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 November, 2013]

My stepson is 26 yrs. old and I suspect he has Asperger's but he has never been formally diagnosed. He has made great strides in understanding his social difficulties and in compensating for them, and his social life is thus much improved.   He still struggles terribly with depression and anxiety - he has been in therapy but I think he needs a psychotherapist with a specialty in adults with Asperger's. He also struggles terribly ad with the cognitive functions involved in making choices and decisions of all kinds, as well as in breaking down the steps involved in doing many tasks.  He lacks a passion for anything (other than sex, particularly S/M). He is highly intelligent and very lovely in many ways but is very stuck and very frustrated. We live in Pasadena, CA and I would like to: - have him formally diagnosed; - find a psychotherapist with a specialty in adults with Asperger's; - find a job coach. Can you offer any quidance please?

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Question:

Hi Mark, I saw your very detailed answer to the mom that was asking for schools for her 11 year old son diagnosed with AS.  I am wondering if you have such a comprehensive directory of schools/colleges or academys that are at the post-secondary level that are geared towards people with Aspergers? I am trying to do an environmental scan of such.

Answer:

Yes, there are several… these may be the top 10:
  1. Autism Collaborative Center at Eastern Michigan University
  2. Boston University Supported Education Services
  3. Drexel University Autism Support Program
  4. Marshall University Autism Training Center
  5. Mercyhurst College AIM Program
  6. Midwestern State University
  7. Rutgers Developmental Disabilities Center
  8. St. Joseph’s University Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support
  9. University of Alabama College Transition and Support Program
  10. University of Connecticut SEAD Program

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Hello Mr. Hutten,

I am in the IEP process at school and due to his grades the school doesn’t feel he needs an IEP. My other issue is his emotional outburst that have started this school year.  Everything that’s going on started this school year.  He was attending a private school that wasn’t helping him (had 291 students). He is currently attending a public school with over 700 students and 40 students in his classroom, except his English class. His P.E. has over 200 students. This school year (his first public school in San Diego, CA) has been extremely difficult.  He has made cut marks on his upper left arm. He wrote on his desk at school last month, stating he was sad and kill them all.  I called the San Diego Access Crisis line for help.  They gave me a mental health therapist for him to meet with.  He is on the waiting list for the San Diego Regional Center and for a new psychiatrist at Rady’s Children’s Hospital. No matter what I say…I am not sure how to help him with his mood swings and tantrums.  He feels that he is all alone in the world. He feels there’s no purpose to his life. He is sad that he doesn’t have a friend, but he tells himself he doesn’t need friends. Deep down inside, he does want a friend. All he wants to do is play Pok√©mon video game. I took his video games from him about 2 weeks ago because it wasn’t helping. He was consumed with it. Although he isn’t playing, he writes about it on paper all the time. I am praying he makes it through today and doesn’t do anything to himself. Unfortunately, I forgot about his first appointment with the mental health therapist yesterday (Mondays at 3:30 pm). We resume his IEP meeting this Thursday, November 7th @ 1:15 p.m.  Since he is a 3.25 and the teachers claim they don’t see much in his grades dropping and he is very bright, they don’t feel he needs an IEP.  I know he needs it as we move on to high school and for him to get services.  At this point, I don’t see how he will live on his own. He has to always be reminded to turn things off, lock the door, hygiene, etc.

