COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for January, 2014]

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Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge.  You are a true treasure!! Thanks a million, Wendy


Dearest Mark, Thank YOU very much for helping to make my 2013 parenting better and happier. Wishing you and loved ones even more laughter, love, meaning, and peace in 2014. Happy New Year! Warm wishes.



Since working your program, the meltdowns have subsided considerably  - parents and I are much more attuned to avoiding them.  Now Barrett shows intense anger but no meltdown "I hate you" "I don’t want to do that" even though a favorite activity of his - I actually suspect he is getting older and trying to get some control over himself but I may be optimistic.

1.  We have a speech pathologist (or the best we can do in Midland, Texas) working on speech patterns such as "I am going to the ranch yesterday"  "I used to go the ranch tomorrow" Lots of time related errors in his sentences - any suggestions for us with this issue other than correcting him - he understands the concept of yesterday and tomorrow but does not use it properly.
2.  He uses "Why" ad nauseum - much more than most kids his age - I keep answering the why questions in detail.  After many whys about one of his favorite pygmy goats dying, I said "I told you - what did I tell you"  Who what and where questions get little response from him - another thing the speech person is working on.  Should I keep answering the why questions or just answer once  This Why stuff is always around a situation that is uncomfortable for him in some way.  He loved the goat that died.  An hour later his sister (3) said "why did mama goat die" and Barrett answered in great detail all the anatomical info I gave him about the little brown worms in his stomach so he can repeat what I said but I suspect at his age and I also used it as a lesson on why we wash our hands after goat time. I don't know if he is improving or we are better trained:) but things are better.


RE: any suggestions for us with this issue other than correcting him…
No. That’s the best way to do it. Simply (and politely) repeat what he said with the correction (e.g., he says, “I’m going to the ranch yesterday” …you immediately say “I’m going to the ranch tomorrow.”) That’s all – don’t make a big production out of the corrections.
RE: Should I keep answering the why questions or just answer once
Consider creating an “answer board”. The first time he asks a why question, simply answer it. The second time he asks the same question, answer it AND write a short note with the answer and stick it on the board. The third time he asks the same question, refer him to the board. Make sense? If you have the time and want to get real creative, post a picture that reminds him of the answer.

My daughter (diagnosed with Aspergers when she was 16) knows exactly what she wants to do in life - ie go to university in October and study science specialising in Zoology. However, she is already not coping with her workload at school despite a lot of understanding and help by her teachers. She repeatedly misses deadlines for homework assignments or just doesn't bother doing them. She has a very high IQ and has always loved learning but doesn't always perform well in exams due to an inability to finish the exam papers on time. The college she hopes to go to does have support for students with disabilities but I am worried that she just isn't independent enough to cope with getting to lectures on time, living with other students etc.

She lies in bed at the weekends until sometimes 3pm and, on school days, it is nearly impossible to get her up on time for the school bus. She stays up very late at night. She won't shower of her own volition. We have tried to set a contract with her whereby she showers twice weekly (any more frequently would be very ambitious!) on particular days and will then receive a reward but she always finds an excuse to avoid implementing what was decided.

She is very sweet natured and is receiving some help professionally (we live in West Cork, Ireland) but they don't seem to be able to unlock what goes on in her head and how difficult it is trying to get her to do anything she has a 'block about'. The professional advice we are receiving is to agree to a schedule etc and then reward her for implementing it but as she doesn't really value anything this reward strategy doesn't really work.


Greetings Mr. Hutten,
I am so excited to have found you and am intrigued by the work you are doing. I am a mom of 3 teens and live in Oregon.  My middle, 15 year old son Mason has Aspergers. We have known about it for about 4 years now officially and I'm always looking for ways to help improve his life.

I am soon to be a single mom unfortunately because my husband (or ASH as some forums out there abbreviate it), cannot come to terms with the fact that he too has AS just like his son and that it has had a profound effect on our relationship. He's been misdiagnosed and now avoids being associated with it like it's a shameful thing to have which doesn't make for a good role model for our son.
I am concerned for Mason because he has been teased and people can tell he is different. I know that it has affected his self esteem and I have felt powerless to be able to do anything about it. He was seeing a psychologist for a while, but I didn't feel that we were getting anywhere (it happened to be the doctor that misdiagnosed my husband so I really don't trust him). I don't know if I should try again with another doctor or not.
All this to say that I am desperate for ways to help Mason. He doesn't want to be seen as different and so sometimes rejects any help that I may try and give. At school he is on an IEP and feels singled out when teachers try and help as well. He can be very negative about it and I don't know what to do, his grades are suffering. I am thankful that he has friends but oftentimes he won't initiate getting together with them, he tends to stay home and play video games instead.
On a happier note, I recently responded to an iPad giveaway that Autism Speaks was conducting and won! I'm so excited to see if it is something that will benefit him with things like organization and his schedule, doing things more independently. I went online to see what apps were out there and that's how I found you.
I have a lot to learn and would love to hear from those who have experience with this and know of strategies that have worked for kids with AS. I wish I could have figured things out earlier and gotten a better start with Mason but I know that it's never too late to learn something new and be able to change for the better, I am very optimistic!
I didn't intend to go on so long, but I am very passionate about this and would go to the ends of the earth for my son, as any parent would! It's pretty much my life because I also work in special education as an assistant with kids who are on the more severe end of the spectrum.


