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 July, 2016]

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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Mr. Hutten,
I have watched and read a good chunk of the Living with an Asperger's Partner, and find it unbelievably helpful.  I know that I emailed previously and you were booked as far as your schedule, but if you have anything open up and could offer my husband and I some counseling we would be enormously grateful.

Thank you,
Elinor

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I have a daughter who is nearing three, We suspected that she had seizures, but her eeg and mri were normal. I still believe she has mild seizures, but that's not the point here. She has frequent meltdowns and severe separation anxiety. She obsesses about a specific food, and when we run out, it's major tantrum time. Her food obsession changes frequently so it's impossible to keep it in the house at all times. Most of the foods aren't healthy either. Do I give her another ice cream, or deal with the tantrum that is likely to ensue. I try to strike a balance between setting limits and understanding that she is different than other children and requires more understanding. She recently started occupational therapy. They said she had "lots of red flags" suggesting she was autistic, but the official diagnosis has to come from a doctor or a psychologist. In my heart I know she is autistic. She is very good at problem solving and very strong willed. She has boundless energy then crashes and just wants to rest for awhile. She has a hard time in social situations. She is finally warming up to a few friends outside of our immediate family, but she is not a "play with the group" type of child. I find her doing things or playing in very inefficient ways sometimes. If I try to change the system she has going, she gets upset. I've learned to let it be. Sorry for such a long message, but I'm wondering if your program can help? I'm constantly reading and researching something. I love to learn, especially when it comes to my child and what I can do for her. I work from home as a freelance writer, and there are days (like today) where I find it very difficult to work because she seems to need my attention constantly. I want her to be the best that she can be. I want to raise her with more understanding and love than I recieved growing up. I understand that I have to parent her differently than "normal children", but those waters can be very hard to navigate.

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Hi

I've been reading and listening to your program for young adults with Aspergers. Our son is almost 21 and currently a student at University of Illinois at Urbana, majoring in Computer Science. He'll be a senior this Fall

He has always had the symptoms of AS but not diagnosed formally. He is very socially immature, can't make friends, prefers to be alone, was bullied and picked on during his primary school years. With some guidance from a psychologist, he was able to graduate from high school with honors and got into a very good college for the field he loves, computer science. But his social skills have not improved while in college.

He has been living on his own in an campus apt for the last 2 years.  He couldn't take living with a roommate. He spends most of his free time in the apt by himself. He seldom socializes as he can't fit in with the kids he likes and doesn't approve of the kids who do accept him.

He has gotten menial jobs on campus but this summer was his first internship at Enova. He was very excited and proud to land this internship. Ian doesn't know he has AS and so the employer didn't have any idea what to expect. Due to his behavior, Ian was fired after only 3 weeks of an 11 week internship. According to the supervisor, Ian wasn't a team player, wasn't empathetic, late to meetings, code was illegible. Ian is a brillliant coder but doesn't like to work in teams. All signs of AS

His supervisor brought him in one day and told Ian about his bad performance and of course Ian had no idea he was performing so badly. He had a meltdown in the office, probably cried and shut down. He was told to go home early and calm down and decide if he wanted to stay or not. Apparently, ian wanted to stay, but then he was 10 mins late for another meeting, and that's when he was fired.  It almost seems like he wanted to be fired.

He let us know he wanted to come home for the summer, but we told him to stay in his campus apt. We told him he had to find another job for the summer, but he's just sent out resumes and not done much else except playing around with a new keyboard, that Dad let him buy with our money

I'm not sure whether we should tell Ian he probably has AS, and to suggest he get tested and give him some websites or specialists to check out so he can work on workplace and social skills.  There are special programs geared towards integrating AS into IT jobs like the one Microsoft and SAP offers. I want him to figure out what he needs to do on his own, But I'm not sure he would know what to do next without some guidance from a therapist or mentor

So, I was wondering what could you offer Ian, as a Life Coach?  I just trying to figure out what we can do without enabling him even more.  Right now, we are paying for college, apt, food, clothes, anything he wants or needs. I think we need to wean him off of relying on us as a source of income to buy everything - so he tries harder to find and keep a job.

