Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders




I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your help with tips and other vital information.  It has really helped me and my daughter in so many ways!!



Mr. Hutten:  You have been an invaluable resource for me and my family--your newsletters about teens and those about AS have helped us navigate adolescence with our 14 year-old daughter with AS (and ADHD and anxiety).  Your newsletter today addressed restrictive eating disorders in teens.  May I suggest a future newsletter about binge eating disorder?  My daughter with AS has bouts of nocturnal eating--we (and her counselor) have been unable to figure out if it is AS "stimming" or a true eating disorder.  I just wondered if this binge-eating behavior is common in teens with AS.  Thanks again for sharing your knowledge in your wonderful newsletters.  Nancy


Dear Dr. Mark Hutten:

thank you for sharing this topic.  This is obviously a very complex and personal issue in our family.  Praise be to God, my sister just celebrated her 44th birthday.  she finally began her healing process when she was 31 yrs. old.  I thank God for our pastor spending hundreds of hours counseling and praying with her.  She has shared her story of pain and heartache with me and nobody else.  She wants to keep it private.  She is gifted in writing about God's Grace in the form of poetry.  She still struggles with her health, but emotionally and spiritually she has a close relationship with God and with me.  I would like to encourage anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder to contact me.  Perhaps my sister could help "rescue" someone who feels like life is not worth living.  There is hope!!  I believe in miracles when I can hug my sister!!  It has not been an easy road, but I believe God has a purpose, even in the difficult trials that come into our lives.



I am an 8th grade math teacher. One of my students has Asperger’s, OCD, emotional support and is my regular Pre Algebra classroom with 23 other students. This student has been aggressive verbally and once threw an object at me….he has stated to me that he will tolerate my class because he must. He is starting to communicate more appropriately but does want what he wants when he wants it. If he does not get my attention when he wants it he will walk out of class and return generally within 10 minutes (this is part of his IEP). I am trying to model and I am redirecting what I think would be the best way for him to communicate…. keeping a calm voice and helping him use “nice” words when talking to myself, the paraprofessional or his peers. The mother of this student is very hands off and really doesn’t want to hear from me. Today he was in tears because of his frustration with his peers in class.


I am so thankful to have found you. You are amazing. My son is 13 and you are able to put into words everything I have lived and am living currently. What a blessing to have found you. I cannot thank you enough. Lisa


My daughter 9 has Aspergers and Epilepsy.  Unfortunately her first six years in life were very traumatic with a abuse father, who Kate has not seen now for over twelve months but still has phone contact with him once a week.  All conversations end up horrible.  We keep the phone contact up as we are in breach of court orders where Kate is suppose to stay with her father alternate weekends.  He dose not really want her around but with the calls feels he can still control us and keeps him happy which keeps us out of court.

Kate is still sleeping in my bed.  We see a phycologist fortnightly.  we dropped out of school and are now doing distance ed from home which is better for Kate. We have hit the early stages of puberty and Kate's meltdowns have become more regular and violent.  She is nearly as tall as I am and pysically stronger.  I have a non violence house yet the other day I hit her back when been attacked for four hours non stop.  Kate has terrible anixety and will not leave my side always frightened that something will happen to me.  Unfortunately her earlier years with her father around have not helped with him threatning  to kill me and breaking into our house and letting go her pet birds.  He has not been anywhere near us now for twelve months thank goodness.

So Kate has realisitic fears however with her aspie these thoughts are always going over and over internally.  I am begining to become frightened of her in meltdown mode, which always follows with depression.  We are off to the Doctors later today to seek some form of medication to help for the short term until we can find better ways of dealing with this.

I admit I am tense and she can see it with me waiting for the next unexpected snap.
Really looking forward to you book and starting to change our situation.  I can no longer leave Kate with my only back up person as she has attacked her as well. When Kate is not angry or meltdown like other children she is beautiful tall little girl.


My grandson is 18 and a junior in a small private school. He is functioning quite well in this environment; however, he will graduate In a year as a special needs child.  He is extremely intelligent and is probably passive.  He loves to talk with adults but has no peer relationships. His home has been very dysfunctional so unfortunately he has never been able to have the kind of help he has needed. My husband and I will be having him move in with us for a time.

My question is that he has a job interview in a week and is so excited. Is it proper for us to go ahead and give them a heads up about his condition or allow him to go through the process without any intervention. He is really a great worker when he is shown what to do. I have hired him to help me at certain times and he works very hard. Do you have any suggestions?


Hello Mark,

Today Im crying because finally Im understanding that the problems my 13 years daughter has been having all these years hasnt been because my inability as a parent ..but because she probly has aspergers...Ive worked with children for over 20 years and have in my work met many boys with aspergers so it never occured to me that my own daughter had it .. I just pressumed i was an over indulgent mother,or maybe my parenting skills were not as they should be ive spent years trying to improve my self,even isolated my self to devote all my time to my daughter.. Ive tried so many different styles of parenting to try and motivate her to do things spent hours in shouting matches trying to get her to do the simpliest of things,homework etc . Called her stupid,lazy and of coarse made her feel terrible just because my idea of aspergers was boys running around be disruptive ...Ive since she was in kindergarden thought something wasnt right,her social skills were minimal,she never copied over kids,she never had friends ..but the teacher there reassured me that she would outgrow it... At school when it sit trying to make her understand maths for maybe 5 hours i just presumed that she couldent grasp it .. When still at 9 years old she couldnt cycle that she was being lazy.. When she is bluntly honest and it hurts to hear what comes out her mouth ive classed her as arrogant,unfeeling and cold ... The list goes on and on Reading now how girls are harder to diagnose because unlike the boys they can become mute and withdrawn..saddens me so much all these years ive struggled for someone to listen understand me that my daughter was struggling not because i was an over -protective mum but because there was something more..