I have a 19 year old son who has Asperger’s. He becomes very obsessive over things. When younger it was military, older video games and now drugs. We have tried to put him in rehab 3 times and he won't talk to anyone so they say he is fine and release him. He can't hold a job, started stealing from family and we don't know what to do. He is not in school, graduated last year.. He thinks that these drug dealers are his friends and we (family) have all tried to explain to him friendships. As a family we never thought he would try drugs but it took one time that someone he though was a friend offered it to him for free and now he is obsessed and we can't get his mind off. He will stay up all night and day to try and find drugs and has recently become obsessed with pornography . The worst part is he is getting into harder drugs. We live in pa is there anything you know of that we can do to try and help him. He has no money so he can't buy drugs but the drug dealers like to get him high and make fun of him and make him do stupid stuff. We have tried everything. Every family member has talked to him. He won't go to counseling and has become very aggressive weighing in just under 300lbs. He is already on Zoloft and Abilify and it isn't helping. He lost all of the normal friends he had and he even pawned his Xbox and all of his games and he used to be obsessed with. We even made him his own little apartment in the basement with a separate entrance because when family was at work he would steal stuff. When he doesn't like something we do (a rule or punishment) he will smoke in the house, break the furniture and bang on the connecting door until all hours of the night. We really think he needs an in care program but we don't know where to go or who to turn to since he is an adult but mentally probably 15. He is very naive and we can't just kick him out because he wouldn't really know how to live. 


Dear Mark,

I am writing you on behalf of Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed., president and founder of the International Autism Association for Families and Educators (IAAFE), a network of parents, caregivers, and professionals who believe in working together to make a difference in the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Part of IAAFE’s mission is to provide the Autism community with innovative strategies, the latest information in research and education, new perspectives, and ongoing support. To this purpose, we present pertinent interviews, commentaries, and articles on a monthly basis from professionals such as you.

The topic for March is Hygiene and Autism, and we wanted to ask if you would be willing to help us with an interview on this topic. The interview will be pre-recorded, and Jennifer would send you the interview questions ahead of time so you have a chance to preview them. The interview will be recorded and transcribed afterwards, and posted on IAAFE’s website for listening and/or downloading.

We feel that your participation would be a great source of information for the families and individuals who have subscribed to our association. and we would be thrilled if this could work out. To thank you for your time, you will receive a one year membership to our association, and of course, we will carefully reference you, and are happy to include any other information you would like for us to mention in order to generate interest in your work.

Thank you for considering this request, and for the wonderful work you do. If granted, we know you participation will help make a big difference in the lives of many families affected by autism.


Ymkje Wideman
Content Editor


Mark, I am in the process of having my 11 year old son tested, as his therapist is quite sure he has this diagnosis. I am also quite certain. However, his father thinks it is ridiculous to consider this possibility. My kids (he has a twin sister) have lived with me half time but something dreadful has happened that has changed the custody arrangement. My son has flown off the handle and been aggressive with his sister at my house (was terrible for about 5 weeks this summer...he also had a lyme diagnosis at that time ). He is NOT this way at his dad's. He states he "cannot have his anger at dad's". He does not feel safe as he fears he will get himself in more trouble if he expresses any anger. A good deal of his anger has to do with being angry at his father...which I perfectly understand is VERY narcissistic...pretty sure he has this personality disorder. That's why I left the marriage. Need I say more?

So anyway, there is a Parent Coordinator that I agreed to have if their father and I could not resolve an issue regarding the children,  way back when I got divorced, not knowing how detrimental and damaging her decision making ability could be. I thought it would be better than going in front of a judge, which is why many divorced parents use one. She can make orders like a judge. She has taken away one day a week of my parental rights since my son is "better behaved" at his father's. There have also more absences from school when I have the kids so she has made a big thing about that. 

My son's therapist (who has recently come on board) believes that even with Aspergers/HFA, a child can hold back his anger and aggression if he doesn't feel emotionally safe, like in my situation, with his dad. I didn't think this could be true and I am just wanting to check with you and see what you think?

 The PC, like his father, also believes that this diagnosis is ridiculous. She has only met my son a few times for a few minutes! So this whole thing is very injurious to my kids and me. I have a lawyer (for free which is a miracle) and he is not optimistic about my chances of having the usual schedule restored and getting rid of the PC, which I am desperate to do. I am also wondering if you could tell me the best testing to have. What the tests are called, etc.


Right now meltdowns with aggression to family members and dogs is major problem. I'm wondering about a food chart relative to meltdowns? Just to rule that out. We cut out all sugar at lake and only one meltdown   His nutrition is horrible but he is full of energy and seldom sick.

When meltdowns are about to start I can sometimes hold him tight and rub his back to stop the progress if it is early  in process. When full blown 3 yr old and 12 month old have to be protected as well as Loose objects, dogs and adults:).  Any form of stress mainly from anything not as usual or expected exacerbates his asp symptoms and his communication becomes unusual. He has let go of his obsession with fans which lasted over two years and washing machines although he still likes to do an occasional load of whites :) and his conversation covers more subjects now. But the meltdowns are worse.

