program, technical school, or college – and success will be yours for keeps.


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Hello Mr. Hutten,

I believe that the information that you offer will answer many of the questions that we have had concerning my son's behavior.  He has already been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder but we are about to have him tested for aspergers.  So many of the characteristics that are outlined for this disorder describe his behaviors in detail.

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 I am the stepmom to a 12 year old boy with Aspergers named Jon. He is highly functioning and the majority of his problems are disciplinary. He is very intelligent and has been promoted directly to the 7th grade- a decision I would not have made because of his emotional and phyical immaturity but I was not in the picture at the time.

Jon was diagnosed at the age of 4 with Aspergers, ADHD, and sensory denegration.  The sensory denegration has greatly improved over the years. Occasionally he will become overwhelmed with loud noise but not very ofen. His current medicine regiment is as follows:  Depicote 500 mg (mood stabilizer- every PM), Zoloft 50 mg (depression- every PM) Vivance 50 mg (ADHD- every AM) Ritalin 5 mg (ADD- afternoon at school only)

The theraputic support for aspergers is poor in this area, especially for the type of insurance under which he is covered. His parents have also not been as "proactive" in getting him the help he needs as I believe they should have.  I believe they went through a period of denial even after he was diagnosed and somehow believed that if he was medicated that would take care of the problem.

His mother-through her own admission- has been guilty of treating him as though he is disabled. As a result he tends to blame things on his aspergers when he doesnt want to follow the rules. We are trying to work past this mindset but it is difficult for him to "unlearn" things that have worked for him in the past.

He has been the target of some pretty severe bullying in the last year. He has already been suspended from school twice for fighting- once he hit a child with a folder that was making fun of him- a second time he exchanged verbal insults with a girl on the school bus and she assaulted him- accidentally hitting his younger brother so Jon hit her back.  He has a very cutting, smart mouth that gets him in trouble- ALOT. And to that the fact that he is very small for his age and you can see why we are concerned.

We have told Jon it is NEVER OK to hit, push, etc. another person unless it was in self defense.  The girl he had the run-in with on the bus previously insisted on sitting with him Friday on the bus. Instead of telling the bus driver or dealing with it at school- he shoved her off into the floor.

Needless to say there have been numerous meetings with the school and his parents are currently trying to get him into a weekly group therapy for aspergers youth. He does not have a one-on-one therapist.

Our concerns:

He is going to get severely hurt maybe even mamed or killed if he doesnt learn to control his verbal responses.

He is going to get kicked out of school if the discipline problems continue

My additional concerns:
He is 12 years old and needs to begin learning life skills. Currently he is required to do very litle for himself. I have talked to the parents about him beginning to make his own lunch and get in the routine of taking remembering to take his own medicine each morning and night. They think that is a great idea but enforce no consequences when he fails to do these things.

The punishment that is enforced is not working. He loves to play electronic games and be on the computer. Those things are taken away from him when he misbehaves. He is disappointed or mad at first but ultimately doesnt care enough to modify his behavior.
He is now bullying (verbal abuse mostly) his brother and my two children because he is bullied at school.

Truthfully he does better when he is with me than most other people. He knows I do not view his aspergers as a disability but as a challenge- he is capable of doing everything sensory normal children can do (within reason- he is not likely going to be the football quarter back anytime soon :))he just has to work harder. He is only with us one evening during the week and every other weekend.

My parenting style with my own children is and has always been very routing driven, focused and consisent. Because of that he knows exactly what to expect from me and I give him very little leeway just because he has asperbergs. I use  a range of punishments wih my children ranging from time out, spankings (although my children are now 8 and 11- I rarely have to spank them anymore), physical work, and grounding.

Questions
It is sometimes hard to determine what is truly aspergers and what is him being a smartalic preteen. I dont ever want to punish him fro something he can' help.  For example - I once asked him why he was not dressed and ready to go when we came to pick him up- he said he didnt have time to get ready- he had been up since 8 AM and it was 1030 AM- I asked if he had been watching tv- he said no he hadnt- his aunt said he had been watching for the last hour- he said I was watching my cousins play a game on tv- not actually watching tv.  Is that aspergers or smartalic?

What types of behavior modifications work with his age range? We have tried grounding him from electronics, special events, time-out. Nothing seems to have any long term effect on modifying his behavior.

Do you think he should also be in one-on-one therapy?

Any help you could provide would be appreciated.


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The question is about my only son, 24 years old, orphan since he was 7;graduated in Law,2011; he lives with me, aged 67; there is nobody else at home.He has no job so far, and no other interests than inspecting,exacting and exerting control over his home environment and myself.

Life at home has become unbearable. He has built up a code of rules of his own, which he applies obssessively and blindly upon any domestic and  personal matters of my own:  house chores, hygienic and economic measures, my own personal appearance and behaviour, etc.

When something is not in agreement with his own  rules,expectations,demands, he resorts to insults and sometimes even to physical punishment (blows on head, slaps on face, kicking, throwing small objects at me) He wont accept any reasoning to account for the situation which he considers a threat to his image, and much less any recrimination or indication to leave the room.

Its me, rather, that  leaves in anger, physical and  moral pain and tears. I have given in too much of my own right to be myself and to have my own ways, for the sake of peace.

He consults with a psychologist once a month but makes very little progress; I think he refuses to admit his Asperger condition and puts the blame on everything and everybody to make up for his shortcomings. Only recently, I begin to see he tries to control hismself at times and to explain his discomfort in a more civilized manner.

Here is, finally, my question: Does sharing home and company with me help him at all? Does it help him, in the way of learning about other peoples feelings, learning how to behave in social, close relationships? On the other hand, Im afraid theres no way I can regain a positive regard from him, I play the punching ball role. Yet, will it prevent him from falling into depression through lack of social feedback ? (he has only a couple of male friends,  which he meets once a week and for the rest of his relationships they are just i-pad exchanges)

Or would it help him better to force him leave home and have to fend for himself? Besides the risk of loneliness, Im afraid he is very chaotic in terms of organization and controlling processes, looking after the house and himself, etc.
 
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My oldest son is ten years old.  He is a smart, "normal", active, boy by all appearances 95% of the time.  But there is a different side to him.  A side that few people see.  It's the 5% that concerns me.   He has outbursts when anything doesn't go according to the rules, or his agenda.  No motivation or follow through on anything he finds boring.  He's has sensory issues, lack of eye contact, hyperfocused on subjects he's interested in, and issues with saying hello, goodbye, thank you, I'm sorry, I love you. When I brought up my concerns to the pediatrician, his reply was, "he's just a boy,  they act different from girls."  Well, I don't have girls, but I have two boys and the younger one doesn't act like this, in fact he could do a lot for himself, and listen and follow directions from a young age, something my older is still struggling with.  His friends are smart and active like he is, but I don't see them having the same issues either.  He makes straight A's and is a model student.  So, the school is not concerned.  They don't see his resistance to going to school and doing homework, the constant checklists, schedules, and daily reminders to help him stay on track.   My husband says, "let him fail, then he will learn do to for himself."  He was tested at age 7 (WISC-IV) (Woodcock-Johnson III) (BrownADD Scales, BASC-2) for focus & attention issues at the time. He was S to VS range in all areas- except VCI (Avg range). ADD was inconclusive.  We have implemented behavior modifications at home and given some to his teachers to assist him at school. Research on sensory disorders led me to high functioning Aspergers.  A lightbulb went off in my head, the description fits him perfectly.  Is he just a quirky, sensitive, smart boy or could it be something more?  At this time, should I pursue further testing for a diagnosis?  and if so, is it better to go to a psychologist or neurologist or does it matter?   Thank you, a concerned mom


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I have a foster son (14) that we believe has Asperger's.  He has had a lot of trauma in his life and has been in foster care for 4 years.  Until recently no one suspected that he had Asperger's (which has caused multiple placements).  I am having problems trying to figure out how to parent him.  He will be having testing done on Dec. 10th to confirm but from what I have read regarding Asperger's I am sure he will be diagnosed with it along with other things.  We are thinking he might be Bi-polar, learning disabled and his Meds doctor says RAD (but he doesn't have any problem giving me hugs and actually request them - but then again, I'm not his real mother which might explain that part in regards tot he Asperger's). Any recommendations you have would be appreciated.

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My daughter Angela and her husband Eddie have two children. Kaitlyn is seven; Tony is five.  Neither child behaves well, but in the last six months Kaitlyn has begun to have catastrophic fits of anger in the evenings. She refuses to do as she is told; when punished by having a time out, she won't stay in a chair or in her room for a time out and screams at her parents. When they physically pick her up to move her, she scratches and bites them, and lately has started do it to herself.

Both Angela and Eddie work long hours to support themselves in a starter home. They drop the kids off for school and daycare a mile down the street by six thirty in the morning, and pick them up after work at six in the evening. Angela and Eddie give both children a significant amount of attention and love in the few hours they have together after work and before bed, but boundaries have been inconsistently maintained.  In the past two months, however, as Kaitlyn's fits of anger have become violent, both parents have set down clear boundaries and maintained them, and Kaitlyn doesn't get to play with her toys until she has been civil and performed a few simple chores.  But the bouts of anger have not at all diminished.

Kaitlyn has been diagnosed with ADD and for a while the medicine seemed to have improved her self control and behavior. She earned 45 days in a row of "smiley face" reports from school for good behavior. And suddenly the outbursts have returned with a vengence.

Angie and Eddie are distraught.  My wife and I had three daughters, and while we endured some difficult times with one, never experienced such outbursts as Kaitlyn is having.

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My son (8 years old) has always been different.  Not totally obvious to other but definitely to me.  I have never read more books trying to figure out how to be a better parent to him.   When he was 3 or 4 I first read about Aspergers  (after a day of internet research trying  to figure out why my child did what he did) and thought it sounded a lot like him but dismissed it.   Because that would just be silly right!?     Sounded a lot like ADD too.  Or maybe I wasn’t  parenting him properly,  or I had him in the wrong daycare, (a WHOLE different story- lots of issues with a teacher that didn’t seem to like him).  Everything else sounded more plausible then AS.  So I dismissed the whole  idea and ordered “Raising  your Spirited Child” off Amazon to add to my growing collection and  just trudged ahead the best I could.

