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 April, 2017]

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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After 3 years of frustrating school situations turning into home situations, I find myself at my wits end figuring out where to start. I started researching Asperger's without much direction. We came across a teacher for 2nd grade who used (the symptoms listed) to chastise and leave my son out of so many school activities making them so much harder than necessary and starting our snowball of an utter distaste for school all together (with the help of the principal...who is no longer there). (all the while coupled with enuresis both nocturnal and diurnal) I didn't think it could get worse but 3rd grade led to an even worse year and larger distaste for going to school all together and another teacher who made it her mission to be mean to him and she was not even his classroom teacher. After the horrible dealings with the school, I moved him to a different school in hopes for a change. Things are a bit better where he does not hate school but he really has no friends, he is not good at catching a ball so football, basketball, baseball are all hard for him and that's what boys do is play. We are not big into buying video games but I am thinking that might be the only "skill" he might be able to gain. Don't get me wrong, he loves art but has the I can't attitude with almost everything. He wants to learn to cook (and I am trying) but has a hard time trying to make ramen or mac and cheese, plus he has become very picky about foods. He wont wear jeans but wants to ride horses ( we can not really accommodate that but occasionally do let him go on a ride). He is picky about clothes. He does not like to follow any kind of routine (lacks hygiene etc unless its an argument). I have an alarm set for every 2 hours to remind him to go to the bathroom but can not do that at school. I am beginning to wonder if Asperger's and the enuresis are related. The school refused to test him stating that lower functioning kids needed access to those funds and he would be taking away from them because he is high functioning. It has lead I believe to a delay in his education which became apparent in 2nd grade to me. His 4th grade teacher now really works hard on one skill at a time for him to achieve before moving forward but writing is definitely difficult. After begin left behind at the other school and learning that I can't gets you out of doing work, he is struggling. he is in the GT program but cant do a science fair project, does not like to read any more, cant pick a hobby....the list goes on. I feel like I am failing as a parent and do not know where to turn. Both boys ( i have 2) were in therapy for a different reason and she quit seeing them suggesting that I take more parenting classes since they just enjoy misbehaving. Neither of them have officially be diagnosed with Asperger's although that is where my searching has led me. My second son was doing ok socially but I am seeing horrible tantrums with him, and many kids not wanting to be his friend -- things always have to be his way, he always has to win, he has started stealing little things and my husband is not really on board with much. We definitely work too much to have much one on one time with them but I am beginning to think that I need to quit my job and we need to restructure our parenting to start accommodating the possibility that these two will never be able to function alone in society, hold down good jobs, be responsible with money, know how to cook, etc unless we make some MAJOR life changes and I do not even know where to start. After all of that......

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Dear Mark,

I recently discovered your blog and was wondering if you would be willing to share information about a survey for parents and family caregivers with your readers?  The survey is for parents and family caregivers of teens and young adults (ages 13-25) with a developmental disability, intellectual disability, or autism spectrum disorder (including Asperger's).

The survey asks about caregivers’ experiences and wellbeing. I'm a graduate student at Illinois Tech and my advisor, Dr. EJ Lee, and I hope that by learning more about the experiences of families during their youth’s transition to adulthood that we can help better inform the supports available. 

The survey takes 25-45 minutes to complete and twenty $30 gift cards will be raffled off for participants. The survey is open through April 15, 2017.

The survey link is:

https://iitcop.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_eRIMY2nvUDozzox

Thank you in advance for your help! Please email me with any questions.

Thank you! 
Best,
Melissa

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Hello Mr Hutten

I have been looking at your website and videos and am hoping that some of your books etc would be able to help us with our son, Nathan. He is 6 and is - I think - high functioning autistic. He's been diagnosed, but nowadays they just rubber stamp kids with ASD, although the paediatrician said at our first meeting that he's clearly high functioning. He's very intelligent (his reading is amazing) and is advanced in maths. He's at a special school, at which he is doing well.