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Dr. Hutten,
I have just found your site this afternoon and my family and I are in need of your help.  We have two boys that are ages 6 and 7.  Our oldest son is undiagnosed High functioning Aspergers with diagnosed AD/HD,( we have a psychological evaluation that states Autism Spectrum Disorder "Very Likely" and Asperger's Syndrome as "Possibly"). He and his brother both, have as close to a diagnosis of Sensory Integration Disorder as they can get without an Autistic diagnosis, or so we have been told.  Our oldest son is also an Idiopathic Toe Walker.  We have been concerned about this possibility since our oldest son was about the age of 2, he was more interested in looking at and coloring prints outs of my husbands Anatomy and Physiology book, and biology books and knowing what they were and their functions and can still tell you, than he was with more age appropriate books and toys.  He is still this way with most things, however, when we took him to the pediatrician at the time, we were told it was behavior and that he could not be tested for Autism until he was 6 years old. We went through every hurtle they and other pediatricians presented for us, including speech and occupational therapy, the RIP Program, testing through Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, TN; and still we were told that it was behavior at that point and that further testing for Autism was either unnecessary or could not be done due to his age.  The issue my husband and I have with that is that we heard friends of ours mention how friends of theirs had children that were diagnosed at ages of two and sometimes younger.  When our oldest son was getting close to starting Kindergarten, we had his speech therapy transferred to the elementary school he would be attending.  Within about a month his therapy had been discontinued on the basis of he no longer needed it, which he doesn't at this point. However, the therapist through the school had missed two of his appointments telling me she had forgotten and when I went to the principal and complained, his therapy was discontinued the following week.  This was summer before he started Kindergarten in the fall.  When he started Kindergarten, my husband and I had a meeting with his teacher within the first three days of school starting to discuss with her our son and the diagnosis we had for him.  She stated she understood and the year began.  We had some issues throughout the year, such as my husband trying to find out what the state standards are for kindergarteners in respect to reading and math and so forth.  He spent two hours in a school meeting with the teacher the principal, school psychologist, and special education teacher, and got no where with anyone.  We were trying to get our son an IEP, and it was suggested to my husband that we do a 504 until we were able to get complete diagnosis for our son and that it needed to be in writing to request it, so we did that.  We find out just this year, 2 years later, that it was never done while we were under the impression it was.  We also found out at the end of our sons kindergarten year that his teacher had isolated our son along with another student all year long from any and all group activities in the class room.  My husband and I went back up to the school the following day to address this as well as the possibilty that our son would not pass kindergarten, which he did pass.  His first grade year, was much better.  Our sons teacher had raised a son of her own that was AD/HD and was well prepared and educated to accept and educate our child.  She was very open with communicating with us and helping keep him on track and he improved drastically.  We, as his parents have also done any and everything we can think of to help make sure he stays on track with his academics and he is doing well, which is where a big problem has come in to play for us and our son.  The school tells us we cannot get an IEP or a 504 for our child because his grades are not suffering, however, at the beginning of this year he brought home a STARs Test(standardized reading test)  in which it showed he would benfit from pre-Kindergarten level reading instruction, which took him 52 minutes to complete.  Then, yesterday he brought home another one, and it states his reading level is that of a 5th month second grader, and this is only the start of month 2, and that he completed it within 12 minutes.  Now, we know how well our oldest son reads, he reads as well and understands for the most part as you, I or my husband does, so it is not a question as to whether or not he can read, it's a matter of what happened the day of the first test?  We do not know where to go from ere to get him the diagnosis he needs that will get him the help he needs. 
Also, we have a concern that his current teacher is bullying him.  He had been sick for about four days a couple of weeks ago, and we ran into his teacher in the grocery store one afternoon.  Our oldest and his brother were doing the typical sibling rivalry when she approached and spoke to our oldest.  He instantly turned and then shut down.  He would not look at me, her or anyone else and he would not respond to anything anyone said until she was gone.  This is not my child!  He was so frightened and intimidated by her that he wouldn't even continue with his and his brother's argument, which is very unlike my son.  I do not know how to prove this, but I do know she has tried to intimidate myself, my husband, as well as my mother-in-law.  We also know that he has had to deal with continuous bullying from other children over the past three years and he is typiocally the one that is punished when he defends himself. Our son is quickly slipping out of the window of being helped properly due to the run around we have been given by so many people, and we do not want that to happen.  We feel as though our hands have been completely tied in protecting and helping our son.  We do not know what else to do or where to turn. 

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My name is Bethany Kibbe and I am a Casting Producer with Shed Media US. I wanted to reach out to you to see if you can help us find some families who are in crisis and need rebuilding.  We have a wonderful person coming in who is amazing at helping to mediate problems within a family. This will be a powerful and positive experience for all involved and will change their lives.  If you know any families who would benefit from this show Please let us know. We would love to help bring everyone together.  Here is the info:

From a major cable network and the producers of hit shows like Supernanny, World's Strictest Parents and Who Do You Think You Are?, comes a pulse pounding new series about Families in Crisis.

 If you are a parent with an out of control teenager or teenagers, we are SEARCHING for YOU!!!! Are you at your wit’s end??? Is your family falling apart?

If you interested in our HELP or would like to nominate a family and are located in the U.S., we would love to hear from you ASAP as casting is currently underway!!!!

To be considered, email the below information to:
FamilyCasting@shedmediaus.com

Name:
Age:
Occupation:
Phone Number:
Current City You Reside In:
Children Names and Ages:
A brief description of why you need our help:

We look forward to hearing from some amazing families!!!!!

Thank you so much for your time,

Bethany Kibbe
Casting Producer
(323)-904-4680

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I am slightly worried about my 3,5 year old daughter and I was wondering if you could possible give me an opinion. She is a very very intelligent child, she is bilingual, knew both alphabets and numbers very early, she has learned all the stories we read to her so she 'reads' them to us and she has learned whole episodes form her favourite programs. She observes every little detail, like my husband changed his watch and she instantly noticed, things I wouldn't expect her to notice, but then perhaps all kids are like that. She is very calm, and lovely, incredibly affectionate and good natured. She hated anything out of order and dirty since she was a baby. She doesn't like when she gets her hands dirty, it freaks her out, same if she finds a hair in the bath tub for example she used to have a fit about it, she is now more used to it.

She is a very happy kid, never went through the terrible twos, she only started having tantrums recently. She is very bossy though in the way she wants things, she knows exactly what she wants and she can get in a state if we don't do exactly as she sais. Lets say we play with some imaginary fruit. She will give me something to ear and I have to hold it EXACTLY like she is showing me or she will lose it. I struggle sometimes and fear to do a mistake as I don't want to upset her. She plays really nicely with me and my husband and some very close friends or family with have. 

She is very sensitive to noise and chaos. She doesn't cope well. We used to live in London and walking on a major road was impossible because she would freak out with all the people and the noise from the cars. I would have to hold her and move quickly but she still wasn't happy. If we have friends over or even just us and we have a loud discussion she is uneasy. If we burst out laughing she always crys - we now know. Along the same lines she's had a few panic moments at the playground when 3-4 kids run around her chasing each other and she just froze and started streaming.

She started nursery 2 months ago for 4 hours a day over 4 days. She has done brilliantly in a sense that she never cried and was always happy to go there, however she doesn't socialise with the other kids. She plays next to them fine, she will giggle to their jokes but she has not said 1 word to any of them in those 2 months. If she is with people she doesn't know she won't eat. This is more recent after she turned 3. She will only eat with people she knows extremely well. I'm not sure if she is just an incredibly shy kid or if there is anything more special about her. I would appreciate any advice as to whether I'm reading too much into her behaviour or if you feel this is smt I need to look into.

