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The Truth About Elliot Rodger: Case Study of a Misogynist

Authors of the earliest known review of the link between Asperger's and violence concluded that no such connection exists. In a more recent review, the determination was that the link is inconclusive and is supported by only 11 of 147 studies on Asperger's and violence when the strictest inclusion criteria are used. Rodger was clearly a sociopath, which has nothing to do with Asperger's.




COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… Elliot Rodger, a high functioning aspie went on a shooting spree in CA. He was angry at being rejected by other college students and girls. He was angry at his only friend ending their friendship and not knowing why. His story at it's core sounds like so many aspies that I've read about, and myself as well. I after reading about him, I felt like it was important to say to all the angry aspies out there YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are different from NTs, you are different from a lot of people, and you are not always going to be understood, but there are others like you out there! It's hard to believe, your aspie symptoms tend to cause you to have trouble picking up on others emotions, so it often feels like there is no one out there that cares, but there are. Check the websites, go to the chat boards, find friends among the aspies that understand what you are going through and are going to accept you. Learn to understand what you are so that you can better relate to the NTs out there. I was angry and lonely. I read his story and have to wonder about what kept me or others from being like him. I found this site, and discovered there were others like me, and it gave me hope. I get wordy in most of my posts. I have the tendency to repeat myself, one of my defining aspie traits. If you get nothing else out of this, just remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
•    Anonymous said… He was never diagnosed! So he was not an Aspie!! He was a psychopath!!! Aspies are not violent people, but kind and caring!
•    Anonymous said… He was diagnosed according to an article I read. And not all aspie are kind and caring. Some are lonely and angry with no idea how to cope and not enough empathy to know what they do is harmful. My empathy is almost non-existent and sometimes I come across like a sociopath because of it. I've been hurt and angry, rejected and alone. I've lashed out. I've also cared and loved and after lots of work feel like I've started to get things working right. There is as many different types of aspies as there are nt's. Isn't it the responsibility of those who have got things worked out to help those who don't? To provide understanding to those who have never had it before? If someone had for him maybe things would have been different.
•    Anonymous said… Only a sick minded psycho will kill people with great planning!
•    Anonymous said… Official diagnosis or not isn't the point. Reading his story online about what lead to his actions was reminiscent of so many stories I've read of aspies as well as my life experiences. One of the key things in so many stories that aspies have is feelings of being different and isolated. Who knows what pushed him over the edge, but for those who feel isolated and alone, I think those of us who feel the same can reach out and offer our friendship. That's what is important about sites like this.
•    Anonymous said… It goes beyond Autism. He was mentally ill. Autism isn't a mental illness. Putting it incorrectly out there only perpetuates the wrong beliefs about those on the spectrum and will create undeserved hostility and discrimination against them.
•    Anonymous said… I hate that this even needs to be said.
•    Anonymous said… No...it wasn't the autism that did this...his mental illness and maybe the medications he on was need to be looked at. Also the media needs to cut down on the sexual innuendos that go have sex quick otherwise you are nothing.
•    Anonymous said… Sad all the way around. No body should be pointing fingers unless there 120% sure. This could be devestating for our youngsters who struggle to put themselves in society. With this they could be "shunned" so to speak.
•    Anonymous said… He was mentally ill, they all knew it. They Refused to do anything to help him.
•    Anonymous said… that's why as a parent of a child with asd you spend all your time helping them, not denying or ignoring the problem! That being said, the people cited in the study, like this guy, or Adam Lanza et al, dont ever forget that these people were, in a word, nutcases. Maybe with autism, but nutjobs, nonetheless, and no one did anything to help them or at least try to stop the process. If you have a mentally unstable teen at home it would seem intuitively ridiculous to keep a gun collection, for example. Don't label the vast majority of truly innocent lovely autistic people just because they are socially awkward.
•    Anonymous said… Good piece. It saddens me that his Autism is even being considered in this case. Violence in those on the ASD scale is certainly reactive and rarely, if ever, premeditated. I believe his coexisting mental illness to be more of a factor than his Autism, but ultimately his thought out, premeditated act was a choice.
•    Anonymous said… I read Roger's 141 page manifesto.  Rodger suffered from Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, which limited is ability to communicate and socialize with men and women.  He is text book autistic.  Aspies have an issue with empathy, but the big difference with Rodger is that Aspies HAVE empathy, they can't show it.  So Rodger is also a sociopath.  

*  Anonymous said... The kid from Connecticut had Aspergers but also some other diagnosis. My son has Aspergers and is one of the sweetest boys ever. I could see him in the face of Adam but there was also something very off about him that wasn't just mildly autistic.
*  Anonymous said... If you have the presence of mind to blame your mental condition, you have the presence of mind to control yourself. I have OCD and anxiety and depression - and I have to control my urges each every day. My husband has Aspergers and depression and ADD - and he has to control his urges every day. Blaming your mental conditions is NOT OKAY. If you comment violence, it's because YOU CHOSE TO, not because your mental condition MADE you do anything. SHAME on anyone who says otherwise.
*   Anonymous said... The diagnostic criteria for spectum disorders, especially in the most recent DSM, is a little on the dicy side. There is now a great deal of overlap between diagnoses, and of course Asperger's isn't even in there anymore. I think it is potentially dangerous to assume that all aspies aren't violent. There is as much variablity between aspies as there is between NTs. I've noticed in my son that he is extremely sweet and kind, and can also be violent, not because he is trying to hurt someone, but because he doesn't know what he's doing is wrong, hurtful, or annoying. These things that come naturally to NTs have to be carefully taught to aspies. One of the phenomenon I've discovered in reading is how many adults have been diagnosed with Asperger's later in life. I have to wonder if that early behavior I'm working on with my son could potentially be carried on with adults who have never been diagnosed. We'll never know about Rodger or Lanza, if they were aspies, sociopaths, schizophrenics or what. However, if there are aspies who don't understand the impact of their actions on others due to a lack of empathy, and in return don't understand the reactions of others, it is important for mental health professionals, medical professionals, and those of us with conditions like asperger's to keep an eye out and help if we can to prevent these types of tragedies. Aspies in particular are in a unique position to help. One of the key traits to our condition is a lack of detriment to mental function. We can communicate. We can share our experiences, ideas, and coping mechanisms, and provide help to others who are struggling through Asperger's.

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Appropriate Placement and Programming for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Authorities who decide on entitlement to services are usually unaware of the extent of the challenges faced by children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). Many of these young people are placed in educational settings for kids with conduct disorders, thus allowing for the worst mismatch possible (i.e., boys and girls with a very naive understanding of social situations in a mix with those who can - and do - manipulate social situations to their advantage).

Although young people with Asperger’s and HFA often present with disruptive behaviors in social settings, these behaviors are often a result of their narrow, concrete understanding of social situations, and the confusion they experience when trying to meet the demands of interpersonal life. Thus, the social problems exhibited by these children should be addressed in the context of a comprehensive intervention needed to address their social deficits – as a curriculum need, rather than willful behaviors deserving reprimands that in fact mean very little to them, and only further damage their already poor self-esteem.

Problematic situations for children with Asperger’s and HFA include unstructured social situations (especially with same-age peers) and unique situations requiring social problem-solving skills. Thus, any evaluation intended to determine the need for special services should include detailed interviews with parents and therapists knowledgeable of the youngster in naturalistic settings (e.g., home and school), and direct observations of the youngster in unstructured settings (e.g., recess, lunch).

Parents of children on the autism spectrum should become well acquainted with the following factors involved in securing appropriate placement and programming for their “special needs” child:

1. Knowledge of “model” programs: Moms and dads should make an effort to locate programs (public or private) that are thought to provide high quality services according to local experts, parent support organizations, or other parents. Regardless of whether or not they would like for their youngster to be placed in that program, a visit to it will provide parents with a model and criteria with which to judge the appropriateness of the local program offered to them.

2. Knowledge of the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process: Moms and dads need to become acquainted with the PPT process so they can become effective advocates for their youngster. They should be counseled by clinicians, parent advocates, or legal aides as to their rights as parents, and as to the alternatives available to them. The most effective approach is to secure independent evaluations and to present the case for appropriate programming based on evaluation findings and recommendations.

Across the country, a number of service providers are making a special attempt to better acquaint themselves with the special needs of kids with “social learning” challenges, to train themselves and their staff, and to creatively establish better individualized programs. Nonetheless, if parents do not get the support they need, they should seek the advice of other moms and dads, parent advocates, and if necessary, resort to the services of lawyers experienced in the area of challenges associated with autism spectrum disorders.

3. The range of services available in their school district: Both mother and father should make an attempt to visit the various suggested educational placements and service providers available in their school districts so they can obtain first-hand knowledge about them (e.g., physical setting, staffing, adult-student ratio, range of special services, etc.).

Below are program specifications to bear in mind when deciding on appropriate placements and programs for children with Asperger’s and HFA. They may not be applicable to every child, nor are they practicable in some parts of the country; nonetheless, they can be seen as ideal conditions to consider when dealing with program specifications:

1. There needs to be a concern for the acquisition of real-life skills in addition to the academic goals, making use of creative initiatives and the child’s interests and talents. For instance, given the fact that young people on the autism spectrum often excel in certain activities, social situations can be constructed to give them the opportunity to take the leadership in the activity (e.g., explaining, demonstrating, or teaching others how to improve in the particular activity). Such scenarios are ideal to help these young people to: (a) follow coherent and less one-sided goal-directed behaviors and approaches; (b) follow conversation and social interaction rules; and (c) take the perspective of others.

2. There should be a willingness to adapt the curriculum content and requirements in order to flexibly provide opportunities for success, to nurture the acquisition of a more positive self-concept, and to foster an internalized investment in performance and progress. This may mean that the child with Asperger’s and HFA is provided with individual challenges in his or her areas of strengths, and with individualized programs in his or her areas of weakness.

3. Opportunities for social interaction and facilitation of social relationships in fairly structured and supervised activities should be provided.