The problems we have are that although he has a good, wide vocabulary, he doesn't use it properly. He can't converse and has no interest in two-way conversation. It's almost impossible to engage him in anything he's not interested in, or for that matter anything you want him to do. For instance, he wouldn't pay attention long enough to learn a board game or for us to explain how something works. Sometimes he will launch into a great long diatribe 'at you' about a variety of subjects, observations, what people are doing, what's happening on a TV programme he's watching or a game he's playing, and he'll keep looking at you as if to say 'are you getting this?' but most of the time you can't even get an answer out of him as to what he wants for tea. It ends up being multiple choice, from which he picks one of the choices - which are very limited anyway! Either that or it's 'would you like a cake, yes or no?' to which he'll say 'yes' or 'no'. He's obsessed with electronic devices and always has been, which I don't think helps. He won't sit with us in the kitchen for family meals and eats only in the sitting room.

He's also very inflexible and has tantrums if things don't go his way - if we leave the park too soon for his liking, or if we can't go one day when he wants to. However, he can follow instructions (e.g. please pass me that camera', 'eat your apple please, it's nearly time for bed') and he's not particularly sensitive to sound, touch or other stimuli. He doesn't really stim, and he does have a sense of danger. Meltdowns are very rare, but tantrums aren't!

With this brief outline, I wondered which of your books/forums etc. would be best to address his problems, to get him to talk with us, increase his interactive attention span and improve his behaviour.

I look forward to hearing from you, and hopefully gaining some success with your programmes.

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Dear Mr. Hutten,

My name is Annabelle. I am a 17 year old student from Maryland, and I think my mother has ASD. The weight of living with a parent who has this disorder has come crashing down on me recently, and I'm absolutely desperate for a solution. I was incredibly disappointed to find that not many other people share my experiences, so not much research has been done in terms of support for parents with ASD, and more importantly the children and teenagers affected by problematic parenting.

I read your article, and so far it has been the only useful information I've found regarding my situation. I noticed it was written more than 10 years ago, and what little information I've found on the subject is just as old, so the reason for me contacting you is to ask what can I do? Are there support groups for people like me? Will my mother ever be the parent I need her to be, and if so how can it be done?

I feel stupid saying that I'm psychologically damaged as a result of my mother's parenting, but the reality of how bad it really is has gotten to me and I'm at the end of my rope. There are a million details I could send to you to help you better understand the situation, but the big picture is that I need help and I think that you're the only person who understands parents with ASD enough to give me the answers I need. None of the therapists I've had in the past have ever acknowledged that my mother is a problem, and the one I have currently realizes that there's something wrong with her, but she doesn't have the knowledge to help.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read this, and if there's anyone I can contact to contribute to research on this topic please let me know.

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Hello Mr Hutten,


I am having a problem with my son who is 25 years old.  He is currently unemployed  and frustrated with life. I think he is also depressed at times
 He went abroad at 18 and did not complete his education. Since then his life has not been the same. He sleeps ,lime and does nothing constructive. He claims he wants to be an athlete
but does not want to work hard for anything.He still lives at home  and expects everything to be given to him
He blames me for any failure he may have in life and is verbally abusive when i try to encourage him to change.
I am getting very uncomfortable being around him and  not sure what to do.



Presently I left the house for a couple days because I was beginning to feel afraid and stressed out.


Can you advise on this at all? Hope you can help.

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Hello Mark,
My situation is complex in that my youngest son is 17.  He lives with his mother, brother and sister. His mother and I are divorced now 10 years. I cannot afford to live in the area where they are, forcing me to live with my mother 50 miles away. My son Alex is very distant towards me. He will never pick up my phone calls to speak to me. He will answer an occasionally text saying he's busy with his friends and can't talk. I travel up there on the weekends to see them but they all three are never around or do not wish to make any plans due to work and friends. Alex is my main concern because of his distant attitude. He also has fits of anger and if you try to discuss anything with him he will just either shutdown, storm off or just ignore you. There are many more details, but for now these are the main points. I need to talk to my son and try to bond with him, but I can't do this if he refuses to see or speak to me and it's been such a long time that I really don't know where or how to begin or what to say. By the way, I'm receiving no support from his mother as long as he listens to her, when the anger begins then I might get a phone call from her. I'm hoping your program will help me and any advice that you could offer.
Most grateful parent

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Hi Mark
I am from England, UK and been watching your YouTube videos for a while now. I have been married for nearly 6 years now.

