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

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for Dec., 2015]

 Do you need some assistance in parenting your Aspergers or HFA child? Click here to use Mark Hutten, M.A. as your personal parent coach.

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Hi Mark

Thanks for the link to the teaching guide. Although our school system is very different to yours I think the advice will be most useful. In fact this is the most comprehensive information I have come across.

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Dr. Mark, I am writing you tonight after a harrowing day . Our adopted daughter Shelby,now 18, has ADHD and had a very bad childhood until we brought her in her six years ago. Sunday, she went to a walk in clinic with Mom for help for a bad case of poison
ivy. The Dr. prescribed a prednisone pack where she took six pills fist day five the next etc. Shelby went off the tracks, stole money and bought a tablet so that she could do Facebook [something banned in our house] . She was obviously acting guilty
about something, got caught and became violent. We have experienced her rage before, years ago, but with good counseling
she has learned how to stay and not run, engage and not retreat. When we went to the ER this morning, they told us that there
is no way that she should have been given prednisone. That it could cause psychotic episodes in some patients and that the stimulant should never be given on top of her regular course of ADHD meds. My wife was attacked and struck in the face.
I was literally thrown around by her slight frame. Me 240,she 115 lbs. We do not have psychiatrists here to prescribe. Waiting list
is six months unless we caught up $10,000 for a three day eval' at the local psychiatric hospital.  Shelby was finally psych tested
and she is slightly on the autism spectrum. Her brother has been assumed to have some asperger's . As we try and discover
what all of this means it should be said that we adopted her without knowing about all of these disabilities! Shelby was four years back in school and was recommended to NEVER take math again. Shelby graduated with honors this year,on time, and did four
years straight of straight A's in Math. She is a loving and willing child who is socially immature and wants to be NORMAL, so much so
that she is beginning to think that if she is not on social media she will be a freak. We need to be able to know that she is not dangerous or crazy . My wife is so terrified of what she will do next. I am a mess. Now that I have spilled about everything that
we are going through, do you have any take on this? Can we possibly get something from your program?
Thanks for your consideration.

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I have a son who has Aspergers and he is having a really hard time trying to get his drivers license. After several attempts with the lerners permit he finally passed. Well
 now we are going into his Fourth time for the drivers test. I have a friend helping him who deals with a lot of people with Aspergers and Autism and she has been a blessing.
Do you have any resources that I could go to? I have even explained this to the Instructors who are giving him the test but they really don't seem to care.. He is in College and needs
to have his license what can I do?

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After another night of troubled sleeping, I got up to
Look online for solutions to our problems, and found you.  We are at wits end, and hope you can help. We have a 16 year old boy, Nathan, with Aspergers.  He is a quirky boy, and we love that about him!  He has always been very smart, and he loves performing well. He has also enjoyed being challenged academically.  He's always been in the top of his class and takes great pride in that. Last year, we moved from PA to MO (his freshman year, and with his blessing). He had a great year academically (finishing 5 out of 420 students). We were so proud! However, he hasn't made any friends, but has always been a bit of a loner and it doesn't seem to bother him, since he doesn't seem to enjoy a lot of the things most teenagers do. He decided he wanted to improve his class rank, and taught himself Spanish 3 and algebra 2 over the summer so he could skip those classes. We did not think it to be a good idea at the time, but went through with it because he was so motivated. I don't know what has happened since then. His grades are now terrible (currently 2 D's and 2 F's). We have been working with the school officials, and they believe the course work is too intense  and would like to drop him back some classes. We have all tried to talk to him and reason with him, but he is so upset. His time management is awful! A lot of his work is not handed in. As his parents, should we force him to change his schedule? When he is working ( and not goofing off) it consumes most of his time. We've tried explaining that we want him to have a healthy balance between life and work, and we don't feel he is happy now. It is impossible to reason with him. We are also afraid of him going into a depression, which we have read happens to a lot of teens. We only have a week to make a decision. We originally were going to let him suffer the natural consequences of his decisions, but are heartbroken at the thought. To ight he had tears in his eyes which is unusual for him, so we feel so bad for him. Please share your thoughts.

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Hi,

I just want to be able to learn ways how to relate better with our 13 year old son who has used defiance to be able to get his way about video game playing.

We have not been imposing consequences strictly because our son has started to show disinterest in school. One time he just decided to not go to school saying he is so tired.

Now he uses every possible reason so he can play video games. Before he still observes the one hour a day video game rule. Now, he just dropped it.

Yesterday he was asking if we can give him a Steam gift card as a Christmas gift. When I told him me and his dad will talk about it first and he just needs to wait until then. He got so angry that he grabbed a chair and swung it against another chair. Then he went to play the video game. He stopped after 2 hours then went to bed. But when he started asking if he can get it and I said the same thing, he got back to the computer and played again. Now he is still on it and it is already 12:30 past midnight.

We have a holiday party tomorrow and he was saying he doesn't want to go to with us. If we leave him behind, he will just play again.

And it just reinforces the idea that he can go on this way and that he can be disrespectful to us.

Please share with me your thoughts and some ways that we can do to help our situation get better.

We are just concerned that if we impose the rules strictly or take the computer away, he might just say he doesn't want to go to school anymore.

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Dear Dr. Hutton,
 I am so very blessed to have found your information and youtube videos. My name is Leslie, and my brilliant husband, Vincent and I minister together in a personal ministry, and I am reaching out for help.
About 4 months ago, I just realized my husband has aspergers. He has not been officially diagnosed, and he has not accepted this fact. It is extremely clear to me, and I cannot tell you how relieved I have felt since learning so much about aspergers. I have finally been able to make sense of my husband, my life and our relationship.
However, my dear hubby has been extremely upset with me suggesting that he go see a doctor to get a diagnosis. I have tried several gentle and compassionate approaches, with fear and trembling I might add, in hopes that he will hear me out and do what needs to be done so we can continue growing together.  Looking back through our 22 years of marriage (we just "celebrated" our 22nd anniversary after Thanksgiving ( well... I celebrated) , and having 8 awesome children together, (yes- EIGHT ) ;) and one stepdaughter, I can tell you 100% that God has been providing His divine guidance for us all along. Vince has definitely come a long way…. a VERY Long Way!  But I am at a point in our marriage where we are not growing as I felt we should.  I mentioned earlier that my husband and I minister together. We have a personal ministry that seems to be growing more than we are, because of the knowledge and new ideas my hubby comes up with. I don't know if you are a Bible believer, please forgive me,  but the Bible is the most incredible book that never seems to have an end to new depths of revelation, and understanding. It truly is alive. This has been my husband's obsession, and its is an outstanding obsession.  However, there has to be a match with a person's character growth that goes along with their knowledge. And that is where I have a major problem dealing with my husband. We have been through several incredible healing ministry training schools, and have our certifications in each, and, of course, it has helped us tremendously in our personal relationship. (please see our website for more info. *( http://etzhayim.weebly.com/life-coaching-modalities-of-healing.html  )
However, Vince still has times of depression, or regression in his behavior, whether it be expressed through anger, extreme sensitivity to criticism, consistently having high automatic defense mechanisms, etc.  Sometimes I feel he is like a ticking time bomb. I have learned to be unbelievably careful with my words and responses.  There is no way in hades I would recommend anyone go through what I have gone through in the past 22 years to become the kind of people my husband and I have become… but for me, it definitely has been worth it! Truly transformational, and like the Bible says, Iron sharpens Iron. We are true soul mates and I believe fully in our marriage. 