4. A relatively small setting with ample opportunity for individual attention, individualized approach, and small work groups should be offered.

5. A communication specialist should be available. This professional should (a) have a special interest in pragmatics and social skills training, (b) be available for individual and small group work, and (c) make a communication and social skills training intervention an integral part of all activities (implemented at all times, consistently, and across staff members, settings, and situations). This specialist should also act as a resource to the other staff members.

6. A thoughtful counselor who can focus on the child’s emotional well-being and who can (a) serve as a coordinator of services, (b) monitor progress, (c) serve as a resource to other staff members, and (d) provide an effective and supportive liaison service with the family should be available.

Specific interventions should be implemented in a consistent and individualized manner (i.e., across settings, staff members, and situations). Also, the benefit of specific recommendations should be assessed in an empirical fashion (i.e., based on an evaluation of events observed, documented or charted) with helpful techniques being maintained and unhelpful ones discarded in order to promote a constant adjustment of the program to the specific needs of the child.

Below are some suggestions to be considered when discussing interventions:

1. Adaptive skills intended to increase the child’s self-sufficiency should be taught clearly with no assumption that general explanations will suffice, nor that the child will be able to generalize from one concrete situation to similar ones. Frequently occurring problems should be addressed by teaching the child verbally the exact sequence of appropriate actions that will result in an effective behavior. Rule-sequences for certain tasks should be taught verbally and repeatedly rehearsed with the help of the specialist and other adults involved in the child’s care. There should be constant coordination and communication between all those involved so that these routines are reinforced in the same way. Verbal instructions, rote planning and consistency are essential.

2. Generalization of learned techniques and social concepts should be instructed from the therapeutic setting to everyday life.

3. Self-evaluation should be encouraged. Awareness should be gained into which situations are easily managed, and which are potentially problematic. Self-evaluation should also be used to strengthen self-esteem and maximize situations in which success can be achieved. Kids with Asperger’s and HFA often have many cognitive strengths and interests that can be used to their advantage in specific situations and in planning for the future.

4. Skills, concepts, and appropriate procedures should be taught in an explicit and rote fashion using a parts-to-whole verbal teaching approach, where the verbal steps are in the correct sequence for the behavior to be effective.

5. Social awareness should be developed, focusing on the relevant aspects of given situations, and pointing out the irrelevancies contained therein. Discrepancies between the child’s perceptions regarding the situation in question and the perceptions of others should be made clear.

6. Specific problem-solving techniques should be taught for handling the challenges of frequently occurring problematic situations.

7. Teaching guidelines should be derived from the child’s neuropsychological profile of assets and deficits. Specific intervention techniques should be similar to those usually employed for many subtypes of learning deficits.

8. The ability to interpret visual information simultaneously with auditory information should be strengthened, because it is important not only to be able to interpret other people's nonverbal behavior correctly, but also to interpret what is being said in conjunction with these nonverbal cues.

9. The child should be instructed on how to identify a novel situation and to resort to a pre-planned, well-rehearsed list of steps to be taken. This list should involve a description of the situation, retrieval of pertinent knowledge, and step-by-step decision making.

10. Lastly, the link between specific frustrating or anxiety-provoking experiences and negative feelings should be taught to the child in a concrete, cause-effect fashion so that he or she is able to gradually gain some insight into his or her feelings. Also, the awareness of the impact of his or her actions on other people's feelings should be fostered in the same fashion.

Crucial Skills-Acquisition for Children with Asperger’s and HFA

Parents often know that their child on the autism spectrum needs to be taught certain skills to improve behavior, sensory sensitivities, anxiety-related issues, and so on ...but they may not know exactly what skill-set will work best in any given situation.

There is a specific set of skills that children with Asperger’s (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) need to be taught in order to insure their long-term success. The progression of skills-acquisition proceeds as follows:
  1. In the first stage of skills-acquisition, the AS or HFA child follows rules as given, without context, and with no sense of responsibility beyond following the rules exactly.
  2. In the second stage, competence (i.e., active decision making in choosing a course of action) develops, and the child acquires organizing principles to quickly access the particular rules that are relevant to the specific task at hand.
  3. In the third stage, the child develops intuition to guide his decisions and devise his own rules to formulate plans. 
  4. In the fourth and final stage, the child (a) has an intuitive grasp of situations based on a deep, tacit understanding, (b) has a vision of what is possible, (c) transcends reliance on rules, guidelines, and maxims, and (d) uses "analytical approaches" in novel situations or in solving problems.

The progression is thus from rigid adherence to rules to an intuitive mode of reasoning based on tacit knowledge. Below are the crucial skills that children on the autism spectrum so desperately need to be taught:

Social and Communication Skills—

Social and communication skills are best taught by a communication specialist with a focus on pragmatics in speech. Alternatively, social training groups may be used if there are enough opportunities for individual contact with the teacher and for the practicing of specific skills. Teaching may include:
  • Verbal decoding of nonverbal behaviors of others
  • Social awareness
  • Perspective-taking skills
  • Correct interpretation of ambiguous communications (e.g., nonliteral language) 
  • Processing of visual information simultaneously with auditory information
  • Understanding the appropriate social context of an interaction 
  • Appropriate nonverbal behavior (e.g., the use of gaze for social interaction, monitoring and patterning of inflection of voice)
  • Imitative drills (e.g., working with a mirror)

Adaptive Functioning—

The acquisition of self-sufficiency skills in all areas of functioning should be a priority in any plan of intervention. The tendency of children with AS and HFA to rely on rigid rules and routines can be used to foster positive habits and enhance their quality of life and that of family members. The teaching approach should be practiced routinely in naturally occurring situations and across different settings in order to maximize generalization of acquired skills.

Maladaptive Behaviors—

Specific problem-solving techniques (usually following a verbal rule) may be taught for handling the requirements of frequently occurring, problematic situations (e.g., involving novelty, intense social demands, frustration, etc.). Training is usually necessary for recognizing situations as problematic and for selecting the best available learned strategy to use in such circumstances.

Learning—

Concepts, appropriate procedures, cognitive techniques, etc., are more effectively taught in an explicit and rote fashion using a “parts-to-whole” verbal instruction approach, in which the verbal steps are in the correct sequence for the behavior to be effective. Additional guidelines should be derived from the child's neuropsychological profile of assets and deficits. Specific intervention techniques should be similar to those usually employed for learning disabilities, with an effort to thwart the identified difficulties by means of compensatory techniques (usually of a verbal nature).

If significant motor and visual-motor deficits are discovered during the evaluation, the child should receive physical and occupational therapies. Occupational therapies should not only focus on traditional techniques designed to address motor deficits, but should also reflect an effort to integrate these activities with learning of visual-spatial concepts, visual-spatial orientation, and body awareness.

Self-Support—

As children and teens with AS and HFA are usually self-described as loners (despite an often intense wish to make friends and have a more active social life), there is a need to facilitate social contact within the context of an activity-oriented group (e.g., church communities, hobby clubs, self-support groups, etc.). The little experience available with social groups suggests that these children and teens enjoy the opportunity to meet others with similar problems, and may develop relationships around an activity or subject of shared interest.

Vocational Training—

Oftentimes, older teens and young adults with AS and HFA may fail to meet entry requirements for jobs in their area of training (e.g., college degree) or fail to maintain a job because of their poor interview skills, social disabilities, eccentricities, or panic attacks. Having failed to secure skilled employment, these young people may be helped by well-meaning friends or relatives to find a manual job. As a result of their typically poor visual-motor skills, they may once again fail, leading to devastating emotional consequences. Thus, it is important that these individuals are trained for - and placed in - jobs where they are not neuropsychologically impaired, and where they will enjoy a certain degree of support and shelter. Also, it is preferable that the job does not involve intensive social demands.

Once the skills listed above have been mastered, parents may find that their “special needs” child functions at such a “normal” level that his or her symptoms of Asperger’s or HFA go unnoticed by others (e.g., peers, teachers, etc.).

Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management

Does Your "Special Needs" Child Really Need Special Services?

“Why is it so hard to get services for my child with high functioning autism? The school is refusing to do an IEP because “he is not a special needs student” by their definition, yet he spends a lot of time in a resource room by himself to calm down from his meltdowns. I don’t get it! What am I missing here?”

Unfortunately, the authorities who decide on entitlement to services are usually unaware of the extent and significance of the challenges associated with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s.

A solitary lifestyle, overall IQ usually within the normal range, and proficient verbal skills often mask outstanding deficits observed primarily in novel or otherwise socially demanding situations, which decreases the perception of the very salient needs for supportive intervention for the child.

Too many children with HFA and Asperger’s are diagnosed as learning disabled with eccentric features (a non-psychiatric diagnostic label that is much less effective in securing services, which saves money for the powers-to-be).

Active participation on the part of the therapist, together with moms and dads – and possibly an advocate – to forcefully pursue the child's eligibility for services is greatly needed in most cases. Only the squeaky wheel will get the grease. So parents need to learn how to “squeak” – loudly and persistently.

The treatment of HFA and Asperger’s is essentially supportive and symptomatic. Acquisition of basic skills in social interaction as well as in other areas of adaptive functioning should be encouraged. Associated conditions, such as depression and anxiety, should be treated.

Special educational services are often helpful. Also, supportive psychotherapy focused on depressive symptoms, problems of empathy, and social difficulties is helpful. Of course, none of this can get accomplished if the child is labeled “just a normal kid who misbehaves and acts a little strange.”