I am an A type  rigid planner and scheduler so I can work with his personality pretty well but I am not consistent in discipline and in denying his wants.   My daughter is bipolar with thought disorganization so this is extremely difficult for her to work with his need for structure but she is consistent with rules and discipline    She has two housekeepers whom the children like and an evening "helper" We need help!!   He urinates in potty but usually defecates in pants--  we sometimes see his stress just before this happens.

He is extremely attached to me. Prefers my house to home. Parents think I give him everything he wants.   I think it is something else but not exactly sure what. I am very "available to help, answer questions, etc. I have time for grandchildren when they are with me. Then I get a break:)


I have a strong suspicion that my husband is Aspie. We are currently separated. Although he believes that family is very important, and wants us to be a family, he seems paralyzed to do anything towards that end.  I am spiraling down the grief cycle to the resentment stage.  Our peculiar brand of separation means that we share an apartment while our children remain in the family home.  Half the week he's in the house with the kids and I'm at the apartment and the other half it's vice-versa.  We both want to spare our children and have a happy family, it's just so hard.
I have never spoken to him about my suspicion (I have only recently come to this) and don't know how to even broach the subject or does it really matter?  Is it all about me?  Is it up to me to learn to interpret his signals and make allowances for the marriage I will never have?
 I have a child with Aspergers and while she will always have this condition her ability to cope with the rest of the world has improved with age. I won't say her symptoms have all gone away - she is still extremely sensitive to taste, though not as much to sound and touch as she once was. She has gone through intensive therapies to help with her social skills and to better integrate her senses. It would be nice to think that autism is something you can grow out of, but that just isn't the way it works.


Hi Mark! It's a pleasure knowing you. I have a 13 year old son. Diagnose with Aspergers/ADHD at the age 11years old. Our family is in desperately need of your help. We want to learn how to parent him. We want to take one bite at a time. There are so many issues going on with Robert. We have to start somewhere, but where do we begin? The main issue is his anger. The lack of empathy and abuse towards his 8 year old brother, Matthew. The inability to solve simple problems with his brother without getting angry. Example. They are playing racquetball, Matthew takes and extra turn when it is Robert's turn. Robert said " its my turn", he walks towards Mattew and hits him with the racket. I intervened. When he is calm I try to problem solve with him. He said he got angry. Problem solving has not change the way he overeacts to minor inconvenience  that come along in his daily life. How to help him with his anxiety and depression? Please guide us how to best help Robert to be a problem solver and how to control his anger. He said it is hard to control his anger.


Great - you have some suggestions I have not seen in print - when we get a handle on this meltdown issue, Everything will be better.  The housekeepers, father and I agree that they happen most frequently when his mother (my daughter )is present.  My son in law says I avoid no with him which is probably true with a few exceptions.  She is bipolar with thought disorganization and poor memory for some things and we are beginning to think she has some Aspbergers - she is very defensive and my son in law says she feels guilty about Barrett's situation so I am treading carefully but have a possible psychologist in Dallas who deals with Asp in older children and adults - she definitely has social issues - somehow I am now the person taking the kids to bday parties, swim lessons (lots of parents there) which is fine - she knows how to work me:)  Fortunately I have the time and resources to help. She is extremely affectionate and reinforces the positive at every opportunity.  She is a good mother--we both need more skills.   Interacting with grandchildren and providing new experiences is a top priority and a ton of fun--much more fun than raising them as a parent:)


I just came across your website recently.  I am wondering if your techniques for launching adult children would work for a younger child?  I have a 12-year-old son with Asperger’s.  Although he is still young, I can already see that this is the course we are on.  I can envision him at 30 years old still living at home and popping in chicken nuggets in the toaster oven at night.  I love this kid, but he is so difficult to live with and has absolutely no motivation towards independence and no friends.  Although he is a brilliant student having never made anything less than an A on a report card and can seem to pull it together at school, home is very different.  He struggles with time management and responsibility and all activities of daily living and self-care.  Everything is an argument.  No one outwardly sees our struggles. How do we change this?  He has so much potential but I don’t know what makes him tick and how to help.  Anything you could offer would be appreciated.


Hi Mark,
Thanks for this opportunity it is extremely helpful for parents like me and my husband.
I’ve considered signing up for Online Parenting. I’ve read some of the material you sent and they answer directly some of the questions I’ve been trying for a while to get an understanding of.  
One thing I was troubled about today was the way Jeremy’s Aide handled a situation at school. Jeremy’s Aide is in her mid 30s she is a single parent of two kids age 8 and 12. She arrives 5 mins each morning before bell rings, hurries to the washroom and sometimes I have to stand in the line during assembly with him until she can attend to him, this has been happening almost 3 months now. Kids usually run to the school yard when bell rings they push one another sometimes, Jeremy mimics them but he gets in trouble when he does it. Today his Aide asked two of his friends to hold his hands, so he does not get away or get into trouble, I saw embarrassment on his face but he did not see me at the time, My hands are tied I have to explain this to his Aide, he will be confused because these are the same kids who fights almost each day at school which I have witnessed, the boys are very aggressive unlike Jeremy at. I’ve learned he needs his space and has his bad days and may not want to co-operate.
I want to help his Aide understand but don’t know exactly how to without offending her even though she is very understanding and love him like her own son.
Dear Mark,

My name is Fatima de Kwant. I'm an autism advocate, based in the Netherlands. I'm a journalist and mother of a seventeen years-old son with high-functioning autism. I came across your site and liked it a lot. I subscribed immediately so that my followers will have access to this information. If I can help you anyhow, I will.