My husband is very intelligent, has excellent memory, insight and knowledge of many things and is fantastic with his hands. He can build and fix just about anything from cental heating to cars to boilers to computers. He is a dentist by trade and does well at his job.

During our engagement period, he would send me the most sweetest and caring messages, give me his time and clearly enjoy my company. There was no physical contact or sex before marriage due to cultural/religious reasons.

After marriage our honeymoon was pretty normal except we didnt manage intercourse. There was alot of physical contact but intercourse did not happen.

This became the main cause of friction. After almost 2 years and after seeing several therapists of sorts we managed intercourse (on the instruction of the therapist) and subsequently had a child. During pregnany i realised what a mess i was in. I felt trapped. I felt cheated and deceived. I felt my husband only managed penetration because the therapist said i had a right to ask for divorce if we went back the next day without managing it. It felt totally fake and horrible. And  a massive amount of bitterness had built up by this stage.

I spent many nights laying in bed feeling totally devasted, lonely, frustrated and dead. My husband would spend all night downstairs often falling asleep on the sofa till morning. Then he would get up and go to work. And then this would repeat.

I walked away several times, cried, screamed, begged. Its like i was just talking to a brick wall. He was empty. Hollow eyes. Often closed his eyes when I spoke. No response or very little. No words of comfort. No reassurance. No explanations. The only time he really seemed to stir was when i walked away back to my parents. He would come for me begging. Crying. And i went back each time.

There were some good moments but each was coloured by this huge elephant in the room.

He used to tell me how self sufficient he was and liked to be. He didnt need me in anyway not in the traditional sense of keeping the house and cooking or any sexual or emotional way ofcourse. He was very private. Told me he wished he could switch me on and off. Told me he keeps me at an arms length and doesnt let me in. I always felt something was majorly wrong, off, odd. But he kept saying he didnt know why the relationship was the way it was. My head felt like it was exploding.

2 years on from our child being born, as I was spending time away at my parents he told me he thought he had ADHD and booked to see the doctor. This was a shock to me but also a relief. Like we had crossed a major hurdle. Like i always knew there was something wrong and now finally we were putting it right. But the doctor put him.off from seeking an official diagnosis for many reasons and since then, a year and half later my husband is reluctant to even go.down that path. After speaking to.someone over the phone, it was suggested to me that more than ADHD my husband may have aspergers. This is when I found you and began reading more. I spoke to my husband about it but he is in mostly denial. He believes if he does have anything it is only a tiny part of this huge mess. Believes that its alot to do with my mood and my inability to be happy and cheerful with him.

We went to see a couples therapist and although that helped us talk whilst we were there and there has been some improvement, we always come back to this. She also was not keen on the label of aspergers or adhd. I just feel like no one understands.

I can literally count the number of times we have had sex in the last 5 and half years. I feel completely  lost, resentful and could say I hate my husband. Wish I had never married him. All I wanted my whole life was a man to be my roots and my wings. To carry me protect me want me need me be attracted to me have desire. I wanted a big family lots of kids. And I feel hes robbed me of it all. I cant even have any more kids because he cant perform the most natural thing between husband and wife. I feel i have no purpose. Im 33 and feel like im getting old to move on to divorce and try marriage for a second time. I feel broken for my child who at age 3 now, is on his own with no siblings. I feel he senses the bitterness and tension. I would hate for him to grow up seeing us like this and yet hate for him to not be in a home with a mum and dad. My husband loves him to bits and is very hands on and good to him. I think it would really effect my son if i walked away because he really loves his dad and spending time.with him. Yet im stuck and trapped. Ive put on so much weight, ive stopped getting 'dressed'. My eating habits are horrendous. I binge eat and comfort eat. My health is all over the place. My faith is down in the dumps. I cant look in the mirror anymore. I hate this life. What i thought i would be couldnt be any more different then what i am. 

