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 Jan., 2018]



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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Hello Mark. Just a quick note to thank you for your work.  I often share your links with the families I support.  You have a way of clarifying some issues that confound some of our parents.  As an autism parent, grandparent, and  individual working in this field, I appreciate being able to suggest professionals whose information is relevant and immediately helpful. Quick question:  do you ever travel out of the country to provide workshops or keynotes?  My manager welcomes our suggestions for  speakers for our ongoing professional training.

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Mr Hutten,

We may be going through this material at a snail's pace, but we ARE on it and we are doing the homework required ("I love you, Caleb!" before bed, asking open-ended questions, matter of factly saying, "I won't argue about this" and much more!)  But I have another question - Most of your students have diagnosed asperger kids. 

Kevin and I are going on guesswork and the incredible amount of feedback from our friends, teachers, employer, etc that thought he was already diagnosed and are shocked we didn't know he was on the spectrum!  That coupled with online tests we've looked at, plus how accurate your teaching material is to our situation and HOW IT HELPS (nothing else has helped like this has so far) make us believe we are on the right track.  But, we must live in the boonies because it is extremely complicated finding someone who can diagnose him for an affordable price (private places are charging hundreds of dollars!)  We were told only psychiatrists diagnose Aspergers only to have the psychiatrist emphatically say he does not diagnose Aspergers - he only diagnoses anxiety/ depression.  He didn't even know who to send us to.  Then, he put Caleb on Zoloft to help with his obsessive thinking.  He said we'll see how that goes and adjust as needed.  That bothers me.  I'd like to get to the root.

Having a diagnosis would help us get the right help for him instead of having him seem almost normal and live with extreme anxiety and depression because he feels like "a black man in a white world" - his description.

How can we get him diagnosed for a reasonable sum of money?

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Hi, i am interested in a diagnosis. I believe I might have aspergers, maybe not. If I do, it is mild, because I am 39 and nobody has noticed it before. I did a test and scored 34, which stated I possibly have aspergers. Although there were some questions I thought we badly worded or not specific enough. I like in argentina and my spanish is probably not good enough to talk to a professional here. I think a skype session would be better. How much would this cost and is this even possible? Even if it is not an official diagnosis, knowing that I am on the right track might help.

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I am a 31 year old guy with Asperger's. I am engaged to be married, and my fiancee is also on the spectrum. I have some major concerns re: our ability to communicate with each other.

She is good looking, she loves me unconditionally, she is socialable with other people, she is career minded, she loves the Lord like me, and whatever I struggle with, she is good at.

I really want our marriage to work out. However, I have often found it hard to maintain a good conversation with her. Not all the time, but when I try to talk about certain topics or share some of my interests with her, or try to encourage her to do something, she would just reply, "Yeah". Ironically, we seem to strike some good conversations with other normal people, though mine tends to be asking questions about them, and Emily gives a lot of detailed stuff about herself and us. I have tended too force my conversations with her and beat around the bush because it's hard to talk in a way that we can both click with each other socially.

Now we are both high functioning, so we do not struggle with all the same things that people with Autism might have trouble with.

We have our similarities. We both like Star Wars, have fun playing virtual reality at a VR lounge, going to the arcade, dancing, cooking, watching movies, all that good stuff. We are both hands-on learners.

Keep in mind that this email alone might not give you the whole story, but I would be more than happy to give you any information or questions that I can. I seemed to have been able to express myself well when I'm writing to someone or when I'm journaling, which is a skill I've recently discovered.

Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

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Thank you for your work, I am a teacher with a 15 year old who is high functioning, funny and bright but is going to fail all his exams because he says he can't see the point in revising.

School has tried all those ways that you point out don't work!  Negotiating, punishing, heart to hearts.  We have now got to a stage where one teacher who has asked for help with him has been given a very hard time for not being able to manage his behaviour.

He has rolled around on the floor, screwed up a test in front of her face, talked loudly at her, he is constantly disturbing others learning, all this because he doesn't want to take his Spanish GCSE even though he is fluent in French and English.

He will come into my lesson and immediately look for attention, lying across two desks, wearing the class Xmas decorations on his head.  When you talk to him one to one he is reasonable and bright but there are so many subjects that are struggling with him (he will take his public exams in May June 2019).

Having skimmed through the ebook I have put a scheme in place where I can give him 1to1 attention for 15 mins 3 mornings a week have told him that there will be sanctions if he doesn't comply, he seems quite happy about this, he said 'as long as it gets my mum off my back'!  I think that mum and stepdad are very good but we all need to work together to get him through.