Hi Mark,
We have an 18 yr old son who has not been formally diagnosed, but who ever we see goes between aspergers/behavioural  but no-one wants to commit, we know he has always been different and up until high school (12yrs) he was good in a structured enviroment at school, but then for the last 5 years we have had just a rollercoaster (teachers don’t want the drama of it)  and just not getting anywhere with anyone, its seems that we are just a burden, my Doctor even advised that now he is 18 we have done all we can and it is up to him now, but I’m not quite ready to give up,  and we have tried a number of approaches, but seriously nothing has worked, now he is smoking pot on a daily basis, (he calls it self medicating), was dealing pot/was & is gambling, is on prozac (but at the moment not taking it),  we have engaged a drug councellor and he admits that it’s a double edged sword and he is on the spectrum but we must let him suffer the consequences and if he doesn’t abid by our rules kick him out but at the end of the day, he is different, he doesn’t have any real friends, isolates himself in his bedroom (does have a girlfriend of 3 yrs, but she comes from a broken home and we feel they have just made themselves dependant of each other). We have had dealings with the police (our doing for his anger and when he is withdrawing from pot), blames us for everything doesn’t take responsibility for anything. 

He has an IQ of 128 (but you wouldn’t know it) but no commonsense and at the moment just want to be like any other teenage, but really they just use him and he doesn’t see that.  He doesn’t think he has a problem, its everyone else that has the problem and we should just leave him to live his life, but at the end of the day he has about a 1 week threshold and he comes back and retreats. 

There is so much more to the story and I’m sure you have heard it all before, but we just don’t know where to go to from here.   A lot of what you have on your website we can 100% relate to, we just need help trying to figure out son out.  Does he have Asperger’s, does he have ODD, who knows, there seems to be no way of identifying this and even our son advises that no-one has ever helped him in the past and so whats the point, so he has just about given up too, but in saying we think he does want our help but just cant see a way out…


Hi Mark, I was wondering if you would be able to point me to some of your material (books / videos) that would help me better parent my child that I care about deeply, but believe is different.

When he was younger, we thought that he might be border line aspergers, but our family doctor doesn't think so, but something is not right and I don't know who else can help us. Here are some things what we observed: 

- when he was younger he had a very traumatic birth with impact to his head
- he cried pretty much all the time for the first year of his life
- he complains about stomach pain quite often (not sure if it's anxiety related)  
- he requires routine or goes in a state resulting in changes to his personality (sometimes cries and repeats the same thing, or acts tired and withdrawn lying on the couch or floor, and talks like he's 3 years old)
- he is extremely observant and smart 
- does not cope well with change (eg. still cries occasionally when he goes to the same school, same classroom with the same teachers that he has been going to for 2 years) 
- he occasionally has night terrors where he seems to be awake, but is not and repeats the same thing over and over again (we have tried to promise him anything he wants to see if he snaps out of it, but he does it for 30-40 min and then the next day he doesn't remember the incident)
- if he does something new, afterwards he will have an off day resulting in more crying (it's almost like he is overstimulated)
- doesn't cope well with change 
- gets very attached to me or his grandma and cries when she or I have to leave 

He is currently 5 years old. I know that he's different (I also have a daughter and she is very opposite from him), so I feel like he requires custom parenting. I just don't know what will help him and what will damage him long term.


I am very excited at having discovered such a resource and I thank you for making it so simple and affordable.

My first question has to do with bedtime and sleeping  I do, however, feel that a small amount of background information might be helpful.  After more than a decade of serious struggling in our family, I finally came to an understanding of our unique circumstances.  I discovered that I have Aspergers and then I turned around and looked at my little flock of daughters and realized that all five to varying degrees exhibit various aspects of being on the Autistic Spectrum.  Considering our circumstances, our family is doing quite well.  Needless to say, our family, with so much neurodiversity functions very different from neuro-typical families that we know.  Part of my struggle was that in my ignorance, I tried to make us look normal. Which, of course, didnt work at all.  Now that Ive come to a place of acceptance, I want to do my best to help my family to function in a way that works best for us.  I find that in having Aspergers and raising children with Aspergers I have a unique perspective and a special intuition almost about how to approach them.  On an emotional level, we function wonderfully as there is a strong underlying level of feeling understood....although there is a lot of apologizing that happens in this house.

So basically, we relate extremely well and our relationships are wonderful.  Its all the stuff on the the physical world that were struggling with.  Time and routine, responsibility, and how to relate to better ourselves in areas of relating to others outside the family.

On to my question.  Bedtime and napping is and has always been a source of stress in our home.  Since my babies were tiny, they had to be somehow coaxed to sleep.  In fact, I can honestly say that I have never once walked into a room and found a child asleep on the floor or have had a child put themselves to bed.