Once he got in school we had him tested a second time for ADD (first time was at daycare).  He started medication and in some aspects he  got better.   Sort of.  We have constantly tweaked his meds and he is now on 54 MG and his teacher still says he has difficulties. 

I always described my son as  “more.”   The Raising your  Spirited Child book used the same example so  I thought I was on to something.  Yay me!  Lol….  He’s just like other kids only more.  More attentive (focused on things he likes) obsessive, sensitivities, asks more questions than any other child I know, more literal, etc.  When I would try to explain him to my family and friends I often got “ Oh, my son/daughter did that too.”  

And yes, a lot of it does sound like normal kids.  But if you knew my son.  You would realize it’s just a bit different.  We always said “there is just something I can’t quite put my finger one”     I just felt like others don’t truly understand.  If you are around him enough you sense it even if you don’t really know what it is.  I have had more than one person tell me that just love the way his mind works.   HE was also tested for the gifted program at school but didn’t make it.   Or as long as you let him know what is going on , what is about to happen, what he needs and is expected to do, then he’s fine.   

At school and church he does really well.  Most just assume he is a typical kid with ADD.  When I pick him up is when the meltdowns start.  People don’t always see this side.  He is the most stressed out/anxiety ridden child I know.  He started worrying around 3  (also when he was in the daycare I mentioned earlier) .  There is just no way I can tell you all his characteristic and things he does in  one email.  So I know I am not painting a full and accurate picture of him.   in a nutshell:  Limited interests/obsessions.  Started off with jets (18 months) and as he got older it expanded to all things military.  and now TOTALLY OBESSED with Minecraft (video game) and hunting.  For a child with ADD he surely will sit quietly for hours in a hunting blind.  He’s also   very literal.    Thinks things are funny but doesn’t really get or understand sarcasm,  hates loud noises  and is very particular about the way clothes feel,  doesn’t handle change well, will start to get hard to handle/meltdown mode when in large crowds with lots of activity going on.    He desperately wants friends but is a bit immature socially.  He ends up annoying  them.  Doesn’t seem to know how to appropriately interact.   He can enter a playgroup where everyone is playing nicely and within minutes there all of the sudden is friction.  Watching…I can’t even really tell what it is or what he does.   It’s just like his entering the group causes a ripple effect….  He’s big into fairness  (towards him) and gets really upset if he thinks some injustice has been done towards him.   He’s totally clueless to the fact that his actions/reactions towards things effect other actions/reactions towards him.

Great at sports but struggles with small motor skills.  Learned to tie his shoe in 2nd grade, fumbles with zippers, and the majority of the time has me or his teacher button his jeans because he says it’s too hard.   In the afternoons when I pick him us he usually goes into meltdown mode.  Afternoon errands are just about of the question most days.  Doesn’t always make eye contact,  gets confused with hand signals and body language, has trouble going to sleep at night, and still wets the bed several times a week.    I could go on and on….

After some of the really tough meltdowns I would call his pediatrician for help.  He suggested we see a psychologist. We finally went in March of last year. After seeing  her several times she met back with us and told us he showed characterics of Aspergers.  It was not her area of expertise and referred us to a specialist. 
The new doctor agreed with the first doctor and said he sees it mildly.  But it’s nothing we can’t  help him “bridge the gap.”    We have seen the specialist since early Summer.  We meet once a month  and we basically work on one issue at a time. While I do think it helps.  I am just left with tons of questions.  My son will tell me things like “ You don’t know what it’s like to be me” and I just want one day where I feel happy and not stressed”  We have never told him of this pending AS diagnosis.  We just tell him we see the doctor to help him feel less stressed.   While in meltdown mode my sons will say things like  he wishes he could rewind his life and start over….
It breaks my heart! 

I have mentioned this to the therapist and asked if it would help my son understand his feelings more if we told him about the AS.  However the doc said not right now.   Said to just tell him what we have been telling him because he sometimes finds that kids use a diagnosis as a crutch.      

Besides the initial time he said he sees AS mildly…he hasn’t mentioned the word Aspergers  again.  Just says things like “kids like your son”    I feel like he’s leaving me hanging with more questions than before.    I asked him again at our last session but he didn’t come right out an answer.  I don’t want to look like that mother pushing for a diagnosis when there possibly isn’t  one to explain away bad behavior….but on the other hand if he does have AS, then there are programs out there that he could really benefit from.  There was mention of an IEP but nothing has come of it.  He  said we should test again for the gifted program…but so far we haven’t.  He was supposed to be tested as school  last year but the teacher was running behind so we met her one Saturday at the board of Ed.  My son didn’t want to quit playing to go and couldn’t understand why he had to take a test in a strange place on a weekend.   His doctor felt like he probably didn’t try at all and if they had given the test when my son was expecting it he would have passed. So he was wanting  to re-test him.  That was months ago and he never mentioned it again.     I just don’t know what to do.   Maybe I should speak up more when it comes to those things.     I know the doctor knows what he is doing  and I don’t want to under mind  him and be “one of those moms.”   Am I not giving it enough time?   Should I be more patient?   I’m just feel lost without more definite answers.   I just need reassurance I am on the right path and therefore doing all I can to help him. 

Some days are just fantastic and I start thinking maybe I’m making all this up.  Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t really there.  Then I look at the big picture and know I am not… mother’s intuition I guess…

The other week he was in full meltdown mode  at my daughters dance studio.  We were waiting  for her and were outside the building working on homework.  He went in FULL MELTDOWN MODE.  I could not calm him down and everything I did was wrong and made it worse.  He was being destructive, screaming, crying, throwing things, hitting things etc…  and I knew I couldn’t leave him to give him a chance to calm down.  But staying made it worse too.  I was near tears.    Another   15 minutes or so another mom came out  and said she felt like she needed to give me a hug and tell me I was doing a good job.  Turns out she used to work for a  Glenwood which is a Autism/Aspergers facility in my area  and she also has a child on the spectrum.  She said she knew  what she was looking at wanted to just lend her support.  At that point I burst into tears and said “ so it’s not just me!  You see it too?”  We talked for a while and (on the positive)  that break was just enough to get my son to calm down enough.  After we talked, she went back inside.  I knew my son needed another minute so I handed him my phone and told him to play minecraft while I went inside to the bathroom.  He played for about 5 minutes then came inside and was as calm as he could be.  Like nothing had ever happened.   This lady mentioned too his rage.  She said she didn’t want to scare me but I definitely need to work with someone to help him with it because as he gets older it would only get worse.     

Meltdowns occur more with me than my husband.   So is it me that causes it?  or is it because he’s the most comfortable with me and therefore he feels like he can let go?   Some days I feel like my son  sees me as the advisory and everything I do is wrong.   

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I live in Connecticut and have a 13 year old son. He is an only child that my wife had at age 40. He is a wonderful, loving, intelligent, and moral child. A dedicated Christian and the love of our lives. Early on in life Garrett seemed to be a "fussy" type of kid. Even with our constant praise he always seemed negative and felt different. There were no drastic things that made us wonder that something could be wrong but with all the support and coping skills we gave him we didn't notice any change. The start of this school year everything seemed to change. First I noticed some signs of depression (or finally opened my eyes) and then for the first time witnessed some horrendous anxiety which I had not seen before. Within a few weeks it worsened to the point that he couldn't make it through the day at school without going to the nurse or guidance office. Sometimes he would come home and sleep for 3 or 4 hours. It came to a head after a meltdown at home where he (scratched with a stick) his arm and then showed my wife. I knew something wasn't right and after a ER visit he ended up at IOL in Hartford for 10 days. They said it was GAD and a bit of depression. Two weeks at home and it just got worse. Back in the ER and another 2 weeks inpatient. Now in PHP they are telling us if he has ever been tested for any ASD. Did some research (thats how I found you) and when I read about Asperger Syndrome I see my sons picture. My wife and I are a wreck. Tonight was one of those meltdowns and when I saw your video it made total sense.

We are going ahead to have him tested but they are less interested in a complete diagnosis than they are about treating his symptoms. We will probably have him tested anyway to know for sure. I am a few weeks out from finding out but however he is labeled, your insight is DEAD ON in the way that this disorder plays out. The frustration level is way up there for my wife and I but I am hopeful that here is something that will help him have a happy and fulfilling life. He actually is happy most of the time but this syndrome seems to be able to turn everything upside down in an instant.

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Mark,
I want you to know that your online newsletters have been life-savers.You must have heard this a thousand times but YOU are saving mothers like me from feeling helpless and ill-equipped. With 3 teenage sons, they 'take turns' to challenge me with their opinions, behaviour and decisions. Your advice often arrives when I most need them, they give me much comfort (that I am not alone) and confidence (armed with proven solutions). Thank YOU very very much. May you and your loved ones be well and happy,
Grateful,
Lai 

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Dr. Hutten,

My daughter is 6 years old with Aspergers and ADHD and OCD.  I have found that if I allow her to decorate or create a special area of our home, she becomes excited and acceptable to changes that occur around the home.  It works for Emily, so maybe it will work for another parent.  I really enjoy your show and I am so glad I found you.
JOY

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We never thought our 4 year old son had Aspergers because he was able to read emotion and showed emotion so strongly.  However, he has almost every other aspect of Aspergers.  The biggest problem we are having lately is his rigidity.  He just gets stuck on something and will have long meltdowns.  He also will melt down over things we think are small.  He is a perfectionist, needs things just right, gets frustrated with us when we don't understand exactly what he is trying to explain, he has intense interests but does not talk about them all the time.  He is very bright and started reading at 3...........etc. So confusing.......is it possible to have Aspergers and show emotion as well as be able to read the emotions of others.  He doesn't like it when we are upset at all.

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Last year at the age of 59 I was diagnosed with Aspergers which as my wife said, "explains much  of our life."  I have had over twenty jobs including sales, management, heavy construction equipment and more.  I have been in the same general field for the last twenty-two years.  In a case on your page such as the other day about jobs I would like to be able to respond.  In management I both hired and fired people and have good Idea of what works to stay employed a I have participate[ate in meetings and conversations about employment with other managers.  I also have a lot of empathy for people who are having problems.

My high school counselor kept saying there was something about me but he could not put a label on it.  We did not have the label of Aspergers in the 1960s so no wonder he could not find it.  I was often the difficult child.