But i wake up each day and give my love to my child. Teach him play with him give him the last bit of energy i have.   

What do I do? My husbands tells me he wants me to stay and that he doesnt want a divorce. Ofcourse theres nothing more i want than to make this work. But i cant live like this anymore. Its like i die a bit more each day.

Please is there any advice you can give? I wish I could attend one of your programs.

Thank you so much Mark, in advance. It feels good to let it all out to someone who I know is an expert. You dont know how much it means to me. Sorry for the very lengthy email and any errors in spelling etc.

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Hello Mark, I have subscribed to your online parenting program.
Just to give you a brief histor, I have a 15 yr old daughter; that I adopted, from Vietnam, when she was 3 months old. I am a single parent. She grew up in Italy ( my Mom was Italian) and we moved to the US in 2012, when she was 11 yrs old.
That said, she is now fully fitting with the list of behavioral patterns you list:
Does your child often:
  • lose his temper
  • argue with adults
  • refuse to comply with rules and requests
  • deliberately annoy people
  • blame others for his mistakes and misbehavior

=> Is your child often:

  • touchy and easily annoyed by others
  • angry and resentful
  • spiteful and vindictive

After two years of back and forth in mood swings ( both hers and mine) and other unpleasant issues, I have recently been looking into a summer program , since she has stopped seeing the therapist. I am thinking she might  maybe find the support she needs to be a happier kid. 

The place I am looking into for one month this summer is:

I would really like your input on this idea, since I like your clean straight forward approach. I am trying to put in practice your guidelines,but I know it takes time. Since I am stressed now of her aggressive attitude,  I thought a break could be good for both of us.

Looking forward to your professional input!

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Mark,

I have become familiar with your website and will purchase your ebook, however, I am also looking for resources for my son such as Summer camps and or intensive programs that can help my son.  The issue is that he is high level and I fear sending him to a camp that may have teens who are far more severe on the spectrum.  My son Jay is 16.  He is failing school, he cares about nothing.  He has severe anxiety and depression, and traits of obsessive thinking are causing him anxiety and physical pain.  To the world, he appears normal until one gets to know him and his obsession with Russia, military, Hitler, tanks and other odd things.  He is attractive, but very short fused.   We have truly tried everything from therapy to psychiatry and meds and nothing works.   I feel like I am in a race to get him stable, healthy, and graduated from high school without much time left.   His biological mother emancipated herself from him, and my wife loves him but is not very nurturing towards him, so that presents a set of problems.   For myself, I tend to be overly accommodating, guilty, and enabling.  We now have a difficult teen and a unhealthy house.   The ebook may be a good place to start, but I know I am going to need much more.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Hi Mark,
My son is 15 years old and has HFA.  He is very smart, but only for what he finds interesting.  He is a freshman in high school and this is the first year I placed him in a general ed setting.  He has an IEP and also a para 1:1.

In the beginning of the school year his grades were great.  I basically micro-managed him at home and made sure all his work was done.  Homework counts as much as a test in his school.  This was the part that I could "control".  I did him an injustice by basically taking over because he would not know where or when to start any assignment.  I thought I would "help" him and then he would learn from that.  He just got more used to it.  He has told me that it is all my fault and that I should not have helped him from the start and now he can't change until the next school year.  This is a behavior he has which manifests from his having OCD,  His school counselor has told me to let go of the control over homework and that Ryan would see what the consequences would be.  So I did.  I let it go and now he is at risk of failing most of his classes.  He doesn't seem to care.  He has a little arrogance to him when he says that in school he is one of the smartest kids (the teachers are always telling him that he is so smart). The family has been in therapy because of all this.  It has taken a toll on me and it is affecting the rest of the family.  While in therapy, my family is "perfect" and agrees to everything and insures that they will support me and help me with tackling my son's behaviors.  Once home, everything goes back to the way it was.  They all "think" they are helping.  They seem to unintentionally sabotage my assertive parenting.  Although I've asked my husband to do the online sessions, he just says he looked it over.  I have two older daughters too.  They get annoyed at my son and I see them smirk when I use the "assertive parenting".  I am so emotionally done.  I seem to be micro-managing my family and how they should react to my son and then they get mad at me.  I feel the family is in crisis mode, but have already reached out for help and it's not working. I've tried all that I can.  I will continue to work with my son, but have detached myself from the rest of the family, especially my husband.