It seems that around bedtime the energy level starts to rise instead of decline.  It took years for my older children (7, 9, 10) to learn the bedtime routine and what used to take an hour (or more) now takes 15 minutes.  Hurray!  However, now they all climb into bed when they are supposed to but it takes hours and hours for sleep to finally come.  And during that time there is a lot of coming and get vitamins and drinks and to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes elaborate games and crafts happen in bed.  And of course a lot of reading happens...but were talking stacks and stacks of picture books.  I would be perfectly fine with all of this...if it werent for the level of noise and energy.  It keeps everyone else in the house (including the two little people) awake.  I cant get them to see bedtime from my perspective.  That I need to get babies to bed, because I need time to slow down after theyve gone to bed before I can sleep.  It seems that at ten they are still fighting sleep as much as they did when they were two.  And frankly, Im exhausted.


Can I get your opinion? My 9-yr old son (high-functioning PDD-NOS) is highly sensitive to certain sounds: coughing, hiccups, sneezes, etc. He says both sounds and the threat of germs bother him. He responds with grunts and then progresses to yelling/screaming or kicking desk at school. They eventually let him go to a hallway desk with his daily one-on-one helper. School is pushing hard for behavior modification therapy. My son's neurologist says he's too young and it would add stress. (Doctor has him on Paxil for Tourette's behaviors but says it may help reduce his anxiety w/ sounds too.) School disagrees with neurologists opinion and wants to start something soon. I have a clinical psychologist I use but think I will change. School has given me a few names, but thought I'd try to get a few opinions as much as can.


Hello, I just wanted to thank you for today's newsletter. Every single point made in that article rings true for my 14 Year old son.  We have just recently put together that our son may have Aspergers. I am more than convinced that he does. But are not sure where to turn For a diagnosis. Our GP has put in a referral to a paediatrician but that appt has yet to be made. Do you have any suggestions as to where to start this process? We live in BC Canada. Thank you again for all your insight. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to explaining symptoms and how to deal with everything. 


You describe my boy to a "T"...
I have paid thousands of dollars to have him assessed by the READ Clinic in Australia only to walk out in tears. He tested him for 2 hours with questions like.... Is this a smile or a frown!!!! I have taught him sooo much through repetitive communication so he already was aware of the questions. The area he failed on was perceived as rushing!!!! My son doesn't rush! He will either refuse or guess... Depending on how comfortable he feels with the person. 
The end result was he felt that with what I say he defiantly had AS but believes that he is a boy who is in need of more stimulation to keep him settled( my world is based around this solution for years!) and that he may be a result of my parenting.... Which also reinforced his fathers thoughts on our boy.... Needs to toughen up Attitude!!!! I'm so exhausted and disappointed as I went home and started to treat him as a normal child and his worries and behaviour worsened. 
Your articles have saved me from destroying my boys world. Thank you sooo much
Kind regards, elissa hunter


Hi Mark,
Today I tried to get Jeremy to complete some home work due for tomorrow and he sure did put up a fight. Jeremy does the same work as the rest of his class, but I know he can’t handle it. The school Principal has not spoken to me since last November,
Reason being a certain parent complained to the school’s supervisor because Jeremy pushed his kid twice at school. Now I’ve noticed that this pushing game the kids have been playing continues daily at school, I can never defend Jeremy even though I know he always apologise once he realise he did something to hurt someone.      
I have to explain to his teachers and Aide his sensitivity, he is non-verbal but still learning they constantly enforce good behaviour but he does not always understand because he is mimicking the behaviours of other kids and the noise at school does affects him. 

Dear Mark, We are at our wits end! My 12 year old Grandson has Asperger's or slit autism, I have been reading a lot of your articles and my Grandson fits right in any help.We live in RI and very sad to say we can't get any help for him it is a constant run around and wait..he has to change time schools due to being bullied all the time..the teachers blame him! last principle said he burnt his bridges nothing he can do. There seems to be no were we can turn.This is truly hurting him.He states Why wont kids except him..I have a lot of dark fears...Is there any place in RI that you feel could help us please. 


Hi Mark,
We came across your site last night and were curious about the level of help you can offer our family.  Our son is 12, high functioning and displays all of the challenging behaviors; physical aggression, negative outlook on life, refuses parental guidance, disrespectful.  He was doing fairly well between grades 3-6 and we had sought counsel to assist him with sensory issues and anxiety.  He was thriving, joyful, positive and successful with little effort, no unusual physical aggression, then puberty hit and he is a completely different child.  This drastic change occurred within 8-10 weeks after he started the new school year.  In the past he has always wanted to be overly prepared for homework and tests.  Now he is scattered, mis interprets oral directions from teachers, procrastinates, ignores our corrections to help him to achieve a positive end result, disrespectful, aggressive, refuses to admit he is wrong, tells us we are stupid and hates any parental involvement.  We need to breakthrough this pattern, it is unhealthy and we are worried he is going self destruct.


Hi Mark,

I am desperate for assistance with my Aspergers 8yr old son. He is also hyperactive and suffers from depression. He is currently on Strattera, Rispedol and an anti depressant. His behavior in inappropriate and he cannot focus. He disregards teachers instructions and ‘talks back’. When he is at home alone with me, his behavior is normal and controlled but the moment anyone else joins us his becomes busy, hyper, impulsive, rude, and cannot follow an instruction. He constantly lies – fanatical lies and also stretching the truth with every factual story he tells. He complains of not having friends and says that kids say mean things to him. I need steps to follow and instructions on what to say when these situations arise. He doesn’t have meltdowns, no specific obsession, eats a large variety of food, and is very friendly. 