So today Im crying because finally I can sink my shoulders and perhaps get her the help she needs and my parenting a special child can begin ...My daughter is a wonderful girl and being her parent is a fantastic journey ..
I would be very apprecitive if you could send me information in regards to the difference between boys and girls when diagnozing . Cause now that i have a better idea i need to research EVERYTHING makes so much sense now.


Question: What would you suggest in my situation where my Aspie husband has cast himself in the hero position of providing for myself & our Aspie son, hence meeting his "obligations" - his words, while allowing himself to have an emotional affair with the woman he travels with every week.  This keeps his business that he has worked hard to build from the destruction of divorce & also allows him to do as he pleases while on the road as his priority is meeting his obligations.  They stay in the same suite together & as he has told me (I'm not in love with her - I don't open up to you, her, or anyone else)!  Do I address this, or just keep working on rebuilding trust & respect between he & I and see what doors God opens?

Answer: "Hero position" sounds a bit sarcastic. At least he's doing something right by "providing." I don't think you've worked through your resentment just yet (on that note, did you listen to the audio files on your download page?). How do you know he's having an emotional affair? Is this an assumption? You asked, and I'm sure you want an honest assessment: I think the first course of action is to work on resentment. All else will fall short until you can forgive.



I am a grandmother with a degree in counseling.  I retired from teaching after 37 years in education.  My granddaughter has aspergers syndrome and was diagnosed early in elementary school.  She graduated from high school with a 3.0 last June (with IEPs all along the way).  She is now attending Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia (3 hours from home in Springboro, Ohio).  Marshall has a special Autism Center with graduate assistants assigned to each student in the program and five adults who operate the program.  My granddaughter was accepted into the program as one of only two girls.  She went to summer school there between her junior and senior year of high school and earned 3 college credits, lived in the dorm, and adjusted well to independent living.  She began her freshman year this last fall and completed the first semester with a 2.5.  She was doing well until the only person she considered a friend died in November.  It also destroyed her and her some of her success the first semester, but with a lot of team work, she made it through.

The second semester is another story, she has totally fallen apart.  It is hard to decide what happened because there are multiple causes (too many to list here including a messed up home life with her parents).  I don't think she is going to make it this semester unless something changes soon.  She is so filled with frustration, depression, and especially anger.   She is home for spring break this week and has already had two meltdowns with her mother in just 48 hours.

My question is, what specifically would a life coach do?  I have spent at least three evenings a week with cell phone conversations since January when the second semester started trying to listen and then encourage her.  I send funny cards once a week with her laundry money, and my husband and I have spent some weekends with her taking her out to eat and shopping. I just wondered what a life coach would do and how that would be implemented.

Life Coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client's personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make your life be what you want it to be.

The Life Coaching Format:
  • Complimentary Coaching Consultation
  • 60 to 90 minute "Design the Alliance" first session
  • One 30 to 90 minute phone call per week (session length depends on which coach and which program)
  • Unlimited Email support
  • Occasional brief check-in calls
Life Coaching is a designed alliance between coach and client where the coaching relationship continually gives all the power back to the client. The clients usually know the answers to every question or challenge they may have in their life, even if those answers appear to be obscured, concealed or hidden inside. 

Response from questioner:

I have three more audio portions to listen to, and I already see the road map.  Our family has a two-layer problem.  My husband and I created an over indulged only daughter that we adopted who is still dependent and angry at 42.  Now we have a 19 year old aspergers granddaughter who has been subjected to the same pattern.  We have two other granddaughters who need work as well.  We have a lot to work on.  I think it starts with us, the grandparents, first.  I will let you know how it goes in a few weeks.  We should be able to do much of this on our own, but it is going to take time since we created the two layers.  When we are ready for more coaching, I will email you to ask for help.  I am so glad I found your program on line.


Dear Mark,
I have problems almost daily. My Aspie 10 years old often punches his younger brother 7 years old for no apparent reason. He also yells at our other son who is two, whenever he is near him. When questioned he says it is bc he is annoying or whines too much, then he blames me for not teaching him not to whine. Everyday I am verbally assaulted by my son, he says he hates me, I am a horrible mother, he cannot wait until the day I die, calls me retarded, tells me to shut up. He cannot take discipline or correction in any way shape or form, when I correct him he always says I am arguing with him and I never stop talking. He also says I ask too many questions. He never takes responsibility for his actions and always blames others.  All that I wanted was to be a good mother, but I find no joy in my relationship with him at all.  When he was younger at least I could enjoy him, now that is gone. He never says anything positive or shows any affection toward anyone.  All that I get is hate and anger, unless I am doing everything he demands exactly at the moment he demands it, and even then there is rarely a thank you. I bend over backwards to try to please him and all I get is mistreated.


Hi Mark! I was very impressed with your videos and your website.
Obviously, it’s difficult to spend money on everything that impresses you.
My two teenage boys-18 and 17-suffer from ADHD. The older, 18 , with ADD, and
with a social disability that leaves him alone once he finishes school, and my 17 year old,
with ADHD impulsive , disorganized and socially alone almost to the same degree as his older
brother, are both somewhat defiant and  often angry. Neither is willing to go for counseling. Both
did, but it was very short-lived.
Any advice?


 I just came across your support group today and was touched by your article, "Going to Bat for your Aspergers Child".  In August of 2012 Nathan was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, and Anxiety Disorder.  With the aid of a Psychiatrist we went through numerous medications for Apergers and ADHD finally ending with Depakote. He has also been receiving therapy as well as Neurofeedback therapy. His "symptoms' of Aspergers go along the norm with the addition of extreme auditory sensitivity, for which he received Astronaut Training. He has come home throughout the school year upset by bullying at school (that we know about: being punched in the face 2 times, being pushed and kicked on the playground numerous times, being 'dared' to drink toilet water, which he did, and being bitten) His Anxiety disorder began to spiral out of control upon the return to school in Jan from christmas break.  Notes from his teacher started pouring in about behaviours and school work. At home Nathan was constantly complaining about bullying and 'melting down' every afternoon.  In mid-February I called his psychiatrist for an emergency appt to discuss his medications, where we initiated the process for Adderall. 