I cannot figure how to make "consequences" work with Ryan.  If I take it away for a day, he's ok with that and finds something else to do.  I can't possibly take everything away, if he didn't make his bed or put his clothes away.  He "jumps down my throat" as soon as I open my mouth.  He doesn't even wait for me to say anything, or even listen to my tone.  I've tried the "poker" face and calm talking and he's told me he hates my voice like that.  He argues every word with me and I don't know how to "consequence" that.  I've made lists, contracts and everything else suggested.  It works for a day or two and then no one looks at it.  It's hard to do it alone to make it work, but I can't change my husband. I understand that he is tired when he gets home from work.  He has a long commute and we are not young anymore.  We are both in our mid 50s.  My parents were already retired at that age and enjoying life. We are all on a short fuse.  I don't want to become a "therapy" junkie, but it seems to only help me because I can vent about my family.

Sorry this is so long, and not really sure what I am actually trying to ask you.  I know I am not following through, but I guess I "fell off the wagon".

P.S.  Ryan is not abusive in any way and pretty much is an "old soul".  He likes to play the guitar and learn songs.  He loves british rock, watching old tv sitcoms and british comedies.  He is very likeable and people find him interesting.  His disrespect is his answering back to me and my husband.  He does do this to his para too, but then is remorseful to her.  He has no filters and comes across as rude.  He definitely has the social emotional age of a 9-10 year old.

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I am in a long term relationship with someone who has a son with an autism spectrum disorder, Aspergers.
We are about to move in together and he is 22 yrs old and a high school and jr college grad who still lives at home and is unemployed.
My questions are these:
He is physically affectionate with his Mom, to a level that actually makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable.
He hugs her and hangs on her back repeatedly, which increases in frequency when in larger groups. for example, he may do this 3 or 4 times in a 2hour period
From what I have read, this behavior is counter to most of the experiences of others, who say that their child shies away from physical expressions
I have not shared my uncomfortableness with her because I feel guilty about telling someone that your son hugs you too much for an adult, especially since he has this disorder.
I try to think this through but I cant shake the feeling that it is just over the line of inappropriate social behavior. I know it bothers me when I see it, but then I feel guilty about being bothered by it.
 Can you offer any suggestions? at my wits end

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Hi Mark,
Thank you for all your work on behalf of ASD!
I enjoy your weekly info in my emails.
I probably am ADD but otherwise a neurotypical married 47 years to a man I was told was autistic in 2000 by Rhonda Milrad, a couple's therapist in Beverly Hills associated with SRI.  I had no idea that she was literally sincere. I thought autistic meant retarded & he's anything but...as a mechanical engineer.  Short of it is: do you know of any neurotypical wife married to ASD support groups around los angeles area, more specifically, Glendale to Monrovia, La Crescenta ( where I live) to Burbank, Ca.?
Seriously, I had a whole diatribe written to you of everything I've endured with this man thinking he was the biggest narcissist ever!!!!! Pretty sure my dad had same diagnosis as well as 2 of my husband's brothers & possibly 2 sisters.  But, I just appreciate the info you provided in the ebook though it is all I can download...not the movies😕.  My friend had me read The Rosie Project very recently then the Rosie Effect & I knew for sure I was married to someone w/ASD.  He has 2 nephews w/Aspergers so it's in the family.  Our son had ADHD but is totally different in a good way to my husband & neither of our daughters have it but 1 granddaughter is something on the spectrum but barely.
Anyway, any help with a support group for me would be tremendously helpful!
PS...My busband is 76 & I doubt he will buy into this or remember what Rhonda said because his pat answer to everything is: I'm fine, I like how I am, I don't need to change!!!
SO, I need the support group or a divorce!!!
Thanks for any help,
Conni

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I am sure that you have a lot of parents emailing  you at their wit’s end.  I need some help  with my son.