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Hi Mark,
I have just come across your website and wonder can you help ?
My son, Oscar is 13 and is refusing to go to school. We have tried rewards/consequences to encourage him to attend. Nothing has worked
When consequences are put in place he becomes angry and extremely aggressive. He bangs doors, breaks things. I am actually afraid to challenge him at this stage incase he hurts himself, my husband or me. He stays up most of the night on his phone or playstation. He sometimes self harms. When he gets angry he says he hates us and his language can be so hurtful and offensive.
 We have brought him to doctors, psychologists and also a psychiatrist. He is refusing to go to any form of counseling now. When thinks go his way he can be very kind, loving and affectionate
Any thoughts on what we should do as we are so upset and stressed at this stage ?

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Do you have a book which will help us support our son Matthew and his lovely Philopino wife Juliet. Matt is 47 yrs old married for 6 yrs with a son  (4yrs) doesn’t work,(although he is qualified aged care worker) on disability pension. He is increasingly displaying anxiety and paranoia related to police and people generally.
Matt rings us almost daily telling us that the police will be onto him because of some minor (or imagined/exaggerated ) incident. When we check with Juliet she says it’s ok nothing happened it’s a misinterpretation or he is suspicious-even of her sometimes.
There are no support organisations where he lives. Warwick Queensland Australia.
I hope you have a book for us.

We, Terry and I feel we have failed our son. Everyone else says we have done the very best by him with our love and care and it's time to turn the corner with him.  He is 20, Autistic/Asperger's Syndrome and now is a Transition Plus program in the Minneapolis Public School System.  He likes going to "school" and has timed getting up to just enough minutes to eat and get on the bus.  How else does a kid work, right?  I am 66 and Terry is 71 years old.  We are financially tight and am waiting for our son Dezi to be okayed for SS Disability.  We desperately need the money so we can charge him some room and board!  We have taken steps to get him into housing but he is so very incapable to take care of himself that we are unsure he can survive. Here's the clincher.  Dezi is not responsible in the home, has stolen from us and lies constantly.  We understand much about Autistic children and what the are like to these things do not surprise us, we are just tired of it and we can't seem to get him to understand how devastating the habit will be on his life.   Dezi is computer dependent and spends at least 4 hours/day at a library in our neighborhood  three evenings a week and all day Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, his bodily functions are not good and when he comes home to eat, it he eats too fast he throws up.  Physically, he looks like a zombie.  Hopefully, some time in the near future we would like to move out of our house into a home that doesn't require upkeep, etc.  My dream, we could send Dezi away to a dream Christian ranch where he could work his buns off everyday to learn that he can live without a computer and earn an income. 
I could add more, but then I would be writing a book.

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Dear Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group,
My name is Cassie Short and I am a PhD student in the Psychology department at the University of Bolton, under the supervision of Dr Pedro Vital.
I am writing to you as my research interest is focused on the facilitation of social processing in children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), and I am looking to recruit children with ASC between the ages of 7-11 years old and a parent/guardian to take part in my study.
This research aims to show that findings can be different if social functioning is measured in a more natural way. I will compare the child's behaviour and brain activity during a real interaction, compared to during a computer-based social task. I hope for the results of this study to encourage future research to use more realistic methods and therefore produce findings that better reflect children with autism.
It is really important that research, which can have many practical applications for autistic individuals, is achieving a valid reflection of ASC.

Please would be possible for you to distribute the attached image via your Facebook page, allowing parents to contact me to discuss participation if they are interested?

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I am very much interested in purchasing your eBook, and making use of the Parent coaching service.
The reason I hesitate, and would like to ask you if it is appropriate for my situation, is due to the dx of my son, and his age.

Robert is 33 yrs old, but acts very much like a young teen. He has Aspergers, ADHD, and borderline PDD, but has a spacial IQ of 160.
He was out of my care from age 10 to just 6 months ago.   Will your program be effective with the co-morbid conditions. He also is a compulsive eater. He is morbidly obese, and we have to lock the food up, but he still manages to steal and horde food, and he was lying about it, but I have at least gotten him to admit if asked directly about a food item. He will not volunteer that he has stolen food from others in the house.  

To be honest I feel like I am in over my head each time he steals food, or tells me what he would like the truth to be, rather than the truth.