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I was looking for help because of my aspergers son who is 15 years old. I recently did a no no in your book which is that you said aspergers kids need routine. I brook one of his routine/schedule/activity which was that I promised I would give his internet back but didn't because I saw it going so well that he blew up on me. Since then I've been dealing w/trust issues. I do see where I went wrong w/this but he doesn't seem to forgive me. We had a great bond prior to this where he would eat with me, watch tv, and everything seemed to be the best it could. After this incident, I noticed he views me differently now. As if I'm some lying person and questions everything I say. I do feel like I’m walking on egg shells now and he gives me attitude which I normally don't tolerate as I am that assertive parent but I feel like I lost all points with him.

I am desperately trying to go back to that place I was with him before. he would smile one minute with me and without me doing anything, he would flip the switch. He purposely tells me he knows something but won't tell me. In your book, I know you're saying that's them trying to get control.

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I need some advice for my teen.
He is 14 and all of the problems listed are what we struggle with.
His defiance and disrespect has been really challenging.
He does not have common sense when making decisions and has struggled with friendships.
His plea for more independence and his defiance led me to allow him to
travel out of state to his grandparents and work with them for the summer.

After 5 days there he has accidentally lit a fire causing building damage to the family business while
experimenting with matches and gasoline.
He has never been in trouble before, and I have been a very protective mother as well an advocate for him.
He will have to deal with a consequence, and would like to know what you suggest?
Community service or Military camp?
I’m worn out and need some support as he approaches high school in August.
I fear he will have more freedom and get in trouble.

I have sent him to a small private school this past year, and hired multiple
life coach academic tutors as he responds better to them than his parents.

All of this is breaking our budget and I’m out of money and resources so I found you online.
Please help!

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Hello Dr.Hutten! My son Hugh is almost eleven. For 9 month he has been a resident at Green Chimneys school in Brewster NY. His unusual behaviour started at age 4.5. His diagnosis within 5 years went from opp.def. disorder to not specified depressive disorder with anxiety as of last month. I suspect that he has Aspergers. The school gives me runaround and the reg. Psy nurse that makes all decisions tells me that they ruled Aspergers out without test.!  I don't know what I should do next. Please help. Sincerely Natasha

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Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for your online resource like the e-book, audio and videos. My husband and I feel so confident that we can guide our son, a 13 year old boy with typical Asperger syndrome to the right direction. All of those strategies like the art of saying Yes, Art of saying No, turn on and turn off the intensity, 6 steps to face the unexpected issues work pretty well. 

Here I still need you suggestion to handle  the following specific situations. 

Two days ago, I drove my son to his music class. Of course, on the road he picked his favorite topic ( He always said he doesn't like his younger sister, he just wants a younger brother, not a younger sister. He treated her as we adopted her. He  wants to be the only child and I  should tell everyone I met he is my only child etc. My husband and I tried to avoid talking about his favorite topic, so we told him we don't want to talk about this topic. We treat your younger sister and you equally and so on. It seems it doesn't work. He continued to pick up this topic and tried to convince me(not my husband, he doesn't care my husband treat his younger sister well but he can't tolerate I am close to my daughter) to say that he is my only child. This time, when he talked about this topic in the car, I said " I don't want to talk about this topic and I have  repeated a lot of times that we treat you two equally and fairly. What I care is the progress you made recently, what's your plan for your future. You are smart and you have ability to be successful if you focus on developing yourself. Then he responded that he doesn't want to talk about his future and he will not go to the lesson. Finally he didn't take the lesson even though I drove him to the teacher's house. I don't want to argue with him and immediately I gave him consequence I will not talk to him for three days. My son loves to talk with me and to stay with me, but he also loves to repeat the above topic when he stays with me. Today is the second day since I have not talked to him, he feel so frustrated and he desperately want to speak with me. I told him I will not talk to him until tomorrow since I need one more day to calm down. 