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COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Appeal to the district. If he has to be out of the regular classroom, he should have an IEP. Let me know if I can help!
•    Anonymous said... Don't give up! I've been fighting to get an IEP for my son since the 2nd grade. He is at the end of his 6th grade year and I just got one finalized for him. It shouldn't take this long though... I agree with the above comment - get an advocate. You can ask the school for one. Good luck!
•    Anonymous said... Escalate beyond the school to the trustees
•    Anonymous said... Gah. I got that too about my son in public school. But also from myself... I always thought, he's not all that severe; it felt dishonest to call him special needs when I see and know so many kids with bigger issues. But recently my son's teacher (on a private school) and I were celebrating that my son was finally sitting IN his desk to do his make-up work at the school after three weeks of meltdowns and a day of finally doing his work but on the floor. A lightbulb went off: this is special needs, celebrating an 11 year old using his desk. Back to his experience at public school, the school didn't want to qualify him as special needs, but they wanted him to have an aide to deal with his meltdowns. I pointed out that if he NEEDED an aide, then that's special needs. They were wrong, he didn't need an aide, but I was able to throw their hypocrisy at them, and that had some impact until we were able to get out of there.
•    Anonymous said... get services, wrap around and an advocate to go with you to the meeting. Look for a child therapist that specializes in this field If they are putting him in a class room many times a day by himself he needs help This can be considered neglect. And what are they saying to him when they put him here. The other thing is it being used as an escape so he doesn't have to deal or learn how to. Your child can learn they just think differently than others, and usually are way smarter than the adults. They are putting him there because they are not willing to deal with the situation or maybe they think that it is okay. It is not okay. My son knew at 4 years old he was different from all the other 15 kids in preschool.
•    Anonymous said... I am waiting for a meeting my son is 14. Any ideas on what i should be asking the school for in reguards of help ?
•    Anonymous said... I can relate to this, my 8yr old is also exactly the same and his meltdowns are so far and few in between that it further justifies their lack of support at our mainstream school. My husband and I have been self funding and seeking external (very expensive) therapies since my son was 2yrs old. His paediatrician is due to visit his school next month to have an indepth conference with the school faculty regarding the support he and I both are adamant he needs regardless of how "high functioning" he is. The paediatrician is also going to discuss with the school that he is ready to give my son a formal diagnosis of Social Pragmatic & Communication Disorder which will guarantee him a teacher's aid and extra support at school and he's going to make sure they get onto organising it asap. It's been a long road and my son does well with the outside school private tuition so we will continue with that regardless. Read up about Social Pragmatic & Communication Disorder, see if your son's Dr can help your son obtain extra support at school with it... For us it's looking as though this may just work. All the best, I know what you are going through... Keep hassling them and don't give in, the fact you still continue to ask questions even though "they" tell you "he's fine" is testament you're heading in the right direction.
•    Anonymous said... Ive been fighting since first grade. the IEP is listed under OHI (other health impaired not ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) sometimes its easier if its more vague. It depends on county. There are parent advocates in some counties that you can ask to attend the IEP meetings with you. They can advise you as to what accomodations your child might need. Call the school board and ask for the exceptional student dept (that's what we call it) then ask them about parent advocates or something like that. Good luck. I constantly have my sons modified as he gets older, or as he struggles in classes.
•    Anonymous said... My daughter was taken off her IEP because she started doing better grade wise, this is due to a wonderful teacher this year. After doing research, I found that she qualifies for a 504 Program. It is just like the IEP and provides the protection my daughter needs.
•    Anonymous said... Not sure where you are... I'm in Australia, my son is eight, in grade two. Last year he was tested through his school and rated at the high end for Aspergers = no funding. We have been very lucky in that his Teacher has been extra supportive, he had the same Teacher last year, a huge bonus getting him this year! My son finds it difficult with socialising at school and does not cope well with high contact sport. The last two years I've had him in karate for self defence as he was bullied at the beginning of his first two years of school. He was also doing indoor soccer for the last two years but most practices he would come away feeling frustrated, which then I had to help him work through. This year I decided to pull him from indoor soccer and put him in a swimming program = a happy, bouncy little boy after each practice. Some days there are no melt downs, some days there are. I made a sign he has to read at "melt down" times... "You are responsible for your behaviour, your choices and every result you get". This helps to remind him he is responsible for his actions, especially when he is on the defensive. It's a huge learning curve, especially when my hubby refuses to accept the findings.
•    Anonymous said... Welcome to reality
•    Anonymous said... wow my son just has aspergers traits, not enough for a diagnosis, sure we don't get free resources or money but the school still considers his needs and accommodates.

*   Anonymous said... My daughter also has a 504 plan but she also has medical issues as well so the 504 plan was a better choice over the IEP. With that said she has options in place "if" she needs to use them. She is a freshman in high school and has learned how to better "cope" with social situations. She also has a phone with her at all times and can text me if she needs to and then we make the decision if I am needed at school or not. When she was in elementary she did not have the 504 plan but the teachers were really good with her and helped her when needed. Maybe you can talk with the counselor and see if there is a program or place he can go to so he can "calm" down or talk with someone. My son has this type of option and he is not "special needs" but deals with bulling on a daily basis, this plan has only been in effect for a few weeks but has helped he cope. Good Luck!
*   Anonymous said... a charter school that sounded really good told me that they could not enroll my son unless I had his IEP modify so that he received no services. I told them so long!

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Should you home-school a child with Asperger's?

Is public school not working so well for your child with Asperger's or High-Functioning Autism? Are you thinking about home-schooling instead? Watch this first! 



Struggling with an Asperger's student? Click here for highly effective teaching strategies, specific to the Asperger's and HFA condition.

Comprehensive Assessment for Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism

Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism (HFA) involve delays and deviant patterns of behavior in multiple areas of functioning that often require the input of specialists with different areas of expertise, particularly overall developmental functioning, neuropsychological features, and behavioral status. Thus, the clinical assessment of children with Asperger’s and HFA is most effectively conducted by an experienced interdisciplinary team.

Let’s look at a few important points that should be made clear before we discuss the various areas of assessment…

First, most children with Asperger’s and HFA have average- to above average- levels of Full Scale IQ. As a result, they are often not thought of as in need for special programming. All too often, people view the “special needs” child as a person who is simply experiencing difficulties in behavior, social interaction, or in peer relationships. This is a true down-play of what is really going on. Asperger’s and HFA is a serious and debilitating developmental disorder impairing the child's capacity for socialization. It is NOT a transient or mild condition. Moms and dads need to be aware of the current lack of knowledge about Asperger’s and HFA, and the common confusions of use and abuse of the disorder currently prevailing in today's society.

Second, given the complexity of the disorder, the importance of developmental history, and the common difficulties in securing adequate services for kids on the autism spectrum, it is very important that moms and dads observe and participate in the assessment.

Third, assessment findings should be translated into a single, coherent view of the child (i.e., easily understood, detailed and concrete – with realistic recommendations). When writing their reports, specialists should strive to express the implications of their findings to the child's day-to-day adaptation, learning, and vocational training.

In the majority of cases, a comprehensive assessment will involve the following components: psychological assessment, neuropsychological assessment, psychiatric examination, history, and communication assessment.

Psychological Assessment—

This component attempts to establish the overall level of intellectual functioning, profiles of strengths and weaknesses, and style of learning. The specific areas to be examined and measured include:
  • academic achievement
  • adaptive functioning (e.g., degree of self-sufficiency in real-life situations)
  • neuropsychological functioning (e.g., problem-solving, concept formation, visual-perceptual skills, motor and psychomotor skills, memory, executive functions)
  • personality assessment (e.g., mood presentation, common preoccupations, compensatory strategies of adaptation)

Neuropsychological Assessment—

The neuropsychological assessment of children with Asperger’s and HFA involves certain procedures of specific interest. Whether or not a Verbal-Performance IQ discrepancy is obtained in intelligence testing, it is advisable to conduct a fairly comprehensive neuropsychological assessment including:
  • concept formation (both verbal and nonverbal)
  • executive functions 
  • facial recognition
  • gestalt perception
  • measures of motor skills (e.g., coordination of the large muscles, manipulative skills, visual-motor coordination, visual-perceptual skills)
  • parts-whole relationships
  • spatial orientation
  • visual memory

A recommended protocol would include the measures used in the assessment of children with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. Particular attention should be given to demonstrated or potential compensatory strategies (e.g., children with significant visual-spatial deficits may translate the task or mediate their responses by means of verbal strategies or verbal guidance, which may be important for educational programming).

Psychiatric Examination—

The psychiatric examination should include observations of the child during more and less structured periods (e.g., while interacting with the mother or father, while engaged in assessment by other members of the evaluation team). Specific areas for observation and inquiry include:
  • ability to intuit other's feelings
  • ability to infer other's intentions and beliefs
  • capacities for self-awareness
  • development of peer relationships and friendships
  • level of insight into social and behavioral problems
  • patterns of special interest and leisure time
  • perspective-taking
  • quality of attachment to family members
  • social and affective presentation
  • typical reactions in novel situations

Problem behaviors that are likely to interfere with remedial programming should be noted (e.g., marked aggression). The child's ability to understand ambiguous nonliteral communications (e.g., teasing and sarcasm) should be examined, because misunderstandings of such communications may elicit aggressive behaviors. Other areas of observation involve:
  • anxiety
  • coherence of thought
  • depression
  • panic attacks
  • presence of obsessions or compulsions

History—

A careful history should be obtained (e.g., information related to pregnancy and neonatal period, early development and characteristics of development, medical and family history). A review of previous records including previous evaluations should be performed. Also, several other specific areas should be directly examined because of their importance in the diagnosis of Asperger’s and HFA, including:
  • areas of special interest (e.g., favorite occupations, unusual skills, collections)
  • development of friendships
  • development of motor skills
  • emotional development
  • history of onset/recognition of the problems
  • language patterns
  • mood presentation
  • past and present problems in social interaction
  • patterns of attachment of family members
  • self-concept
  • social development

Communication Assessment—


The communication assessment attempts to obtain both quantitative and qualitative information regarding the various aspects of the child's communication skills. It should go beyond the testing of speech and formal language (e.g., vocabulary, articulation, sentence construction, comprehension), which are often areas of strength. The assessment should examine:
  • content, coherence, and contingency of conversation
  • nonliteral language (e.g., humor, metaphor, irony, absurdities)
  • nonverbal forms of communication (e.g., gestures, gaze)
  • pragmatics (e.g., adherence to typical rules of conversation, turn-taking, sensitivity to cues provided by the speaker)
  • prosody of speech (e.g., pitch, melody, volume, stress)