Our 19 yr old son is a freshman at college and we suspect he may have Aspergers.  He is an intelligent young man who has never been in trouble or done irresponsible things that typical teenagers do.  He scored a Composite 32 on his ACT (with a 34 in Math and 35 in English), he is a Governor’s Scholar Program graduate and is very serious about his studies; he also is very dedicated in his religious beliefs and attended church, small group, and high school worship band (self taught guitar and keyboard) weekly rarely missing unless there was a conflict in his schedule.  My husband and I are very proud of him and love him unconditionally.  Instead of giving you a long history of why my husband and I suspect Aspergers, I will give you a scenario of the crisis we have been experiencing the last 4 months.

·         August 2013, he began college, a long-awaited exciting time for him.  We suspected he would have some adjustment problems due to scenarios regarding change in the past.  He was bold and more than ready to take on the challenge, until the day of our departure from the college campus.  He teared up and said, “I don’t think I can do this.”  We gave him a pep talk, along with our love and support, and departed the campus.  We felt as though he could do it, because he had always done what he needed to do in the past.
·         September 2013 things seemed to be going smoothly, he stayed at college for a week and a half and came home Labor Day weekend, spending time with his girlfriend of 9 months.  When he went back he seemed to be doing fine, mostly socializing with one of his girlfriend’s best friends who is also attending the same college.  He began having roommate issues when his roommate wanted to have a girl spend the night in the room.  He also got stressed when for a brief time he was carrying 20 hrs. credit in order to test out of a lower level course.  Still things were manageable.  He spent a lot of time alone in his room texting his girlfriend nightly.  He opted to not come home for 3 weeks in order to come home the next time his girlfriend would be in from her college.  He was very excited about coming home and his girlfriend told him she felt like “it was the night before Christmas.”  When he drove home, he immediately went to her house to pick her up for their date.  She broke up with him on the front porch of her house and he has not been the same since.  At first, he went through the normal grieving process; tears, why?, and so on.  Then the extreme behavior began.  Within a few days, he was texting and calling her.  She continued to be firm in her decision and one night while talking to her on the phone in the backyard (for privacy), we heard yelling.  We looked out the window and saw him lying in the grass, sobbing, and hitting the ground.  We got him in the house although he continued to tell us to go away and leave him alone.  In the beginning of all of this, he would at least listen to us when we attempted reasoning with him.
·         October-November 2013 things began to deteriorate rapidly.  His illogical rationale was unbreakable.  He began losing weight (30+ lbs. to date and he has informed us he is still losing).  He began texting his ex-girlfriend hateful, mean things (this is out of character for him).  Our relationship with him also fell apart, he became extremely disrespectful, saying we didn’t understand, yelling at us, hanging up the phone on me repeatedly.  I would call him at college daily because I was so worried, trying to reinforce hope and healing.  Conversations were hard and almost nonexistent on his part.  Several times per week, he would be a basket case, crying uncontrollably, curling into a fetal position.  We tried being supportive, we tried being firm, but unless we played along with his agenda, he was hostile in his words to us.  He withdrew.  He continually said he needed to talk to her, he felt he could convince her that she had made a mistake.  For weeks we tried to rationalize to him how this was not the best course of action.  Finally, he convinced her to talk to him.  A meeting was set up at our house, we were in attendance along with her mother.  The meeting was calm, he lovingly tried to convince her the relationship was right, presenting her with a box of their memories together.  She in turn was kind, but firmly stated she did not feel the same way about him and it was over.  Weeks turned into months, without much improvement.  He continued to try to convince us, his friends, and her that this breakup was wrong and that she needed to provide him with one rational, non-repairable reason why they couldn’t make this work.  His girlfriend’s friend that had been his constant companion at college finally asked him after two months, “How long are you going to continue to let her hurt you?  I will be your friend, but we can’t discuss her anymore.”  Finally, she told him, “you need to get on anti-depressants and talk to someone about this.”  He took this as rejection and has stopped hanging out with her.  Now he has no one at school.

Things continued to spiral down.  He told me he threw up two times on the way to class one morning (he does not drink alcohol).  He started gagging on food.  He began having sleep problems and started napping between classes.  We suggested he start drinking Ensure between meals to restore his calories.  He was very needy of us, but yet mean in his treatment of us.  He continually tried to bring us over to his line of thinking.  In one weak moment, he agreed to see a Christian counselor, even though he had repeatedly and firmly told us he would NEVER meet with a counselor.  My husband and I met with the counselor the week before and described our son and the difficulties he was experiencing, we felt it was a great match.  Unfortunately, after our son’s meeting with the counselor alone, he came home more broken than before the meeting.  Apparently the counselor must have decided on his own that the tough love approach was in order.

·         December 2013 finals are approaching at college.  His stress level and health are in jeopardy.  Physically he is functioning and going to class, but mentally he is in a very dark spot.  He cannot sleep and is struggling with studying.  He has isolated himself in his dorm and is eating very little.  At this point, he has began drinking Ensure as his meals and eats one partial meal per day.  He has term papers due and he is mentally and physically exhausted.  My husband and I are so worried that he decides to miss work to go to our son.   He gets a hotel room so our son can get some work done, eat, and sleep.  After classes the next day, my husband makes sure that he is fed and then insists he sees a medical doctor on campus.  After much persuasion and firm directive, he agreed to go.  Our son met with the doctor alone while my husband waited in the waiting room.  The doctor diagnosed depression and prescribed anti-depressants.  She also gave him a few tablets to aid him in sleep.  He comes homes for the weekend only having to return to school for two days to take finals.  Symptoms continue for those two days with him calling and saying he can’t take it anymore.  We have hope with the anti-depressants and him being home in a few days for a month-long winter break.