So now, I am writing you because I have a problem. My problem is , because my husband and I are in ministry, and it is evident that he has a problem accepting himself, how can we honestly help people -with a pure heart- if we haven't dealt with our own serious issues? I feel like a hypocrite trying to counsel others. Vince truly is brilliant with the Word of God and his gifts are his unbelievable memory skills, excellent problem-solving skills, his practicality and reasoning, and loyalty. His weaknesses are he's diabetic, he is self-sabotaging, suffers from self-condemnation, thinks more and moves less (out of shape), has angry outbursts that are unpredictable, he's too often fighting within (flight or fight) , and he needs me too much to work for him (High Maintenance, kinda lazy ), and his criticism of me used to be unbearable, but he has cut down his criticism from 90% to 10%, which is a miracle . He is a Certified General real estate appraiser ( a perfect job for perfectionists who can do the mundane)  and this supports the family and ministry, and I do all the typing. It pays the bills, but we are not where we should be. So how do we move into our ministry and help others when I clearly see we have a problem? I understand that my hubby has been hiding the fact that he is different all his life, and he perceives this aspergers as a major threat to his character, and future even!   I am facing a huge challenge when dear Vince won't do the obvious to help himself?

To tell you a little about me, I am a very active Mom, a certified fitness & nutrition counselor, personal trainer, a former world class athlete in track & field,  and I love to coach kids. Vince and I are truly exact opposites. I truly "Feel" what others are feeling, I am a "Burden Bearer", I know what Vince is feeling when he doesn't even have a clue, and I have a terrible memory, and get easily distracted during work, terrible focus because I'm bored or uninspired! :P  ... So I really appreciate my husband. We are so very compatible, its unreal! But without having a true relationship with Jesus, I would not have made it this far…. no way! Anyone with a weaker heart would have possibly lost their minds.

Thank you so much for being there to help Dr. Hutton. I truly appreciate your advice or some insight that you are willing to provide. Thank you also for allowing me to share my story with someone I can trust. So far, no one is in my life that will Love my husband without judging him, and I have protected him by not involving my family with the many conflicts I have endured.  I will be buying your book as soon as I can.

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Mr. Hutten- We having a difficult time with our "defiant teen" with Asperger's.  I purchased your on-line book on the subject and we are following its instructions. We will see.  It is nice to just have some sort of guidance.  Connor, 14, had a been a star student up until this semester.  He had never gotten less than a 99% in any class until he just stopped.  He blames us for being too controlling, but we also suspect he was bullied at school. He has gotten so far behind this semester- refusing to turn in any work and leaving tests blank for the past 1 month that he will likely fail most of his classes.  We are trying to address the defiant teen and are planning on placing him in a school for aspergers (the Talisman in North Carolina) for a semester or two so he can work on social skills. –Scott

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Hi Mark,

I read some of the entries on your blog and relates strongly to the difficulties expressed by parents of adults with aspergers. I have a 47-year old daughter, Tanya, with aspergers. She is happily married with 3 wonderul teenage children (one has aspergers). She is very accomplished in her own business and brilliant. Unfortunately, she is extremely angry at me and has been pushing me away for a long time because my involvement in her life feels very painful to her.

I, on the other hand, am the 68-year old child of an alcoholic mother and lost my father at age 12, so I have my own issues that enter into this.

Without going into too much detail, our relationship is now in deep jeopardy and we need help to sort things out and come up with some techniques to help us get on an even keel.

Tanya said she would be willing to work with a psychologist over the phone (I live in NY—she's in PA) to get some help. Unfortunately that was Sunday—now she's ignoring my phone calls and emails.

I think we need to work with someone who understands aspergers and I think they're rare. I saw your forum and wondered if you have that expertise and if can help us or recommend another source for help.

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Here's the situation, we took away the laptop from our son after he has reacted violently to his request for a $20 video game gift card as a Christmas gift. I told him to wait until me and my husband has talked about it. He grabs a chair swings it against another chair and went to the room slams the door close and plays on the computer.

He has a one hour video game time rule per day. He goes past that by about 30 mins. He goes to bed and asks the same question again. I told him the same answer. He then gets out of bed and goes back to play video game until 3 AM. Due to my impatience, at some point before that I told him ok if you are not going to follow, you may play as much as you want now, but know that we will make tough decisions after. So he uses this as an excuse to keep playing all night. When my husband found out that he was still on it at 3 AM. He gets the computer and told him we are going to take the computer to the authorities and have them come for him if he doesn't obey.  That's the only time he went to bed.

Now he doesn't want to do anything. He didn't come to a party that we were supposed to go to the next day. He didn't go to a group mtg. for a school project. He doesn't want to go to his choir concert later this afternoon.

I am concerned that he might just say tomorrow that he will not go to school.

He has also always refused to go anywhere lately. It's been so hard to get him to do something or go somewhere even if these are necessary.

Please help us think through this and share with us ideas how to approach him in this situation.

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I dont know what to do about my over indulgence. I give her presents because she isnt motivated by social considerations. She has Aspergers she needs intelectual stimulation or she is acting out aggressively even. If I buy her things she gets occupied and interested in taking it apart and putting it back together. That means less fighting in my home (as a single mom) . Last night I didnt get her a present (usually $1 or $4) when i picked her up from her Dads visit... and she cried 40 minutes all the way home. I gave her a toy she hadnt used in a while and she through it at me and tried to jump out the other side of the car into traffic. That is so dangerous. I just want to appease her and not have her self injure. It is hard enough to get her buckled into a car seat (SPD issues).

She is not acting like this with others. She takes it all out on me. I read about an Emotional Link under Ligitmate reasons for parent child conflict. " Parent and kid get defensive when talking to one another
because there is an emotional link between the two. "
I am thinking of boarding school to save us both fighting. I dont know that I can live with that amount of conflict in my home. I am worth more that that as a person.

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Mr. Hutton,
I admire your work and helpful advice.  What are your thoughts on neurofeedback for teens with Aspergers?  My son Jeyden is 14 and I am at the end of my rope with him.  I do not know what else to do.  The defiant behavior, the detentions, suspensions, no hygiene, impulsivity, depression, blah,blah,blah.  I can't help him anymore and I feel like a horrible parent who is giving up but I am so tired.  I am ready to send him away to a behavioral therapy school or something!  I am becoming physically sick with psychiatrists, psychologists, social skills groups.....they don't help in the real world. 

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Thank you!  It explains a lot.  I really appreciate that.  Oddly, over all these 34+ years, I can see that I have taken on a whole lot of characteristics of someone with Aspergers, I’m assuming as a coping/avoidance mechanism.  But despite that, I still do “feel” differently, and so have different emotional needs on occasion, and that still causes problems with seemingly a cumulative frustration level.  But understanding helps a lot.  So again, thank you.