Here is my question. I am not sure how to handle the above topic if he asked me again. Always saying that  I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS TOPIC seems it is not enough to prevent my son not to  mention this topic again.  Tomorrow evening I will put away my poker face and will talk to him again. Here is my thought--I will say, Hi son, I realized that you have the ability not to pick the topic about your younger sister. I am happy.  I don't like what your said two days ago. In our family, Dad and Mom treat your sister and you equally and fairly. Both of you are my kids and we love you two equally. Your past three days' behavior earned me to talk to you again and I don't want to talk with you about this topic again. If you choose to repeat this topic, I will not talk to you for another three days. Do you have any thought or suggestion for me to handle this situation? Please help. 

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I'm trying to come up with a behavior contract for my teenage daughter. A month and a half ago she ran away to spend time with an overage boy. She had just gotten grounded for sluffing school and totally lying about trying to get her grades up before the end of the year (She failed 4 out of 8 classes). Anyway, I reported her as a runaway and to avoid being brought home she made false accusations of child abuse. (She did something very similar about a yr ago)  so cps got involved and the allegations didn't even lead to an investigation. I signed over temp custody under the belief that my daughter would b placed somewhere with counceling and supervision. After a month and a half of my daughter pretty much being on vacation at a group home with little supervision I took back custody and we are waiting for an appointment with a couselor in our area. In the mean time, I want to make sure she understands what she did wrong, why she's lost privileges and ensure she's not going to repeat the behavior. Any ideas or suggested websites with free resources would be greatly appreciated.

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Dear Mark,

Thank you so very much.  I have been married for twenty years and it has been hell and a struggle for much of it.  We found a counselor that believes this is what we are dealing with.  I read your information on your video links and it is unbelievable how it fits the bill.  FINALLY, something to explain all the chaos and "weirdness" to name a few.  

I was diagnosed with cancer then an auto immune disease recently (past couple of years) and how he coped, took job two states away leaving me with three kids to care for was the breaking point for me.  
My concern is for my general health and well being, as it has always been about him and his needs all these years.  If there was anything reciprocal it seemed only deemed when it benefitted him to a degree. I feel terrible saying that as there is a kindness to him that I believe is what originally attracted me to him.  

I have two 15 year olds and a 12 year (who I believe has a case of Aspergers(milder than his dad as he has had interventions/therapies due to his expressive language issues and dyslexia-he has been incredibly stressful over the years but we are making headway and will continue to do so now that I know about Asperger's) 

I don't know if I want to break up this family, but it is so hard and my health.  I think my 15 year old is more developmentally ahead in many respects.  

Any thoughts is appreciated.  I know you are busy.  He hasn't been told by our marriage counselor (who is delightful) about his thoughts on my husband having Asperger's but he is going to be next week, I believe.  

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Good afternoon Mark,

I have some questions for you that I'm hoping you'll be able to help me out with.  My very dear friend, has a 6 year-old boy who displays a lot of the problematic behaviors and issues associated with high functioning Aspergers.  She can't seem to pinpoint how to deal with a lot of these issues and is struggling to connect with her son and figure out how to best combat these issues and connect with him.  My family and I are the only ones that have interacted with her son on almost a daily basis since he was a baby, so this isn't a determination I came at lightly.  

He has been a very bright child since the age of 2, when he started reading on his own.  He has been able to teach himself not only how to read, but play the piano as well.  Yet, he struggles with all of the problems you outlined on your website: 
  • aggression
  • appearing to be "in one's own little world"
  • difficulty regulating social/emotional responses with anger
  • difficulty with transitions
  • excessive anxiety
  • hyperactivity
  • odd verbal responses
  • preference for a set routine
  • problems sustaining simple conversations
  • tendency to avoid spontaneous social interactions
  • tendency to be perseverative or repetitive when conversing
  • tendency to over-focus on particular objects or subjects
  • tendency to show very weak skills in interactions

While I'm not an expert, I've realized these behaviors go in line with HFA, but because of the nature of the issue and sensitivity I have refrained from stating what his issue may be.  My friend values and trusts my opinion and knowledge in many areas, but I don't want to jeopardize our friendship in pointing out that her son may have HFA.  