At home, we allow him to sleep until noon or 1 pm for a couple of days, since he was so exhausted.  His eating for the remainder of December was spontaneous.  He did meet with his friends from his small group several times throughout the rest of the month, but did nothing but play video games during the times he wasn’t with them.  We suggested a sleep and eat schedule, and various activities.  We set boundaries, but he continued to do as he pleased and had several breakdowns (shaking, crying, and anger) whenever we proposed suggestions.  He talked very little to us unless spoken to and then pretty much just yes or no answers.  The one great thing was the piano we bought for Christmas.  He is a self-taught musician and he spent a couple of hours per day playing classical music.

·         January 2014 things aren’t changing much.  He has now been on anti-depressants for two weeks and is up to the full dosage prescribed.  He continues to see his friends when they are available, but sleeps and plays video games the rest of the day.  Food intake seems better, but is still spontaneous.  Still having mood swings with little interaction with us.  Near the first full week of January, he smiled or made a joke a couple of times.  We feel very little improvement has been made in the last month and are getting nervous about his return to college.  He refuses to request a new dorm room and make any changes to improve his situation.  He still has anger toward his ex-girlfriend, his friend at college, and us.  We tell him he does have options and told him perhaps going back to college was not the best choice in the condition he was in.  He said we were trying to ruin his life and didn’t understand.  He said he would hitchhike to school and take out student loans if he had to, he didn’t need us. 

Last Sunday when he was to head back to college, he was exceptionally subdued with his packing.  He was doing it as though on a mission, but with no communication unless he was spoken to.  After packing, he said down on the couch without saying anything to us.  His dad noticed him sitting there and sat down also.  Tears were running down his cheeks and I joined the two of them.  I asked if I could give him a hug and he allowed me to do so.  He said he was not ready to go back.  We talked a bit, mostly him opening up about his ex-girlfriend and degrading her (he feels she cheated on him because she immediately started dating another young man).  He goes from anger towards her to wanting to rescue her from the mistakes she is making.  We stated we had seen some improvements in his mood since he started the anti-depressants.  He said, “they didn’t do anything, I quit taking them after two weeks.  We were stunned, he is not a liar and yet he has been lying to us.  He decided he wanted to eat before he left and wanted pizza, so we ordered it.  He ate almost an entire medium size pizza and needless to say, we were in shock.  We stopped commenting on his food intake in November, thinking it best to work on the real issues and maybe the rest would work itself out.

After he arrives at college, he calls me to let me know he has arrived safely.  He is still sitting in his car and has not been up to his dorm yet; he tells me he remembers why he doesn’t want to be there.  “I am so lonely and I have no one.”  I called him back before bedtime and he is still sad, but did not break down.

Monday morning, I see a text on my phone.  He sent it at 3:30 a.m., his suite mates were making noise and he could not sleep.   He said, “I can’t do this.  I can’t sleep.  Even if I could, it’s 3:30 and the neighbors are beating and banging louder than ever in the next room.  I can’t say anything.  But I’m already going crazy.  If I can’t do this tonight, how can I do this for a whole semester?  You were right, I shouldn’t be here.  I just want to be home.  I want to be able to sleep.  I just want to be happy again.”  I text him at 8:30 am and he says his roommate is still asleep and he’d rather talk later when I get off work.

He calls me that night and starts out sad, talking about how miserable he is, but he says he wants to stay at college and “I won’t let her win.  She has taken everything else from me and I won’t let her take this.”  I tell him I am glad to hear that and start talking about some changes we can make to improve his stay there.  He tells me “nothing” can solve my problems and he becomes angry and hangs up on me.  Never in his life has he been so disrespectful, but he has hung up on me at least three times during this crisis.

We have played a similar scenario tonight.  He went from indifference to anger to sobbing and then back to anger.  His rationale is gone.  He thinks everyone is stupid; doctors, counselors, and us.  He says no one understands him.  He says he is the one that has been done wrong, yet everyone thinks he is the bad person.  I am sorry this email is so long.  I have tried to keep it as brief as possible and have left out many details.  We are loving, supportive parents.  We are willing to do anything to help our son.  We have researched Aspergers and believe it could be a possibility with his different way of thinking and out of control emotions.  It appears to us the tragedy lies in the adjustment to college (being away from his normal routine), the noise of dorm life (he says he loves the quiet of home which he can’t get there), and the rejection by yet another person (who was a lot more than just a classmate).  Although you stated we should work on one issue at a time, we need to know how to help him cope when he becomes overwhelmed and how to get him to agree to meet with a counselor/psychologist to work through other issues?