Asperger’s can be diagnosed through several different assessment tools, most of which are targeted toward kids and young adults (e.g., Australian Scale for Asperger's Syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome Diagnostic Scale, Childhood Autism Spectrum Test, Adult Asperger Assessment). Asperger's assessment tests are performed in conjunction with behavioral evaluations and analysis of intake information provided by moms and dads, educators, and the child himself or herself. These assessments help to ensure accuracy in diagnosing Asperger's so that future treatments and accommodations can be implemented.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook
  

COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Getting through a school day without upset at kids teasing......Good day today.
•    Anonymous said... I am new to this site and grateful for it
•    Anonymous said... I ended up going to our Minister of Education to get help for my son as he is well above average in schooling, but because of his behaviour he was close to being suspended and the RBLT said she could not put anything in place as he didn't need it. The Minister got something's put in place, but we ended up changing schools and the RBLT at that school put in a socializing programme for him to teach him how to play with kids, and this was everyday during class time. What a difference it made, he was actually able to be in the playground at breaks.
•    Anonymous said... Just having this epiphany myself this week. I've felt inappropriate thinking of my asperger son as special needs as his physical and intellectual abilities are fine. But when I found myself celebrating with his teacher that my 11 year old was sitting in a chair and doing his schoolwork... I was like yeah, duh, that's kinda special needs.
•    Anonymous said... my 18 year old who has been attending a wonderful exclusionary school for his needs that are increasingly aspergers believes he needs to curse to get past his anger. I don't allow cursing. he wont consider other options also he persevered when he's agitated and that's when I tend to lose my cool. I practice disengagement but fear he feels abandoned and since he's adopted I might be inadvertently hurting him. any thoughts? thank you hope im not out of order here
•    Anonymous said... My son is 3 with aspergers. And too is swearing, we have got most of the bad words out of his temper swearing. Now he only goes too bullshit+t. He says this when angry happy, even today he changed his name to Gordon bullshit+t. For a couple of hours and when I wouldn't say it. He got angry at me for not saying his new name. Its just a dealing mechanism. I also have asperges, and when I am really anxious, or very angry and defensive, I have a truckers mouth as well. Its just all about love and acceptence. He may acknowledge that you don't like it, but it also could be a eternal comfort for his brain too.

Please post your comment below…

COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for May, 2014]

Got Questions? Join Online Parent Coaching for all the answers!

Hello Mark, I wanted to give you and update on Mickayla's progress. Well since we followed your program and started making our kids earn everything and also took Mickayla out of homeschooling and enrolled her at New Heights, a charter school she has gone from getting F's to getting A's and one B-. We even noticed a change in her attitude toward her siblings and she has a group of friends who are not only A+ students but who stay away from trouble, too. She is still cranky from time to time but I don't get into fights with her anymore. We talk more, too. She wants a cell phone now and my husband and I told her that she has to pay half of the bill and half for the phone, she also has to go by a cellphone contract I found on line. Thanks so much. Your program is worth a million!

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I am feeling very fragile after 48 years with a man I have loved so deeply with little return of that love in any emotional way.  What I have learned is to accept his actions:  keeping our young family safe and fed and housed; caring for all equipment; being a dedicated science teacher for 34 years; donating hundreds of hours a month as a volunteer for so many things.  What I have missed is an emotional connection with him. 

Having come from from a sexually abusive home (early childhood), I have have been courageous in seeking the help I needed (at 48) to keep from totally psychological disintegration.  I integrated 8 alter personalities in ten years, determined to get through grueling therapy without medication and come out whole and content I have. 

As we were moving after 40 years in one home in Downtown Tulsa to a rural town in south central Texas to be near our physician middle daughter  and her family.  As I was saying goodbye to my therapist in Tulsa, he told me my husband had Aspergers and to study up on it and determine that for myself.  It was a relief to find the causes of his behaviors that had always perplexed me.  However, my therapist wasn't sure telling him at age 71 was wise as he didn't think he could change.

Something has to change and I believe he must know so that we don't have to live in such isolation that gets worth each year of his life.  His constant criticism has had the affect of allowing myself to become over anxious and emotional. 

It sense it is time to tell him what I know, let him study the topic, and come to the conclusion for himself.  I'm hoping your ebook will help me do that.

Again, thank you for sharing of yourself on the Internet.  I feel a bit less lonely today.  He is off volunteering as a tour guide today, and I am revisiting and learning as much about the autism spectrum as I can. 

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Mark,
We have been searching for years to find out what my daughter is all about.  We have put endless hours ,out of love, wanting the best for her.  In the last few months we have determined it is Aspergers.  We have inundated ourselves with books and info from everywhere we can find it.   During this time, I have discovered that my husband probably  has this as well.  What I heard of your seminar was so accurate in how I feel and the issues we have in our marriage.  I feel , more and more, that I am at loss with trying to communicate with him.  We are not even close to divorce but everyday seems harder and harder.  I did share with him these feelings, but as you mentioned he was not very receptive and has yet to continue the conversation after three weeks. 
I was glued to your talk and when it ended, I wanted  to hear more.  I don't know where to go from here and hearing what you said was validating and encouraging.  I  will sit and watch or listen as long as it takes, if it means saving my marriage and my family!
Thanks for what you do.

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My wife and I are just in the initial phase of diagnosing our 16 year old son with AS.  In other words, we think he has it, but we’re not sure.  As with most AS kids (I assume) he has been diagnosed with ADD, sensory integration issues, etc.    My question is -  are you aware of anyone in the Boston area you would recommend we meet with to discuss our son’s situation (behavior, habits, etc) to get a sense of whether he is more or less likely to have AS?   He fits some symptoms, but not others (which is probably not unusual):

•         Well liked among his peers, but not many close friends, something always “seems to happen” but he’s never sure what it is
•         Rejected by his ‘best friends’ but not sure why
•         Can be unintentionally intimidating to others, a serious look, almost like a scowl would be his normal facial expression
•         Very focused on a few things  (basketball is #1, but music, movies and TV are also important)
•         Maintains good eye contact in conversations
•         Very competitive, always judging how he ‘measures up’ vs. his peers
•         Good (3.2 GPA) grades, very preoccupied with going to a good college
•         Athletic (a good basketball player) but way below average fine motor skills ( buttoning a shirt is difficult)
•         Very limited diet (never will eat any fruits or vegetables)
•         Monotone in verbal communication
•         Very respectful to authority figures (teachers, coaches) never any behavioral issues at school- considered ‘a nice boy’
•         Has a good heart, not intentionally mean to anyone, feels empathy
•         Can be very disrespectful to parents, because he feels like he can be himself at home, being good all day seems to exhaust him
•         If he’s outwardly happy or in an obviously good mood, there’s usually a reason (he had a great game, did well in on a test, he’s on vacation, etc.)
•         Hygiene- won’t use soap or deodorant on his own, needs to be told- almost every day
•         Very disorganized, which causes lots of unnecessary anxiety, always losing things, leaving things behind, more than simple forgetfulness

Sorry for a long email, but we’re just coming to terms with the possibility he has AS and aren’t sure what the next steps should be.   Many thanks for any insight!!

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Hi Mark,

You don’t know me but I’m desperately hoping you can help me.  Regarding this article on your My Aspergers Child blog http://www.myaspergerschild.com/2010/10/aspergers-teens-and-sex-education.html and specifically, the following paragraph:


On the one hand, there are the shy, prudish teens who consider it a big deal to unbutton the top button on their shirt or to wear shorts….

Both types of Aspergers teens create social issues with the "prudish" type often being subjected to bullying over their appearance. They also often have problems attending gym class. These Aspergers teens often face longer-term life and relationship issues because social rejection in the teen years can often have lasting consequences. All too often, these teens have major issues with dating and with meeting others. In this regard, some of worst problems stem from their conservative dress sense and the fact that they would never set foot in many of the places where social activities are conducted (e.g., dances).

This paragraph is an accurate description of me - an adult female with Asperger’s, suffering from the same long-term issues that you describe.  I need to find out more about this to pinpoint why, in my late 30s, I am still incapable of entering into any sort of relationship, and hopefully find a way to overcome my difficulties, but I cannot find any other information about this extreme “prudish” type of Aspergers anywhere.

Please, where can I find out more?

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My 16 yr old son was diagnosed PDD two tears ago (we have a 21 year old reclusive daughter with Aspergers as well), and as he grows he has become very depressed anxious panic attacks, no friends, afraid to go outside, is home schooled because he cant keep up academically and this has caused a great self hatred, and he sees he cannot succeed in the school system , so I took him out because of the damage it was doing...(even the IEP did not help him).  But now he does nothing or very little of homeschooling, as he cannot sit still for academics but is ok with video games, and youtubing, etc.  the neuropsychiatrist has tried antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants, and many other types of meds that have done nothing but make matters worse!  So he is off everything except Xanax for panic attacs.  We have recently put  him in a social skills group therapy, which I am skeptical will help him, as he wont connect with anyone except the only girl in the group who has latched onto him.....he believes that he is same sex attracted but wants to "try" a relationship with a girl, (he has never had any romantic relationships at all yet in his life, this would be his first...and she seems very controlling which worries me but I am watching closely and not getting involved at this point) but he won't connect with the boys in the group and I feel that for some reason it is more important for his male maturity to connect with his same sex peers on a social level, so that he can find himself.  I hope this is making sense as I do not have much time to sit and compose a perfect letter.

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Dear Dr. Hutten,

I am writing you to see if you could help direct me to some effective materials for creating a more stable relationship with our adult son who is now almost 30.

He is living independently and has worked as a Pharmacy Technician at Safeway for 10 years which is the silver lining in all of this. He is a good employee and we are very fortunate that this aspect of his life is stable.

He is actually a foster child who came to live with us at age 6 due to his Mother’s debilitating MS. He had a chaotic childhood and was in several different foster home situations.