One thing I must point out, is that my friend homeschool's her two boys.  So the issues that arise with her son that potentially has HFA aren't being recognized in a regular school setting.  Other friends and people he comes in contact with through church or play dates just consider him to be extremely bright and quirky.   

How can I best lay out this information to her, in a way that is sensitive and loving?  I have an idea, but wanted to know your thoughts.  I would truly appreciate any input and guidance that you can share with me.  I realize you are very busy, but I'm hoping you can help me, so that I can help my dear friend.

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Mr. Hutten,
Your blog has defined problems between myself and my husband to a tee.  We are in Tampa, Florida and could use some serious counseling by someone who understands the Aspie/neurotypical marriage and unique challenges.  We have married eighteen years with many challenges along the way, but I have hit a wall and need some help to sustain the marriage.  Do you offer online counseling to couples?

Thank you so much,
Elinor

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Apologies in advance for this long note, but we have tried so many things and some web research led me to you. I just want to ask you if you think your approach can help before I invest in it (emotionally not financially; the money is not the point). I feel like we keep trying everything we can. I read, I educate myself. My husband and I even attended Total Transformation training sessions and we tried that. We don’t agree on everything, but we try hard to work together. We are at the end of our rope and we just want to help our son and heal this rift in our family.

My son is now 18. He has been incredibly challenging and oppositional since he was about 3 years old. We did both individual and group therapy as he was growing up. The diagnosis was ADHD and/or ODD. There is bipolar in my husband’s family, but we were told you couldn’t really diagnose that until they are older. We tried Adderall at one point when he was in 3rd or 4th grade, but it did not work. It actually slowed him down and made him apathetic and what I’d call “darker” in spirit. At that point, I started to think maybe it was bipolar and he also showed some Asperger’s qualities in terms of relationships/social skills.

He had 504s at school and we did lots of behavior modification through their programs. He stopped counseling when he was in 8th grade because he wasn’t trying, wasn’t working with the therapists and said he didn’t need to go. At his request, he went back to counseling right at the beginning of sophomore year. He said he was having panic attacks. He tried an antidepressant and that seemed to help. It “took the edge off” and he was more approachable. He went for about four months and then said he was fine and went off the antidepressant. He seemed to be coming around and was doing better on all counts: behavior, school, social skills, etc. We still had some incidents, but it felt like we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Going into his senior year, he started out with a 3.4 GPA and hopes of going on to college to become a doctor. He was hanging out with a good group of friends and seemed very happy.

But then he met a girl right before his 18th birthday in October of last year and it all started to crash. I’m not blaming her. She seemed nice enough, but there were no rules at her house and her mom worked two jobs and did not really look out for her. She was kind of on her own and my son started to as he said, “take care of her.” He would drive her to and from work, to school and everywhere she needed to go. He would buy food for her and even take care of her pets (food, paying for going to the vet). But he grew increasingly controlling with her. He spent all is his money and time with her. He started telling her what to wear and who she could talk to. He actually said he “owned” her at one point. They broke up and made up a few times over the past six months. In that time, he started breaking all the rules at home, staying out past curfew or all night saying he “fell asleep” at her house after driving her home from work. He became increasingly disrespectful and even aggressive in tone, words and gestures. His grades started to really slip.

We laid down the rules again and restated consequences in March – up to and including asking him to leave and go out own if he did not want to follow the house rules. We also said we would call the cops or a crisis unit if he threatened us. That seemed to backfire and he got worse. He became angrier and was verbally abusive. He also got physically abusive with me one night in April after I told him to stop badgering his girlfriend. I must admit that I gave his arm a little slap, which was my bad. But he was really going on and on about something, talking over her and not letting her speak. He grabbed my arms and pushed me against our kitchen cabinets. He never did anything like that again, but he has puffed up his chest with his father and “gotten in his face.”

After that incident with me, we told him he needed to see a therapist again if he wanted to continue to live in our home. He agreed. Of course, it takes so long to find someone and to get an appointment that he didn’t start going right away. Then he started skipping school or going in late and racking up detentions. He was disrespectful to one of his teachers and the school office staff. He started getting in trouble and was asked to leave school and stay off school property and not attend any events like graduation. He was failing two classes anyway – English and Phys Ed – and there was no way to pass. The school arranged for me to sign him up for online courses so he could get his diploma.