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Dear Sir, I hope you and every member of you family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Just a little thank note:" You have no idea how much it means to me all your advice, help and supports. I am so struggled and you send me info in the perfect timing when I m fighting to understand my two sons . Sometimes I don't read it or listen to in that moment. But when I do it gives me so much strength and I thank you for that. Best Regards. Lakhoua

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What can you suggest for a completely computer addicted child?  My son just turned 9.  We had used Norton Parental control software earlier this year and my son argued about that.  He kept saying "he could control his computer usage".  but we always had to watch him carefully.  The program actually broke on us a week or so ago and my son has been back to spending more than expected hours on the computer, especially since school was out last week for the Thanksgiving break.  Yesterday my husband was able to find another product "Google" parental controls and put that into place.  We had been warning our son that we would get controls back in place despite his pleas that we don't.  

This morning with the new parental controls in place, we gave him 2 hours.  Now at 6:30 am, he started screaming that the computer shut him off.  We told him he had two hours in the morning.. Since it was shutting him off, it meant that he woke up at 4:30 am to use the computer.  He continues to complain that "he can control his time" but he doesn't...if it were up to him, he would spend all day on the computer and not do anything else.  He complained all the way to school this morning that he wanted the parental controls off.  We have told him NO.  But is it this normal for a child to be this addicted to the computer?   He seems to be mainly addicted to a game called Roblox..which I have read other parents have seen addiction in their aspergers children in.  What is in this game that is causing this type of reaction?  We are working very hard on the "no" with little emotion but it is so hard with him!

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 I have a 6 yr old son who displays all the signs of aspergers. I feel like i'm falling apart dealing with this child. He being the 4th child out of 7 takes up all of my time and energy.  I am not giving enough to the other children because of him.  I feel burnt out as a mom and I definitively need help to learn how to cope with this child as well as give him what he needs. Will you be able to answer my questions daily? Will you be able to answer questions such as how to deal with him in the family unit?  How to handle his tantrums?  How to give him tools to communicate properly?  Instead of saying what he wants, he says I hate you. If he doesn't get what he wants he says i'm going to kill myself. How do I handle this? I put the words in his mouth figuring out what he wants and than he says yes. I have him tell me what he feels but me saying the words first: like, I feel upset that I can't have chocolate now. but the next time he reverts back to "i hate you". Getting him to school or after school activities takes a ton of time and energy. I feel like i'm constantly in a battle with a six yr. old who only see's what he wants and will try to manipulate every situation to get what he wants. All my other children also find him very hard and embarrassing.  I would like to address their needs and also help them through living with him and i would like my asperger child to feel loved and accepted and learn tools to cope with social setting and lean how to communicate.  

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My close friend's son has Asperger's, and she is certainly open to help but doesn't know who to contact for support.  He is attending college a few nights a week, but has never worked.  He is very confident in himself and his abilities, but has no motivation to get a job.  He has no friends, and therefore wants to spend all of his time out of school with his mother.  He is very demanding of her time.  If she isn't home when he is, he calls or texts her multiple times over and over.  So, she lives her life around when he is home. 
What steps can she take to get him interested in getting a job?
What can she do to lessen his commandment of her attention?
Is there a support group for young adults his age in this area - southern Indiana?
Is there a local support group for parents of young adults with Aspergers in Southern Indiana?
Do you have any advice regarding how he can meet and make friends?

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I have struggled for years trying to understand my partner,  We were engaged 10 years ago but I called off our wedding after feeling so unhappy with the lack of intimacy in our relationship and his seemingly uncaring attitude once he had me.  He even once told me that all men are nice to get the girl at first.  I really don't think he realized how his words come out or what impact they have on others.   Gary and I have been on again off again for over 10 years and this last time we moved in with each other both committed (or I thought so) that we'd work things out no matter what happened.  I am so hurt and sad again after six months of living together.  A year ago a friend of mine gave me a book about Asbergers and said she really felt it described Gary perfectly.  She has known him longer than I have.  It was written by a man with Asbergers...something about Looking at me or See me....I can't remember the name.  It was then I believed Gary had Asbergers. After reading your book, Living with An Asberbers partner, I have no doubt.   I thought the more I learned and tried to understand him I could handle his anger, his lack of social skills, and his lack of empathy for me or others.  Once living together though I find his anger and vicious outbursts at me when I do not agree with him or I tell him something hurts my feelings has become so regular and I'm even feeling abused.   After the most recent violent outburst I felt for the first time threatened physically and I was planning on leaving him for good this week.  H then he came home from work last night and said,"  We Have to make things right again, cuz this is driving me crazy. Do you think seeing a counselor would help?"  He has always called counselors "qaucks and says they talk psychobabble."  He has accused me of using "psychobabble" when I've tried to explain to him something he did that hurt my feelings.  It's uncanny to me how he seems to sense when I'm at the end of my rope with him and he begins to be nice and bring on the charm so I won't leave him.  I then remember he has those nice sides too. 
Anyway, now I'm not sure counseling will do any good.  His reason to see a counselor are "so they can make sense of things you say to me.  You use words I don't understand and I need an interpreter!"  I'm not sure what words he's talking about since the last words I used were "This hurts me when...  and I don't feel like you care about how I feel about this" when I disagreed with him about our vacation details.  He flew into a rage calling me names, telling me I'm senile because I asked something twice that he already answered, and when I asked "Do you want this to work, Gary?"  He got up and was screaming over me, "Don't say that again!"  and stood over me while I was sitting on the couch.  He scared me and since then I am not sure I can stay with him.  But since he's the one who actually suggested counseling, I'm totally confused now.  He's being so extra nice.  He has made fun of me for wanting to make friends with our neighbors, he's called me "over sensitive, whiney and needy," when I expressed that something he said hurt my feelings, he's given me the silent treatment for days at a time, and acts very childish.  One time I was talking about how I didn't like our end tables in the living room and would like to find some new ones.  He became so violently angry and ended up screaming "If those tables go, I go!" before he jumped in his truck and squealed out of the driveway.  I started laughing after he left, it seemed so ridiculous.  He has more than once called me senile and yelled at me for asking about something we already discussed to get clarification or just to confirm to myself what we agreed to.  He can't stand that I bring up something more than once.  Is that Asbergers or is he just an angry abusive man whom I need to leave alone and protect myself from?  I know about the abuse cycle since I've been in counseling after being married to an angry and abusive alcoholic who never hit me, but was extremely demeaning and abusive verbally.  So many things about Gary are similar.  He uses sarcasm constantly.  He makes little digs about things I do that to me are healthy. (making friends, etc.)  He does not listen well when I speak and he seems to talk AT me and others and doesn't really converse back and forth.  He shows no emotion except anger....maybe boredom or frustration, but always negative. 
So, now he suggests seeing a counselor.  Not because he thinks maybe there are things he can learn, but to get them to make me talk right to him so we can get along.  I'm not sure I can do this anymore and yet...there's a slight hope that maybe we can work out some way to be happy together.  I told him I just didn't know how I felt anymore and that there are things we both need to do differently if we want to make it work and that's what counseling is for.  He responded very curtly then, "WE don't need to change, you just need to not be so sensitive."  That was this morning when he left for work.  Do you think couple's counseling will help us?  If someone doesn't understand Asbergers I'm sure they will tell me he's abusive and controlling and to get away from him.  I've been told I'm codependent by thinking I can change him and because I put up with his rages and disrespectful comments and actions.  Am I?  Or is this man Asbergers and I just need to understand his behavior and not take it personally. 
We live in Durham NC, are 60 and 61 years old.  I am a retired school counselor/teacher and Gary works as a service customer assitant manager for a small CNC (computerized woodworking machines).  He has never worked successfully for anyone else and had his own house building company up until last year when he couldn't make a living doing that anymore.  I used to think our relationship difficulties might be because of our diffferent backgrounds and education, but  now I'm sure he has Asbergers.  Can you suggest a counselor or give me some insight into what to do now???  

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I am the mother of a 20 year old young lady with Asperger's syndrome. I recently purchased and read your series on Launching Adult Children with Aspergers. My daughter is currently doing "OK", but there are several upcoming transitions that I need to prepare her for. She graduated from high school where too many accomodations were made. As a result, college was a shock to her. She is attending Austin Community College (Texas) and has befenited from the CLE (College Living Experience) program. She has dropped 2 college courses and failed 1. She switched from degree goal to certification. She is currently on track to complete her certification at the end of fall 2013, assuming that she does well from here out. CLE has been good for her, however she did not benefit as she should from their "social skills training", primarily because she was turned off by their constant focus on "romantic" relationships, which she has no interest in at this time. I wonder if the lessons were on how to deal with your brother, parents, boss, teacher, fellow students, co-workers, she would have responded in a more positive fashion. She is currently managing her own finances and living on her own (roommate didn't work out). I am considering trying to locate a "Life Coach" and believe that Austin is likely a good place to find someone that would be a good fit. I would be looking for someone who could tutor her in her classes next fall, work on relationships, work on interviewing, dressing for work, and workplace expectations, in addition to finding a job that would be the best fit for her. I believe this person exists, but have no idea how to go about finding them. 
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RE: Defiant Aspergers teen...

Hi Mark!

I wanted to give you my "tough love" story. We have discussed this in the past and things have been going well for a while. Well yesterday I learned my son had taken more xanax from his grandmother(I still read the texts). I knew he wanted to give some to this girl he liked also. I emailed his assistant principal and told her about this yesterday. Well this morning he was searched again and caught. He is now out on OSS and has to go before the school board to determine the next course of action for him. This also violates his probation from a non related incident that happened back in September. So we will also be dealing with the DJJ. It certainly is tough to rat out you own child, but it's better than having to bail him out of jail as an adult. And again, if it wasn't for your program, I probably wouldn't have gone to these lengths.

Thanks again...