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Q: Hi Mark, Is there any research to suggest that adults with Asperger's are affected by daylight savings time? For the last 2 years I've noticed that my 20 year old gets very reclusive and depressed after the clocks are turned back. Thanks for any thoughts you have on the topic.

A:  Just did an article on it...

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Q: Mr. Hutten, I am raising my 14 year old grandson who has Aspergers. Recently I approached the subject of sex and it was both humorous and disastrous ! Jared kept saying that he " just don't get it " and I tried my best to answer questions and explain it the best I could. Is there a book specifically for this situation that would help us both ? Since he's a very visual learner, I figured an appropriate book on the matter would help him . Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

A:  I'd create a story for this issue ...You can find out how to create your own on my site: www.AspergersSocialStories.com

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After a particularly rough patch a few weeks ago, I dropped my daughter off at school and told her she had one challenge for the day, to tell me after school one good thing that happened at school.  When she came home after school and I asked her what one good thing happened at school, and I got the usual “Nothing” and “you’re the worst parent in the world, why are you making me do this?”, I said “it could be a funny thing a teacher said” or “a pretty flower you saw” or “maybe you got a good grade on a quiz”, I finally got “I found out there actually are some kids at school that like me.”  So of course I told her that was a great thing to happen that day, and every day since (which has been about 3 weeks now) we share with each other one good thing that happened during our day.  Honestly, I usually (but not always) try to make my one good thing something that she will find good according to her restricted Asperger’s interest, so she’ll also see my one good thing as good too. (i.e. she likes animals, so it might be a cute dog I saw.  Finally, I also always tuck her in each night (even though she is 15) and I always tell her I love her before I leave the room, even if we had a rough day together.

The reason I searched the internet and found your ebook was because we had a very rough night last night.  My daughter who is struggling with teenager issues (she has boxed herself into a corner thinking that teens are only interested in 3 things, romance/sex, drinking/drugs and violence and because she is not interested in any of those things she says she cannot have any friends or talk to any teens to attempt to make friends) decided in a whim that teens also are mean to their parents.  So for no reason whatsoever, with no prompting, (she was doing her homework and I was watching a tv show) she came into the tv room and started telling me I was a horrible parent and all kinds of disrespectful comments – then later said she thought teens were disrespectful to their parents and she was trying it out so she could be like other teens.  So instinctually I took away her phone, itouch and computer privileges (glad that was a consequence in your book).  So I need to get deep into week #2 immediately. 

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I spoke with you on the phone near on a week ago regarding my daughter and the tics that she was experiencing. We had an appointment initially set up for Tuesday 12th Nov at 4.30pm but due to how upset Kiera was becoming, both in school and at home, I managed to move the appointment forward by 1 day.

I hope you don’t mind me writing but there are certain things that I wanted to discuss with you and I felt that it would have been inappropriate with Kiera present in the room…. Instead I decided to list all these things in a letter so that you could read them in your own time and I wouldn’t miss anything out that I wanted to say.

I will begin with Kiera’s tics:

Her vocal tics started around 2 months ago; both myself and her dad have seen and heard them getting much worse over the course of the past 3 weeks.
Kiera is becoming very distressed in school as her classmates are now noticing her noises and she has had questions asked by some of her friends. She tries to stop the noises as much as possible but by doing so, when she is able to release them, she sounds like a machine gun going off.

Before the noises began, Kiera would make movements. These have been on-going for many, many months. Neck twitches, shoulder stretches, eye blinking and scrunching, sniffing, coughing and jumping on and off the sofa a number of times until she is told not to do it.

OTHER ISSUES:

As a baby I don’t remember Kiera having any significant problems. She was always a terrible sleeper and we had no end of issues getting her to sleep. In the end she would only fall asleep whilst being cuddled or by sleeping in her car seat. She still has a lot of trouble getting to sleep as she is unable to shut off most nights. Kiera is rarely asleep before 11pm and usually later. We have tried everything we can think of to help but nothing seems to work.

Food was also a problem for her. She would refuse to try new foods and certain textures she wouldn’t tolerate. For many years she would cry and become very distressed if her food touched up against the other on her plate. We found that the only way we could limit the upset was to buy a sectioned plate which stopped the different foods touching.

From a young age Kiera was fascinated with the television and her favourite programmes; she still is to be honest and will almost become ‘lost’ in what she is watching.

I always felt that there was something not quite right. Kiera seemed to be very much in her own little world and unresponsive to others around here. She was always a child who was happiest doing exactly what she wanted to do and not being pressured into trying new things. It was discovered at the end of her first year at primary school that Kiera’s hearing was much impaired. So as her parents we put a lot of the concerns we felt down to the fact that she was unable to hear correctly and that was the reason why she behaved in the ways she did. In total she has now had 3 grommet operations and a tonsillectomy with adenoid removal at the same time.

Playgroup was a challenging experience at around the age of 2 to 3 years old. Kiera wouldn’t really play with the other children. She would sit close to them but not with them. She would pick up items and hand them to me wherein I would prompt her and say: Can mummy have a cup of tea please, after her passing me a little cup…. She liked to sit in the plastic cars and drive around the room or run up and down the church hall, if that’s what the other children were doing. She didn’t like to sit at the table with the children at snack time and needed lots of encouragement to do so. She refused to try any new fruits and would become upset and cry if she was offered anything new. She would have large outbursts of crying for no reason and get very distressed. This is something that continues today also. I would often have other parents make remarks about how sensitive she was.