He is currently involved with young woman who shows no romantic interest in him. She is a student and does not work and uses our son to finance all of her entertainment, clothes, make-up etc. His finances have always been very tenuous but bills have now gone to collections and he has no savings. He is getting very little rest, off all medication including thyroid and I don’t think is eating well. My obvious concern is for his health among other concerns.

In additional we are dealing with the following behaviors which make this more challenging:

•         Once he has an idea it takes on a life of its own. For example, he would risk his health, financial stability, and other relationships to keep this girl in his life. He becomes focused on one issue and cannot let that go even though things are falling apart in other areas of his life
•         He is a chronic liar and does not seem to have any remorse
•         He told us recently that he has “no feeling” for us, his brother or his Mother who passed away in 1995
•         He has numerous challenges managing ADL’s
•         He seems to live in somewhat of a fantasy world and seem oblivious to reality
•         He has had a number of academic failures

I am wondering if there are specific videos and or books that might help us in managing our relationship with him which is quite strained right now. I believe that there is more involved here than Asperger’s. He also has a diagnosis of ADHD and anxiety.

My other concern is that we have such a challenging situation that this will be difficult to address. We want to stay involved in his life at some level since we believe he is at such risk but that has become more challenging since he knows we are concerned and I think he only wants to be the company of people who do not have the full picture or don’t care about his personal choices.

I do have a counselor who would be willing to meet with both of us to explore some of these issues. She has worked in the Asperger community for many years. She is suggesting that he might also have an attachment disorder which is possible based on his background.

I would appreciate any recommendations for figuring out how to interact with him and keep him safe—that is our challenge right now.

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Dear Mark,

My husband, Bill, and I are the parents of a 26-year old son whom we strongly suspect has Asperger's.  While Alex has not been diagnosed by a professional, he does seem to manifest most, if not virtually all, of the symptoms.  He has, however, been diagnosed with ADHD as well as with cystic fibrosis.

I purchased your ebook yesterday and Bill and I are reading it.  As per your request, I won't pose any specific questions to you until we've thoroughly read the material and listened to the audiotapes.  However, as we anticipate that your one-hour Skype conference sessions would be very beneficial for Alex, may I please ask at this point what your fee is?

Thank you very much for your kind assistance.

Best regards,

Mary

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Dear Mr. Hutten:

I am the mother of a 13-year old boy.  We live in Southern California.  I purchased your eBook, Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management.

I would really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you directly for some guidance. 

My son was diagnosed with delayed receptive and expressive speech at age 3.  He attends a typical school and we does not have any accommodations.  We have never discussed his issues with him or his schools.

We moved my son to a small private school two years ago at 6th grade.  He is now in 7th grade and has no friends whatsoever.  He is completely ignored by his class mates.  How can this be?  He is a super nice good looking kid with absolutely no behavioral problems.

The only thing I can think of is the fact that his verbal communication is not up to par with the other kids his age and he can be socially awkward when he is not at ease.  This can’t be the whole problem, can it?  There seems to be some disconnect that he and I cannot figure out.  He is incredibly sad and hurt by his school experience.  His self esteem is extremely low and his outlook on life frightens me.

We desperately need some professional help so that we can get to the root of his social problem and fix it.  I know he can make and keep friends.  He still maintains his friendship with 3-4 kids from his old school.  He has a wonderful best friend. 

Needless to say, we are withdrawing from the private school at the end of this year.  He has two public school options for next year.  I need to get this problem understood before the start of the school year so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes.  My son agrees.

I cannot sleep because my nights are spent worrying about my son and imagining his loneliness at school every day.   My heart is broken and so is his.

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As I sit at my office desk in tears I manage to search for some help and came across Launching Adult Children with Asperger’s. This sounds like a Godsend.  First I have a daughter who is 20. She was diagnose  with mild Asperger’s at age 7. The therapist said it was a mild case and she compensated well.  She is highly intelligent which has open many doors but her social skills hinder her progress. I know you hear tons of stories but mine may be a little unique. I knew about my daughter diagnosis for years but she didn’t know until she was 17. This has been a rude awakening for her and I think I may have destroyed her life in efforts to protect her. I’m at a lost and I’m hoping your book will give me some guidance.  We lived in Terre Haute and she recently move back home from Anderson University and transferred to ISU (which seems to be a big sensory overload). She doesn’t want to live on campus because she had an awful time coping when she was away at Anderson. Long story short, are there support groups near Terre Haute, IN not just for parents but for people with Asperger’s?    I notice you have online support for parents but is there online support for her? I appreciate your help.

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Hi Mark,     I have a daughter called Natalie aged 24years who has recently been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. She did well at school even though she had problems with migraines. She had two attempts at university studying Chemistry and Forensic Science but was stressed out and had a lot of migraines, lots of time off sick, struggled to catch up with lectures and course work and therefore was unable to complete the course. Since then she had applied for an apprenticeship in Bussiness and Admin., was granted a place at our local college but was unable to find a firm that would give her the experience. She was told that she had limited work experience. My sister who has a Bed and Breakfast Hotel in Trinidad offered to take her on for six months. She left our home in Preston, Lancashire, England in January and my sister had her assessed by a psychiatrist in March. She has motor clumsiness and co ordination, low coping skills, needs reminding about combing her hair , cleaning her teeth, eye contact issues, limited facial expression, can`t figure out if what she`s wearing is appropiate or not. My sister says that she has learnt a lot since working with her,exposure to different people and situations. They had wanted her to stay there for a year for treatment but Natalie wanted to return after the six months as she was missing our family and the weather was becoming too hot for her.

She hasn`t been told about her diagnosis as she is returning home in June, therefore only an assessment was done and no results communicated to her. She will be given some career guidance until she returns. I would like to have something in place for her on her return. Have you got any suggestions on how I should proceed? She is such a lovely girl, very bright and I just want her to be able to get a good job and be able to support herself and be independent.

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QUESTION:
Thank you very much for offering your online coaching service - I have been enjoying your newsletters for 6 months or so now and have found them very helpful and insightful.  I have a 6 year old daughter with ASD, and one challenge we are having with her is difficulty getting her to sit still and stay in her seat at appropriate times (school, church mealtime, etc.)  She just seems so wiggly and restless, much more so than her twin brother.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated! 

ANSWER:
RE: She just seems so wiggly and restless…

Restlessness can be an ADHD symptom. Also, the lack of challenge for certain gifted kids makes them fidget in church, class, etc. They may find what is happening is too dull or boring, and this leads them to fidget.

Some kids have a genetic disposition to wiggle around and tend to move more than other kids. They are constantly moving and are mostly unaware of this habit. Instead of worrying about it or giving unnecessary punishments, it is advised to accept this nature and allow the wiggling (probably not what you wanted to hear).

Allow your daughter to have something in her hands or lap. Just make sure the items you give her to fidget with are light in weight and don’t create any kind of racket. Children who are permitted to move their hands freely are able to fidget less - and learn faster - than children who are prohibited from doing so. The various hand movements help children concentrate and learn.

Although there is no way to completely do away with restlessness, you can minimize it to some extent. Providing a different form of stimulation often helps (e.g., holding and squeezing a stress ball). Unless restlessness causes distress to others or turns to agitation, there is no need to worry about it. It is not such a bad thing, and usually dissipates over time.

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Mr. Hutten,

I am at the end of my rope with my 17 year old son. Peter was diagnosed with Aspergers/PDD-NOS when he was 11 years old. Since then, Peter has displayed symptoms of depression that progressively worsened. He is currently prescribed 150 mg of Zoloft per day which somewhat helps.

The reason I am contacting you is because Peter is having a difficult year in school. He is a junior this year but it is unlikely he will pass his classes this semester even though he is capable of earning straight A's. Peter has had bouts of nonattendance and tardiness all year. In fact, he did not attend school at all this past week. He says that he doesn't need an education and that he doesn't like school. He has become very defiant about school and has made it known to the school personnel that he doesn't want to be there.

As I said at the beginning, I am at the end of my rope. I am seriously considering withdrawing Peter for school and enrolling him in a GED program. Is there any advice you can give me?

Your input is much appreciated. Thank you.

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hello, i have a 12 year old son with a diagnosis aspergers, adhd, anxiety disorder, depression, TICS, and mood disorder. He was in the psych hospital in Feb. for the first time. we homeschool him. We adopted him at birth and the birth mother told us that she "might" have smoked dope and drank prior to knowing she was pregnant.

My  question is this...he is out of control to the point of endangering himself, me or animals. He threatens to kill the psychiatrist and me. Everything is someone elses fault and the whole world is against him. I know you hear this time and time again but I feel as if i am the only one going through this and I isolate myself from others so that I dont have to deal with him in public. We have been to classes, read books and tried therapies and nothing seems to work. I was under the impression that he cycled in the year and was just having a tough time but we are going on our 5th month of really tough struggles with him. I have considered placing him in a longterm group home because I dont feel as if i can do this anymore. I am tired of fighting with him and just want to know how you can help us?
 we do have medical insurance and they have suggested different things but nothing is working right now. I dont even like my child and a mother should never feel that way. I'm just tired of trying things that dont work...

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Hello Mark,
I came across your site tonight desperate for some answers for my brother who has a son with HFA. My brother is not dealing well with things in general, with his son and is finding it hard to motivate him when it comes to school. they have huge outbursts and nothing positive comes form it. My dealings with students with HFA and Autism has been through my teaching, but I am not the parent, so I understand, my advice is limited.

Can you advise me as to where outside of school, or who within school he and his wife could go for any further advice. My heart goes out to my nephew and adore him as he does me! he is in year 8 and not coping with homework etc.  Thanks so much for your time reading my email.

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Dear Mark,

I am really confused and don't know where to turn. Your information is incredibly helpful and focused. As her mother, I believe our daughter has Asperger's.

Our daughter Lucia is 13, diagnosed with NLD three years ago. (She was diagnosed with selective mutism and anxiety at age 7.) Her experienced psychologist recently evaluated her and we are awaiting the school's portion of the evaluation.