Traci

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My son has Asperger's and currently attends public school. His anxieties are so great that he has had accidents in his pants (#2) and sat in soiled pants for fear of embarrassment in telling anyone. He also gets in trouble for "not listening or following directions", if there is a substitute teacher or change in routine he has a "code red" day, and he recently has been so nervous in the morning that he is throwing up or having diarrhea before school. He leaves the house sad and his head down and returns home with a lot of anger and lashing out physically. He is at the top if his class academically and his teacher told us he cannot go any further with math this year because he has tested out. (We are currently going through the IEP process). If he is gone sick I homeschool him for the day and he does wonderfully and is so much better behaved & anxiety is minimal. The docs say keep him in school but my gut says homeschool. I need some facts and encouragement from those who've been there please! Thank you!

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My husband and son are Aspies and I suspect our daughter to be borderline.  Right now what I need advice on is dealing with a situation that happened to our son and need to know if I should get an advocate to come to the school with me.  Here is the situation:

Our son, in addition to the Aspergers, has numerous learning disabilities – dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia as well as ADHD.  He has an IEP and I have wallowed through the schools “special Ed interventions” which would be better described as “concessions” as they do nothing to really help him outside of giving him more time to do an assignment, write less than others, take tests in smaller quieter rooms and so forth.  Although those concessions are helpful, they do nothing to really address the disabilities and struggles he has faced through school.  I have scribed for him when he has to write a paper and his dysgraphia not only affects his motor skills in writing, it also affects his ability to express his thoughts.  Usually, if I ask him questions and stimulate his thought process, he can then get enough information formed to write a paper (again, I typically type it for him).  This is a very slow, painstaking process for me but it has worked for him.  It is also supposed to be on his IEP but as I have found, the school does not always follow the IEP. 

Recently, I have started a business and I have not had the time to stay on top of our son’s school work, plus, he is now 18 and a Senior in High School so everyone has  been advising me to back off and let him learn to advocate for himself – BIG MISTAKE!!!!  Since I have been not as involved with his homework and school work, he recently had an English paper he was struggling with and was too prideful to ask for help (or perhaps it was not pride but the mind blindness preventing him from seeing he needed help).  With the deadline here and he knew he was not going to be able to do the paper, he found another kids paper online, copied it and put his name on the paper and turned it in.  Of course he was busted by his teacher and SE Advisor and they gave him the weekend to write the paper on his own which he did (I scribed for him and he was able to do it).  Problem is, he forgot to turn it in on Monday so he failed.  The big issue is after he was busted, thinking he was not going to be able to do the paper, he went into his account to get the paper so he could “re-write” it in his own words (something he obviously has done before when he has not asked for help) and it was not in his folder but the teacher’s inbox was there so he clicked on it and it opened up and he went to copy the paper and deleted it by mistake.  Usually the teacher’s inbox is not open to the students but someone had hacked into it and it was open.  Of course, since our son was in the IT Academy and his plagiarized paper was deleted, the suspected it was him who hacked in.  He was confronted with this and he confessed he did try to copy the paper out of the teacher’s inbox and it accidently deleted it, but he said he did not hack into the inbox.  So, they have expelled him from school for 3 days and kicked him out of the IT Academy. 

I don’t know what to believe because he was not fully disclosing the whole truth to me cause what he told his father and I was not what the Dean of Students told us (which does not match our sons character and he denied ever doing some of the things they accused him of).  I know you say that Aspies don’t lie, but he certainly does not divulge the whole truth. I don’t know what to do, this affects 1) his ability to get into the college he wanted to attend 2) alters his career plans as he was going to graduate with 4 computer industry certifications 3) although they agreed to give him credit for this semesters classes (we are 3 weeks from end of semester), they are removing him from classes, sticking him in new classes, new teachers and new schedule – death to an Aspie!). 

He is guilty of plagiarizing the work and needs punished for that, I do not know what to think about his “hacking” charge – I spoke with a mentor friend who is teaching him computer repair and he said our son does not possess the knowledge to hack into anything nor would he do it because he is so cautious about working with the computers –fearing he might break something.  Yet, the school is saying he did this.  In addition, he was in his Government class when the hacking took place ( they are continuing the investigation).

Can you please give me some advice on what to do here?  Should I get an Advocate to come in to protect his legal rights with his disability?  Should I just let him suffer these huge consequences for his poor decision or do I intervene?  I don’t know what to do and then add on top dealing with his Aspie father on top of it all – I am nearing a mental breakdown!  I don’t know what to do.  On the one hand, I don’t think they have any clue how hard it is for him to write – not that it justifies his plagiarism, but it does speak to his intent – it was not malicious but desperation.  I feel like I failed him so by backing off my support so quickly, I don’t know what to do.  

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 I am attending my 14 year old son's IEP meeting later this week and need to offer teaching strategies to the school personnel. He has had an unsuccessful school semester (9th grade) and is about to fail all of his classes because he has refused to do any work. He has slept through classes and completed no homework. As a family we are engaged in home therapy with two therapists, one is a sexual predator therapist. Progress is very slow because both therapists want to form the relationship before they confront him on any of his behaviors.  My son manipulates both of them, choosing to play video games or ignore them while they are here. 

The FAPT team has approved funding until February. My son is clearly in control of this situation and is learning as you say that "people are happy with what he says not what he does".  I truly wish you were working with my family.  

I am enrolled at Liberty University in their counseling program and have 6 classes left.  I am divorced and my ex has aspergers. He is not helpful in providing a good example (does not work or provide helpful feedback) .  I also have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  

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My son has not been diagnosed with Aspergers (yet) but with audio and visual processing disorders, and a vague dx of ADD-inattention type, according to school records. He was not given an exit IEP due to family circumstances with Dad. He then came to live with me an my soon-to-be-ex fiancee with the expectation of working part-time and going to college part-time. I.E. one or the other. I live a distance from my son'd former residence, but it was within a school vacation drive topick up and return. I am also disabled, and now have the additional dx of a probable autoimmune disease. So stress really tanks me.
 I found out a few weeks ago that my son's special ed teacher of 3 years felt that he had asperger's and urged dad to have an evaluation. He did not follow through, and purposely excluded me at all means with any school participation. I called her and she confirmed it. My grandson was recently diagnosed with it, so I am up on the disorder. Now the last few months make sense.
  So I now have an 18 year old who has no way or idea of how to function in society.He can talk his way around therapists, and he is very good at computers in some aspects. I applied for SSI for him. I cannot support him on my own SSI. Said fiancee cannot deal with what he sees for the future, so I have until May to move. I am not deserting my son. I dropped the ball on him and let Dad get custody by losing my job (not my fault) and drinking (my fault) Been sober again 3 yrs. Previous time was 13 years.
 He can go to school and take one class, but that class takes over his whole life and he cannot function to the point of neglecting his hygeine, etc.
Yes, he has some behavioral issues. The new DSM-5 is excluding asperger's as of next May, I hear. I have and he has 6 sessions with this "group" through the county as we are on medicaid. He needs the ASD or autism dx to qualify for Regional Center.

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My wife and I are keen to read it because we always knew there was something not quite right with our daughter Elissa, however, she was born and mostly raised before Aspergers was commonly known in our parenting & medical communities.  She is now in her early 30’s.  Thankfully our son (2 years younger) never had so much as a hint of similar behaviors.  In April, we hit a major crisis, just a few weeks after Elissa gave birth to a beautiful, healthy daughter - and our first grandchild.  Then all the crap hit the fan, manifesting as major postpartum depression and borderline psychosis, but we know the root cause goes back long before the birth this spring.  That was just the final straw.  Personally, I think we nearly lost our daughter into the bottomless pit of PPD – we actually had to do an extraction to get her out of her dysfunctional setting and into some pretty intensive therapy and family care for a month.  She seems to be holding her own now which means we can start focusing on this Asperger thing.  Based on all the resources we have found so far, I am fairly convinced that Elissa has Aspergers, but we are not even sure how to discuss it with her, yet have a hunch that sooner or later, we should.  Hopefully there will be answers in your book, both for Elissa and even more importantly, for how Elissa will raise her daughter.

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I haven't look at much lately on Aspergers I guess I've just put so much time and thought into it I'm tired of it. I did just receive this news letter from you and it caught my eye. I do have a couple of questions and I am home from work today so I thought I would ask you. Kinser, my grandson who will be 7 on Thursday has had and still does some strange tics. At least maybe I think that is what they are. When he was about 6 months old he started holding our noses. Everytime you would hold him he would hold your nose. EVERYONES. As he got older I am going to say until he was about 3 1/2 he would hold our nose. It got to be if he was in a shopping cart or sitting in his car seat and he was getting tired he would hold your nose. I always thought it was cute. It would be nothing for me to be pushing him in a cart and him holding my nose. He even had a way he would hold it sometimes he would even crack it. like hold it a certain way and then bend it until it cracked. It didnt hurt. It is just how he did it. he went through a stage where he picked his nose. Not like just picking it but like a nervous thing. They got him broke of that now he is pulling his eyelashes out and that kid has the most beautiful LONG eyelashes i have ever seen. We are constantly telling him to leave his eyelashes alone. Now in the last month along with the eyelash pulling he is putting his shirt in his mouth especially while playing football on his Xbox (which he is obsessed with right now) or on our smart phones. He will have his shirt completely we half way down from the top to lower chest area. Like I said he has this obsession with football. He knows every team. Who and when they are playing their stats. He just know it all. He has a problem though even if he is winning at playing a game and the other team run or makes a touchdown he gets so mad. He talks to them meanly (even though its a game) he begs his players to do something to stop them and then he throws a fit and cries. I have gotten to wear i have tried reasoning with him if I have him, but now I just tell him when I hear the first little fit or cry i am taking the game out. That never stops him. But, I go straight in his room and push the button and retrieve the game. I just paid 59.99. for Madden 13 for him and I have even thought about breaking it in front of him. I dont see how my daughter and son-in-law handle this on a daily basis. I am very frustrated and worried. When I go in his room and push that button to take out his game he has yelled at me in almost a stareish evilish tone and has hit me. i want to beat his ASS is what I want to do but I dont. What should I do. I feel like I'm loosing my bond with him and I dont want that. I love him so much.