ON February 26, 2013 Nathans teacher sent a note home " constantly putting fingers in mouth today. Put them so far back this morning he gagged on them... spoke with (principal) about his behaviour today"

ON March 1, 2013, "DR Suess DAY" Nathan decided to dress as Dr Suess rather than the Cat in the Hat. This decision led to being called names and teasing by his peers. I was called by the school counselor and informed that he had choked himself with his tie during class until he was red in the face. The school counselor informed me that the 'incident' had happened before lunch and recess, which Nathan DID attend before I was notified.   
I called his therapist who recommended I take him to the local mental health community services board (RASCB) for evaluation, picked Nathan up from school and took him to RASCB.  There it was recommended we seek hospitalization and were referred to Dominion Hospital in FallsChurch, VA. He was admitted that night.  The following Monday he attempted to choke himself with a chair, twice. He had a difficult time of it until we discussed our plans of removing him from his school setting a week into the hospitalization, he then participated in treatment and was released on March 13, 2013.  His releasing diagnosis paperwork states: Axis I Mood DONOS, ADHD overactive/inattentive, Aspergers DO.  Axis III good healthy, Axis IV: inappropriate classroom placement bullied by peers, Axis V: 40.  His medications upon release are Depakote ER 250mg, Depakote delayed release 125mg, Adderall XR 10mg, and Risperdal 0.5mg. 

This road has been a long, difficult one.  Here is a brief synopsis of our Hampton Oaks Elementary School (Stafford, VA) experience:

On Sept, 11, 2012 Student Support Team Meeting 
Attendees: myself, Asst. Principal, Educational Diagnostician, School Psychologist, Social Worker, Speech Therapist, 3rd Teacher, and Resource Teacher. 
Summary of meeting: I shared Nathans difficulties and concerns w school as well as his diagnosis and the symptoms there of.  His teacher had not observed any of these at this time.  
Summary of Team Roles: consult w/ DR, observations of Nathan in different settings. Nathan will eat in the Asst Principals office each day at lunch. 

On Nov. 5, 2012 SSTM
Attendees: myself, Asst. Principal, School Psychologist, 3rd grade Teacher, school social worker, reading specialist, Speech/Lang. Path. 
Summary of meeting: I shared Nathans melt downs after school,  difficulty w homework and my concerns w bullying. 
 "TEAM" observations held for 30 minutes on Halloween: "The speech therapist, school psychologist, and social worker reviews his classroom performance but his behavior was unusual as he had been absent for a few days recently, school had been canceled for the past 2 days due to weather, and it was also Halloween dressup day.  He was noted to get out of his seat 5 times and needed 10 redirections within 30 minutes, he was talking to peers, making faces and hitting his head with a book to make other students laugh.  The whole class was on the carpet listening to the teacher and at the end of the discussion he jumped up and ran to his sear and yelled,'I'm the first one to my seat!' He need a reminder to get the worksheet that was being handed out. His desk was also noted to be disorganized.  The TEAM shared that he has friends in the classroom he interacts appropriately with peers, it appears that he can regulate his behaviours and can 'read' the social cues and feelings of others." 
Summary of Team Roles: Teacher- organizational tool for desk, reflection journal to share about his day.  Social Worker- social stories/ friendship choice.  School- Drs reports.  

On Jan. 15, 2013 SSTM
Attendees: myself, Asst Principal, school social worker, 3rd grade teacher, school psychologist.
Summary of meeting: I shared Nathans therapies, medications.
Asst Principal reported that "she noticed that he uses many excuses throughout his day to avoid nonpreferred activites... He eats lunch with a group of 2 other boys and he plays and interacts appropriately with the others in the lunch group."  
Teacher reported that his work has declined rapidly and that he is no longer completing assignments and that he has had problems with peers.
Summary of Team Roles: School- use a timer, check his work, "if/then" routine w work completion, drawing tablet.  

The organizational tools, reflections journal, use of timer were not done at all.  The 'if/then' routine is questionable but I do know that he "drew in his workbooks".  

As a mother, I check my childs agenda daily (when he hasn't hidden due to referrals or notes from his teacher)  He has had repeated notes home due to behaviours such as inability to sit still, crying in class, flapping and waving of his arms, touching other students desk, taking things from other students and teacher, lying, extreme inability to focus, trouble with peers, and use of inappropriate language.  Referrals started on 2/22, 2/26 and 2/27.  His suicide attack occurred on March 1, 2013, at school.  There was a note in his agenda from his teacher informing me that she had decided to take all of Nate's books and folders out of his desk and keep them at her desk and give them to him when he needs each one.  There was NO mention of him choking himself.  

Our next meeting with the school is on March 26, 2013 at 11 am.

Any advice you might be able to give would be wonderful. He cannot remain in the public mainstream classroom and it has been recommended that we keep him home for therapy and recovery until proper school placement can be found.  The Stafford Academy (a first year school for Spectrum kiddos) would be wonderful if we could have him placed by the school as we simply cannot afford the tuition.  Please let me know if you need more detailed information. I have already started Tony Attwoods' Behavioural Therapies at home and he is continuing to receive therapy.


I wonder about my 10 yr old son, however - he can seem so defiant and prone to arguing - he really does find the arguing stimulating , I think, and does not see it as disrespectful at all - but then, unlike some of the kids you mention, if he says something hurtful ,  he is SO sorry and full of regret after he calms down, which turns to despair and anger directed at himself - "why do I do this all the time? why am I so stupid? God made a mistake with me- I am broken" which is where the suicidal talk starts in . No action yet to hurt himself, but we all worry when he talks this way.

So how do I handle the arguing and defiance (and SIGNIFICANTdisrespect for any authority figures ) when I know how much he wants to be liked and how much he wants to be successful- is it maybe an impulsivity issue rather than a defiance issue? that he just can't think before he speaks? is there another way to teach respect for authority that an asperger brain might grasp better? So hard to give consequences when I know he is already so hard on himself for every slip-up.