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Mark,

I am at my wit's end. Our daughter Sienna is 9 years old and in third grade. She is a very high functioning Aspergers child. As a matter of fact, until we requested an IEP for school, no other therapist, psychologist etc. she had worked with before ever even looked into autism. She has had melt downs since the toddler years. Sienna is adopted and both birth mother and birth father were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD, so every professional she saw tended toward that diagnosis. But we knew, that wasn't it.
It was eye-opening when the IEP team extended the testing to test for autism. I did a lot of my own research and by now strongly feel, that Aspergers is the correct diagnosis for Sienna.
Sienna is highly communicative. She maintains good eye contact. She is very loving (as a matter of fact personal boundaries are a constant issue) She is capable of empathy. She gets humor and sarcasm. She is a very happy girl, who wants to be helpful, can compromise and will mind me most of the time ( it just takes explaining and it needs to make sense to her). She understands rules of social behavior and in general is a rule person. We have worked with several anger books to try to help her with meltdowns. As long as she is calm, she understands the techniques, will practice them, and can explain how she should react/what she could do to calm down.
However, when she goes into sensory overload, Sienna looses all impulse control. And when she is in a melt down, obviously all anger controlling techniques etc. are out the door.
We are seeing a homeopath once a week for scio bio feedback and just added PEMF treatments as well. Sienna has made a lot of progress and at home we have very few issues. If she starts getting upset, she might scream at me in anger, but then will usually run off to find time to compose herself instead of going into complete melt downs like before.
However, at school Sienna is basically in a constant sensory overload, which results in little to no impulse control. By now she has designated huggers (teachers and aids, she can hug, if she asks and does it appropriately) But quite often she gets excited and still pounces on fellow students, squeezes them too tight, won't let go off them. Blurting out during class and making loud animal sounds is also a problem. Sienna gets easily frustrated with school work, especially when it involves writing, which she has a difficult time with, and it can quickly cause her to melt down.
Several times the whole class had to be evacuated, because Sienna had melt downs in the class room, which can include throwing over chairs, throwing papers, books etc. all over the place, and unfortunately eventually going for the computers etc. The first indication that Sienna is in a melt down is usual that she hisses at everybody who approaches her, but at that point she usually already is at the point of no return. Her aggressions are mainly directed at the adult who steps in, not other students. Triggers usually are frustration with school work, feeling treated unfairly, having a sub in the room instead of her teacher, teasing from other children, and trying to put her snow gear on and the pant legs running up, sweater bundling up etc.
So much for the introduction.
As I said, the adults who step in when Sienna displays inappropriate behavior are the target of her aggression (thank goodness usually not the other children!) If they try to remove her from the situation and guide her to the special ed room, Sienna becomes very aggressive, kicking, hitting, scratching, sometimes biting and occasionally even spitting. Once in the room it often escalates even further. If possible I'm contacted to come in.
The only way to reach her at this point usually is to get her mind thinking of something completely. different.(Or if she hurts herself and cries. Crying always immediately ends the melt down) Sienna's reaction to me depends on the severity of the melt down. Sometimes I can easily distract her and once she starts talking to me the melt down is over (and basically forgotten). Other times like today, she turns her aggression towards me too, running at me, kicking me, yelling at me etc. I talk and talk and talk calmly about anything I think might catch her interest, until she finally reacts and starts talking to me. Again...melt down over. She cleans up the mess she created and basically will act as if nothing happened. I usually give her some time to decompose before talking to her about the situation, trying to find other solutions, pointing out the consequences of her behavior for her, for me, for other people involved.
I can tell the principal and the paraprofessionals are getting (understandably) very frustrated with this situation. Luckily Sienna has an outstanding teacher, who totally gets her and will support her in any way possible.
Do you have any advice on how these situations could be avoided or turned around? Again, it's usually similar scenarios. Sienna goes into sensory overload. Impulse control goes out the door. She behaves unacceptably. Teachers, principle and paraprofessionals move in to remove her from the situation. Sienna turns her aggression towards them, refuses to be removed and goes into melt down.
Today she spat right into a paraprofessional's face, tried to bite the principle, kicked at everybody and by the time I go to the office, there were paper slips, gloves etc. spewn all over the place. I was horrified (even though it's nothing I haven't seen before) and feel terrible about Sienna's behavior. Once I was finally able to snap her out of the melt down, and took her home, she is calm, happy as a clam and does not really understand why I am upset and sad.
Any input is highly appreciated! Sorry about the length of this e-mail, but I figured you needed as much info as possible.

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Hello,

I just read about your book and am planning to order it. I do have a question. My daughter is 19 and struggling. She had an IEP in school and has seen (is seeing) a therapist. Nothing seems to help. Now she has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She is about to start an intensive outpatient treatment for that.

I am a single parent and confide in my sisters and friends. Everyone thinks I should be able to find a support group for “kids like her”. I have looked for social skills support groups and do not find anything. I think there are some groups for lower functioning people. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts about it?