The hitting the crying the disrespect the tearing things up kicking holes in the doors and walls are just almost too much for me anymore. I just dont know what to do. I'm so scared of what his life is going to be like as he gets older. I'm so scared for him. I want to just cry when I think of him and how he acts. he does do great at school. Only a few minor problems. he did get all A's on his midterm. He loves to play sports with the kids at school but of course he has to ALWAYS win. Please help me to help him. I am at a lost and I'm begging. I'm sorry and I don't mean offense to this but I do hope you are a real DR. and not just a scam I paid for. I know my daughter Brandi was scammed in the beginning by this Dr. who said Kinser needed  to be seen by a Chiropractor which was what he was. She paid a lot of money to him and we sure seen nothing from it. We met him by someone who said he was having a free consultation/seminar for parents with kids with autism. That is how all that started. Brandi did everything to try to keep Kinser off any medicines. She did the diet too, which I will say helped a little, but was just to expensive. I am truly just lost right now on who to believe and who to trust. I just want to know my grandson will survive in this big bad world of bullies and influences he will face just as a teenager. Also, I wanted to ask you one more thing. Kinser still tiptoes and we are constantly telling him not to walk on his tip toes. Now my granddaughter, Harlow Isabella is tiptoeing and she holds ears. She has been holding ears for about 6 months now. She also can not talk up to what her milestones should be so she is getting speech therapy. I hope she is going through the terrible 2's but she has a bad temper but one good thing is she has no obsessions like Kinser did at two. I'm sorry if this whole e-mail sounds negative. Usually I am a very positive person and  I truly believe each day when you wake up you make the decision of who you want your day to go. It's totally in your hands. Now, I have God on my side and he helps me each day with every challenge. Today though, I am sick with the flu so I'm not very positive and the things about Kinser and Harlow are just laying more heavily on me today and I don't feel very positive about anything right now..... Maybe I'm just too involved in their lives. I don't even know anymore.

On a funnier note. I work at a hospital and I work with physicians to make sure they get all the correct diagnosis on the charts so the hospital can get the highest reimbursement rate possible. the other day i was reading an ER chart and in the dictation  the dr. dictated about a child with Aspergers Syndrome. But, the transcriptionist typed it through out the chart ASSburgers Syndrome. Every time that word was mentioned that is how it was typed. I thought it was funny. It is such a new diagnosis and a word most people don't hear often and definitely don't know how to spell....Have a good day

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I have been struggling with guilt over this – feel like I have let my Aspie son down by not getting him into the right therapy, program or whatever and guilt over even advocating for him – have I been “over” advocating to where I set him up for this.  I really appreciated your advice about resentment and forgiveness and am trying to even apply this to myself – I often resent having to do  everything with regard to our son’s schooling (part of that goes toward my Aspie husband and part of it goes toward Aspergers itself – I resent having to have to deal with this so much in our family – make sense?).  I know that there is nothing I can do to change things and now see how damaging the resentment has been to my life.  I have never looked at Forgiveness as a gift for myself.  Trying to let go of the resentment, forgive myself, forgive my son and most of all forgive my husband.  The hardest part for me is letting go – sometimes it seems that the resentment has become somewhat of a “security blanket” for me – justification for my feeling unlovable.  What a mess I am in, hope your books can help me clean up the mess of my heart. We will be meeting with the principle and IT Academy head to discuss this.  I feel it was actually a blessing to us as it exposes our son is not ready to self-advocate (not sure he will ever be, if he chooses not to), we certainly see the areas we need to work with him on to better prepare him for college and career.  At least this happened in high school when he has the opportunity to learn from his mistake without it totally killing his college career – albeit is now more difficult for him to get into college now.  

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Hi Mark,

I know we have never met each other, however, I have been receiving your news letters for about a year.   My wife and I have a child with Aspergers and I must say that your knowledge has really helped us get through some challenges.

The reason I am writing you is because I am a film producer and I am seriously interested in creating a documentary on children with Aspergers.  I am assuming you have probably been approached by others before about doing videos, however, my team and I produce films for many high end clients.

I have created videos and films for The Florida Marlins, Discovery Channel (shark week content), NetJets, Beechcraft, Flight Safety and I was Director of Photography on two feature films.

I feel that Aspergers is something that many people do not have much knowledge of and yet it is hard on so many families.   I am looking to build either an hour long show or to create a 3 part series.  This is something that is just in the pre-planning stages, however, I am looking to build and work on this project with someone like you.

If you are interested please let me know.

Thank you for your time,

Jon

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RE: We could really use some help dealing with teasing and bullying at school. We moved to Illinois this summer and our son started at a new school. We knew it was going to be difficult, but I really have never seen him struggle so much. He is a fifth grader, and I would have considered him on the very mild end of the spectrum. This year everything is a challenge. We are working through most things with time and help from local groups, but we are at a loss to help him deal with the amount of teasing and bullying going on. The school's policy is a "triangle of responsibility" where the bully, the victim and the onlookers all have a role to play in ending the bullying. I get the concept of trying to give a victim the tools to keep it from happening again, but I'm not sure my son gets it. He refuses to tell the principle names because he doesn't want anyone to get in trouble, and the principle says there is nothing he can do for my son if he doesn't name names. How many years of preschool and kindergarten did they teach these kids not to tattle? So my son is just taking it all on and becoming full of rage at these kids. Today, a sixth grade boy who teases him daily interfered with him while he was on the swing. My son was scared he would get hurt. He got angry, got off the swing and punched the boy in the back several times and kicked him once. Then he ran off of school property under a fence. Luckily he didn't go far, just to the other side of the fence. The teachers didn't see any of it. Now he is serving an in school suspension and still won't tell the principle how often the kid picked on him. He said he would rather get kicked out of school than tell on him. I don't know what to do for him. The school says it just takes time for him to not be the "new kid" anymore, but is that really our only choice? Let him suffer until the kids find someone else to pick on? Is it really going to get better with time given that Asperger's kids are often picked on?

I should also mention that this is not the first time we have moved. We moved right before his third grade year also. He struggled to make friends at first, but by the end of the year and all of fourth grade he was well liked by the entire class. It was nothing compared to the teasing he is enduring from the fifth, sixth and seventh graders here. His schoolwork and focus in class is also at an all time low. He has become so withdrawn here I'm not sure the kids will ever get the chance to get to know him. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated.


Response: I think the best thing here is to focus on the larger picture (which isn't bullying). A child gets picked on because he doesn't know to to win and keep friends. Your son would benefit greatly from social skills training that would help him learn how to relate to peers in a way that influences them to WANT to be his friend.

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Our son is 15 and has dropped out of school. I am a retired elementary teacher, so I have years of successfully working with kids but nothing we've tried seems to work with our son. He has been diagnosed as OCD, anxiety, ODD, ADD, and most recently considered to as PDD/ High. Functioning Asperger Spectrum. We have tried medications for ADD & OCD but only increased mood swings. We have worked closely with the school and last winter hired a tutor, which helped with his grades but he just became too overwhelmed with being in school all day plus a tutor 2 days a week. We became increasingly frustrated and last spring he just quit. We tried getting him back in school and went to family counseling. He refused therapy and at the recommendation of the psychologist, we backed off for the summer. This fall we came up with two options for school-- returning g to school with a hand picked schedule/ teachers or online school. He ended up doing online school but refused to be transported to the school and would only do online from home. That worked for a short time but as work became increasingly harder he gave up trying and began guessing and submitting I complete work. We have been looking into alternative high schools in the area but can't get him there to check them out. He threatens to stop eating or drinking. Just wants to have his iPhone back and play video games. When we take everything away he obsesses over not having them. When we make him earn time by making healthy choices, do his family chores, and have good hygiene he wants more.

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Dr. Hutten,

I have contacted you before and I have found your materials very helpful over the last few weeks.  After a lot of work and thought, and tears over the years, I am still struggling with a 23 year old son at home.

I am committed to reading through your materials and working through your  materials.  I’m an attorney who is currently between jobs (recovering politician), so doing this daunt me terribly.  However, there are a few other twists in the tale.

1.       Twenty-three years old is not a teen, obviously.  However, our son is very immature, dropped out of high school and has not been successful in community college or any of the jobs he has held.  Right now he is at home in his room about – and I mean this literally -- 23 hours a day, playing video games, although recently he has started going out to meet with some of his online friends at “meet ups.”  No drugs or alcohol problems now or in the past.  I believe we can still implement much of your program, modified for his age, and try to establish some keystone habits that will help he understand that he is not “helpless”.  Your opinion?
2.       He has had psychological counseling for the last year.  We know from this and previous work that he has very weak working memory, auditory memory and visual memory, but an extraordinarily high IQ.  His SAT scores could have gotten him into any of the best colleges in the country, if he didn’t have 17 F’s on his transcript.  Clearly, he also struggles with depression and anxiety.
3.       Our son from an early age our son was diagnosed with ADHD and had lots of troubles in high school.  He also has some characteristics of Aspergers, although it’s hard to tell if that is due to stress and anxiety.  I still think there is a touch of Aspergers involved, although I only came to this conclusion in the last year.  I have found everything you have written on working with high functioning Aspies extremely helpful.  I attended a conference on Aspergers last year and don’t find my son to have many of the characteristics, but he does have a few, which is not surprising because….
4.       My husband is from Japan, came here for graduate school and comes from a family of engineers, although he is an architect and university professor.  He has surprising number of qualities of Aspergers, which I never realized.  I just thought it was part and parcel of Japanese culture and an engineering family.  Which perhaps it is.  Whatever the source, it makes working together extremely difficult.  Any suggestions here?
5.       Christmas is coming, our youngest son will be home for the holidays on December 20.  Should we launch into this 4 week program now or wait.  I don’t really want to wait, but it’s a complication.

I’m betting that we are pretty unique, and yet probably not.  There is more I could tell you, but I think you understand me better than I understand myself.  I scored a 96 on your parent exam, which is hard to confess, but after many, many years, it probably should not be a surprise.

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Dear Mark,

I just wanted to say what a relief it is to have found your website.  My son is 5 years old on the autistic spectrum and my belief he is 'my aspergers child'.  He copes well at school and I am finding it hard to communicate his needs to his school to ensure I understand what has happened that day to match it with my son's behaviour at home and deal appropriately.  I found you through a google search of the school/home topic and have looked at a few more posts and it feels like I have found another world where others understand!  Well done on your website.

Regards

Tiffany

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Mr. Hutten:

What a blessing to come across an online parent support and I would like to get started in the near future. I am tired, so tired and have been trying adamantly to find something, anything for my son. I have been heart broken with family members whom do not understand anything and approach me with "There is something wrong with your kid", or staff members of the school
constantly letting me know how my son does not listen. If I was not a single parent I would home school him, but that is not an option.