  • He  is 11.5 years old
  • He is VERY smart  and very literal
  • He is Obsessed  with things,  right now  it’s Pokemon and it’s  him  wanting  the  Nintendo  Switch
  • He has been taken out of our home  for violence and placed in a group home
  • He physically attacks  my husband and I if he is told  no or doesn’t get his way  ( he missed  at  least 50 days before he was  removed about  3 weeks  ago)
  • He  has also  attacked  his  grandmother  that  is not in the  home,  but only lives  a few miles away
  • When he goes to school, he does well, he interacts (in his own way,  he is still  into himself )
  • He has spent 2, 1 week sessions at a psychiatric  hospital,  one in July of 2016 and another February 2017
  • He is currently on Pindolol and Lexapro
  • He is about 230 pounds,  probably 50 pounds were  gained since July 2016 when he was  placed on Abilify,  he was on this med until the February 2017 change to the Pindolol
  • He was just recently diagnosed with autism, testing was done Dec 27th 2016
  • He spent  2  weeks in November 2016 at detention before the  charges were dropped for  domestic violence, this was  before the autism diagnosis. The  next day he was supposed  to go to school, he pushed me down and I took  him  into the police,  they refused to do anything.
  • His violence was getting worse  and worse, he  was  hitting myself and my husband who is  disabled daily
  • CPS is involved and they filed  an abuse/neglect  petition to have him removed from the home an placed in this home where he is  now.  They tried to file  the petition as  delinquency, but  the  prosecutor would not do this  because of his  age and  diagnosis.
  • We are willing to go through  this abuse/neglect petition to get Joe help, but I need it to  be the  right  help! I can’t afford  to have him  gone for months and  not have things get better!  We need a plan in place for when he comes home, we need the rules and consequences set out, in  writing, and he needs to  know this  is coming.  
  • I need help with the rules and consequences that make sense!  Before he was placed  in this residential facility, he would react violently to anything that wasn’t his way,  we would call  the police, they would come which would normally calm things down, but the pattern would repeat.    For example, he would  promise to  go to school the  next day, then refuse in the morning, then act violently towards us,  we would call  the police, he would either calm down and stay home, or  they would take him  into school.  Next day,  same thing.  We are afraid  of him,  he started off  kicking a year ago, now, he will throw anything  he  gets his hands on, hit us with anything he can get  to.   Scream and yell that he is going to  kill  us.  He has  choked  me before.   The bruises are now gone,  since  he has  been out of the home for 3  weeks, but it  was  bad.
  • He is  perfect  at this home, he follows the rules, he is  doing  great with his  school  work. He  is  polite and respectful to the staff.
  • This makes us look like the problem  is  us and  it makes  it  feel like the  problem  is  us!
  • He will say, “ you only hurt the ones you love”

So,  I  am  going  to work through your system with my husband, but we I want to  know  what he should be getting at this place  he  is now.  He gets  a  hour a week  of counseling.  How  can we best  work  with them to make what we are working  on effective for  when he  comes home?   He knows we love him, he knows what he does is wrong, he  says he doesn’t want to do  it, yet, I don’t think the  behavior  will change  easily.   He doesn’t mind  the  separation as much as he should  in my mind, he is fine with living there.  He says he wants  to  come home, but that is mostly to have more  “stuff”.   It’s not that he  misses  us  that I can see.

So?  You have been doing  this longer than I have, I don’t even really know the  questions to ask at  this point!