Clothing was a big issue with Kiera from a young age but it came more to light when she started primary school. She would pull and tear at her clothing as they weren’t comfortable to her. I would have to cut out labels as she didn’t like the feel of them. Socks, shoes and knickers were the biggest problem. We could spend over 30 mins every morning putting socks on and taking them off again as she would be in tears with the feel of them. She would become incredibly distressed and eventually things slightly improved when we began to put the socks on inside out as the seams were the biggest problem. She wasn’t cured, we still had issues but it seemed to help her cope. She always needed prompting to get dressed and washed, usually many, many times over. At times we would become so frustrated that we would end up raising our voices to her. It never helped the situation as she would sit and cry covering her ears. It was almost as though she was unable to process or cope with both of us trying to get her to get ready. She still needs prompting to get up and get ready for school now. She doesn’t seem to understand that we need to leave at a certain time to arrive at school in time for the start of the school day.

At times it comes across that Kiera doesn’t have a filter for someone else’s emotions or feelings. She says exactly what she is thinking. She can come across as quite rude but I honestly think she isn’t aware of doing anything wrong, even when we try to explain to her she becomes very upset and thinks we are sticking up for the other person when that isn’t the case at all. She doesn’t really make allowances for anyone else and gets angry and tearful when something doesn’t go the way she wants it to. She can’t bear to be wrong about anything and will be very upset if you try to prove otherwise.

Kiera has never really played with her toys…. She collects and organises items rather than performing role play with them. She does obsess about things, at the moment she loves to film things on her phone. From filming her friends at the park, to filming her Moshi Monsters lined up in a row.

She has always been a child who seems to get along better with adults than with other children. She has struggled with being in a school environment and has experienced anxiety and head pains due to the stress she feels. We have observed her having to ‘prepare’ herself to be able to handle getting ready and going to school.

She doesn’t really have an attention span for anything much. She flitters from one thing to another. Even when her friends come over to play she will leave them on their own with no prior notice whilst to goes off and does something else. We have tried to explain why this isn’t a very nice thing to do but she doesn’t really seem to understand the reasons why…

Frustration plays a part, especially when she is unable to fulfil something she has set out to do. This happens whilst doing her homework or drawing a picture. She will cry uncontrollably and rip up the work which she feels hasn’t gone right. She can have massive outbursts of emotion and is something that happened around 4 weeks ago. She screamed at the top of her voice, savagely pulling at her hair and clothing. She rushed into the kitchen to grab a knife so she could stab herself in the head. I was scared at that point as my little girl seemed totally irrational; I just didn’t know how I should handle her at that point.

All the things I have explained to you are a growing concern because mental health issues have been a lifelong problem for my husband and his own immediate family in a number of generations, on both his mum and dads side. My husband was tested for Aspergers in the past year and whilst the result came back negative he was diagnosed with having a personality disorder. He has undergone counselling as well as CBT and IPT and is on medication for his depression as well as another sort which acts as a mood stabiliser.

I don’t want to come across as an overly worrying parent but things for Kiera have gone on for long enough and with issues worsening I cannot leave my concerns unaddressed. Based on everything I have explained please can you forward Kiera onto see a paediatrician? I really feel that she needs the chance to be looked at.

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Dear Mark,

Thank you for this program and your offer for further assistance.  My husband and I have started listening to the audio lessons and I wish we had started someting like this earlier.

My son is 28 and has never had a diagnosis of Aspberger's. He has been "under the microscope" since about the age of 7. I have trotted him to a variety of child pshchologists, neurologists, and family docs. He has had all kinds of behavioral therapy from biofeedack to EMDR with moderate success. He has had two psych. evals, one in 2nd grade and one in jr. high. No one can put a finger on his Diagnosis! Very frustrating. Over the past few years I have talked with friend who are teachers and Autisim specialists and I have come to the conclusion that my son is in fact "on the spectrum". I am NOT am MD, however, I am an RN and think I can be somewhat objective.  One friend, who has worked as a teacher in a private school for severely Autistic children believes that because I had so much intervention for my son in his early years it "masked" a lot of typical Aspberger's behavior. 

Our son is actually "semi-launched". He lives 2 hours away (with the city of Boston in between us) he has a roommate, also with Dx of Aspburger's.  The roommate has had a rough life and has a lot more "street savvy", or son had an "ideal" home life and a mom who always wanted to make his life a little easier. (Dad was definitely the stronger disciplinarian) Our son, Jay, is working as a software engineer for a company where my husband once worked. Jay came to the company as an intern and was attending community college PT.  He slowly took fewer and fewer classes, however they still retained him as an intern as he was doing software engineering work (and they were paying him intern pay) so that worked out for the company.  They have since hired him as a salaried FT employee with full benefits....however, they are still paying him way less than he is worth. He puts up with low pay because they understand his issues and are happy as long as he keeps producing work/code.  Mostly he works from home as 1. work is north of Boston (1.5 hrs) and 2. half the time his car needs gas/repairs and is not road worthy. He is paying his bills.....at least as far as we know....although, often he is late or down to the last penny before the next paycheck is (automatically) deposited in his account.

He still struggles with SAD and anxiety. He has also been drinking (ETOH) quite a bit and that is a big concern. At this point in his life he is finally coming around to the concept that he needs a life coach. (something I have been encouraging him since early HS years.) But HE is the one who has to take action.  My plan is to listen to your audio and read the book and see where we can go from there.