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My son was diagnosed with Asperger's at an early age, and has attended private schools and received a lot of guidance and therapy, which has been extremely helpful to his development over the years of middle school and high school.

His mother and I divorced when he was 11, and he continued to live with her, and I would see him several times a week, weekends, etc.  He graduated college 2 years ago, and at that time his mother passed away.
 He's been living with me since then, and I'm concerned about his further development.

He had been working a part time retail job at Blockbuster Video, until the company and stores went out of business. Since then, he claims he can't find another retail job, but I honestly don't think he's putting a lot of effort into looking. He buys toys at local stores and sells them at a profit on EBay, which brings him in some money, but not enough to live on. His situation is different than any mentioned in your book, because he has quite an inheritance from his mother's pension and life insurance, so his nest egg is considerably larger than mine!

He's 24, and a good "kid", although we lock horns more often than before over his (and my) attitudes at times. He doesn't drink or smoke or take drugs, and pays for his share of food, insurance and car repairs.

My concern is that, while I like him living with me, I don't see any effort being made on his part to go out and start a career and a life. He seems to be too comfortable and secure with me, not having a desire to grow up. He has friends with jobs, some are married, some are in relationships (as he has been in), but he's stuck in a Peter Pan limbo that concerns me the longer it goes on. He promised to find a Christmas retail job, but claims "no one is hiring", even though we live in a pretty populated area of NJ.

What do you recommend I do to help this 24 year-old baby bird leave the nest?

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I feel I grew up in a family where my father was affected by this and  the situation caused a great deal of suffering for my mother and us children because it was not understood. Not surprisingly it seems I am drawn to others with this syndrome.

Now, I am living in Germany working as an English teacher .  I am working one to one with a little girl 10 years old and this is why I subscribed to your newsletter.  The girl appears to fit the profile of HFA.  The parents at this point are determined to keep her in mainstream education and Germany is not as accepting as the US and the UK and offer alternative ways to work with these special children. Her parents are aware she needs special support but dont accept it 100% and feels she must learn to fit in.  No one has used the term Aspergers or HFA

I see  the girl every week and have seen in the last year that she has developed an eating disorder and uses food for comfort.  Her parents are very aware of her weight gain and are attempting to control her food.  So, one of her rebellions is to hide food / ask others for sweets etc and not tell her mother.   I feel that it is caused by the stress of how the parents and educators work with her. 

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My daughter has been recently diagnosed with Aspergers.  Although, I
have read about it in the past I now have a more intense interest of
learning about it.  I came across your webpage and listened to your
radio shows.  Both were very informative.  I myself have a degree in
Psychology, only a B.A. so not an expert but certainly an interest in
human behavior.  My daughter, Christina, turned 14 in August and is a
HS freshman.  Basicially I am in a quandry right now on how to move
forward with her education.  There is a lot to say but will be as
brief as possible.  She was diagnosed with Selective Mutism and ODD in
2nd grade and has had an IEP since then.   She had in class support
for 2 years after which I felt backfired.  It created more anxiety.
She is extremely bright and was a straigh A student through 7th grade.
 She was in a Gifted and Talented pull out program 3rd - 5th grade
which was 2 periodas each week and  in 6th and 7th grade was in
advanced math and language arts.  With ease and no help got straight
A+s.  The dreaded hormones kicked in the same month that I moved into
a different house from my ex-husband right after school ended in 7th
grade.  She managed 3 weeks of 8th grade and refused to go back.  She
had such anxiety that she just fell appart.  I quickly got the school
to provide 2 home instructers that I happenened to be friends with
from subbing in the district.  The remainder of the year she recieved
home instruction.  It was torture to try to get her to do anywork.
It's amazing that they even promoted her to 9th grade.  Although, she
did little work all year, she did take state standardized test wich
she recieved perfect in sceince and almost perfect in math and LA.
She has bee seeing a therapist weekly since Sep of 8th grade but I
have seen no improvement - she has yet said one word to her.
Although, the therapist has said after the beginning of this school
year she clearly has Aspergers in addition to SM and ODD.  This year
to show her she has to go to school I had to have the school
psychologist and police officer drive her to school in a police car.
Then she began carrying around a stuffed animal and not a small one.
She is refusing to do work, she gets to school 10 am everyday, she was
taken to the crisis unit 2 weeks ago at a hospital because she had a
meltdown on the floor hitting herself.  Becuase of the recent storm
she was out of school for 2 weeks and regressed back to day 1.  She is
shut down with work and now is claiming she is afraid to fail -
anything less than 100 is failing.  Thought some background would
help.  My feeling is that her anxiety lies so deep that I feel that
the best solution is to place her in a residence school for
Aspergers/social anxiety.  What is your feeling on this and how do I
go about getting the school to go along with this plan.

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I have a teenage son (18) who is a senior at a local high school.  His grade point average is decent (3.3), but just helping him to stay on track has been quite the effort on my part.  He appears social in school and seems well-liked (when I drop in from time to time), but does not enjoy social activities outside of school.  His only friend (from the fourth grade) comes over some weekends, and they play video games nonstop.  He played varsity golf as a freshman and was quite good, but chose not to continue.  Despite my repeated requests for him to join a club of some kind, attend a sports, drama or service activity, he has always declined.  He has never done anything socially with anyone at his school, attended a dance, game, etc.  My husband and I recently got a divorce, and he is aware of my concerns about him and will support him.  I've stayed in the same house, kept the same routines, and his dad sees him regularly and leaves the choosing of the activities up to him.  He is not close to his dad, and they don't have a history of doing things together, so he prefers to stay and do things with me.  I'm running out of steam though, and concerned about the best way to handle his transition to independent living.  I'm afraid to do the wrong thing and set him up for failure.

He has shared with me that he feels uncomfortable speaking to others, and I've practiced with him so that he's able to ask for things in public.  He sleeps a lot, plays video games, and for the most part does assignments, although works below potential.  He would like to go to college (pre-med actually and I don't have the heart to tell him that this might not be the best choice for him right now), and, at first I thought I would send him to a small school so that he could experience success away from home, but now I am wondering.  He'd rather go locally, but I'm afraid he'll just do more of the same--go to school, do assignments, go home, stay in room, repeat.

He does not display any aggressive behavior, is actually quite 'hip' and funny in familiar settings, but I am worried about his slow social development, and his inability to cope with change of any sort.  I'm asking him to switch rooms (to a bigger one) to accommodate all of his extra furniture, and you'd think I was asking him to move to China.  If you have any thoughts, please let me know.  I have not obtained a diagnosis; not sure if I should, as Peter is very resistant and turned off by any mention of "seeing someone" either alone or with me to support.

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I am also curious in your opinion regarding massage therapy for those on the spectrum.  I am a medically licensed massage therapist in Ohio (Columbus area), and although I work mainly with athletes (runners and tri folks), I have also done limited work with those on the spectrum.  One of our team guys at Columbus Running Company is 31 yrs. old and has Asperger's.  He also placed 4th at the Cleveland Marathon 2 years ago. He is an amazing guy.  :-)  He also was just part of a program at OSU medical school where the 3rd year medical students are interviewing "patients" on the spectrum as part of their course work in order to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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I listened to the lectures you sent me. Wow. With clarity comes action. Sometimes your verbage or turn of phrase sound like 12 step work, and it makes me feel comfortable with some direction you offer. So coincidence or other, I thank you.  The day I listened to the audios, I could feel my blood pressure lower. It's usually in the normal range, but lately been very high for me-hopefully that caused the positive ANA results too, lol. But calm and peace came over me. It had been weeks since I felt that way. I saw my psychiatrist yesterday. Because of out medical coverage, he is the same one my son has been referred to. I told him about the stress I had been under (of course it was effecting my ADHD.) I was surprised when he pulled out the DSM-IV and went through it. Basically, my son has to be co-operative, but the doctor did give me his "out" since he has been filled in, and I have the supporting documentation. I'm so glad you mentioned melatonin for sleep. The Dutch family influence has made medication an issue for way too long, I am reasonably optimistic a medical dx will follow soon. Thanks for your support to date.

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Hi Mark!
Ive just purchased your ebook. Have arrived up to the Fair figthing chapter and I really have to say this - III LOOOVEEE YOUUU!!! :)) Its been so long since i was looking for exactly what you are doing there - wording!! I love the list you did on the right side of the page, its really a wonderful gift!! I"ve read a lot on parenting (as I very much need it, coming from a very authoritarian traditional passive aggressive parenting style family) but there were mostly just concepts, and no wording for it. I have nowhere found the amount and the quality of your practical examples. Since they are all new discipline concepts for me (all I had as a child was screaming and punishment), so after a long and not so easy process of internalization of these concepts I get to a point where I start understanding them, I start "feeling" them, but the moment I try putting them to practice I get stuck, as I really dont know how to word it to my children. This amazing amount of practical examples you are offering is simply a priceless gift for my Christmas :)) Hope Ill get in the next chapters as many. Anyways, your way of grasping, sinthetizing and explaining things is just amazing and it totally appeals to me, to my personal style and to my expectations. I am happy that you are open to get emails from us and I am sure as I go along the sessions I will have plenty of specific questions for you, but for the moment I just wanted to say what I said above, nothing more, and of course I dont even expect an answer, I just hope you get the email. I am so happy that I found you and that I was "bold" enough to make an internet payment (against my husband"s warnings and susceptibility). Hope all the chapters will be as great as the first ones! I have great hopes for my parenting since I found your book, even though such a significant change seems very difficult to start... :) Wish you a fantastic winter holidays!
Diana
(sorry for my English, I am not a native English speaker and never lived in an English speaking country :) )

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I guess you have heard this before but my partner Joe does not sit in the perfect "box" life of an Aspergers ODD man.  He scores 36 on the Aspies UK test but I believe he also has ODD.

We do not live together. He lives in a house with a destructive, manipulative woman who was his landlady around 20 years ago.  I believe a brief affair took place at some point.  He and she come from Ireland so guess that is how the situation became what I can see as his unofficial carer/barrister.  (He drives without a license and gets caught a lot!).  He relies on her totally and utterly as he pays no rent, receives some form of benefits from Ireland and he has a house that should be sold to split between 4 siblings but he will not sell it. Basically trouble, yes why do I bother?