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Hi Mark. Thank you for your email. I have actually purchased your material for professional use. I am a Special Education Resource Teacher and as such, I am always looking for new strategies to support our students diagnosed with ASD. I will also share some of your tips with parents. One piece that you touch on that I feel very strongly about is the accountability piece. While we are doing a great job at flexing around our students' needs, we are often not spending enough time with the accountability and consequence piece in order to prepare our students to be law abiding citizens.
Please keep me in mind if you come across any specific activities or templates that can guide educators and parents in explicitly teaching this concept. I have already downloaded your article re Anger-Control Contracts and plan to put that to good use.

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Question:

Hello Mark again, My asperger's syndrome daughter has been putting up the silent act and ignoring us for the past 10 days because I confiscated her phone and computer recently. She continued to ignore us even after the phone and computer were returned to her after a specific 3-day period ended. Its difficult as some times we need to go out and have lunch or dinner and she is not joining us. In the end, she will just eat whatever left in the fridge. Other ways to start a positive communication with her failed too. She also ignores my wife and her younger sister. What should we do?


Answer:

As long as she is completing her required disciplinary period (in this case, 3 days), then ignore her ignoring. This is her attempt at pushing your button to get a reaction out of you. Stop reacting (e.g., by trying to get her engaged) -- then there's no payoff for her, and she will stop this tactic.

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Hello,

I’m autistic and in my final year of college. I’m working on my senior thesis in Anthropology. My thesis is about activism and the autistic community. I'm looking for people to participate in my surveys and I'm reaching out to My Aspergers Child to see if it is possible for you to promote my call for participants via the blog or in whatever way you see fit.

My surveys are fairly short and are able to be saved so that folks who need to can take a break and come back to them if needed. I have four different surveys set up. I can only use data from people who are legal adults (18+) because of the rules for undergraduate research in the US. Though, because your blog is for parents I don't think that should be an issue.

The survey for non-autistic parents or siblings of autistic people is located at http://goo.gl/forms/JEOSgjlJcu 

The survey for autistic adults who have autistic children is located at http://goo.gl/forms/5K8f0nyIU2 

The survey for non-autistic people who work with autistic people is located at http://goo.gl/forms/EfsA7eo7jg

 The survey for autistic adults (excluding those who have autistic children) is located at http://goo.gl/forms/Y4sxbQ8qM3

For people who take them, the surveys include space for suggestions. If you have questions about the project, please send me an email. Please let me know if you will be able to pass along the surveys.

Thank you for your time,

Denise Parry
dparry@pugetsound.edu

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Hi Mark,

This is probably my third or fourth email to you regarding my relationship with an Aspie. I hope I'm not bothering you. After dating for 18 months I've decided, reluctantly, to end my relationship. Here is why, and perhaps you can help me make sense of it all:

1.    He put me and "a bunch of other people" on mute/Do Not Disturb for over two weeks through Thanksgiving. Despite a few phone calls and over a hundred texts from me worrying about what happened, he thinks that I am the problem for texting so much. Even though he disappeared without any warning or discussion whatsoever.
2.    He has said repeatedly that he doesn't want a relationship, but doesn't want to see other people and wants to continue to see me. I have repeatedly told him this doesn't make sense and I don't understand. Even though he has called me his girlfriend a few times, on accident I think.

Even though I have decided to end it, he will not return my belongings from his home and has not repaided me money that he owes me. I have given him multiple chances to do both where we would not have to see each other. I want a quick and simple ending to our relationship (though he never called it that).

Any advice?

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How can i have a better relationship with my ODD/ADHD/Asperger's 11 yo son? (I only include all the diagnosis so you have an idea of what I am dealing with - I am trying hard to see my son as much more than his diagnosis.)  I don't know if I should want to be friends, but I want better than what I have now. Thanks for your great web site,
SO very helpful.

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Hi Mark,

I'm in Melbourne, Australia and came across your site recently.  Our 17 year old Aspie son is out of control and we have next to no communication with him preferring to lock himself in the study to play computer games all day. He doesn't leave the room and his schooling is suffering because he is addicted to online games so refuses to do homework.  No part time job, no outside interests and he believes his online friends are his family.

We have at times turned the internet off to teach him a lesson when he refuses to do chores he promised to do but when we do he becomes a raging bull and damages our house and becomes physical towards us.  We have called the police on a few occasions after he has physically attacked us.  We live in fear and our family is falling apart.

I read one of your newsletters and see other parents are in the same boat as us.  We realize that with him turning 18 in 6 months time we have to show some tough love but there is no way he could cope in the real world.  That will entail taking removing the internet modem and cancelling his pocket money until he does what he is told and shows respect towards his family.

I don't know any other way to go about this and wanted to speak to either you or someone you could recommend here in Australia before I go down this path.  I know this will get really ugly and I fear the consequences but it just has to be done once and for all.  If not, he just retreats back to the study and plays games with his so called online family.  Before I do this I need to know I'm doing this the correct way from the start. Can you please help us.

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My son just turned 11. He likes to hoard junk like scraps of paper and trinkets. Lately he has been stealing things like glitter, markers, and money. He then uses them inappropriately and gets in trouble at school. He has great difficulty problem solving. One on one he is a great, well mannered, interesting child. When left alone for even a few minutes it seems he chooses to do just the thing that he isn't suppose too. The psychologist seems to think the stealing is impulsive and yet he waited until my mother left the room to take money from inside her purse. This seems very calculated to me. I have researched this and found many asperger children tend to steal, but I haven't found anyone that has dealt with it successfully. What do you recommend?

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I have a 20 year old who is very high IQ and graduated from college at age 17, cum laude--BS in Biology.  He then began to change. He always seemed very mature, but then things changed . It seems as if he just developed Aspergers, but maybe we missed the signs due to his high IQ.  I am a mess and don't know what to do.  He has very high goals and wanted to go to dental school but didn't put much effort into the DAT exam, so then he decided to go to Chiropractic school like his parents. He then failed out of the first school after one year--he had many excuses and we blamed the school and living alone in another state at age 18.  He then took 9 months off to recoup and he was very lazy and always late.  He went to another chiropractic school and is flunking again!  He seems very distressed.  I am so sad, because he really seems to want to succeed but has no idea why he isn't. I know he doesn't have time management skills and doesn't go to bed at night. He says he is socially awkward and had trouble adjusting to his new living arrangements with a roommate.  I feel terrible for his struggle but his father is very mad at him for flunking again.  He will be returning home next week and I know he will be very depressed and down on himself and there will be stress in the house.  His local friends are bad influences.  What do we do if we try your methods of discipline and he just has a friend come and pick him up and he leaves the house?    What do you do then?
Thank you for your time, I am trying to cram as much info in before he gets home as possible. 

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My son who is 19 now is diagnosed bi-polar and has substance abuse issues.  He was charged on some felony charges for theft with assault, (which we know he was present, but not sure if he used any weapons or force) with 2 other boys and he went to a hearing and the Judge gave him a sentence of 15 years.  He has had some problems with the law in the past, but nothing this severe.

Unfortunately, our county decided since there were 3 incidents, the charges got trumped up to engagement with organized crime.  Now, that he's in the Texas prison system is there anyway to try to get the sentence reduced.  I don't think we can appeal it.  

Yes, my son made bad choices.  A lot of it had to do with his not being on his meds for bi-polar, and being only 17 and 18 at the time.  I hate to see him have to do THIS much time.  I could have understood a year or a few years, but 15????  