We know that he is a sweet kid, except for the times he isn't, and all the adults in his life are struggling with how to help him be more successful , at school especially (his disrespect and arguing is much worse at school than at home- the social environment really ups his anxiety and makes his reactions SO much bigger ) -

thanks for any help - I am continuing to read and work with your information, and have already looked at my own expectations and revised them , based on your great reminder that their emotional/develomental age is usually lower than their actual age- intellectually he is so smart, but developmentally Ben is more like an 7 or 8 yr old than a 10 yr old, and I need to remember that when I expect things of him!


I have recently been referred to the My Aspergers Child website.  A great resource.  My son is almost 15 and diagnosed a year ago.  His school had encouraged us.  There was hesitation on my husband’s part - as he believes our son is fine and just lacks maturity.  Any way, to be honest my son is a good kid and I believe if he had a friend no one would suggest Aspergers.  He is like Sheldon on the Big Bang - just needs some friends to accept who he is. I find it difficult that my son is diagnosed with Aspergers that is considered a disability but under any definition in order to get assistance he does not qualify as having a disability.

I do not have strategies in place.  As I said he is a good kid, I don’t have to tell him more than twice to do something.  I think he is a normal teenager except  he lacks socially and only likes certain foods and doesn’t like loud noises (school fire drills)  but other than that I treat him like I would treat my daughter (12) – but as I read the My Aspergers Child website it states he shouldn’t be treated like his other sibling.  I have spoken with other parents who have kids with Aspergers and find I have it so easy.   He had a hard time in grade school (being bullied) but now in high school an IEP is in place he is doing well,  even though no close friends, and is a B student (his level of courses will enable him to attend college - not university).  He has no problem going to school events (dances) by himself. He does not like learning social skills - he did go to a speech pathologist and it did help him with communication but we stopped because it stressed him out.

In any event, I saw your e-books Aspergers Handbook  and my Aspergers Teen and am wondering what would be the better resource.   A little background - he has chores (laundry - except folding, vacuuming, mowing lawn), gets up and goes to bed without being told, good hygiene, room clean, follows rules, hugs us and close family and friends, sometimes rocks when watching TV - only fidgeting habit and when he was younger no unusual tantrums, will speak on the phone but will not call others and has no interest in social media (Facebook), he spends most of his time watching TV, playing video games and listening to music, however in warmer months will go outside and shoot pucks, ride his bike, etc, when he has an interest he will tend to talk about it over and over but have found he does realize when we are not interested – picks up on body language and we have no disciplinary problems with him - as I stated earlier - a good kid.  So I guess that is why we never thought anything was wrong with him.


 I've contacted you to out the years and I am at the end of my rope. The district took it upon themselves to mandate an IEP that I rejected. They delivered it to his new school that I'm having to pay for now as they have done so many violations this year to my child that it's unbelievable I've done everything in my power to find an advocate defined an attorney to find support that my efforts keep coming back as nothing Christopher was hospitalized his bed and beat three times the principle of para teachers have been removed from the school if backdated they live even the superintendent has his attorney answer the phone for him when I call they enrolled my other son in on the same day he had I Christopher had a different IEP and wrote up my five year old born on October 29, 2007 every day distressed me out even more I'm exhausted frazzled stressed and I really don't know what else to do as I have done everything I can I have ADHD and dyslexia myself so that prohibits me from writing correctly and providing documents needed at the time I filed with OCR Department of Justice the advocacy families helping families capital city area you name it however somehow the parish the district the superintendent has blocked me or confused me in many many many ways. I feel like I've reached that and of the fight because of my health my family my job and my life I can't believe that people are put impositions to take care children and what day do is on believable I'm conceivable that happens thank you for all the letters the time you spent helping people and it's much Appreciated it seems everybody can write a letter and email but that's about it I've been unable to find anyone to do any action for me our help me in anyway.


Hi Mark,
I found your radio show on youtube.
My 21 year old son was recently diagnosed with asperber's. Prior to that he was treated for ADHD and mild OCD. He's been a happy kid and went to a Christian school most of his life. Since graduating high school he's taken a turn for the worse. He was finishing up an Associate of Science at Portland Community College (Oregon) and is pursuing an engineering degree.
The problem is he has absolutely no motivation. He never really has, but it's gotten more aparent recently. He stopped going to school about three months ago. Very distressing to say the least. Since that time he has been seeing a wonderful Christian psychologist who has been working with him on social skills and relationships. He wouldn't get out of bed, unless I physically pulled him up. He's also seeing a psychiatrist who has him on prozac and wellbutrin. I think this is helping with his depression. His psychiatrist said he's stuck.
As a result of him not cooperating, I took away the one thing he loved, his lap top. He is fixated on it. He's very intelligent (147 IQ) and very creative. He uses his laptop for fantasy role playing. I'm disturbed that he is highly involved with Everfree Radio - "Bronies" - Boys who like My Little Pony (MLP.)  In addition to MLP he likes other video games that involve fantasy and role playing. He's found acceptance with his online "friends" - which have their own struggles (multiple-personality disorder, gay, transgender, etc.)  
My husband, his dad, has been diligently taking him to a college group at our church. He has not wanted to go. Yesterday he didn't want to go, but once he got there he called and said he wanted to go with the kids to Buffalo Wild Wings (chicken wings place.) That was a breakthrough.
We've been considering sending him to off to school so he'd have to be more independent. His therapist is for it. I'm concerned that he won't get out of bed, take his medication, and may find the wrong friends.
He's recently completed driver's education again. I was concerned that his inability to take in things around him might make him a hazardous driver, but so far he's done pretty well.