He said that bec she doesn't have too strong of a repetitive interest, she cannot be diagnosed ASD, and that the other choice is social communication disorder (which insurance will not help us with) with the new DSM-V. I am certain that it's not just communication that's a problem for her!!! If she has NLD, Asperger's, PDD, shouldn't she be classified as under the spectrum? I don't know what to do or think. I like a label bec then I can learn about it and better help her! Do you know what we can do to get a proper diagnosis through the well -respected practice? Shouldn't they take into consideration mother's observations?

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 Hi, can you help us with our adult 22 year old aspie who just won’t do what we ask her to do.  She has a job and loves to work but goes to work 5 hours early and just sits there or wanders the store.  We cannot get her to do her chores or laundry and the minute we leave for work she leaves the house.  We live 30 miles from her job with no public transportation so taking her vehicle is not an option.  She has flunked out of college and we now want her to get a full time job but she doesn’t look too hard.

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I am a social worker in a Private OMH clinic and I have a client and family that I have not been able to help much. I am not use to this! After 4 years with this 15 yr old I love her but have not made much of a dent in her outbursts at home and her parents are as exhausted as when I first met them! I am sorry to vent but what is the cost of your program. I see the book is 19 Dollars? What other fees are there. The family is not wealthy but they do have some resources. I can’t recommend what I do not know about so I was going to order the book also, or first. I have been in practice for 32 years but not a lot of Spectrum kids that function so high. By the way this child has done great in school.

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Thank you very much Mr Hutton, my daughter was diagnosed in dec with ODD and ADD we have been swing a therapist for 3 months and she is taking Ritalin when I can get her to take it she is 12. My frustration is I have implemented everything the therapist have advised and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. She throws fits is rude disrespectful swears and other times she is very sweet. I just want to be able to have a semi normal household as I have other children and also be able to go places and not have to be embarrassed as I'm not sure how to handle her in public. Any advise u can give is appreciated a that's why I'm online trying to gain more knowledge to help my daughter and my family .

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Hi Mark:
My grand daughter is 8 years of age and diagnosed with HF Autism by NYU Child study - a 3 day evaluation. My son has sole custody, as her mother left the home when Lily was 6 years old. My grand daughter is now in a Special needs school and doing extremely well....She still has her meltdowns.  However, she now can hold conversations, good memory, fun to be with, can teach me how to use a laptop, tablet, etc.  Our main concern is "Play dates in her home." She becomes very Territorial and will not share her toys or allow anyone in her room .  Play dates outside of her home most times go well. We have an untrained attendant in the home and neither she or her dad are able to get her to share.(big problem) as she is losing potential friends and the opportunity to acquire needed social skills.
Would greatly appreciate your suggestions.
Thanking you in advance.

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Dear Mark

Thank you for your quick response. My child, 7years, has been recently diagnosed by Aspergers Syndrome. Since then I have been reading up & researching online on Aspergers Syndrome as suggested by yourself and some of the well wishers. I have also met people to understand support and resource  available for a child with ASD. To be honest to you at this junction I am lost and am reaching out to you to seek advice on way forward for Mikhail.


As suggested by you Social Skills Training and CBT is the best intervention plan for Mikhail, in which case who can facilitate, an OT/SI  for example to be improve his ability to respond when called or Behavioral Therapist for helping him with Social Cues.


I have oriented the School about his issues, through Remedial Education they are confident about dealing with school situations like writing, attention, Motivation, Group participation and Bullying.


Eagerly look forward to your response, as you will empathize, i need guidance in helping my child reach his potential. Thanking you in advance. I am attaching the scanned copy of the Mikhail's diagnosis report for your reference.

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I am a social worker and recently met a client who has Asbergers. He is filled with rage and does not know how to control his anger. He is seriously a threat to himself and his family. Could this be the result of autism? According to both himself and the family he has never been abused and has not lived a hard life. What are your opinions? I was reading about your OPS classes and was thinking of referring him to you for help. Is there a way that he can obtain help without it being a financial difficulty on the family?

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Hi Mark,

I have trouble with my daughter, age 14, and son, almost 10, at home.  The weird thing is, out in public, they are fine! Active at church and youth groups, Actually great roles models! Straight A's, awards, complements from teachers and parents all the time!!   Grounding my 14 year old just makes her laugh, she hardly ever goes anywhere anyway.  She just does homework!

 Its only inside our home that I get backtalk, strong will battles, hitting me, refusing to help, temper tantrums, knocking over things,  making unreasonable messes.  No one would suspect it. 
Have you worked with families like this?    No stealing, no drugs, but if I ask them to load the dishes, I need a good lawyer!  If I try not to argue, my son wont go away, you never listen!! You dont care about me! You are grounding me and ruining my life!" Then keeps hitting me.  cant leave or he might take it out on his sisters.

My 7 year old isnt too bad yet.

Read tons of parenting books, I know, limits, respect them....etc.  Starting to praise more more good behavior, although was already doing this!  I suppose the issue was inconsistency, grounding them and letting them go for good behavior the next day, not being on the same page with my husband on punishments, arguing with him in front of them, and being sarcastic and yelling, although I'm much better nowadays.  Why am I still having trouble?  

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We have been having difficulty getting my daughter, who is 12, up and ready for school in the mornings ever since she began school at 5 years old.  To give a bit of background, while she does have a hard time falling asleep, she has been taking Trazodone (have also used Melatonin in the past) for this particular issue, and is generally asleep within an hour of taking it.  When she was younger, her bedtime was 7:30pm, at the beginning of this school year that had been pushed back to 8:30, and currently is 9pm.  She consistently goes to bed at 9pm (sometimes on a weekend she will stay up a little longer, but it is rarely past 9).

While this has been a problem forever, next year she will be going to middle school - and she will need to be ready to go an hour earlier than she currently is.  We have been discussing this with her for at least 2 years, so she definitely knows it is coming. Generally the problem is that she will get out of bed (begrudgingly, and most of the time my husband takes her blankets off her bed to get her out - occasionally we have had to remove her from her bed ourselves) and then will get distracted reading books, playing, just laying around, etc.  And will not get dressed.  At this point, she is generally naked in her bedroom - otherwise I would send her to school in pajamas.

We have tried several methods to try and get her to see what happens if she doesn’t get up and get ready:

Letting her miss the bus (meltdown - yelling at the bus - but the same issue persists the very next day)

I did put her in the car on the way to an appointment once with only underwear on, and her clothes in a bag.

Removing all toys/books from her room (she still would lay on the floor, or take books from her sister’s room, or read boring literature from mail flyers, etc.)

Reward charts (several different kinds, with several different options, and several types of rewards - currently she can earn $1/day if she gets herself out of bed and dressed before her father gets out of the shower - I believe she has earned $3 so far through this system, and we have been doing it for over 3 months.

Nothing has helped - I don’t believe this is a sleep issue, as on the weekends she has no problems getting out of bed at the same time or earlier than normal to read, play with her toys, use her time for computer/video games. And she has shown that she *can* get ready if there’s a good enough reason for her to want to.

I’m not sure what exactly we are going to do next year - do you have any helpful hints or ideas that we can try next?

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My son will be 20 at the end of May, and officially diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 17.   He started seeing a psychologist (she actually did testing).  But since he was 18, and wouldn’t sign a release, the person could not share info with me.  So I felt like my hands were tied.  I want to help my son be as independent as I can, but during that time, I wasn’t getting any information.   I asked about services, but was told they were limited because he was not in high school any longer.

Initially, he didn’t really want people to know he had Aspergers, thought his case was mild enough that he could adapt.  But in the last 6-8 months, I think that is changing.  As he understands himself more, maybe he is realizing his challenges more than before, I don’t know.  He had a “situation” with his previous therapist, and it required him changing therapists abruptly.  That did not go over well. 

Last fall, he got so overwhelmed with things, that he told his therapist that he was having thoughts of hurting me and his brother.  He was admitted to Gallahue, released 3 days later.  They started him on Risperdal and Inderal.  He didn’t like how that made him feel, so only took them for a short period and stopped.  He found another therapist (he found her by doing an internet search)- and she has really been positive for him.  He is a little more willing to share info.  He is not on any medication now.

His grandmother, my mom, died after a brief illness when he was 14.  We were all VERY close and after she died,  I was very depressed.  I think that impacted him in ways I am still realizing.  His paternal grandmother, who lived in Grand Cayman, died a couple years later.  Although Niko was not very close to her, his dad became very depressed.   His father and I have had marital problems, too.  Not a fun place to be a lot of the time at our house, although I tried my best. His dad and I have been separated for the last year.  Niko doesn’t like his dad, doesn’t want to speak to his dad. 

He lives at home, has one 16 y.o. brother.  He has sent several applications, gotten some interviews, but no job offers.  He is also taking a class per semester at Ivy Tech.  Thought he wanted to be a psychologist, but may be reconsidering that at this point.  I don’t think he knows.

So he tells me he is depressed, but therapist not recommending seeing a psychiatrist for medication at this point.  I like his therapist.   She doesn’t take a lot of Niko’s crap.  He has outbursts when he is challenged or doesn’t get what he wants.  I have been called every name there is.

Niko says I don’t understand him or what he needs because of his Aspergers.  I have read a lot online, several books. I have read your info on Young Adults with Aspergers.  Sometimes, I am not sure if he is trying to manipulate me, or if he is really that rigid in his thinking.  I WANT to understand how he thinks.