I've contacted politicians, but not much response there.

Do I just need to accept the sentence?

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This is probably not something you normally would get involved with, but I am reaching out to Asperger’s support groups on the web in hopes of finding aid for our campaign.  A coworker of ours, and single mother of 5 is struggling right now both with affording a happy Christmas for her children, and raising a teenager with Asperger’s who is going through those tough early teen years when everyone is dating and he is struggling with the social demands.  Very talented, and highly interested in Science and Computers, a group of her coworkers thought it would be nice to start a fund for her son to get him the equipment he could use to get into Computer Programming as well as provide the family with their first ever home computer.  This is something she would never be able to afford to do.

If you have the time, please check out our GoFundMe campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/aspergerscomputer

And if there is any other form of support for this mother that you all can offer, we’d love to hear it!

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Good Afternoon, Dr. Hutten,

I found your website this morning and have read a few articles and watched several of your videos.  I am interested in a buying a book that will provide the most impact quickly. Can you recommend a book after reviewing my situation?

My 14 year old daughter has Asperger's. She has always had defiant behaviors and the techniques we are currently using have reduced the ugly behaviors (arguing, back talking, self-injury, and destructive of property). She is very unrealistic and clueless would be the best word to describe her in a nut shell. She does have obsessions, currently it is her futuristic goals that quite frankly are very unrealistic. 

She and I got into an argument yesterday and she ran away last night; this is the first time she has done this. She did have the mindset to pack a backpack with clothing, a few items of food, and used her bike. Thankfully, we found her about a mile from our home an hour after we noticed she was missing at 10:00 pm. She is remorseful, but does not understand the seriousness of her actions.

She and I are together 24/7 because we homeschool her due to her inability to function in the public school setting (anxiety, bullied, poor social skills, heightened sensory problems, and inflexibility). Since being homeschooled for 2 years, she is now on grade level in the 9th grade and enjoys learning. The downside is we get on each other's nerves. Mostly, she gets on mine and I lose my patience with her sometimes because its hard to handle all of her differences day after day. I work from home as well and this provides additional challenges. My husband and I are in agreement on how to manage her behaviors, but it's very, very exhausting and frustrating.

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I need your help/advice!!  My son knows he’s adopted.  However, he also has Asperger’s and I don’t think he quite understands. He is very sweet and has a soft heart. His adoption is complicated.  It was local and his birth family know about him but have NOT been in his life and are not good influences.
They are drug addicts and liars. Just today they sent me a Facebook message asking to see him.  This is out of the question!!!  However, I worry if they see him out, they will approach him.
He has a 13 yr old biological sister who has approached my niece (11yrs old) and told her she was Will’s sister.  This confused my niece, she asked her Mom and her Mom explained to her.

What do I do?  Do I prepare Will for this possibility?  Do I tell him they are not nice people?  Risk the chance they could somehow speak to him at a school event, or other time a parent is not around?

With social media this problem is more and more a possibility.  (Although he is NOT on social media).

I really appreciate your time and consideration!  Thank you so much!!

A concerned Mother!

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Mr. Hutten-

My 7th grader is having great difficulty transitioning to middle school.  Not socially, but academically.  I question the confusing fiction book assigned in English.  He quickly picked up on how inappropriate it was when in the first chapter the father strangles the mother to death.  The math unit is too fast paced.  The science review sheets are beyond overwhelming and even my Ph. D level scientist friend could not believe how much was required they cover and how abstract the wording was.  Most of all I find the lack of workbooks and push to everything computers particularly frustrating.The multi passwords to get to teachers pages and assignments is aggravating and if there is one glitch- he's done.  I feel there is just not a curriculum set up for how these kids learn.  What is your feeling about this and do you have any tips I can share with his teachers?

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Hi Mark. I've been receiving your email Q&A for a few months now, which has helped me greatly as the proud grandma of my very intelligent, creative, beautiful 7 yr old Leah and her 4 yr old brother, Jacob. I'm struggling with trying to help their mom, my daughter-in-law Natasha, to comprehend and accept that at least Leah (and possibly Jacob) may fall on the Aspergers spectrum. Leah's dad, my 37 year old son, Adam, most likely also falls within the spectrum, although he was never formally diagnosed. He presented many similar traits as a child, but persevered through the tough times (with my unyielding support) and now functions very well as an adult, with a good job as an Intel Engineer, a good marriage and a love for his kids that defies his logic! He and I have discussed my concerns re Leah, who melts down regularly, but her mom believes it all to be behavioral issues, as Leah functions quite well at school (then falls apart as soon as she gets home).

I should note that Mom is culturally predisposed to resisting anything that might be considered a mental weakness (she's from Moldova) but she loves her family with everything that she has in her, and I believe she will be Leah's strongest advocate should this prove to be the case. I just convinced her to have Leah's pediatrician examine her (Natasha now suggests that it might be a physical infection, i.e. PANDAS) and hopefully use this to make a referral for a neuropsych evaluation. Natasha responds well to medical authority, so I'm hoping the physician will address the possibility...and then I can come alongside.

Long story short, I'm taking advantage of your 3 for 1 book offer and will order The Comprehensive Guide, but have no idea which other two to choose. Likely the Meltdown and School books (I don't remember the exact titles), I think? Can you make a recommendation? Of course, I pray that Leah does not have Autism, but perhaps this info will help with her behavioral issues anyway. Can you advise me as to how I might offer/share with Natasha this information? I have lots more questions regarding routine/rules/control, rigidity, anxiety, shyness, adversity to loud noise, and the like, but I won't take anymore of your time. Thank you for the service and support you provide to these parents. Btw, I have a young man (Ryan) boarding with my husband and I, who is struggling with his marriage due to his own Aspergers issues, so I am trying to help him too! Being a woman of faith, I truly believe that God placed Ryan in our path to open my eyes to the struggles that my own family has endured, and I intend to see this through for my beloved Leah.


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QUESTION:

Hi Mark,

My name is Catherine and I was in a 6 year relationship with my partner until recently. I was not made aware of AS until very recently (a week before our break up) and considered it may have been a plausible explanation as to why certain things happened. After extensive research, I am beginning to think he did have AS. 

My situation is abit different to the ones you have described in your e-book as most of these couples have already been married and only discovered it after the marriage and want to avoid divorce. I was engaged to him for more then a year, our wedding was meant to be the end of next month. However the past year has made me question alot of his actions where I had to think seriously to myself "If this is him, am I able to handle this for the rest of my life?"

Basically the normal questions one goes through when fast approaching nuptials. In our 6 years together, there were things I always found.. illogical and abnormal to my way of thinking. At first I thought that maybe it was our different upbringings or the fact he's a different type of guy etc etc. However it was all brushed aside and I continuously tried to "work" on us and eventually he would get my message across after months of having the same argument. It was only when my grandfather passed away recently that I found his response to it all VERY peculiar. 

That night, I knew he was out with an old work colleague discussing potential business. I messaged him to let him know my grandfather had passed away. He didnt respond until 2 hours later. This I was fine with as I knew that possible he didnt have reception or something of the sort, however I did hope that he would send some condolences or empathy or even a call once he did receive the message. 