I have adamantly tried the 3-Day grounding on both my children, the 15 year old teenager and the 9 year old son. My son William has repeated breaking the house rules with out a second thought to the consequences and the 3 days have been continually repeated since March 14, 2013. I know you said it would get worse before it got easier. However after being kicked today which brought me to knees, this child just does not get it. There is not a care in the world that everything has been taken away, he still comes out asking for privileges as if he has forgotten what is posted on the wall. I gave him 5 chores which he gladly completes but when he has to go back in his room because of his consequences he gets mad, and either calls me stupid, idiot, says they are stupid rules or breaks something. He is always coming out of his room and trying to negotiate and my reply is "Your grounded, go to your room" and he will either go but normally he has to be followed back in his room. I am exhausted, tired and in pain from being kicked I want to know what changes you could recommend for a child with ADHD and Aspergers? The 3-Day grounding has been working remarkably on the 15 year old who now gets herself up for school, dressed and to school on time, does her chores and shows much more respect but her brother, whole different ball game.


Question: I have read your book. It's seems to be pretty good and hopefully I can save myself from being frustrated all the time by my husband. I do have a question. I'm not fully understanding how to practice the "positive reframing" technique. Can you clarify?

Response: With reframing, you're simply putting a positive spin on things. For example, your husband is spending a lot of time on the computer this evening when the two of you had originally decided to watch a movie together. So, you need to go get him. But you don’t bust into the computer room and say, “I thought we were going to watch a movie. Are you going to be spending all night on the computer” (negative spin). Instead, say, “I see you are working diligently on the computer. But it’s time to quit so we can get started with the movie. I’ll start the movie in 5 minutes so you can wrap up.”

Follow-up response from questioner: Thank you responding so quickly. You have no idea of how mentally drained I am. I have read many books, watched many online segments, prayed etc. I wrote my husband an email this morning after reading your book. In hopes for him to "finally see" he needs to change it was a complete fail. I copied & pasted a few of your tips and added my own words of sarcasm and "I told you so's" and like always he filtered my words and missed my message. He replied back defensively and totally pissed off via text (I attached the picture in this email) I will try to get him to listen to the audio (which was awesome, thx!) He has already told me he don't want to listen to it he said "he's good" (Picture attached too). I pray he changes his mind. 


My 10 year old has many signs of aspergers but a clear diagnosis wasn’t possible because he developed an interest in acting 3 years ago. This acting desire rules him out as an asperger child. They said asperger children don’t like to be in spotlight. I believe he likes acting because he has extreme difficulty making friends. He cant read facial expressions,gets upset because he thinks he is being teased affecting his classroom attitude. He is very intelligent,long memory,uses an adult vocabulary for several years. Yet simple instructions can be confusing as he takes everything literally.He also loves music reading and computer.He wants to dress weird a lot,and hates water. The last 2 years many meltdowns at school , almost predictible by  how much trouble he has getting ready for school. I phone school those mornings.Has thrown food and books and flipped desk over.He has Panhypopituitarism and there is a high rate of asperger with that,because it is in the brain.Also his eyes go to the side and up when conversing with him.His optomitrist said that is a sure sign of asperger.  Yet I cant get assistance for him because they wont verify it. I am a single disabled parent who needs to get my son diagnosed with whatever it is. It is amazing how him falling back on acting may be keeping him from treatment. 



Hello Mark,

I have come a cross your website about  6 months ago now and bought various  e-books. I was excited when I read your profile to find out you are a Christian. I thought that this was the case when you talked about strategies of families staying together. From that I decided to join you on line using the e mail facility. The articles are a great resource. Blessings.

Let me introduce myself.
Originally I am from England.

I started teaching in mainstream high school.

From there I taught in a special school.

I was a Special Adviser Teacher with complex difficulties. Severe Learning Difficulties and also ASD.

My wife and I moved to New Zealand. Here I started work as a Special Education Adviser. I work with the top 1% of children and adolescents with learning difficulties. This can often encompass those with ASD including AS who may have difficulty accessing the school curriculum. I am working with school teachers, teacher aides, SENCO (special educational needs coordinators, principals and parents (specialist of their child) to see how they can be included.

My role is to that every child and young person will have access to learning opportunities that maximise their learning, promote social inclusion and facilitate smooth transition through to life-long learning. However I see my role about trying to remove the stigma that goes with autism and Asperger syndrome . Addressing reasons like “we do not  have the resources”, “our classes are open plan”, “we don’t have the staff”, “we had a teacher that could have worked with your child but they are not here now” “the school down the road will probably be able to meet your child’s need, and on and on and on. I thought I was escaping this thinking when I came to New Zealand but human nature is the same.

I working with people at church who are on the spectrum and now our home in the UK will potentially be used to support people with Aspergers / mental health.

Renting our UK house for a residential to support people with mental health and Aspergers

My wife and I are in a real predicament:

We have a house in the UK which we have been trying to sell but in the mean time we have been renting out our house. Recently we had a company that showed interest in renting our house. They are a housing association for young adults with mental health and Aspergers. Our home will be staffed 24 hours a days 7 days a week.

This has not gone down well with the neighbours. Initially they said that they will be a home for people who are paedophiles and drug addicts. My immediate neighbours think that they are unsafe and me being a Christian and a teacher “And you a teacher and a parent-how could, you do this!?”

At the moment they are speaking emotionally. I cant present an alternative view. Also they are spreading rumours that are not true and are not evidence based. I am excited by the prospect of the supported house organisation renting our house. I believe it is good for the clients, but can also be an asset to the community.

Our anxieties are running high even though we are half way around the world. Some of the neighbours have become very hostile; and are seeking legal action.

The director of the company is planning to arrange a meeting with some of the neighbours but with the clients have such a low self esteem and sensitive to not being accepted is going to make it difficult for them to develop greater independence.

I was concerned at the very beginning but we soon felt that it was going to be good. The more I read about the company I was impressed at what they do. I know that Aspergers and schizophrenia need a highly structured environment, which they can provide at  our home. We are within walking distance of the towns amenities e.g. shops, library, park, plus allsorts of events hosted in the this small town.