I want to help my son be as independent as he can be, like every other parent.  Sometimes, I think he will be able to move out, finish school, and get a job.  On the other hand, sometimes he seems to be so paralyzed by basic activities.  He sees a therapist, but I still struggle with trying to find help for him.  I am probably feeling guilty too because if he was diagnosed earlier, he could have gotten help earlier.  He also went to a meeting with vocational Rehab to see about services, but he is “waiting” to see if he qualifies.  I struggle with helping him vs letting him do things on his own.  I struggle with support vs doing it for him.   Please help me as I try to understand my son and be a support in his quest for independence.  
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Dear Dr Hutten, 

My name is Ruth. My 6yr old grandson, Nolan, has been having horrible meltdowns, violent behavior towards himself and others for the past 4 years. We are not able to take him to a restaurant, a store or an amusement park. He was in our local psychiatric hospital for 3 weeks last month. He has been diagnosed as ADHD and aspburgers on the autistic spectrum. For the last 4 years he has been on resperadone, adderall, conccerta and clonodine as he doesn't sleep. He also wets himself regularly which he didn't do before all these drugs that don't seem to be helping all that much.  We are getting desperate. He is getting too big and fights too hard. We can't get to where we need to be because he is melting down. Normal places we need to be like WORK. We live in a small school district in Northern NY. Because he is high functioning the school has not given him an I.EP. We have been trying to get help for him for 4 years. Other than drugs that don't work we have gotten nowhere. He is never happy and he know he's different then the other kids. He has a very sad pitiful little life. It just breaks my heart. Not only that, I just don't know how much more of his meltdowns we can take emotionally. I am willing to take him wherever I have to. My daughter and I just don't know what to do! Please, is there anyone or anything that can help?

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Hello. Can you please give me some advice? I'm 22 years old and I have AS. I was diagnosed with AS when I was 17, which means I've been through a really tough undiagnosticated childhood. I don't take any medication (only B6 vitamin+magnesium). Because when I was 17 the psychiatrist who diagnosed me prescribed me 6 different pills to take everyday (anxiolytics, antidepressants, OCD controller pills, soothing pills) and I despise those pills because they create addiction. So I stopped taking them. And I always had my tough moments yes, but I was dealing with my issues with a positive mind and it was working out, I can say I was having a pretty healthy life and I could handle things on my own. But in the last year, I've been noticing that some of my issues are getting worse... Particularly my social issues. Sometimes I can't even spell a word to strangers, it's like my mind freezes. Sometimes I can't even leave the house. I've been afraid of everything around me lately. I can't use public transports and I get really anxious when I'm in a car by someone who's driving. My OCD got worse too. I have meltdowns more often. And when I get depressed it hits me really bad... [0/10: usually a 8 or a 9]. It's really stressful because I lose all my focus and I can't even keep a positive mind anymore. Why do you think this is happening? What do you think I should do? Besides taking so many pills again? I really don't want to take pills. If you are a doctor or you also have AS, can you please tell me what you think I should do? (I'm sorry about some potential grammatical errors; I'm portuguese) thank you for your time. It would be really helpful if you could answer.

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Good evening Mr. Mark,
My husband and I have been on the edge of our marriage. Recently I lost my job, due to nature. After being told I had aspergers I thought it would make our relationship move way more smoothly because we could have an understanding of what was going on. It has not despite talking with professionals and researching the internet we are at each other more than ever and despite reading up on the subject we are still not getting g a grip on our situation. I fear ending a second marriage that I complete adore and am trying everything in my power to change my communications with my partner so he doesnt feel like I am neglecting him, so I dont appear needy or distance and we keep running into walls over and over again. My meltdowns have hit an all time low and we just end up blaming each other in the end. Your book has peeked my interest and would love the in site it has to offer. Due to being unemployed I cannot purchase it. I have checked our local libraries to see if it is available for rent and it is not. Everything I read on your website discribes our problems to a t and I would love to be able to read and have my husband read the book in hopes of some type of resolution that doesnt end in divorce. I would appreciate any help you can give.
  

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Hello,  I am trying to plan for the future.  My son is 16, has aspergrs, and bipolar.  His anxiety level is a 20 ,  he does not have a desire to learn to drive, he fears everything.  I took him out of public school for fear the next time he got beat up, he would not survive.  Now he is transgender.  I am on ssi disability, for 17 yrs for bipolar.  I am his mother.

I am not sure of the future?  I am overwhelmed,  I do not trust the system!  As foster care has already had2 visits in our life,  which has scarred us greatly.  Can you advise me?

We tarted homeschooling, helots interest.  So at 9 the grade his gap a was all a's and b's.  I AMA single parent,  I am wore out of thinking!  I thought at 17 for him/ her to take the GED and focus on voc rehabe?  Now I am questioning everything that I think of!  I know there is an answer but, the remote area we are in has taken a toll on us both!


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My son, Ari, 18, has been tested three times by seasoned professionals. He received an IEP and it was recommended he should be in a special needs school (he’s about to graduate from the summit school, queens, which has been fab since they have a social skills track which is his issue; he’s strong academically), even though he’s never been officially diagnosed. I believe he’s an asperger kid and I was drawn to you because you’re the first professional I’ve seen who addresses the anger symptoms. Ari is B+W, impulsive. Thankfully I know he has a good heart. I have been advised to disengage from him when he’s angry, as in, I can’t be with you when you talk to me disrespectfully, or we can speak when you’re calm down, etc. How do I handle him when he’s perseverating, assuming the negative and that I won’t do something even as I’m telling him I will (we end up talking over each other, embarrassing and true). He doesn’t stop talking and it’s like a hammer to my head. I’m exhausted as it’s nearly daily. When he’s calm, I’ve tried suggesting meditation, therapy. I’ve asked how I can help. He truly believes that he needs to curse (I am a no-curse home) to let go of his anger. As another example when we thought the laptop may have been damaged, I knew he’d take it hard. He believed the worse and left me the most awful vm trying to control and manipulate me to get it fixed when I already told him I’d handle it (generally I’d have had him fix it - I don’t like to enable him or treat him as though he has an issue). A day and one-half of anger and hostility could have been avoided if he had been able to problem solve with me, but it’s the absence of his ability to problem solve that often causes this emotional chaos. Your thoughts? Thank you very much in advance.
  
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Dear Mark,

My son is 27 yrs old, and was diagnosed with Asperger's in December of 2011, due to my persistent and relentless pursuit of a real diagnosis for him.  (As opposed to the popular default diagnosis of "ADHD/Depression."). I am an RN and recognized that so egging was different since birth).

Elliot, my son, has been through hell, due to our lack of proper diagnosis or comprehension.... To where I kicked him out at 18 yrs old, due to running with a bad crowd and lack of motivation to keep jobs.  He failed miserably on his own, and eventually ended up in legal trouble.. At which time I worked with a public defender who was able to get him into a setting where he could have  housing and trained to be an oil change tech at Jiffy Lube, and had  moved to a decent setting.

I then decided to help Elliot return to school... First his G.E.D., and then started ITT Tech for computer game design.  The class ended after about 6 mos., Elliot was already falling behind, and I was researching Asperger's.

My personal life brought me back to San Diego (from L.A.), and after more frustrating psych appointments, we finally found one who nodded and said "that is classic Asperger's" after everything I told him. BUT... He (the psychiatrist), kept folding his arms, saying how unfortunate it was that Elliot was diagnosed so late, and he didn't know what to tell us!

Shortly thereafter, I was found to have cancer and everything sort of went on hold with Elliot.  I did take him to "CASA" in Carlsbad.  They seemed like they just wanted money from me and in fact, billed me more after I had already made a substantial co-pay, and then reported me for late pay... Needless to say, I'm not anxious to go back.

Unfortunately, I am a little of an "improvisational" person...not one for routine or regiment as Elliot is SO in need of.  I downloaded your book over a year ago, but due to my demanding job, I  was never able to get around to reading it.  Then today, I finally decided I have to just do it-- I'm feeling desperate to "launch" my almost 28 yr old!!  But, the link will no longer allow me to download your book.

In addition, I am desperately seeking guidance and resources, so that Elliot can have a real life.... And so can his mom.  I feel as if the more he lives with me, the more he is falling into a pattern of laziness, blaming his not "being normal," on his absolute absence of ambition or wanting to contribute in any way other than the chores I make him do.  I am trying to create a future with a partner now, and feel so helpless and frustrated.


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I was looking at your advertisement for the "Launching Adult Children with Aspergers" site.  I read this:

Is your child 17-years-old chronologically, but more like a 9-year-old emotionally?



  • Is your child now an adult – and still living at home doing NOTHING?!
  • Are you concerned that you will be taking care of this child well into his 40s?
  • Do you have serious doubts that your child will be able to “make it in life”?
  • Does the thought of him “living on his own” worry you beyond measure?
  • Is he more concerned with video games than getting a degree, learning a skill, finding a
    job, or dating?



  • That is my son!  He's 17 chronologically but I have always said he was 9 mentally!  I thought that was written just to me.  He still has a stuffed animal.  He is more interested in playing video games and we wonder if we will have to take care of him for the rest of his life.  I'm worried about him trying to live on his own because right now I don't think he is capable of that.  He seems lazy and we have a hard time getting him out of bed in the morning.  He says he doesn't want to live with us forever but doesn't seem interested in more schooling.  He is finishing up high school with 2 more years to go.  We held him back a year when he was in kindergarten.  So he will graduate in 2016. 
    We have taken him off of gluten for the past 8 weeks and have also seen a change in him there.  He is interacting more with us and smiling more, something he didn't do much before.  
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

    Dear Mr. Hutten:

    My 15 year old grandson, Sam, who lives in Raleigh, NC, has aspergers and is having severe meltdowns when dealing with this father. His parents are recently divorced (3 years ago) and had joint custody until this month when his mother was given full legal custody. My grandson despises his father and has threatened to kill him and his brother.

    We, as grandparents who live in New Jersey, are at a loss as to how to help them.This past weekend at a family event he had a meltdown and his father told him he no longer wanted to have anything to do with him, and, Sam feels the same way towards his father. 

    Can you suggest a course of action for us. I am interested in obtaining counselling for myself and my wife in order to learn how to deal with this situation. Can you suggest a local counselor? Are you available for counselling on line or in some other manner?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     
    RE: Elliot Rodger...