His response was inappropriate needless to say. He replied to me saying "F***. Sh**. Sad baby! Sobs. Is there prayer?" I replied in a calm manner wondering what he meant by all this. 3hours later when I left the hospital he still had not responded to me or called me and I became impatient and annoyed. I messaged him saying "Are you serious?" And he didnt reply until an hour later asking if I was still at the hospital. 

I messaged him the next day explaining how he made me feel and he just became annoyed and defensive. It wasnt until a day or two later when he sought help from his parents that it seemed that he understood what was required of him in this situation. I did consider the fact that maybe because he had never experienced a loss of death in his life that he could not empathise. However I thought back to all our arguments where I could never seem to get him to understand my point of view until I do something drastic like threaten to give up and leave him that he would reassess and come back to me two days later saying he thinks he understands how I felt etc.

Needless to say, our arguments took its toll on me. I had a close male friend in which I was speaking to about our problems and he seems to understand me and empathise with me. I was so frustrated with my partner I avoided speaking to him about any issues. Eventually, it felt like my relationship with this friend was going beyond friendship. I started to compare the two people and couldn't understand. I used to attribute all of my partners "flaws" to him being male. But here was this other man that didn't seem to need any direction or didn't need to be TAUGHT or told how I was feeling. 

Although I became very close with this friend, I never crossed the physical line, he did once kiss me. I didn't want to hurt his feelings because at this stage I did not know if I wanted to pursue this or not and give up on my relationship. I didn't stop him but neither did I let him prolong it. 

Because of my partners aggressive nature, I was afraid to bring this up with him and unable to figure out how I would explain to him why I was getting close to someone else. I kept this from him and lied to him when he asked about the day that I went out. (Mind you we dont live together) A mutual friend spotted me that day and wrote a letter to my partner telling him I was cheating on him. 

I felt guilty and admitted I thought it was a form of emotional cheating. To cut the story short, the wedding is now cancelled and he says he is still deciding if he wants to pursue this relationship. Whilst I feel like, I still want to be in this relationship, I dont know whats going through his head or how it amy work.. From what i read, it seems as if he did just get very angry and unreasonably so (3weeks after the letter and he was still getting angry) and according to his parents, he seems to just shutdown when tried to be spoken to. 

He immerses himself in his 3 favourite hobbies, work, guitar and watching football. As the NT this is hard for me because I dont know whether to move on or to wait for him to go through his process. Neither do I know if he will get tested. I am willing to be with him despite the diagnosis but I fear that he will not realise that he had a play in pushing me away as well, especially since he has great difficulty seeing another person point of view also. 

For a while I thought maybe it was just the way I explained things, however I did speak to his best friend and when he was going through a break up, he found that my partner seemed to say "stupid suggestions" and not really seem to understand how he felt either. 

My question is, what is the normal process for an Aspie when processing an event like this? I am aware it takes alot more time for them to process then a NT person. But I dont know how to predict his thought process...


ANSWER:
RE: My question is, what is the normal process for an Aspie when processing an event like this?
I would say he is most likely "scared off" at this point (lost trust in you and himself). So, he may go deeper into his distractions (obsessions) as a way to cope. Blaming you would be another "normal" Aspie-thing to do. Thus, he can justify the breakup. Also, he may simply not have the skills to mend fences at this point. One has to be quite socially skilled to undue the damage that has been done in this case.

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Hello
I was fortunate enough to come across your Asperger’s blog and found it to have great information about Asperger’s. Thank you for your efforts to help raise awareness about the detrimental effects of this disorder!

My name is Rudy Rodriguez and I am contacting you on behalf of Dr. Velkoff of the Drake Institute (http://www.drakeinstitute.com) of Behavioral Medicine, a Southern California based medical practice that provides effective nondrug treatment for Asperger’s. Drake’s Co-Founder and Medical Director, Dr. David Velkoff, is an expert in diagnosing and treating Asperger’s, and has offered safe, effective non-drug treatment programs for over 35 years now!

He has expressed an interest in speaking with you about Asperger’s. If you’re interested in sharing an expert’s opinion about diagnosing and evaluating Asperger’s, as well as in finding effective treatment for Aspergers’, then I think you would find a conversation with him to be extremely useful!

Dr. Velkoff has even mentioned that he’d be open to doing a type of Q&A session with you or your audience, and answering any questions about the disorder, its impact on the family, treatment options, etc.

Please let me know if you’re interesting in having a conversation or an email discussion with Dr. Velkoff. If you are, I’d be more than happy to provide you with his contact information so you can reach out to him directly.

Best Regards,

Rudy Rodriguez


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Hello, 

My daughter is high functioning ASD/ Aspergers diagnosed since she was 3.  We've worked with assistance groups in my area and have had mild success.

As she's getting older and evolving I find so is her ASD.  Lately her twisting of logic, her quick negative downward spiral and her inability to self regulate in large groups is a concern.  I'm at a loss here. I'm in the works of contacting Kerry's place but I already know of the long wait lists and was hoping maybe you could offer some insight.  I find my daughter to be such a beautiful soul and caring individual but I'm frustrated when these times occur.

I'll be honest, just reading what to do doesn't always help myself.  My learning style has always been hands on and I find it difficult to translate theories into real life situations.

I did notice that on your website it was written in a way that seemed realistic and clearer than I've read before on other sites.  So here I am contacting you in hopes of some real useable strategies.

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Thanks for the reply Mark,

I was wondering, when you say "at this point" are you referring to at this point in time? Or you mean that now the damage is done, there is no repair? 

To me, I feel like he has many Aspergic traits however he has managed to "learn" various social traits. In terms of relationships, probably hasnt learnt much regarding breakups and how to deal with them. I was his first girlfriend and his first love. 

In a situation like this, most NT would worry about their partner meeting someone else, moving on etc and although Ive been told by family and loved ones the same thing, I dont feel like he will move on that easily. 

He is a highly intelligent being when it comes to his interests and his field of work. However socially, I do feel like he is underdeveloped. I used to put this on lack of experience but now Im considering its an AS trait. 

He agreed to go to counselling (separate and together) after the new year when he says he thinks he's "calmed down". Is there a way for me or the counsellor to bring up the possibility of him getting tested for Aspergers? A week before he was given the letter, we did discuss he may have AS and that he should get diagnosed however, after this incident, I dont think the diagnosis would cross him mind. 

To me, my parents and his parents theyre starting to think he's strange and "insane". I couldnt explain to them my theory of him having AS. But the way he's dealing with the situation makes me more and more convinced of the possibility. 

So, is there anything I can do to make things better or amend this? He says he needs time and space if I respect him (Is this something Aspies value dearly? To deal with this on their own in their own way?) However as a NT, Im fighting urges to send him loving msgs, and a xmas gift to show I still care etc. I have a feeling he will view this as an intrusion as opposed to a loving gesture.

If I do give him space, how long do you think is an acceptable amount of time. No person wants to be stuck in limbo wondering what their sentence will be. As patient as I am, I am finding it difficult to "live life" when all I think about is how he is. 

Finally, once an Aspie's "walls" are up, what is the best way to get through to them and bring them down? What do they view as loving and devoted? 