Thanks for listening!

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Hi Mark,

I want to ask you for some advice please. My friend has a son who is 32 years old, he has been married and has two children.  He and his partner are not together now and he has moved back in with his parents but is extremely difficult to live with.  He moved back in because he got into debt as he was not paying his bills. He has worked in the past or done voluntary work so is quite high functioning.  He is drinking a lot and is threatening his parents who are at their wits end.  Can you give me any advice that I can convey to them please.

I really enjoy reading your emails and find them very useful.  

My own son has Asperger's and PDA and has just started college, he is a real sweet boy and we do not have any behavioural issues.  I have always been firm with him and explained why he needs to do things and about consequences.  I have always given him an action and a consequence and I feel that is why he is so easy to live with.  His main problems seem to be that he has gone from an overly social boy to a boy who now finds it hard to socialise and is only happy when he is in his bedroom on his ex box or spending time with his family and extended family and a couple of friends.  

He has two personal assistants whom he goes out with for walks, to Laserquest, Burgerking, and very occasionally to the cinema and to a place where they sell all types of comics which he enjoys looking at.  He is kind hearted and caring and I hate seeing the way he has changed.  Have you any tips on how I can try and assist him to be more sociable (like he used to be) and to make him more confident about going out?

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Mark,
I have a son who is 17 years old.  He was diagnosed late as having an ASD. (7th grade)  I believe he is an Asperger's kid.  He is an only child.  We live on the NE side of Indianapolis, so we are not far from you.  He has never been medicated due to me not wanting him to take any medication.  My son attends The Fortune Academy.  It is a school for kids with dyslexia.  For so long we thought it was the dyslexia causing the frustration and more.  My son was first diagnosed on the spectrum in 7th grade.  He had another diagnosis from a different doctor in 9th grade.  This time it was ASD and depression and anxiety.  I have researched and read all about this.  Now my son is not attending school because of horrible, graphic thoughts in his mind that he cannot get rid of.  He's in pretty bad shape.  The crisis center would not take him.  We have United Healthcare insurance, so we are limited where we can go for help.  I need to find a doctor in my area who is a psychiatrist that deals with ASD kids.  Any ideas?  I don't have time to deal with bad doctors or misdiagnosis.  On top of Asperger's I'm sure we are dealing with some sort of mental health issue.  It's scary.  Please give me some advice and resources that are real and practical.
 
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Thanks Mark. Love the book so far, very informative.
Both my grandson and I have many of the indicators of being an Aspie. His parents don't admit to any particular diagnosis, but have been looking for a practitioner to help him with his right-left hand separation - Manhattan Beach Ca, no luck so far. He's a drummer, guitarist and keyboard player - 14 years old. It's starting to get in his way. I have taught him many of the exercises I do: crawling, pat head-rub tummy, piano - learn left hand of four measures, then right hand of four measures, then put together over time...slow going but helps train the brain.
Do you know of any therapists who can help with this "mirroring" in the Southern California area? His parents are more likely to pay attention when it comes from an "authority" although I've tried to explain that nobody's quite yet an authority on Aspergers (the thing their kids doesn't have...haha).
Thanks,
Susie

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Hi!

We wanted to reach out to you because we have previously been in contact with you in the past regarding our show. We wanted to tell you that our show got picked up and will be airing a full season. We've attached flyers for both teens and families interested in the show. To refresh your memory, here is what we are looking for:

We are currently casting a new documentary-style television series for a major cable network. Each episode will center on one rebellious teen and their family with a experienced person who has been working with teens and family for a long time who will transform their lives and get the teen back on track. We are looking for teens aged 15-18 who live at home in your area. If you or ANYONE you know fits this description, please contact us asap for this life changing opportunity, or feel free to share the attached flyer with any parents that may fit the description. We truly believe that this is opportunity many of these families have been waiting for.

While we are disclosing all the creative details of the show to the families, we appreciate your discretion in keeping these details from the teens at this time. Casting producers will work with the families to discuss how best to introduce the opportunity to them. Attached please find a flyer with our contact information that you can distribute to anyone you know who might be a good fit for the show.

Shed Media US is an established television production company known for its outstanding reality programming. Notable series produced include ABC's Supernanny, CMT's World's Strictest Parents, Emmy nominated Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC, and many, many more. Based in Los Angeles with more than 200 employees, Shed Media US is a significant supplier of TV programming to many networks.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  This is  an amazing opportunity that will change lives.

Thanks so much,

Bethany Kibbe
Casting Associate Producer
Shed Media US
3800 Barham Blvd Suite 410
Los Angeles, CA 90068
office: 323.904.4680 ext 1029
fax: 323.904.4681
bkibbe@shedmediaus.com

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Hi Mark,
Its been over a year since I've had to quit working with parents and families helping them cope with daily-life issues. When I got ahold of your method, it gave me a boost of skills that helped me empower many parents who had already given up hope with the behavioral issues their sons and daughters were displaying. However, I had to leave behind the practice due to reasons out-of-my control. Today Im getting back in the game and found this email.

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It has recently been brought to my attention that my 33 year old son may have Aspergers syndrome.  Everything on your website also seems to point in that direction.  His teenage years were certainly the most difficult.  I have been in a long term marriage, but felt like I was a single parent during those years.  My son mostly singled out his sister, to whom he basically did not speak for eight years, even while living in the same house.  His younger brother commented that he “couldn’t wait to leave home because of the constant arguing between myself and my eldest son."