I have been trying to do all this on my own for many years. I do not feel I am equipped to give her the proper help. That’s the reason I am purchasing your book. But do you know if any groups or programs?

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Dear Mark Hutton,

I came across some of your articles online as I am currently pressing for research on growing up with Aspie parents as an NT child.

Thus far I have approached various UK institutions but all I have received is an ‘interested’ response and lack of acknowledgment that this is a very serious issue.
However Tony Attwood has responded and is happy to be part of any research. He has made notes on a sons and daughter of autistic parents group that he runs in Australia.

I have had contact with other people like myself around the globe who are equally frustrated at the sheer lack of interest, compounding the very nature of the problem — no one is listening or cares.
One individual in particular has been seriously trolled online by people on the spectrum for speaking out about his experience. As I believe you may have experienced?

Below are some more recent emails I have sent to the autism research centre UK but have come to another brick wall.

Have you any suggestions about what could be done and might you be prepared to take part in research if ever a break through is made?

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I was wondering whether you could help. I met this guy back in August 2017, and we hit it off and had a fab two months. He was loving, caring, affectionate and attentive and then things started to slow down from mid-October and I started to see him less and message came through less. Granted he has many businesses and he is high functioning and got extremely busy but the last time I saw him was December 1st 2017. I’ve been messaging and pushing to meet but he keeps saying he has a lot on and all he does is work and he has to complete what he has to and his objectives are important and he doesn’t have time and he will meet me when he is not busy.

I asked if in his mind we are a couple and he said yes (even though I haven’t seen him I. Two months). Then on Friday I really pushed the buttons and I got frustrated and wanted an answer and kept pushing and he said find it’s over I can’t have a relationship now I am very busy and under immense stress.

I haven’t spoken to him since Friday and I really miss him and I don’t want to give up but should I just walk away considering what he wrote below;

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Hi Mark,

I hope you had a nice weekend. Sorry for the email, but I need a sounding board. Maybe I am making excuses here, I dont even have confirmation that he is on the spectrum its wha he has told me.

He seems to be socialising and going out with others and in fact his company hosted a gala dinner awards ceremony Monday evening, yet when it comes to me he is too busy and doesn’t have time. I will be honest and say i dont know what to believe anymore. Is he just a pathological liar or is he being honest and this really is aspergers? If so, then why can he socialise with everyone else ‘in the name of work’ but is not making time to see me. And why is he afraid to just say if has lost interest ?

I feel like every interaction I am having with him these days irritates him and makes him more distant.. so I het upset and ask for my guitar back so i have  no attachment and then he makes excuses about being busy and not having time for me to collect it. I really dont know what to think or feel anymore. I have tied being nice, tried giving space, tried being honest and tried to end it and nothing seems to work. He says he is in work mode, but yet can update social media and make comments and likes on there.

Is he just being a guy, lying to me and playing mind games and leading me on? Is he seeing another woman ? Please help me, i feel so overwhelmed and lost. I just dont know what else to try anymore.

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Hi Mark,

Thank you for the program, I am finding it very helpful.

At a few points in the program you reference "reasonable parental expectations". 

Between my wife and I, I was the more indulgent parent, and we are on week 2 and making some dramatic changes to get our 16 yo daughter back on track.  She has always been strong willed, but she was doing great in high school.  Playing two sports, in the marching band, active in clubs, volunteering and getting straight As.  Then through a series of events over a few weeks, she got derailed and then started acting out.  The primary problem that brought us to you was curfew.  She would not come home at a reasonable hour.  Assertive parenting seems to be paying off as she is taking the curfew seriously now (fingers crossed, we are only on week 2).

However, my wife now wants to pick battles in areas which I don't consider "reasonable".  We no longer give our daughter money, she has to earn it doing chores.  So she did a chore, and got some money and then took that and bought a 2-liter bottle of soda and a box of fruit snacks.  My wife is bothered by what our daughter chose to buy. We have bigger problems. Our daughter hasn't even started going to school regularly yet.

So first, I'd like to say the choice of sugary snacks isn't currently on our list of top priorities.  Our daughter isn't overweight or diabetic or have any medical condition that makes this more unhealthy than for a typical person.  Am I in the wrong on this?

Secondly, I question whether a food choice purchased with earned money is a "reasonable" parental request for a 16 yo.  I feel like a contributing factor to my daughter's sudden rebellion is the cumulative effect of my wife making too many demands on my daughter's behavior and so we should be prioritizing important demands first, and accepting some small behaviors that make us uncomfortable, but are not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  You do a great job of explaining things.  Do you have any guidance on what is a "reasonable" expectation and what is unreasonable?

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