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Hi Mark

I have just started receiving your e-newsletters and am wanting to buy your on line e-book about parenting defiant teens but am a little skeptical, moreso about my own abilities to follow through than on the content of your e-book.

Would you please walk beside me for a few moments?

Our son stopped attending elementary school in February of 2013 (grade 8) due to bullying and a host of other reasons and it wasn't until June of that year that he received his ASD diagnosis.  We sent him to a new secondary school where none of his peers were going and for the reason of their tech program.  Grade 9 was a stellar year and he was on the honour roll academically.  Things started to slip in grade 10 and some non-understanding teachers made him avoid and consequently in semester 2 he was only attending 2 out of 4 classes and had to go to summer school to make up a credit, which he did.  

But since January of 2015 his ability to fall asleep has been horrible and all the traditional sleep hygiene techniques have not helped...nor has melatonin, nor has an anti-anxiety med.  He claims not to fall asleep before 5 a.m.

He made it through the first week of school this September and has not been back since.  A team has a list of options prepared but with this sleep issue at the forefront of his troubles, I don't know which comes first, the chicken or the egg.

The positives?  We befriended a vet tech with aspergers who leads dog agility classes and he faithfully took our dog to those for 8 weeks over the fall one night a week.  

He wanted to sign up for Track 3 skiing (where a one on one instructor is provided) for the 3rd year in a row.  Keep fingers crossed for snow.

He has very agreeable moments.

The negatives?  He has not gone trap and skeet shooting with his dad for over 9 weeks - his favourite activity.  They went to the club to volunteer the other day but he was unable to go the following day.  In the last week he has been defiant to the point of meltdown on 3 occasions and his response when calm is always that he is feeling anxious.

He says all the right things...he wants to go to school, he wants to clean his room, etc. but there is a disconnect and he either avoids or procrastinates and then does very little.

Overall the psychologist has been great but I don't feel she gets where we're at right now.  The same with the family doctor who keeps prescribing more exercise for a teen who can't walk the dog faithfully with his father 5 nights a week.
I feel abused, disrespected and angry when not crying at my lack of effective parenting.  I know both my husband and I are guilty of caving to his requests when he is good and reversing decisions made out of frustration.  

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Hi Mr Hutton,

I'm confused about something and need your help.  Let me give you a little background info first.

My Undiagnosed Aspie husband and I have been married 5 years.  I am Christian, he is not.  His usual way of dealing with issues in the marriage is to leave.  The last time he was gone 1&1/2 years.  He's been home a year.  This September he began his stonewalling routine and then moved out a week before thanksgiving.  Every time he does this he says it's over, then that he loves me and wants to get back together, then we do marriage counseling, everything's going great (except the sex) and then the downward spiral into stonewalling hell begins, at which point he leaves.  Of course it's always all my fault (eye roll).  So, he has said he wants a divorce and doesn't want to work on the marriage, which is what he usually says, and I have avoided unnecessary contact with him.

He just sent me a text today discussing how our children will be dividing Christmas between us (his adult children from another marriage and my 17 yr old daughter from another marriage), and wishing me a Merry Christmas and a safe trip out of state.  I realize he is reaching out.  However, this is the first time I've dealt with this knowing he's an Aspie.  How do I go about this?  I feel God is asking me to pray for him and marital restoration again.

Can you explain why this keeps happening and how I should go about handling it?

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Hi Mark,
I subscribe to your newsletter and have downloaded your Ebook. The information has been very helpful.  I have a 17 year old son that has recently been diagnosed as HF Aspergers.  He has recently returned from a Wilderness Therapy Program, EVOKE in Bend, Oregon.  They performed the complete Neuropsychological testings and ruled out a Bi Polar 2 diagnosis.  
We live in Los Angeles and I would like to find a Behavioral Therapist specialist for social skills training and therapy now that he’s back home.
Can you recommend someone? We live in the Hancock Park Area of Los Angeles.
Thank you,
Donna

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Dear Dr. Hutton, 
 I am so very blessed to have found your information and youtube videos. My name is Leslie, and my brilliant husband, Vincent and I minister together in a personal ministry, and I am reaching out for help. 
About 4 months ago, I just realized my husband has aspergers. He has not been officially diagnosed, and he has not accepted this fact. It is extremely clear to me, and I cannot tell you how relieved I have felt since learning so much about aspergers. I have finally been able to make sense of my husband, my life and our relationship. 
However, my dear hubby has been extremely upset with me suggesting that he go see a doctor to get a diagnosis. I have tried several gentle and compassionate approaches, with fear and trembling I might add, in hopes that he will hear me out and do what needs to be done so we can continue growing together.  Looking back through our 22 years of marriage (we just "celebrated" our 22nd anniversary after Thanksgiving ( well... I celebrated) , and having 8 awesome children together, (yes- EIGHT ) ;) and one stepdaughter, I can tell you 100% that God has been providing His divine guidance for us all along. Vince has definitely come a long way…. a VERY Long Way!  But I am at a point in our marriage where we are not growing as I felt we should.  I mentioned earlier that my husband and I minister together. We have a personal ministry that seems to be growing more than we are, because of the knowledge and new ideas my hubby comes up with. I don't know if you are a Bible believer, please forgive me,  but the Bible is the most incredible book that never seems to have an end to new depths of revelation, and understanding. It truly is alive. This has been my husband's obsession, and its is an outstanding obsession.  However, there has to be a match with a person's character growth that goes along with their knowledge. And that is where I have a major problem dealing with my husband. We have been through several incredible healing ministry training schools, and have our certifications in each, and, of course, it has helped us tremendously in our personal relationship. (please see our website for more info. *( http://etzhayim.weebly.com/life-coaching-modalities-of-healing.html  )
However, Vince still has times of depression, or regression in his behavior, whether it be expressed through anger, extreme sensitivity to criticism, consistently having high automatic defense mechanisms, etc.  Sometimes I feel he is like a ticking time bomb. I have learned to be unbelievably careful with my words and responses.  There is no way in hades I would recommend anyone go through what I have gone through in the past 22 years to become the kind of people my husband and I have become… but for me, it definitely has been worth it! Truly transformational, and like the Bible says, Iron sharpens Iron. We are true soul mates and I believe fully in our marriage.  

So now, I am writing you because I have a problem. My problem is , because my husband and I are in ministry, and it is evident that he has a problem accepting himself, how can we honestly help people -with a pure heart- if we haven't dealt with our own serious issues? I feel like a hypocrite trying to counsel others. Vince truly is brilliant with the Word of God and his gifts are his unbelievable memory skills, excellent problem-solving skills, his practicality and reasoning, and loyalty. His weaknesses are he's diabetic, he is self-sabotaging, suffers from self-condemnation, thinks more and moves less (out of shape), has angry outbursts that are unpredictable, he's too often fighting within (flight or fight) , and he needs me too much to work for him (High Maintenance, kinda lazy ), and his criticism of me used to be unbearable, but he has cut down his criticism from 90% to 10%, which is a miracle . He is a Certified General real estate appraiser ( a perfect job for perfectionists who can do the mundane)  and this supports the family and ministry, and I do all the typing. It pays the bills, but we are not where we should be. So how do we move into our ministry and help others when I clearly see we have a problem? I understand that my hubby has been hiding the fact that he is different all his life, and he perceives this aspergers as a major threat to his character, and future even!   I am facing a huge challenge when dear Vince won't do the obvious to help himself? 