I met Joe on 5 April 2009 as I then ran a Dog Walking and Social Group on meetup.com.  He joined my group.  Me being chatty thought he was shy and "took him under my wing".  No feelings for him other than a friend.  Winnie (the woman he lives with - we are all aged 51 now) kept commenting on him to me i.e. don't you think he is handsome etc.  I just used to say "he is OK".  I believe he told her he liked me.  Then when we did eventually get together she has done nothing but try to tear us apart. Boy have I been through the wringer.  But I am a stubborn madam and would only take our relationship as over if either he or I said so.

I am not proud but I became like a "stalker" as Winnie would hang the phone up on me, shut the door in my face etc.  I recognise I pushed too hard but Joe always seemed proud of me that I found a way of getting to him (in the talking sense) and also how I found out where he was as often I would turn up where Winnie wasn't around.  This made me drive ahead further as I thought it pleased him.

So there I was (and still am) in love with this man that I feel is "married" and will never move away from this "carer" in the worse sense.

We have had arguments, fights and all sorts and I have to say as I already suffered from depression has taken its toll on me.

Last December I decided to give him his space/melt down time.  He had joined a cycling group and I was proud (and a little jealous) that he seems to be making new friends away from this awful woman.  (I do not dish people as I believe we all have good in us - I am sorry to say this lady is the exception - photo attached).

He has never "let me go" I have tried to stay away from him but he will turn up or call and then I am reeled back in again.  He says he wants people in his life not out of it.  I said that is unfair as he knows I love him and he can see how hurt I am.  I describe my pain to him as taking a knife and sticking it in his stomach and then twisting it.  He said he knows what I mean.

March this year I found out he had got engaged to a girl of 25 after being with her for 5 weeks.  He did not recognise it as an engagement but I was devastated.  I knew he had a horrible side but I never thought he could do that to me.  Apparently he does not chat up women they chase him and he has never experienced that before.  The "relationship" lasted 8 weeks, she moved in for two days Winnie was awful to her - he called me to help as he was cycling.  Like an idiot I did (curiosity kills the cat) the girl was nice but I could see the same arguments between them.  Next day she moved out and it was over.

Before it ended we met and he admitted he was confused (as he put it - he had 3% of love for her but seeing me he had 3% love for me and 0% for her) he seemed to want me still but liked this new "attention" - he does not have any respect for women but I see he is vulnerable and when he was younger his parents had him committed to a mental health hospital (he says prison).  Guess they did not understand his condition in those days.

I got into his emails and saw he was then talking about his new love to a male friend I met in Ireland (I think a lot of it is ego and look at me I am so popular).  So he had moved on from Michelle and went with Penny from the same cycling club.  That also lasted a short time. Possibly 3 months.  She moved in for two days and then she was pushed out by Winnie.  I have only ever been invited to stay over night one occasion to "annoy Winnie".  I have my own house.
I was angry and accused him of "playing" with me, keeping me there in case he needs another "Winnie".  After two suicide attempts I managed to ignore his emails and started to build myself up again.  Although I missed him like crazy every single day.

So he turns up at my house at the beginning of November and I said I cannot speak with him until he trulyacknowledges the pain and torture he put me through.  But not just to say it as he feels that is what I want to hear but to understand.  From his response I think he understood a bit more than I thought possible and so we are "trying again".  I am now slipping back into feelings of rejection only this time I feel he is chatting up every woman under the sun.  Although I know in the bedroom it is difficult for him (it took us a year to be OK, call me soft or whatever but I read up on this thing called Aspergers and I thought that is Joe and did as much research as I could.  Last year I thought it was something else as well so hence now researching ODD).  

I love him to bits and I see such a kind man but obviously with all the humiliation and rejection hate him at the same time sometimes..  He is making an effort in the fact he knows if I have something on my mind he must let me say it or it drives me crazy.  When he gets angry as I am being "emotional" I now do not argue and it seems to work to some degree.  He is letting me know a little bit of why he can't see me etc. and I know if I push he retracts.

But I am back to the same old story.  He can arrange his cycle meet ups or any event/outing months in advance.  He can't even arrange a day with me in two days time or a weeks time.  He says, "I don't know my future" - this he seems to feel is Winnie ruining his life.

I asked "does he not arrange anything with me as if it has to be cancelled I will kick off and be disappointed but at the last minute he can cancel a bike ride without any repercussions"?.  (We are talking 80 to 100 miles cycling rides so not just up the road). He hesitantly said yes.

Joe will not accept he has Aspergers (only in court to stop him from further penalties).  Even a report the Police insisted on in the end clarified he has Aspergers and we did the test on line and we laughed and said from now on when he gets angry I will say number 36.  That was his score.  I won't even dare to mention ODD as he hates labels.  I am being told I have EID (Emotional Intensity Disorder). Labels everywhere.  Also what a pair he and I are.  We almost live parallel lives in an odd opposite way.

I know you wish me to purchase your book but he would not work with me on it and to be honest even with all my Psychic readings (yes sorry but it helps) and me knowing (my Psyche is very strong) I still doubt and feel used.

Oh and to add to all this I am entering the menopause so my anxiety is awful at times - see doctor for that.

I am so sorry for such a huge email and I will understand if it is too much to answer but please don't say "refer to this site or refer to my book" my mind at the moment is all over the place and dark thoughts I have to keep pushing aside but I feel trapped.  I really do love Joe but the missing him is tearing me apart.

Your site said "if you are at - shall I just carry on and put up with it or end it .................... spot on"  both hurts but more so now he has been with two women.  A normal NT man I would have got rid of and my friends/family don't know why I don't do the same with Joe.

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I have been pointing in the direction of my son having Aspergers for some time now. I am needing to know where to begin and who to take him to for testing. Our family has been struggling for many years. First signs were in first grade the teacher stated he couldnt focus and reading and writing was poor. Took him to Dr. She assigned Gallahue Mental Health they said it was ADHD and put him on meds his studys were still poor and he started going into rages and was up late at night looking drugged , didnt eat lost 8 lbs. So we took him off the meds. And tried to cope. In fourth grade we finally got word from a teacher at school that he might have dyslexia so we saved money and took him for testing at DII in Indianapolis they said he wad dyslexic/dysgraphic now in fifth grade he still struggled but he improved with IEP due to testing results. He had a dark period in 6th grade he had some kids making fun of him and of course only has a couple friends everyone stays away from him he is very shy quit no eye contact even with teachers. Crys and is very emotional at school and home at times. He started pulling his hair out and scraping his arms up his teacher noticed him getting deppressed and told me to watch him so i did and he had another huge rage attack and threw computer monitor across room, i found a note he drew of suicide scenes so we took him to dr. They sent us to Community North Behavioral Center he stayed 7 days they said he was depressed/anxiety put him on prozac,abilify,hydroxizine and sent him home. He has the rages off and on with no known triggers but we took him off the meds he gained 24 pounds in one month and he was already overweight. Plus I dont trust the meds vs. Brain development. He is now 13 and i 7th grade still battling with school due to his problems and they just keep giving detentions and two hour friday schools for not getting work done and late to class between periods. He is no discipline problem anyplace but at home. He had scensory issues and much more that have almost every single one of the signs of aspergers. I figure if i can get him tested and get him help he will be more comfortable in his own skin. Our dr. Just keeps saying he isnt autistic... and wont help although just because he had pulled hair out and wont look her in the eye she said she is afraid of him.

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My wife and I just wanted to say thank you for your great website.  Our 6 year old son (his birthday is today) is not diagnosed with Aspergers but after reading your articles and advice, we see him.  We are nervous and scared but support each other as best as we can.  We found it helpful to read some of the comments as well as the articles.  We both get frustrated at times and we are just looking for ideas and suggestions for dealing with his meltdowns and his social issues.  

We recently talked to his pediatrician and we are starting at school with a building meeting.  My wife is a kindergarten teacher at his school and slowly allowed me to see what she has suspected for a long time...that something wasn't quite "normal" with his reactions, social cues, eating issues, and how he absorbs knowledge.  He is 3 days shy of being a year apart from his sister and we know all kids are different, we can see how unique and wonderful his personality is to this world.

We will have him tested by the school psychologist and go from there.  Because of school "laws", we won't be able to get the help of OT/PT at this time.  My wife can talk to them and get ideas.  Are we starting in the right place?  We don't need a diagnosis, we just need help.  It brings us anxiety when we try to do things as a family, not sure of his reaction.

Thank you again and we look forward to reading your newsletters...

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I homeschool my gifted 13 year old son who is not diagnosed ASD, but shares a few traits.  His Dad is an engineer (civil, environmental, mining, and software!  Very bright!) and engineers are naturally focused on the math/technology/computer world!  Thank goodness for them – or we would have no bridges, drinking water systems, or skyscrapers – yikes!

I write because I think my son may have dysgraphia and mild dyslexia (impacting mainly spelling/pronunciations at the current time).  I have been looking for an expert (neuropsychologist) specializing in giftedness/dysgraphia/dyslexia to evaluate him.  We are in KY, but can travel to nearby states if needed.  Any recommendations would be most appreciated.

PS I found your article on muscle tone quite interesting, since my son does stand with his feet turned in a funny way.  And he does NOT prefer to sit in a chair normally.  He will squat at times (yes, in a chair) or put one or both of his feet under him and sit on them in his chair.  AND no interest in learning to ride a bike . . . !