    A high functioning aspie went on a shooting spree in CA. He was angry at being rejected by other college students and girls. He was angry at his only friend ending their friendship and not knowing why. His story at it's core sounds like so many aspies that I've read about, and myself as well. I after reading about him, I felt like it was important to say to all the angry aspies out there YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are different from NTs, you are different from a lot of people, and you are not always going to be understood, but there are others like you out there! It's hard to believe, your aspie symptoms tend to cause you to have trouble picking up on others emotions, so it often feels like there is no one out there that cares, but there are. Check the websites, go to the chat boards, find friends among the aspies that understand what you are going through and are going to accept you. Learn to understand what you are so that you can better relate to the NTs out there. I was angry and lonely. I read his story and have to wonder about what kept me or others from being like him. I found this site, and discovered there were others like me, and it gave me hope. I get wordy in most of my posts. I have the tendency to repeat myself, one of my defining aspie traits. If you get nothing else out of this, just remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Good Morning Mark,

    I want to thank you for your assistance and wonderful support with your educational pieces directed to teens and behavior. I was hoping you could help me… My question is now that my eldest has turned 20 and will be turning 21 in a few months, he seems to be spiraling and off track.  He has developed mood swings, that in a 20 minute time span he can go from happy, sad, angry, happy, no affect, angry, happy…

    Ty has always been my compliant, however, lacked self-esteem throughout his elementary and teen years.  He was always trying new things to find himself.  He worked hard in school, was part of the National Honor Society, as well as a scholar with the Youth Leadership in Medicine.  His teachers always had nice things to say about him.  He even experienced 10 days away on a medical educational tour in his Junior year.  Ty went on to college (4 hours away from home) and had a dream that he would be with his girlfriend at the time.  He wanted to be in nursing, however, his girlfriend urged him not to pursue that degree, since it would take so much time away.  He changed to psychology, then changed to radiology just before starting his freshman year.  They broke up a few months before HS senior ended, and Ty’s world came crashing down.  He went for counseling, was put on antidepressants, and Adderol for ADD, just to keep his focus.  He was diagnosed with ADD, and was able to manage it well during High School, but since in college, all his strategy systems fell apart too.  He failed to keep his psych appointments while in college, and I ended up getting him almost every weekend for a home visit.  He was a mess.  His roomates smoke pot all the time, and he didn’t do that, and he felt he didn’t fit in.  

    At the end of his first semester, he didn’t return back to that college, due to a (blessing in disguise) head injury (concussion due to snowboarding).  He instead took medical leave, dis-enrolled in full time college, planned on working full time, and easing back into college during the summer at a local community college.  He did work full-time, enrolled in medical terminology over the summer and got an A.  He started community college full-time this past fall to purse nursing, and did well in the beginning, but again started slipping with his grades (only with his hardest classes).  He also completed a very tough EMT course in the fall, and finished this January.  He started working on the local Ambulance, but needed shoulder surgery in March, and has not since been back, nor is he motivated to go back, or keep his boss updated on his progress, even though he has return to work notices, etc.  

    While during the surgery recovery, he decided to smoke pot instead of taking pain meds. He liked it..too much.  Everyone in the house, and his girlfriend also noticed his mood swings getting worse, and he started smoking pot, and lying about it.  We’ve caught him smoking at home, and have told him that’s against our house rules, and he continues to disobey.  He has also been engaging risky behavior, with cheating on his girlfriend, and speeding with his car.  In the meantime, his girlfriend has suggested that he may be bipolar due to a self test they did together.  I have somewhat suspected this too, however, didn’t know if his mood swings got worse from the concussion.  I got him to make a psych appointment for eval, but he cancelled it due to a school scheduling confict (he never keeps his appointments or checks if he has other things going on, nor does he care that he keeps appointments he makes…)   I just don’t know what to do for him at this point.  Due to his age, and his potential, and his lack of priorities..I need help in advising him, and dealing with him. 

    He also has a 16 year old high functioning asperger’s brother that lives at home too.  The mood swings have affected him throughout the years, and even more now… Any suggestions on where to take this from here?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Mr. Hutten,
    We have appreciated your emails and ebooks -- we're really sinking our teeth into them now.
    Q1)  Our 18 year old son has been struggling in school for some time.  He has been staying up late and sleeping late and he's done less and less work throughout this school year.  Now we're at a week before classes are over and he has stopped logging in (attendance for cyberschool). Once school is done Friday we intend to remove his computer (which he paid for) or at least remove the keyboard -- likening it to a repossession.  I'm thinking that we could structure "work" to "buy" time on the family computer if the school allows him to finish his courses over the summer.  I can't make him do his schoolwork but I also don't want to prevent him from doing schoolwork (should he decide he's going to work toward graduating) without computer access. Does this approach sound feasible?  Does he ever get his computer back?  Can I say (along with other terms of staying at home) he'll get it back after graduating?
    Q2)  As I said above, he's basically become nocturnal staying on the computer most of the night.  I have set the internet to shut off 12-6am but he has found work arounds.  I can't make him go to bed at a certain time neither can I make him get up at a certain time (although he gets up if there's somewhere he wants to go).  In order to remind him that his times are flipped I'm thinking to remove lamps and shades from his room. Again, does this sound feasible?  Do I need to warn him this is going to happen? Under what circumstances does he ever get them back?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hi.  I've not emailed you for a while but life for my sons getting worse
    Senior school sent him to a unit to improve his behaviour he was there 3 wks and won't go back
    Suspected ADHD.  PDA  he won't engage with any professionals so they are working off our feedback
    Although he did complete ados assessment outcome not enough traits for autism diagnosis
    Anyway he won't attend school
    School are being asked to organise home schooling but it's a 2 man teaching job so not sure it's viable but we want an education for our son
    In the process of a statement for his education
    He's been stealing lately as we are giving any money as behaviour and swearing at home is ridiculous
    We don't want to press police charges as that's drastic measures on our son
    Can you offer any advice please Mark ?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hello,  I am trying to plan for the future.  My son is 16, has aspergrs, and bipolar.  His anxiety level is a 20 ,  he does not have a desire to learn to drive, he fears everything.  I took him out of public school for fear the next time he got beat up, he would not survive.  Now he is transgender.  I am on ssi disability, for 17 yrs for bipolar.  I am his mother.

    I am not sure of the future?  I am overwhelmed,  I do not trust the system!  As foster care has already had2 visits in our life,  which has scarred us greatly.  Can you advise me?

    We tarted homeschooling, helots interest.  So at 9 the grade his gap a was all a's and b's.  I AMA single parent,  I am wore out of thinking!  I thought at 17 for him/ her to take the GED and focus on voc rehabe?  Now I am questioning everything that I think of!  I know there is an answer but, the remote area we are in has taken a toll on us both!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Question:

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you, thank you for all your words of wisdom and help.

    I have a 13yr old twin aspie who is obsessed with wanting to get the computer game Grand Theft Auto which is R18+ rated.
    Some of his school friends have it and he wants to get it so he can play with them on line.
    This game is not appropriate for a 13 yr old let alone one with Aspergers. 
    Im not sure if you are familiar with it but it contains drugs, a rape scene, strip clubs, an act of necrophilia and so on.
    Any way I have said no but he wont let it go. He just keeps going on and on. Messaging me, calling me and always talking about it when he's home.

    I cant seem to change his focus on to something else and he is just getting more and more fixated on the issue.

    Do you have any suggestions?


    Answer:

    I'm familiar ...have even played it a few times years ago.
    I think it's ok to let him play it. By today's standards, that game is no worse than the others ...but limit his time on it. Also, its use should be considered a privilege that is earned (e.g., "as a reward for cleaning your room, you can have 1 hr. on your video game today").

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Hello Mark,

    I have been having a hard time with my son "Seth"  

    He is 10, with an IQ of 127, has been diagnosed with Aspergers, and severe ADHD when he was 8, through a Neuropsycologist at the Connecticut Pediatric Neuropsychology Associates, in CT.
    I am a single mother, his father is in the picture, though he is out of the picture emotionally, and is doing the best he can to care for himself. So, "I" am the one that makes the decisions. 

    Seth was prescribed Medadate CD 10 mg, and I feel that it helped a little.. now, he is not taken any meds. I had taken him to a homeopathic doctor that got him on a diet, and that worked for a little while. His current doctor is about to retire, and about to see a new one once the records are in order.

    He is VERY impulsive, I "know" there are times he can control it, and other times he cannot. 
    School has been working hard to come up with a plan, to get him to control the impulsive activity. 
    They work for a little while, but it seems like he grows out of it quickly. I have emails from the teacher I can share to get a better idea.

    Seth seemed to have mastered lying and manipulation very well.. has no problem lying to me straight faced. When he doesn't want to do something, he will be very disrespectful, and more defiant even though he knows it's highly in tolerated. 
    I feel like I've lost control, and if I don't do something "now" it will only get worse. Seth is insured under the state "Husky" in CT.
    I need to find resources, as I've haven't found much luck so far.  I will keep searching.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Mr. Hutten,

    I have been receiving your emails for maybe 1 1/2 years. I think this is as close as I've come to actually writing to you. Probably because I am exhausted and out of options. I do appreciate your newsletters as they offer helpful tips and suggestions. It feels nice to know that someone actually "gets" it. Mostly I think....no one but another parent with similar circumstances could possibly understand. Thank you for the work you do.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Mark,
     
    I am mother to three young daughters age four, four and five.  All three of them already act like teenagers.  I can't imagine how difficult it will be when they actually reach their teen years.  I believe all three of them are possibly high functioning ASD, ADHD or ODD.  I'm not really sure.  All I know is the older they get, the more aggressively defiant they get.  The oldest steals, lies and destroys others' property often.  She seems totally disconnected from the feelings and needs of others and is just mean and seems to enjoy it.  She and the alpha twin are physically aggressive and teaching the other twin to do the same.  (Smaller twin is about a year behind her twin in development, due to a stroke in utero.  She has hemiplegic cerebral palsy and has developmental delays, but is also very intelligent in many ways.)  The three of them fight constantly and the whining is driving me and their dad (my husband) crazy. 
     
    I'm ready for a change.  I just want some peace and joy for our family.
     
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

    Click here to read the full article…

    How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

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

    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.

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    Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

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

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

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

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    Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

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

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    Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

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

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

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

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    Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

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

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    My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content