One of the accusations is that we are in it for the money, but the rent is no higher that for a family renting it as family home. The  money we get is for the rent and maintenance and for any big jobs we will have to dip into our savings.

The website of the home is:

I have got your article on :
Aspergers Children & Mental Health Issues

Are there research papers to show the value of support in the community that is staffed 24/7  re mental health and Aspergers?

Are there any research papers /other evidence to show that the community is safe?

What can I say to my neighbours when I have the chance to put the case for supported housing in the community? I imagine the most vehemently opposed may agree it is what they need but not in my neighbourhood.


RE: Are there research papers to show the value of support in the community that is staffed 24/7  re mental health and Aspergers? Are there any research papers /other evidence to show that the community is safe?

Probably. I’ll check around for you.

RE: What can I say to my neighbours when I have the chance to put the case for supported housing in the community? 

The claim that groups homes, unlike other homes, cause surrounding property values to decline is false. Numerous studies investigating the impact of group homes on housing markets show that group homes have no significant effect on nearby housing prices. In fact, some studies have reported that property values of surrounding homes increase.

There is no evidence to support the claim that group homes harm the "character" of neighborhoods. Surveys show that group homes are maintained as well, if not better, than other neighborhood homes, and are unlikely to cause an increase in traffic or congestion.

Residents of group homes are no more likely than other people to be dangerous. Studies comparing rates of arrest of residents of group homes with the general population show that it is probably safer to live next door to a group home than a more typical family residence. Like the rest of us, persons with mental retardation spend their days working, and in their free time they, like us, go shopping, are active in church or civic groups, watch TV, eat out, go for walks, and visit friends.



 "I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when I was 9, basically by info did not get passed on to high school. So, Alcohol was the best cover, rather that be associated with the word Autism , when one ever referred to me as strange, or the classic " whats wrong with that guy". Well, friends would say, he drinks to much. What a cover . During my 20's any concern for symptons or issues were forgot . It wasn't til I was 28 years of age, when I decided to get sober. It wasn't til 93 til I kicked the illegal stuff and stopped drinking that the old issues never really left, they were simply sedated . My Social life was simply a Social Navigational experience set in selective people contact, procrastinating who is going to be a problem and who I can feel safe in navigating a conversation with. It was a Psychiatrist who pulled my ancient school records and found the diagnosis in and confirmed that its been with me side by side in some sublime denial of sorts. After 96 I became a Catholic and work on my spiritual relationship with Christ and started to get involved in Community service. I joined (1999) the "Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War" in the Dept. of Calif. and Pacific. Educating the public in 19th Century history by deploying exhibit displays at Patriotic function and days. Today, I am the elected Commander of that department overseeing 15 chapters in California, Nevada and Hawaii for 2013. Still Asperger's has taken a lot, but it did not hinder of me achieving goals. I've become saturated with kind of the isolation living, but only to the point of everyday living, I do have a work life and friends whom I interact through community service. And as I approach the age of 50, there a few friend I grew up since early grade school. And thus life marches on. The emotions aspect is just a roller coaster I have to endure, especially the ones that are nearly impossible to express. Still I do not at all blame God in anyway, there are people with much worse stories than mine. And mine is not that bad. It is what I was destine to live with, DEUS VAULT ! so be it. How can you live in depression over it, when you have people suffering twice to 20 fold from diseases, mutilation, amputations , or have been cut off from simple joys of life , like running , walking, talking, seeing, hearing. Or having a full span of life cut short for any reason. Blame God, I don't think so, we live on a planet and existence that is shaped by the weight of circumstance and free will. I thank the Lord for the gift of life, and Mom and Dad to. "


My husband and I have been together for 7 years. We are a remarried couple with kids on both sides. We both have grown kids and I have 2 still at home. Your video describing the dating/attraction part was right on. Unfortunately, your videos describing the grief cycle and the resentment are also right no. My husband was unofficially diagnosed 6 months ago by the third marriage counselor we attempted to see. I was shocked, then relieved, then understanding, and then angry again. We had moved away from his hometown a few months before the diagnosis, so he took the opportunity to flee back there while I was at work last month. I don't blame him, our home was not a haven nor a happy place to be. My family doesn't want him back now. His family has never liked me as he has shared how I'm always angry at him for no reason. He has barely spoken to my 15-year-old since the day we got married, so she doesn't want him back in the house. I'm sick to death of taking care of him and us. I'm tired of trying to have romantic feelings for somebody I've grown to see as a selfish, cold, handicapped adult child. 

On the other hand, I miss his quiet, gentle self. I miss how nice it can be to be on a date with him. I also don't want another divorce and neither does he. We have not hired attorneys, filed anything, or hurt each other's finances. We are in daily contact as needed and the venom on both sides has diminished. We are both active, committed Christians involved in a local church. Although, he is better connected back in his town, which is 4 hours away. I have no plans to return to his town as we moved here (TX) because he wanted me to finish college and begin a "real" career, which I did. I love it here and so do my kids. 

We do have access to a skilled, Christian therapist. He is skilled in working with LD people as well as marriages on the brink of divorce. His method is based on "homework" for each spouse combined with ind and joint sessions and accountability. 


Dear Mark,
Your newsletters are a source of great information and hope..
I just wish I had known when my son was a kid that he had AS, it
would have helped so much..
As it is now, he has all the secondary emotional issues, low self-esteem,
and refuses to accept that he has AS!! It is also difficult to insist that he deal
with this right now, since he underwent some stresses ( one of them was that
he tried LSD to try and feel better about the world, he's not tried any drugs after
that). The LSD, given his sensory sensitivity, knocked the wind out of him and
disoriented him completely. After that, over a period of some months, he developed
mild symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, for which he is now on Lithium, olanzapine and
fluoxetine. He is much better, but there is a lot of amotivation, confused spirituality
issues and high anxiety.
In your experience, does this drug combination suit the Asperger individual? Are AS
prone to Bipolar Disorder? Given that he is just getting out of the depressive phase of
BPD, when do you think I should get him to look at the AS diagnosis and deal with it? 