To tell you a little about me, I am a very active Mom, a certified fitness & nutrition counselor, personal trainer, a former world class athlete in track & field,  and I love to coach kids. Vince and I are truly exact opposites. I truly "Feel" what others are feeling, I am a "Burden Bearer", I know what Vince is feeling when he doesn't even have a clue, and I have a terrible memory, and get easily distracted during work, terrible focus because I'm bored or uninspired! :P  ... So I really appreciate my husband. We are so very compatible, its unreal! But without having a true relationship with Jesus, I would not have made it this far…. no way! Anyone with a weaker heart would have possibly lost their minds. 

Thank you so much for being there to help Dr. Hutton. I truly appreciate your advice or some insight that you are willing to provide. Thank you also for allowing me to share my story with someone I can trust. So far, no one is in my life that will Love my husband without judging him, and I have protected him by not involving my family with the many conflicts I have endured. 

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Hey,

I am interested in ordering your ebook. I just wanted to know how this is gonna look on the credit card statement or paypal receipt.

My wife and I are at the end of world war three here and I can't purchase anything that has a title like dealing with an AS spouse without angering the beast. She doesn't think she has it, though she knows our stepson does.

This year, among other things I bought my wife a car. Paid cash. After giving everything I had to give and seeing no change, I literally had a seizure while driving, and wrecked my truck, luckily at only 5mph. It was my first seizure. Still no change except that I am not allowed to drive for six months.

Actually after changing plans for our anniversary to fit her interest, baseball she told me that if I had died she would go after the catcher.   She now has a shirt that says I "heart" the catcher, Perez. And sees no issue with it.

 Meanwhile ..going on 6 months with zero(slightly less than normal) intimacy for me.

I am pretty much done grieving and I accept that she will likely never change. I need to change myself in order to survive this. I am open to pretty much anything though she may he on her own with baseball for a while. ;)

Thanks for letting me vent. No one really understands. I just look needy or insecure, which further damages my self esteem.
I am trying to stick this out for the kids but an affair is coming very soon if something doesn't change.

Is there some way to get this without her knowing what it is? We share an account. I told her I was going to donate $20 to feeding america just before I saw your book so the amount will go unnoticed as long as it says nothing about aspbergers....

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Dear Mark Hutten,

I am reaching out to you all because I am currently conducting my dissertation research through the Child, Family, and School Psychology program at the University of Denver on the topic of the sexuality education of high functioning adolescent students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  I very much want to include parent/caregiver voices in my research, and am hoping to locate 5-10 parents/caregivers of high functioning adolescents with ASD to participate in my study.  I am wondering if any parents involved with My Aspergers Child would be interested in participating.
The purpose of this research is to develop guidelines for the sexuality education of high functioning adolescent students with ASD.  To date, there are few resources available that provide guidance on the sexuality education of students with ASD.  Through parent/caregiver insight and the joint effort of other participants, I hope to identify the key components of successful sexuality education of high functioning adolescent students with ASD.  The participants in this study include parents/caregivers of high functioning adolescent students with ASD, researchers and/or authors of sexuality education and ASD materials, and school psychologists who work with high functioning adolescents with ASD in a public school.  This is an important, but under researched area in the field.

For the purposes of this research, an adolescent is considered a student between the ages of 11-21 who is currently enrolled as a student between grades 6-12.  High functioning refers to students who have average to above average intelligence and verbal communication abilities.
  
Study participation involves completing three or more rounds of electronic questionnaires over a period of approximately three to four months.  Participant answers will be anonymous throughout the life of the study.  If participants would be interested in reading the results, I would be happy to send them upon completion of the study. 

If you or anyone affiliated with My Aspergers Child are interested, the Round 1 Questionnaire can be accessed here:  https://udenver.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cVitTWAK5guK22N
Thank you for your time, and please let me know if I can answer any questions!
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Hello,
  I am wondering if your book would be helpful for me and my 23 year old Asperger son. Though he is living in an apartment and attending college, he still has major problems with motivation. He is very resistant to reasonable expectations - like taking a daily shower and keeping his apartment at least semi-clean. I live about 2 hours away and visit him every few weeks. He still spends many hours a day wasting time on the Internet and has no motivation to get a job or think about the future. Can your approach work for a child no longer living at home with a parent? I am desperate to help him mature into a responsible, financially independent adult.

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Thanks for this. Before we start I'd like to check if there's anything different we should do with our son. He was diagnosed only when we took him to see a specialist at the age of 18. He's now 22 but displays much of the typical teenage behaviour you describe. With that in mind we hope your book will be the help we need but have so far been unable to find. However, being slightly older may require something a little different. He's also 6' 5" so physical restraint (if any is advised - haven't read far enough to know yet) will be impossible to achieve.
Anyway, we'll work through your book and see how we get on.
Copying in my husband, John, so he has your contact details, too.

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Dear Mr. Hutten
I apologize in advance for the length of this email. I think after reading your ebook, a lot has become clearer and I've had some things pent-up for a while that are so clearly hitting me.  Thank you for your insightful and approach. It doesn't fix my problem, but it gives me hope that this is "something" and we can attempt to tackle it. 
Here's my story:

For 25 years now I’ve just thought it was me—mostly because he has been masterful at turning it on me.  Denying, turning the conversation so far from the original topic or using the reason “I just thought it was best” or “I was just trying to be nice.”

After talking with our pastor’s wife yesterday about potentially leaving him, I think I finally realized this morning that this is not an incident in a marriage – like an affair or some one-time thing—that can be fixed or addressed and you try to move on—change or not do the behavior anymore.  This is about how he thinks—how his mind works and is wired.  Truly how he sees the world.

I have been told by two counselors (one most recently) that my husband has signs and symptoms of Asperger’s (with minor/possible passive narcissism).  I guess what that means finally hit me today when I was researching it on the internet and stumbled across your book and video portions.

He had a very successful career for 33 years in law enforcement. During that time, it was easy for me to justify his ‘turning off his emotions’ due to the job.  At the same time I was busy working full-time, doing all the housework, chores, finances and raising two children—these activities kept me too busy to realize what was really happening. 