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We have three children ages 30, 28, 26.  Our two neurotypical kids, a son and a daughter, are married and each have two children and are functioning well with their parenting and employment and marriages.  We are so pleased and happy for them, and we love being grandparents!

I'm going to give you a little background about our son , but I'm not sure you want or need it, so I'll trust you will take it or leave it, and I'll mark my actual question below so that you can get straight to that if you prefer. And I trust you'll let me know what info is helpful, and what isn't in future.

Our son with Asperger's (28) went to a school/residential program at age 21 (at our insistence) and after some trepidation, got into the groove and learned a great deal over the last six years.  He graduated from their facility and though we didn't feel that he was ready for it, they helped him get an apartment and he lived on his own for eight months.

He had a job working at an auto parts store driving deliveries, until he started having anxiety attacks on the freeway.  After months of trying everything we all could think of, the store finally gave him the opportunity to stock shelves instead of driving.  That lasted for several months and then they started scheduling him to drive again.  End of the story is, he has moved home with the hopes that he can look for a job and an apartment closer to us and to his other family members.

His independent living experience started out well and declined to where his social life was nonexistent and he was living on energy drinks, ice-cream, tortillas and frozen pizza.  He's never been overly responsive on his phone and we could go for days trying to reach him to touch base and not hear anything back and wonder if he was well or alive or desperate for help.  We hoped that if he were a bit closer we could at least be close enough to know if he needed assistance or not.

How do we engage our son in a conversation about his future when it seems that he has no concept of what he wants, or believes that he can have or attain in his future?

Now that Brad has been home for about a month, he is less interested in finding a job, doesn't want to meet with the counselor at vocational rehab, doesn't want to drive, or look for an apartment.  He seems to be very frustrated and shuts down (eyes closed and unresponsive) when we bring up his moving to the next step, or figuring out what that next step is.  He is helpful with outside chores, feeding chickens, caring for the dog, mowing lawns, trimming, but isn't caring for his room or bathroom and doesn't follow-through when asked to take care of those things.  He sleeps a lot, watches movies, plays games, listens to reviews, occasionally picks up a book to read. He is amiable and pleasant most of the time and doesn't ever tantrum or meltdown.  He just recedes when he doesn't want to engage in a conversation about his life or goals.

Thank you for listening and for your help!

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Dear Mr. Hutten,
Whilst trying to get answers to some of the riddles I face in trying to understand David (48 years old) I found your site on the internet.
As David hasn't had a formal diagnosis but displays many of the autistic traits mentioned I wanted to ask whether you feel that I might benefit from your expertise in this field. I have been employed to "look after" David on a probationary period of three months. Now half way through this period I am finding it an almost impossible task as he studiously avoids any conversation with me and resorts to writing notes if he has to. His mother passed away 18 months ago and he has only cousins who don't live close by. I would dearly like to be able to help him with his day to day life but have no idea where (or how ) to start. Am happy to pay for your assistance, but just wanted to be sure that dealing with an adult rather than a child would be within the parameters of your counseling.
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Hi Mark,

I am desperate for help! I realize most of your advice revolves around teens, but my ODD daughter is 4, and I need help.

We are fostering-to-adopt my daughter and her infant baby sister. Kate came to live with us last March after an emergency removal from another foster home where there were several older foster children, of varying ages, who all came from various sexual abuse backgrounds. As you can imagine, it was discovered the kids were all perping on each other, and all of the kids were removed and separated in one night.

So, in comes Kate to my husband and I who have no other children. At first everything was perfect, but the more comfortable she got, the worse it became. Now, over a year later, we have gotten through the tantrums and battles of will, but we have one recurring issue: she repeatedly asks other children to pull their pants down so she can "see" their privates.

I demanded Kate be put into counseling when we discovered why the children were all removed, which she saw a very reputable sexual abuse forensic psychologist, who had her for weekly sessions over several months, before dismissing her feeling secure that Kate had never been "perped" on, but we would never know what she may have seen.