Dear Sir:

My daughter is a 17 yr old senior with great scholarship offers.  We are in trouble.

She has always been extremely independent and a bit defiant, along with being a great athlete and super bright child.  She chose to go away to school (the IL Math and Science Academy) her sophomore year. It was not a good fit.  She was challenged for the first time and did well academically; but at the cost of her emotional health.  The pressure was unending and there was no balance.  I made her stay the entire year and she has been engaging in risky behavior and blaming me ever since…

She has gone from the child with the brightest future to choosing a boyfriend that brings a lot of trouble.  He was a Child and Family Services ward who was kicked out of his placement, lives with pot dealers and has low life criminals for friends.  She has smoked pot.

Currently, she sees a counselor who is trying ti simultaneously deescalate the struggle between us and work with her.  I allowed the boyfriend into the home.  She wants him here all the time - I believe for her own comfort and to give him a safer place.  She seems to be more defiant when he is here.  Last night, we were arguing and she left with him and did not return.  I was trying to hold her accountable for the pot I discovered in her backpack.

I do not know how to proceed.  I am worried about her making it through the summer and off to college.  We tr to tell her that it is a harder road on her own.  We are not wanting to support her phone, car and college if she is goIng to smoke and make bad choices.  She still has her goals which include med school but is becoming more removed.

Her Dad lives in NC and has the power of the purse.  We divorced when she was in 2nd grade.  He sees the girls about once a year and both of them resent me for trying to involve him in current struggles because he has "never been here."  She is slowly but surely pulling away from everyone who questions her or does not agree with her choices.


My oldest daughter used to interact more with her younger siblings but she was very controlling.  When the younger two children grew up enough to be assertive and not allow her to control them any more...she began to withdraw.  I should also say that we are a homeschooling that makes our family relationships much more intense.  That intensity is hard for my oldest son and my daughter.  The pediatrican told us years ago the oldest son (age 23) might have some asperger's tendencies and he is a lot like my oldest daughter.

My oldest daughter went to public high school for her first two years and the first year went really well.  It seemed like she had a small group of friends, a few were also friends from our little church.  However she never wanted to invite anyone over.  Then the second year she started missing more and more assignments and it was clear we needed to bring her home again. Her teachers loved her because she was nice and always prompt to class and honest, but they were all very worried about her.  Despite all of these struggles, she received the RAM Pride award out of all of the sophomore girls.  But getting up early in the morning and never getting enough sleep was taking its toll on her.  Her basic grooming habits were terrible and she would come home and sleep each afternoon and not wake up until I went to bed, so I couldn't keep track of what schoolwork she needed to do and it just wasn't getting done.  So was totally in agreement that we homeschool her.  She looked forward to not having to get up so early in the morning and not having to drag her stuff all over the school.

We tried to encourage her to keep up with her friends from school, but she consistently wouldn't check her e-mail or facebook or other things.  I enrolled her in a home school teenage group and a drama group.  They don't really meet often enough, but she did make some new friends.  But again, she would not initiate any socializing.  There is even one homeschool girl whom she likes to talk with who lives around the corner from us, but she is as shy and withdrawn as my daughter is and neither of them will chose to get together.  

A girl across the street from us came over with her family at our New Year's party and then the two girls talked a lot, but again my daughter will not initiate and the other girl doesn't initiate either.  All of her friends at the high school are graduating this year, but we have had to finish her junior year so she will only be a senior next year.  She had a small group at church, but they changed the format, so now she is in a different small group (the church is huge) even though she likes the small group...they are all new continuity is missing.   We did continue to take her to all of the drama events at the public high school this past year and a half so that she could see her friends, and she says hello to her friends, but doesn't talk to them for very long.  She is pretty immature for her age, so doesn't really enjoy the same things that girls her age enjoy.

So, I guess avoidance is an issue, but not aggressive avoidance.  We had a long talk and she said she never knows what to say when she was around her friends.  She does wish she had more time to be with friends, but she doesn't want to invite anyone over.

She is not one to find a favorite topic and discuss it over and over again.  There is a lack of reciprocity in conversations with siblings in the family though.  She has a hard time letting anyone else have the last word and has a real need to constantly correct other's language.  Most of the time now though, so doesn't acknowledge other's presence and you always have to call her name many times before there is any kind of response.  It frustrates her siblings a lot, and they don't try as often to initiate conversations as it is too much work.

Sensory issues are something I may need to think more about.  I know that my older son has sensory issues and I am just now learning about what this is.  I have a friend who knows a lot about that, so I will try to discuss this with her as she knows my kids.  We do have a very large house and each child has their own room, so that helps to cut down on the intensity of relationships, but often we find now (we have been here 5 years in this big house) that each person retreats into their own room too much. (Except for my youngest daughter, who is a social butterfly and often found in her 14 year old brother's room.)  She used to be closer to my older daughter, but my older daughter has withdrawn even from her.

So, I guess she would be classified as social indifference that is a problem for her.  Of course the fact that we home school can be a problem in socializing with other teenagers...and my 22 year old son had some difficulties when he was a younger teen, only because we held to standards that others didn't have..but he has learned now to be comfortable with lots of folks who hold all kinds of fact he actively seeks out friends who are different from him.  My youngest daughter is very outgoing and gregarious and has a great maturity in relationships...also has done marvelously in adapting to her sister's moods...maybe too much so.  My younger son, age 14, has also done well now in working with his older sister's moods.   He does fine in social situations, but he has had some learning to do.  He is very interested in learning how to relate though and is learning how to "not be so annoying" and how to learn when to talk and when not to talk...he has some ADHD too, but he is making great strides in his relationships in the family.   

At one time I thought my older daughter might have RAD as she had really rage outbursts, but now these outbursts are not as often because she chooses to withdraw so much.  She knows she overreacts to things and I know she has withdrawn because she is overwhelmed by her own reactions to people.