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Hi Mark
I feel blessed to have stumbled on your web site. I’m a clinical psychologist who offers 1:1 as well as group therapy for children on the Spectrum. Thank you for the terrific resources you’ve offered. I am wondering if I would be able to buy DVDs of these video resources. Please let me know how I can obtain these videos so I can use them with my clients.
Thanks heaps.
With warm regards,
Rex D’Cruz

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Good Morning all the way from Dorset UK,

It's by pure chance that I have come across the web page promoting your Ebook about Disciplining Teenagers with Autism/Aspergers.

Out of pure Desperation which is close to breaking my family up I got up early this morning and thought "Right no one at my sons Sp Nds school" is taking us seriously, I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING MYSELF NOW!!!

Our son is 14yrs old (15 next month). He has "Aspergers, Social Communication Disorder & Learning difficulties". He has been in Special Needs Education since the age of 6. He's been at his current school for 2yrs. He is a very bright boy, very good memory, clued up in Computers but extremely Bored at school.

At Home His behaviour has got really out of hand is very rude to my partner & I, doesn't listen to anything we ask of him or say. Even shouts at us when we check on him in his bedroom to see if he's ok. He is disrespectful to us, refuses to help around the house, never wants to go out and has missed ALOT of school.

His Special Needs School covers mild to moderate Disabilities and ASD. When my son started there he had a Fantastic teacher who was very keen in getting the Best out of him, very motivating and always encouraging him and our son Thrived and never complained about going to school. He Loved it. But now he has a different Teacher (now in his 2nd year with this teacher), who does not have that same Drive and enthusiasm in him, there is a massive lack of encouragement from this teacher and it shows in my sons change of behaviour, hates going to school and is not being Academically stretched. He is one of the Brightest in his Class and in nis school and is extremely bored. He does not want to be there.

He has missed 3 weeks of school right now (over and above other weeks that he has not gone to school because he does not want to be there). His school attendance is now only 50% and were on the verge of getting into serious trouble for his attendance ( even though the school are aware of the situation).

I really wish I had found your Ebook ALOT sooner as I fear it might be a bit late (although I will definitely try). I am desperate for help but battling with lack of support and understanding from his school as he has always been very well mannered and behaved at school, so they don't seem to believe us and the seriousness of this situation right now.

He is depressed, anti life, has threatened suicide, is starting to behave physically abusive towards me (as in - grabbing my wrists, pushing me around and has even held a knife up at me). He does not think is behaviour is unacceptable and when i confront him and tell him I'm sick of the way he treats us, he says "I don't care and there's nothing you can do about it". He hates going out the house and just stays in his room. He is a big built lad and we cannot physically force him to go out or get him into the car to go to school. One consolation is that he is a Homely boy and does not venture out into the streets which I am Greatful for, as I would actually be worried that because he so badly needs a good friend, I think he would be vulnerable and if he made friends with the wrong person, could be easily led astray. So for that part of him - I'm grateful he does not venture on the streets (as most British youngsters do).

All this Behaviour is a big Shock to us as he has been well brought up with good Manners & Discipline and he has always been a lovely child and affectionate. He has a good home life with all the creature comforts and has never gone without (but at the same time has never demanded pocket money or to be spoilt).

I feel he needs to see a Child Psychologist and if I had the means to get on a plane and see you Privately I think I would lol!

I didn't plan to sit and write you this long email, but I guess reading through your page and snippets of your Ebook which I'm about to buy, I guess for the first time as I've typed this out..... It's all just flowed.

Your advice from what I've seen looks fantastic and I so badly wish I'd seen this at least a year ago, I'm sure we wouldn't be in this bleak situation right now.

From your knowledge & experience is there anything you suggest regarding how to deal with our son right now? I'm on the verge of seeking Respite for him which is something I do not really want to have to do.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading your Ebook

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Question:

Hi Mark,
I just ordered your book Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Aspergers Children online. My almost 12 year old son (6th grade) has not been “officially” diagnosed with Asperger’s, but has many of the traits.  He does well academically but struggles socially.  He has flown under the radar at school because he does well academically, but after a move this past year from WA to AZ and attending a new school, the change was too much for him.  He was being bullied and it was terrible for us both. I am now online homeschooling him as well as teaching preschool 5 days a week. I’m exhausted.  Our son (Kaleb) was adopted at birth and was drug exposed but had no developmental delays.  Being in the field of Early Childhood Development, I could see he was “different” in the preschool years, but until about a year ago, Asperger’s wasn’t even on my radar as what may be going on.  I had a talk with the teacher, counselor and principal at the school here last year (at my request)  They each did an assessment and had me answer one as well (for being on the “spectrum”)  Kaleb came out smack dab in the middle as a “possibility”  not a definitive yes or no. He is very high functioning and at 3rd grade was reading at an 11th grade level. His fine motor skills are terrible.  He talks excessively (very articulate).  Has no spacial boundaries.  Baggers and asks repetitive questions…etc.  Relentless! “Too much” for his friends.  He can make them as he is very social, but has a hard time maintaining them because he is a high maintenance kid.  This is very hard for him and heartbreaking as his mom.  He is lonely and wants friendships so much, but can’t figure out how to navigate them. Definitely not flat toned or undemonstrative however. Never was one to be touched too much but is very affectionate with us when he chooses to be. Is very sensitive to loud sounds (although he plays the drums)  What’s that about? Sensitive to smells, very picky eater.  Was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption and has tummy problems. This is a quick snapshot of my son.
My question…. How important is it that Kaleb knows or believes he has Aspergers?  I have talked to him about it, but he gets very upset at the mention of it.  I think the thought of being labeled or having something “wrong” with him is yet another added stressor for him.  How should I handle this? How important is it that we get an “official” diagnosis?  My sister and niece who are both nurses believe he has Asperger’s as well.  I’m not sure taking him for testing would be worth the stress between Kaleb and me. He already tells me he knows he is different.
A couple of years ago I read The Rules of Friendship and made flash cards for him to look at on how to be a good friend.  He was not happy about it.  How do I help him while not making him feel even worse about himself?   Much of this may be covered in your book which I just downloaded and am looking forward to reading.  Just wanted a quick answer the question above.  Sorry for the length of the message.  Thanks Mark!