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I am new to your website and have just realized that you have an ebook on living with an aspergers partner. After almost 27 years of (difficult) marriage I am at my wits end and need, for my own health and well-being as well as the childrens', to get away from this deteriorating and damaging situation. My husband is becoming increasingly hostile, angry, intimidating and abusive and I am becoming afraid of him.( He is a police officer). I realized that AS has played a big part in our relationship after our eldest son was diagnosed with Aspergers 3 years ago at age 18 and I began to read up on it for him. I felt relieved to finally find an answer that made sense and put all the years of craziness into some kind of framework.However my husband is undiagnosed and in denial that there is anything wrong with him or the relationship, despite my many pleas for recognition of my feelings in all of this....everything is, of course, my fault ...as usual. My question is...when someone becomes threatening/abusive/down-putting and unwilling to participate in the marriage in any way to help bring about positive change, and pretty much wants to live their own life without interference from anyone (esp, his wife) does this not amount to an impossible situation? I would read your book if I thought it would help but I'm pretty much exhausted and have lost the will to keep on going. I have already tried so hard but he gives nothing. It all seems very final, and I don't want it to be this way. I never thought this would happen to me (ie separation/divorce).It also hurts to see how the children (ages 12, 17, 19, 21) are struggling with the conflict in our home.' Keeping the peace' for me means not speaking to my husband at all in order to avoid his biting responses.It is almost as if he will not permit me to speak and tries various ways to shut me down if I do. I feel like he hates me. In your opinion and experience, have you seen anyone turn round a situation like this? Counselling would have been the best solution but my husband refuses to talk to anyone at all. This is such a lonely, soul-crushing place to be and I feel like I am dying by degrees. I think I deserve better. As I said before, I keep searching for help but I think my situation has now crossed a line (of basic human respect and decency) and I do not think this marriage can be salvaged when one partner is unwilling to give anything.

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My query to you regards his use of social media, in particular facebook. We had always held off giving permission as he showed such social immaturity as well as previous defiance in accessing inappropriate sites and chat rooms. Also, as he has the tendency to smoother while exploring social connections we thought we were protecting him from what can be a very cruel virtual playground. He came to believe that being excluded from facebook by us was the whole cause of his low (non existent) social calendar.

In the few days since turning 15 and being given permission to facebook (we decided it was better to help him navigate through this experience  than to dictate it…) he has been subjected to some bullying and some harsh realities, not all of which, we believe, he fully comprehends. Although 12 friends accepted, no one is initialising contact, one group opened up a private chat they were all having discussing not accepting him as a friend, and one girl in particular is gaining attention by ridiculing his profile shots with other peers.

We try and kindly point out that it is not positive social attention but instead of backing off/ being annoyed or hurt, he pursues them to the point of being called “annoying’

How do we positively help navigate through this with him? Just let him get on with it as he does at school despite the consequences? Teach him to toughen up to the rude ones – a response that does not sit well with him, monitor it to the point of being controlling but stopping him before he alienates those who are willing to tolerate/accept him? How do you parent your child and watch how they treat him? The virtual world amplifies the boldness of socialisation that can often have restraint in normal face to face situations.

We are on summer break for 6 weeks and we don’t want him to start his senior year with less friends than he had when school ended. In 2 years time, he graduates from high school and is ready for university, although he will only just be turning 17. At some stage we have to let him make choices and accept those consequences.

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I have been subscribing to your email list since my grandson was
diagnosed with asperger's.  The more I learn about the disorder, the
more I have wondered if my fiance is also affected.  He truly fits the
pattern of the aloof, indifferent aspie. His friends are mostly older
than he is, and so am I.  He is obsessive, rituatlistic, and fixated
on time (not people) or how his fixation with time doesn't seem quite
so important to the rest of the world. He has many interests (mostly
outdoorsy man stuff: hunting, scuba, racing) , but they came to a dead
stop at adulthood, and he's not too interested in trying much new.  He
usually doesn't get sarcasm or inuendo, but likes to play jokes on
other people.  Sometimes they aren't very kind. He's much like my
grandson emotionally -  very loving and tender in his close
relationships, but difficulty in actually expressing any emotion other
than anger & frustration. Eye contact is minimal.   I am hoping your
suggestions can help me to improve our relationship when it comes to
emotional bonding & intimacy.  Being 53 years old, he is undiagnosed,
and even though I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor...it's not a
subject I even feel comfortable talking to him about.  I know he loves
me - key word there "know", but it is often very difficult to "feel"
loved.  We get along pretty well except for these social limitations,
and he truly has learned to compensate in public - never embarasses me
or draws attention to himself.  His two surviving adult kids won't
speak to him over issues that are decades old due to the breakup of
his relationship with their mom.

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How do I get my son challenged in school? My 8 year old son was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. Academically he has never had a challenge. The most frustrating part for me is trying to tell that teachers he knows this stuff, and he's not being challenged.. but I get the same old song and dance.. that they will evaluate him the first 3 months and tell me if things need to change. Obviously, they never do.. and my son sits in class already knowing most of the things being taught.. then when grades come along.. he only gets a 3.. when he was doing it long before they even taught it in class.. and miraculously.. he gets better as the year goes on.. no child left behind? What about the ones who are being held back because they possibly help the school look better?

Socially my son has a hard time with the kids. I received phone calls quite a bit in 2nd grade with my son getting in kids faces, talking and disrupting the class. I talked with my son, grounded him from things, spanked him.. and I'm just now finally have an answer to all this chaos, Aspergers! I'm almost relieved, because I couldn't explain why he would do certain things. Now.. how do I contact the school.. who do I contact to get this kid challenged and tested? He's entering 3rd grade, and is asking me to teach him algebra and square roots, he already knows the basics of both. Reading wise... I'd bet he's at high school level.. he's just a human sponge. Dinosaurs, Astronomy, mathematics, skyscrapers, rollercoasters..he can and will tell you all sorts of facts that most high schoolers don't know. lol

I'm trying to teach him how to ride a bike.. and this is where it gets hairy.. he thinks because everything comes easy, it should be a piece of cake.. but we all know riding a bike isn't quite that easy. Now, I can't get him to try at all because he says he can't do it. My fear is my son will have a melt down once school gets tougher.. when he finally doesn't know everything and he has to work for it. I know I just unleashed alot in this question, but it all boils down to me being frustrated. I'm trying to get what's best for my son at his school, but I'm just not really sure who to talk to and what to say or to ask to get my son what he needs. If anyone has a set protocol of how to handle this.. please tell me so I can be a good advocate for my childs education. I humbly accept that I'm clueless when it comes to the school system and what the next step is.
 
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In the crazy, hectic pace of life it is just such a help to be able to open up your website if I need to reference a specific topic. My husband and I work daily with our amazing 12 year old son (6th grade) on issues across the board. He is a happy and funny. I can honestly say his behaviors drive our household, we have run into many walls and know we will in the future as well, but we continue work extremely hard to overcome the struggles together. It does take us down at times and as you already know, and explain to others, break us at our knees. But our son continues on, he works hard in school to achieve. He has a great support system with teachers at his elementary school.

I would like to address two very frustrating areas for him, for us and for his teachers and it is the passage of time, time of day; more specifically the elapsing of time. Here is  an example, when he is on the computer playing and we say it is now time to get off, he gets upset because he thinks he has only been on fora short time, when in fact it has been an hour!!! I have tried alarms but that startles him and he prefers not to use one. I would really appreciate some insight into this and if there is something I am missing which would help with this...he will definitely need to manage time more independently in middle school.
The other one is memory. My husband says that it is a blessing that he does not remember from one day to the next as some days need to be forgotten. But it is a deficit as he often does not remember doing homework assignments or that he completed in-school assignments. This is relatively new and has really presented more this year than years before. So his teachers understand he must have everything written down if it is to be done/remembered. Unfortunately he cannot manage a phone yet because he has little control over having responsibility for one just yet. We just wish there was a device like a phone with all the assists that would benefit him but without all of the distractions which are not manageable at present.

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What to do if the aspie is always blaming the NT for everything? I'm the NT of course and my guy is the aspie. He thinks I'm selfish, unkind and ungrateful. Meanwhile, I'm bringing up our child by doing everything, being understanding of all his aspie traits in needing to retreat, live half his time in another country, never do anything nice for me etc, and it isn't enough. 

What can one do with that? He gets that he has aspergers but still thinks I'm the problem. When I say it is our communication and what we need to do is learn to interpret each other better, he says I lack introspection and I always prefer to blame my flaws on other things, rather than realise the problem lies with me. In fact, he is saying that he has had enough and wants out.

Part of me is relieved because it is such hard work. But we have a 7month old and it all seems such a shame. I just feel if he could consider the fact that aspergers may be what we need to understand, that maybe we'd stand a chance. In any case, even if we are just going to co-parent, we need to get along and at the moment, with him being so critical of me, I don't see how that is possible.

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I have an 8 year old son that is struggling with Behavioral problems at home and at school. He has anger issues, anxiety, sensory integration and impulsive behaviors and is pretty much obsessed with legos and has a high interest in guns, star wars and things to that nature.

I took my son to the doctors and they diagnosed him with Anxiety and Sensory Integration. I feel after reading about Aspergers that he may have it. The doctor does not feel he does. I have been told that there are different levels to Aspergers. I have spoken to my therapist and psychiatrist about what is going on with him and they said it sounds possible that he may have it. I am so stressed out of this and his father is in denial of everything and feels that he is fine.

My son does not have very many friends and has a hard time keeping them due to bad choices. He has been bullied since kindergarten and is now in third grade. He is now bullying and lying all the time. He does not take responsiblity for his actions and blames everyone else but himself. He is a great kid in other areas and is very bright and has a high vocabulary for his age. He is also very creative. He has struggled with certain sports and still does not no how to swim and has a fear of it. He just learned how to ride his bike this summer. He is also very argumentative and defiant and is a very picky eater. He does a lot of humming at times that can be somewhat annoying at home and at school. He has a hard time with direction and also can talk to the point of annoyance. He does not realize when it is time to stop at times. I could be talking to him and he will start talking and change the subject. Sometimes he will say things to me that don't make much sense and assume that I know what he is talking about, almost like I have to read his mind. There times when I have tapped him on the head because he is not listening or I may bump him on accident and he will completely lose it as if I had done it on purpose. He also had night terrors when he was about 3 years old. I had him in a day care when he was 18 months old. They took away his sippy cup and expected him to start drinking from a cup and he rebelled by biting and hitting. They kicked him out of the day care program. 

As you can see, I am very concerned. He is a loving boy and can be very caring but is also highly sensitive in other ways. I wanted to see if you think this sounds like Aspergers or not. I am interested in finding out what other people think. Oh yeah, he also has disgraphia. Please help or give me some advice. I need help as I am at my ends wit and am afraid he may get kicked out of school. I am not happy with his principle as she is very hard on him.

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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