I am a bit overwhelmed as to where to begin...I guess he may have some form of asperger's and not just ADD.  She has read a lot about ADD and we tried ADD meds under supervision of the pediatrician, but they didn't help and she was losing too much weight so we quit.  Behavior mod doesn't work too well with her either as she doesn't have much motivation.   In fact other than her fantasies, I'm not sure what she really likes.  She likes the drama some, but not that much.  She wanted to do gymnastics and we let her do that, but she wasn't very good at it and we all decided she should quit that.  She was somewhat interested in the Physics course we did together last year, but she can't keep her mind on the math.  She is great at foreign language, but she doesn't like it any more.  She used to love learning spanish.  She loves to listen to music, but gets too frustrated when trying to learn how to play an instrument. I tried to teach her piano, but it was too frustrating.   She was really in to Harry Potter and was constantly living in a Harry Potter world for a while, but she finally decided that she shouldn't be reading all of this fantasy any more.  We had gone to a counselor who suggested that and at first she objected, but a few months later, she decided that she should not read any more fantasy. 


Hi Mark,

I was delighted when I found your information on the Internet!  I've been working with adults who have aspergers, and their partners for about 5 years.  As far as I know, I am the only therapist in the Minneapolis area who deals specifically with this type of clientele. 

My husband was diagnosed with aspergers 7 years ago.  At that time we'd been married for 29 years. Our marriage was very rocky and we had been in and out therapy for 15 years.  When I discovered aspergers, my life and our marriage changed dramatically. I'm sure you've heard the same story many times.  My husband eventually embraced the diagnosis and now we are doing quite well.

I've watched several of your YouTube videos and listened to your radio web cast. I'm very impressed with the work you do. I would like to expand my practice to do some of the same things you're doing.  My schedule is very full and I can no longer take new clients.  There is such a need for professionals to work with adults on the spectrum as well as their partners. As you know, there are many individuals and couples out there struggling and don't know why. 

I'm writing to see if there is a possibility we could talk at some point. I'd be very interested in hearing how you came to be an aspergers expert.  I purchased your ebook, "Living with an Asperger Partner."  I found it very helpful and informative.  I shared some of it with my asperger couples group this week. I would love to hear more about your workshops.  I have been thinking for a very long time about doing a workshop for therapists on how to identify aspergers in couples counseling. 


Hello Mr, Hutten,

In my desperate attempt to get information to guide me and my daughter through her teens I found your web site. I know you probably get a million emails every day so I will try to make this brief.

My daughter will be 15 on April 9th. Her maturity level is closer to 9. I have raised two "normal" children with little trouble. Tara is another story. She keeps to herself most of the time only going places when we "drag her kicking and screaming". I struggle with getting her to do everyday things, hygiene (she messed her pants till 5th grade), eating with the family, doing school work.

She cares very little about school even though she has a brilliant mind. She is artistic, writes poetry and loves music but her passion is video games, especially the dungeons and dragons type. That's all she wants to do. I feel I should take them away from her but this is literally her only connection with the outside world since she is homeschooled. I want to help her but I don't want to make her even more isolated. I always try to keep in mind that I am, in affect, dealing with a 9 yr old.

How do I motivate her to care about her grades and want to do her studies? How do I get her to want to leave her room for more than a half hour at a time? Thank you for any guidance you can give me.


My daughter turned 17 at the end of February.  Within one week, she ran away and stopped attending the online schooling program.  She called the police on me trying to get me to give her her drivers license and social security card.  I told her and them she was welcome to return and enjoy the benefits of being at home (provided for, car to drive, phone, clothing, etc.) but if she chose to leave, then she would be doing it without my support or assistance.  Weeks went by without her contacting us.  Today she contacted me asking if she could buy her car from me by making monthly installments.  (I have already sold her car.)  I told her if she returned home, enrolled and completed school, lived by our rules, that I would help her get a car.  She said she wasn't returning home and asked for her ID and social security card.  Once again I said, I love you but I will not support your rebellion and that she would need to make it without my assistance.


Thank you Mark for taking the time to e-mail me with this information. I want you to know that  I have read through parts of your e-Book and I am going to bed  happy tonight after a week of stress & concern about my son. I feel so relieved & so moved with the "what you think about expands" in the change your perspective section. I know that all my son needs will be placed in his path & that this will be such a beautiful journey for us both. You have brought this to my attention, information I always believed deep down but have lost my perspective.... and really needed to hear right now. You have renewed my spirit & I want to tell you a million thanks Mark. 

Blessing to you - (worth every cent of the cost of the e-book just for this section alone)


Hi Mark,
We love listening to your show and reading your blog.
We have a son who is 7 and in first grade who was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism about 3 years ago.
I have been to multiple parent education courses and have learned who to manage a lot of the behavour that happens at home and/or time with our family (through ABA and rewards charts, different techniques for calming behaviour, certain plans with his teachers etc.).

My question for you is it seems like my son is starting to have a harder time socially as the school year progresses... My son is very smart and doing well academically, and is off the charts
with Math, but socially I feel like it's deteriorating. He didn't qualify for an IEP since he is fully capable academically, but as soon as recess comes, or social things happen in the classroom - he curls up in a ball and hides under his sweatshirt, or has arguments and fighting etc. He is also becoming defiant towards his teacher (who has her hands full since it's a public school situation..) We are noticing that there are more and more mis-understandings when we get together with other friends and their kids...and he seems to be getting more and more upset at people for things they say and do, and starting to get more explosive and/or angry.

I'm not sure what direction to go in right now - should I seek a more one-on-one therapist for him? Re-try for an IEP for added help at school?

I have some support at school in that we have a 504 plan (an outside source diagnosis, sort of a safety-net, and this allows him to qualify for twice a month visists with the care-counselor at school...) but I'm starting to think that this isn't enough. But, I'm not sure where to next seek out some help. He was diagnosed through the Lanterman center in LA, but never received any direct therapy through there.

No comments:

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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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