She has now been to a second counselor as well after these repeated behaviors who had the same opinion. My problem is- this keeps happening- pretty regularly. She has way more knowledge than a 4 year old should, and I don't know the appropriate way to react.

We have punished her, talked to her, explained to her, modeled appropriate behaviors, and set very clear expectations- nothing has worked. We model everything around safety and have explained that showing and/or looking at private parts is not safe for her or others and have drilled into her what to do if someone asks to look at/touch her private areas.

What can I do here? All of the research says that "correct and early intervention" can help young children of sexual abuse or early sexual knowledge go on to lead "normal" lives, but what do I do when two counselors have dismissed her saying that she's "fine" and doesn't need  counseling? What is the appropriate reaction my husband and I should have?

Please help!

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Good Afternoon Mark,
My name is Mary and I have a son that is 19 years old. His name is Trey. He grew up in mostly a single parent home with grandparents assisting me in raising him and an absentee father. I am now married and Trey has a good relationship with his Stepfather. 
Trey has several issues going on. He was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and is blind in one eye and slightly impaired in the other. He was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was 7 years old after having a neuro-psychological evaluation after we noticed him having difficulties in 2nd grade. As he entered puberty and adolescence he has developed some depression but also some very intense anxiety. He graduated in May of 2016 and wanted to develop an online video game. We knew that he was not ready and very immature to be entering adulthood and therefore told him he had a year to work on this game, and work on his own issues of anxiety and depression etc. He has been seeing a psychiatrist and getting some light medication to help him sleep however his anxiety runs rampant and he is terrified of taking anxiety medication or antidepressants.Needless to say an online video game was not launched and he is still having terrible and crippling anxiety when it comes to the outside world and getting a job etc. 
Trey has said he wants a job and has actually been working with a job coach through vocational rehab here in AL, but we are nearing the interview process and he is freaking out and I am not sure he is going to go or even be able to be around people with his social and overall anxiety. I was just reading about your book launching adult children with Aspergers and am very interested. I realize the techniques involve parents creating accountability and holding the kids accountable etc. My concern is using this on my son who has such tremendous anxiety, and some depression. At the beginning of this year when he was staying home and my parents were checking in on him, I was out of town, he admitted to trying to hang himself. He has mentioned suicide many times as well and I am afraid if I make his life to difficult that he may do it. 
The other issue is that he will not cooperate in taking the meds he probably needs. So I feel very caught in between a rock and a hard place in  launching this kid! 
I am considering more life insurance etc., to provide for him as I do not know what he is truly capable mentally, emotionally and physically. I feel like people in my area do not truly understand his issues or how to help me with him. 
Also, I should mention that my Dad and Trey's Papa just passed away in January unexpectedly and this was the only father Trey has ever known. So it is another layer of difficulty for him right now. 
Can you please give me your best advice as to how to help my son. He seems impossible, he is creating a situation where he refuses the help he needs and I feel like I am running out of options. 
I should note that intellectually Trey is highly intelligent. He has a very high IQ and I believe is pretty brilliant. He is the typical Asperger's kid that is unmotivated, messy, mouthy and difficult though. Also I should mention as I am sure you already know he can be manipulative and as he has gotten older it is harder to distinguish what is manipulation and what his real issues are.

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He's very bright and does well in the public school academically, when he goes to  class, or stays in class,  but suffers from the usual social problems of an Aspergers child. His psychiatrist also does not think his intellect is being sufficiently challenged or developed by the public school curriculum., and because of this he gets frustrated and acts out negatively.  Threatening to harm himself and others.  He also has been diagnosed with ADHD and OHD. 

My son is a Chess King, Lego King, and can hold a conversation with an Adult, (always has been able to), but because of his "issues' he is failing at life. 

I am unable to keep a job, because of absence, leaving early, going in late, and I really want the best for my son.  WE currently live in GEorgia, but I am preparing to relocate to South Carolina, where hopefully, we can get additional assistance for him.


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