Answer:

My bias is that it is better to know than not to know. If you have Aspergers and don’t know, it affects you anyway; if you do know, you can minimize the negative impact and leverage the positive. Without the knowledge that one has Aspergers, one often fills that void with other, more damaging explanations such as failure, weird, disappointment, not living up to one’s potential, etc.

Tell your son by focusing on strengths! Most people with Aspergers have significant areas of strength (even if this has not been translatable into tangible success yet). Bring up areas of strength. Next, tactfully point out the areas in which he is struggling. Then, suggest that there is a name for that confusing combination of strengths and challenges, and it may be Aspergers.

There's nothing wrong with having it - it's just a different way of thinking... just like there's nothing wrong with German, it's just a different way of speaking.

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I am the parent (adoptive parent) of an 18-year-old make, high school senior, who I only learned had ANY type of autism diagnosis (about a year ago).  He is just completing testing for other impacting factors on that diagnosis.  FAS and developmental disability are two that are already there. 

We live in a small town, there may be 200 students in the entire high school.  He wants to date, but the girls who want to "date" him, are freshmen who are 14 years old.  We are in the middle of a major issue about that--since he couldn't understand what the problem was,  at first.  They invite him to school functions, and I have had to say no, you may not, which has left him basically--well more than a little angry with both mom and his life.

He also doesn't want anyone to THINK he has any 'problems' when it is obvious to MOST people there is "something" not quite right. His social interaction has been limited or nonexistent all of his life.

So, I stumbled across this site tonight, and was thinking this would be a good site for him...he's not overly chatty with adults, but chats it up with younger people.  HOWEVER, because there are younger teenagers on this site, would it or would it NOT be a safe site to introduce into his life?

He is tired of being lonely, wants to hang out with his friends, but there are none who really want to hang out with him who are his age.  I can monitor, but I would not want him talking to the 13-14 year olds here, if they were to be interested in talking with him. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?  Is there ANYTHING?

Just a mom who is looking for answers and help for a pretty great kid who needs appropriate friends!

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Question:
“My daughter is 14 and I bought your e-book and cds and so far they have been a great help. My husband Terry and I would like to know what to do about grades being all F and being homeschooled.  I know what you said about grades but Terry thinks she should be homeschooled even though she used to get good grades in public school but was taken out due to lies about staying after school then going to her boyfriends to have sex at the age of thirteen and since then she has run away twice and has no self-respect for herself. What can we do?”

Answer:
In short, I am a proponent for home-schooling – in certain situations. Home-schooling is a popular educational alternative for many families with defiant children, especially if parents are tired of nagging school officials to accommodate their child. However, there are some important issues to consider before making the decision to home-school. If you're considering this option, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are you ready for the critics? Home-schooling has come a long way in terms of acceptance by the general public, but home-schooling skeptics still exist. Thick skin, regarding the opinions of others is a helpful attribute of home-schooling moms and dads.

2. Can you afford it? Home-schooling can be done on a shoestring budget when necessary, but there will likely be at least some cost associated with home-schooling. For most families, the decision to home-school also results in limited income potential for the primary home-schooling mother or father.

3. Do you have the disciplinary techniques to home-school? Home-schooling moms and dads aren't perfect, but a certain level of discipline is necessary in order for home-schooling to be successful. It's important to evaluate your current level of discipline, both as an individual and as a parent before making the decision to home-school.

4. How do both parents feel about home-schooling? Although it is possible to home-school if only one of the parents believes in home-schooling, it can be very difficult to home-school on a long-term basis without approval and support from the youngster's other parent.

5. How will you arrange to meet your youngster's socialization needs? Does your youngster have opportunities to play and learn with other kids in the neighborhood and church? Are there opportunities in your area for scouting, sports, and get-togethers with other home-schoolers?

6. What are the home-schooling laws in your state? Home-schooling laws vary from state to state. For example, some states require the home-schooling parent to have a level of education.

7. Why do you want to home-school your child? It's important to know your reasons for deciding to home-school so that when doubts about home-schooling arise, you can remind yourself why you wanted to home-school in the first place. You may even find it helpful to write your reasons for home-schooling down, so that on the worst of days, you'll have something to look to for encouragement and motivation.

Carefully thinking through the above questions will help you determine whether or not home-schooling is right for you.

Another part of the decision-making process would be to look at the potential disadvantages of home-schooling. Here are the main ones (typically):

1. Parental burn-out: You have to know ahead of time that there will be a lot of frustration coming from the child when you are covering hard subjects, and that when they get flustered, you can't allow yourself to do the same. It is important that you are able to separate at times the role of parent and educator, because you will have to be there for your youngster in a different manner in times like these.