He and his girlfriend broke up the night before she was to graduate. He went to her house and destroyed things he had bought for her (clothes, stuffed animals and even her graduation gown). Of course she called the police and got a restraining order. Plus, since he entered her house and destroyed property, there are other more serious charges pending and we had to hire a lawyer.

He is in therapy and has been going two times a week since this all happened. I’m not sure if it is helping. He keeps to himself and it is very hard to talk to him. He pushes me away, not physically, but just saying “bye-bye” and shutting his bedroom door. He will not allow me to walk into his room. He gets up and stands in the doorway. He will not do the online courses, so he is not getting his high school diploma. At first he said he was and was having trouble posting work, but I’m pretty sure he was lying. He is paying us back and I told him we need to also set up a payment plan for his legal fees. He is going to his job, but that’s about all. Once in a while, he sees one or two of his old friends. He doesn’t seem to care about his future and says if we don’t want to pay for the lawyer he will go to jail.

FYI, his therapist says he has Borderline Personality Disorder and attachment issues. The descriptions ring true, but he did not suffer abuse and neglect as a child to the best of our knowledge. He did have quite a few caregivers in his early years because we moved and then he was asked to leave a few daycare centers for biting or behavior issues. We were not perfect parents, but we cared for him, we played with him and we loved him. We had lots of family time together. The advice on parenting these RAD kids is overwhelming and much of it is directed to younger kids, but it makes sense in an odd way and helps us understand where he is coming from even though it logically makes no sense to us. In fact, I found your site on a link from a site on RAD.

I share all of this because I want to ask you if you think you can help me.

My husband and I desperately want to understand what is going on with him and get on the same page with something we can do together to help him. Some plan, approach or tactics to help us get our son back, at least to the way he was before when we could talk to him and he would even listen sometimes!

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Hi Mark,

First of all, I want to say how thrilled I am that I have stumbled onto your book. I have been frustrated in my 16 year marriage for at least the last ten. I have essentially given up on it.
My husband has not been diagnosed with Aspergers, but I am convinced the he is an Aspie. Everything that has been said on the videos has received a resounding “YES” from me. I am
in that limbo between accepting a dreary marriage and life or leaving my husband.
I can hardly wait to start reading or listening to it. 

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Hello,

Our son is 28 years old and as a child was diagnosed with Aspergers.  We did not receive much help from the medical profession.  While growing up, he had problems getting along with others at school and we had difficulties disciplining his bad behaviour and angry outbursts.  He is very intelligent and has a great interest in computers and electronics. 

Since graduating high school, he has taken a computer networking course at a community college but did not put this to use in the working world.  He has used marijuana heavily in the past which only complicated his life.  He has had problems getting along with family, friends, and coworkers and has gone through many different jobs, mostly working in the restaurant business doing kitchen work.   He has made a lot of bad decisions and doesn't seem to learn from his experiences.  He is not good with money and often has to borrow from us to make ends meet.  He is presently taking a university business course and hopes to start his own business.  I am not sure if this is a realistic goal for him.  He is not good managing finances and doesn't like to plan things out. 

He has moved in and out of our home several times.  While living with us, he could be very critical and unpleasant to live with.  For the sake of my sanity, we cannot allow him to move back.  He has a small apartment and if needed, we help him with the rent.  He just quit his summer( part time during the school year) job working in a restaurant and has plans to open a kiosk working with electronics in the mall.  He has no backup plan on how to support himself.  His credit is bad and I am sure he will be unable to get a loan to start a business.  He is angry with us because we are not supporting him in this venture.   I think it's a bad idea.

My question, is there some place where parents can learn how to deal with this kind of behaviour when the children are all grown up and haven't had the benefit of learning how to socialize and manage their symptoms when they were younger?  There is no way he would acknowledge that he has a problem or go for help.  We have tried several times.


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No comments:

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