Two years ago, he retired and we moved back to the Midwest where I am from.  Since then all the behaviors have become magnified. Behaviors like:
·        We got this marriage book to work on our marriage. One topic was empathy. When we came to the topic he told me he had never heard the word and didn’t understand what it meant.  I was dumb-founded…
·        We had a discussion even this morning and the point was that he didn’t tell me about a financial decision he made the day before. When I said he had mentioned something to me about a month ago, instead of seeing the problem as not communicating with me about the decision, he debated that it wasn’t a month ago (the time-frame mattered more).  He further stated that I just didn’t hear him—that he had thought he told me (he really thought he told me). We have lots of conversations with contradictory stories that ultimately go on and on and end up way off topic.
·        In 25 years of marriage, he has initiated sex once, maybe twice. We have had sex maybe 60 times in our entire marriage—a few more times in a year than normal when we were trying to have children, but generally maybe once or twice a year.
·        Two years ago our son was on floor, sobbing having a very difficult time with a terrible situation. I am on the floor comforting him.  He walks into the room and literally walks OVER him. Did NOT even notice his sobbing or that there was an issue. 
·        After he retired recently, I worked two jobs while I was diagnosed with two auto-immune diseases that kept me from (literally) walking or getting up—he watched every day and just went about his daily activities (went to the gym, watched movies).  All he would say is “I feel bad for you” as if disconnected from me.
·        We went on a date; I was in heels dressed up. My sister and her husband were in front of us holding hands but he didn’t even notice and just walked around downtown and observed as if there alone and really intrigued by the city—almost oblivious to the fact that I was there.
·        He recently sent an email to an acquaintance (he met this individual maybe three/four times) he knew was going through a tough time. He invited him to coffee and told him he would listen if the person wanted to vent.  A week prior I had to ask him to sit down with his 22-year old son, who was home on break, and chat with him. When I asked him how he could have coffee with this person and appear to be caring he said “because it doesn’t mean anything and it’s the right thing to do.” 
o   He knows how to put on the appropriate social appearances as if “textbook.”
·        Has brought home the wrong items from the grocery store multiple times—in multiples. For example, on one trip, he brought home 3 of the wrong juices, 3 of the wrong Pop-Tarts, and 2 of the wrong applesauce brands.  He had to get them off the shelf, put them on the conveyor for check-out, pack them, unpack them and put them on the shelf in our pantry – he didn’t even notice he picked the wrong ones.  He admitted to going into a convenience store, grabbing what he thought was a water only to get to the checkout and realize it was Sprite.  In these, and other repeated incidents—he really didn’t realize he had purchased or was about to purchase the wrong thing.
·        He is obsessed with news and sports scores for baseball.  Watches or reads at least 3-6 newspapers several times per day. Yet, he can’t sit with me for 15 minutes to discuss anything.
·        I have done all the grocery shopping, finances and raising of the children.  We don’t talk about finances or the children unless I bring it up.  He recently started grocery shopping but now it’s as if 1. He’s been doing it forever; 2. He doesn’t really share what he’s doing. He’ll make the list and do everything himself. 
·        He was a very successful police officer—really admired by many; pretty much because he knew the right things to say and do because it was very “black & white.”   He was told by many individuals that he was/is a very black/white person.
·        After many years of discussing topics and coming to what I thought was mutual agreement on a plan of action, he would go his own way without telling me or negotiating a different solution to what we had agreed upon. He would discount this until Has admitted openly to me recently (finally) that “he thinks he knows best.” Period. No debating—in his mind, he truly believes he has the right course of action—no collaboration, no partnering, etc.  When confronted—it was turned back onto me that I just didn’t see that he “was just doing what was best.”
·        I told him once I didn’t want a surprise party for my 50th birthday because instead I wanted to get my teeth corrected. I got a very large surprise party—because he knew best and was just being ‘nice.’  I was clearly angry about it. I now never get any surprises because “you don’t like surprises.”
·        He has very little sense of collaboration in our marriage. It’s either all him or all me—which is odd because of his career—but I guess it was more clear cut there.
·        My oldest son recently wrote him a letter (email) telling him how hurt he was and how he felt his dad didn’t care about him.  After reading it, he calls and the first thing out of his mouth was “what’s the matter?”  (truly curious about what the problem was…not remorse, not I’m so sorry you are hurting, etc.)
·        Whenever he writes me a card, even after 25 years, it’s very formal—almost something out of a literature book—no honey, babe, etc. 
·        We were talking about how in a day there are times when nothing would phase him—he didn’t have a jealous bone in his body, traffic never got to him, other people never annoyed him, movies were merely entertainment—not to move you or to mean anything, etc. He recently told me ‘a lot of people go through a day without being influenced by anything.’
o   It’s almost as if he’s robotic; again, he knows how to handle social things based on what he perhaps has read or seen on shows like Adam 12 or Dragnet or a John Wayne movie (which he is kind of obsessed about-these he truly believes are ‘real’)

How I feel:
·        Completely alone
·        No one to partner with; share with
·        Stuck/trapped
·        Can’t seem to have a ‘normal’ conversation with him
·        Like I know him but he doesn’t know me and at the same time like I don’t really know him—I know what or how a normal person would react
·       Stifled--emotionally
·        Exhausted! 
·        Crazy—he twists things so easily
·        Unnoticed
·        Sexually pent-up
Thank you, if you have read this far, for reading and indulging me.  I think I wanted to write just to get it out to someone I think might understand and seeing it now I feel really silly that I didn’t see it sooner and was kind of a ‘sucker’ for falling for his behavior all this time (or at the very least ignorant).  I thought he was just very egotistical or self-centered and narcissistic.  Understanding Aspergers will be key for me if we are to survive.

I realized recently we need some deep counseling to learn how to communicate—or at least I do so I don’t go crazy--and we have a resource locally for doing so. My counselor has referred us to someone who specializes in Asperger's.

At this point i know our old counselor from a few years ago told him he had Asperger's but he didn't ever acknowledge it. I was recently told by our mutual counselor that he has it (but I'm not sure she told him).   Do I tell him or ask the counselor if he has told him he has Asperger's?  Any other advice you can give me?  If you are still having seminars, please point me to where I could find one.
Thank you again.

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

Hi Mark,

I'm sure you probably get lots of emails like mine... I'm writing because I need help and I don't really know who else to turn to. Therapists in my area can't seem to help as they are not equipped to deal with my situation.

I've been married to my husband (who I suspect has undiagnosed Aspergers) for one year.  It has been a very challenging year, and I'm afraid we are at the brink of divorce.  I've listened to your talks on youtube, and everything you said resonated with me --- the relational issues stemming from different priorities, obsessive interests/activities, lack of emotional understanding, defensiveness, etc...  My husband and I have many, many unresolved disconnects.  It didn't seem to make sense to me until his sister mentioned that she thinks he may have Aspergers.  I didn't know what that was, but upon researching it, everything finally made sense.  Last October, I gently broached the subject with my husband that perhaps he may have some traits that are "on the spectrum." He responded very negatively (which is an understatement because he was actual quite vile about it).  It was a side of him I've never seen before.  Very angry and almost cruel.  He is now so very cold and distant towards me.  His son from another marriage has severe autism and he has accused me of being malicious in suggesting that he may be on the spectrum too.  

We are currently going to therapy, but I'll be honest.  I don't know if he actually wants to make this marriage work.  He has an extremely negative perspective about our marriage.  He is vehemently opposed to considering he might have ASD, even though verbally he tells me and the AS/NT therapist that he doesn't care about the label.  I'm so confused and I don't know what to do or where else to turn.  He is in such deep denial and refuses to look at himself or his role in our relationship challenges.  He is highly defensive and any input or feedback from me is seen as criticism or an attack on his character.  I'm at a point that I'm afraid to even be honest and open during our therapy sessions (let alone at home) because it only results in him further distancing himself from me and our marriage.  

Mark, I'm in utter despair.  Our marriage is hanging by a thread.  I'm writing to see if perhaps you can shed some insight or advice on how I should handle the situation.  How should I proceed when my husband seems so resistant to anything and everything?  Please help.

Thank you so much.

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