2. Lacking the knowledge to teach effectively: You can't take it out on yourself if a subject is slightly more difficult to teach than the next one. Textbooks are out there which have been designed to teach straight from them, and acquiring them can remove some of the stigma from difficult subjects like Science or Math. The key is that you have to know that you may need to spend some time with a particular subject so you can get to the point where you can “teach” that subject. Also, you need to know that you will be teaching year-round, and that it really is going to be a full-time job. That means that you need to treat it like one, and not like a free pass from getting a public paid job.

3. Lack of socialization: Not being able to learn with peers, and not being able to associate and congregate with other students the same age can lead to some developmental problems. An inability to socialize well, a shyness that comes with not being around other kids, and a tendency to work better alone rather than in a team stem from this lack of association. These are of course things that could be overcome if the attempt is made to rectify them. By being involved in other activities, by living in a neighborhood with many other children that can be socialized with in free time, or by having siblings or cousins that are in the public system, the social skills can rub off on kids that are home-schooled.

4. Lack of resources: Resources aren't as fluid as they are in a public/private school setting. The theory is that schools will have better books, and the educators will have a better education than a mother or father does, and it could serve as a disadvantage if the parent is not ready and willing to be the go-to person for everything under the sun. The parent must be willing to do the research if a question can't be answered on the spot, which could actually turn into an advantage if he/she is willing to go that extra mile.

5. Cost: The cost of homeschooling can start to come into play when you purchase textbooks and teaching materials, and thus it makes it harder for the family that is doing the home-schooling. Further costs come into play when you consider the opportunity cost of a parent staying home, and not bringing in a second income for the family. This could be the big thing that keeps some families from homeschooling, simply because it costs the family a second source of money.

6. A defiant student at school will likely be a defiant student at home: If you have had frequent power-struggles to get your child to do homework, you need to be prepared for those struggles as a home-schooler. Just because your daughter can stay home and do her school-work doesn’t mean she is going to become magically compliant when it comes to (a) sitting in YOUR classroom and (b) completing homework assigned by YOU.

So, these are the factors to consider when deciding whether or not home-schooling is right for your daughter -- and you. Good luck in your decision-making process.

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It's 4:30 in the morning and I'm trying to find answers, but I'm not sure what the problem is.

My son has some characteristics of Aspergers but not the main ones (at least that I can tell)... The biggest problem is that he can't always 'see the wood for the trees.'

He is very social, hygienic, extremely coordinated and sporty. He loves going out with his friends. He is smart but only does school work at the last minute or not at all. Sounds quite normal, right... But, as his mom, I know something isn't right.  He has always been what we thought was very stubborn... But to the nth degree.

We are having a major school issue right now.  He is getting into trouble for not doing his homework, to the point that the school may suspend him if it continues. But in his mind, he doesn't see the problem because he knows at the end of the day, he will get the grades he needs to get to get him into university. I'm simplifying the problem, but it's very late and I'm sure you understand. He just doesn't get it. No matter what I say.

Of course, this isn't the first time he hasn't 'gotten it' and no matter what we say or do, it doesn't matter. I don't know how to help him 'see'.

Q1. If his inability to read situations 'normally' is his major difficulty (ie. he doesn't display the other more common characteristics), could he still have Aspergers? This is the closest thing I've read about that could explain it. He doesn't respond to punishments or rewards. We argue but it gets us nowhere. He shows some other minor links such as a lack of empathy at times.  I think he has low self-esteem, but to the outsider no one would suspect anything is amiss.

Q2.  If you don't think it is AS, can you point me in the right direction as to what behavioural disorder it could be?

Q3.  If you think it could be AS, is there a way to help him 'see the trees'?

It's as if he's on a path of self destruction, and I'm standing by watching unable to help him.

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Hi Mark,

I am a teacher that is struggling with an eight-year old child that has not been diagnosed with ASD but shows all the behaviors of a child with ASD. Everyday is a challenge with him and I never know when he is going to melt down or begin a tantrum. Would your book help me with strategies in a school setting?  Also, can you tell me if it is common for a child with ASD to fall all the time?  I noticed on the way to the playground and during playtime he fell no less than 4 times (not trying to get attention, just clumsy) and he falls quite often doing while just walking.

Kind regards,
Debra


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My son is 17, as a child he was sweet, kind funny and beloved by everyone. In the recent months or perhaps year he has become very angry resentful and mean. Not to everyone, mostly me and his Dad, but the biggest target is me. We were very close and now he says he hates me, he can't stand the sound of my voice etc. His big problems with me are things beyond my control. I didn't have have him till I was 41 ( married late, had misscarriages) so when I had this healthy wonderful perfect child I didn't want to take any chances having another so he is an only child and he HATES that. He wants a brother or sister so bad I'm afraid he will get a girl pregnent so he could have his own child. I am Mexican but was raised in the All American way so I don't speak Spainish and most of my friends are not Mexican, He hates that too. I never cooked much, but he always had meals, he hates that I don't cook well.  I can try and cook more, he gets so happy when I do. But the other stuff there is nothing i can do. And this behavior of anger is bad, but then he can be sweet and will talk. I know the hormones are going strong, he was a bit of a late bloomer, so maybe they are in overdrive. I feel like I am on a roller coaster! He also talks about dropping out of school. His passion is soccer and he has been on Varsity since freshman year. I think that is the only thing that keeps him grounded.

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No comments:

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. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

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.

Click here for the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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