I need help with my 16 year old boy.  My situation truly is complicated and may be different since my son is not currently living with me for the first time in his life -  so I feel like it is necessary to explain.  I divorced his bipolar father when he was 8 and I remarried a divorced man with no children of his own when my son was 10.  I have one other son who is 13, but he is the complete opposite of the 16 year old I am writing about and while I know he has been hurting too, I am not focusing on him in this letter.  My son (16 yr old)has had so much to deal with - he was always attached to his bio dad even though he was a severe alcoholic - he was fun and never had any rules.  He would visit him some after the divorce but, as the alcoholism got worse, he did not stay with him.  A little more than a year ago, his dad tried to commit suicide - shot himself in the head.  He survived and is disfigured (facial scarring and one eye is offset) and has a speech impairment, but he can talk, walk and drive.  He moved out of state (about 5 hours away) and moved in with his mother who has severe alzheimers and his oldest brother who has Crohn's.  I took my sons to see him in the hospital 5 hours away twice before he was released from the hospital.  It was extremely traumatic for them to see him, but they insisted they would be upset if I didn't take them.  Twenty days after the suicide attempt, my mother-in-law who had just come to live with us was dignosed with breast cancer that spread to her brain, lung and bones - she died in our house within 30 days and I had to care for her which was a full time job, all while my own kids were dealing with the grief of their dad's suicide attempt.  
Fast forward to the present - my oldest does not get along with his stepdad.  I have been a poor disciplinarian and am much more of a peace keeper.  My son is extremely strong willed and he manipulates me all the time.  I drank alot during and after the divorce, but have been sober for 6 years and my husband doesn't drink or do any drugs. Soon after I married his stepdad, my son made it clear to him that he had better never lay a hand on him or he would call the cops or have his bio dad come over and beat him up. So, my husband has had all the financial responsibility of raising someone else's kid, but his hands are tied when it comes to discipline.  He is a military man and he has disciplined him when he just can't take it anymore and when he knows I am losing the battle. He has never been physical with him - except that he pushed him up the stairs once when he was being really argumentative.
My son has been caught smoking pot, lying, sneaking out of the house and more.  The first time we sat him down and we weren't that hard on him - it was not long after his dad's suicide attempt so we felt like he needed some grace.  Second time, everything was taken away and it took about 3 months to earn it all back,  The last time was this past weekend.  My husband was working all weekend so I was the one dealing with him.  Within the span of 2 days I caught him smoking pot 3 times and lying about it to me.  Friday morning before he left for school, I told him not to make any plans for the weekend and that I was going to think about what I was going to do.  When he came home, I emptied his bag and found more pot and told him that if he couldn't abide by my rules, then he couldn't live with us.  He said he is not happy with us and he was going to live with his dad (who honestly cannot take care of himself).  He has threatened many times that he will go to live with his dad.  He said he would not stop smoking pot and he was not going to stay in his room all weekend.  He was going to leave the house even though I told him not to.    I was so angry, I knew his stepdad would be home any minute and he knew nothing of this lastest pot episode.  His stepdad had already told him he would kick him out if he caught him again.   I let him stay with a friend in the neighborhood and asked his mother not to let my son go anywhere.  I knew he did not deserve to spend the night with his friend, but, I was a nervous wreck and had to have time to think again.  He made it clear he was not going to follow the house rules - after all, he could go live with his bipolar, suicidally disfigured dad in a very depressed town in SC.  I picked him up the next day and he smelled like pot.  I confronted him, he denied it and I told him I would not tolerate it - he would have to go if he didn't want to abide by our rules.  We argued alot, husband still unaware and I put all his clothes in a suitcase and the rest in garbage bags and called his bio dad and had him meet me halfway and told him that his son was coming to live with him since he wouldn't agree to follow our rules.  I thought that he would back out of this at some point during the 2 1/2 hour trip - he never did.  Today, he called and told me he is enrolling in school there the rest of this year.  He is blaming me and saying that I'm the one who kicked him out and drove him there.  I keep telling him that he chose this since he repeatedly said he won't follow the rules (which by the way are - keep your room fairly clean, be respectful, no drugs and do your homework  - pretty simple).  Now I feel like this whole thing is a mess.  His dad wants to keep him there since he has lost everything - he is using his own son for fiendship.  He will not be able to cook for him, follow up on his homework and he will let him come and go anywhere, with no restricitions or consequences.  He is now in the worst environment he could possibly  be in,  5 hours away from me and I don't know if he will ever come back.  He says no one bothers him there and he can do whatever he wants.  I met with a counselor he had been seeing and called him afterward and told him we love him and want him back and that things would be different, but that me and his stepdad would work with him and his counselor to work through this.  He wanted to know specifics about what we would do and we did not go into detail because counselor said that might scare him off.  He only wants to return if he has no restrictions and we just can't do that.  He is headed for massive trouble.  He has an older cousin with a car who smokes pot and lives 2 blocks away and his uncle with Crohn's smokes it all day too - and I'm pretty sure his biodad still smokes although he has stopped drinking.  Nevermind the pot, it is this "I will do what I want" attitude the defiance, lying and refusal to accept responsibility and face up to his actions.  At first his biodad agreed with me that he needs to come home and face up to this, but 2 days later he is saying that I'm the one who brought him there and he was "tired" of this.  He likes having his son there and won't make him come home.  My intent was to scare him and let him know I would follow through with it and now he lives with a dad who listens to him and sides with him against us, knowing his son has done wrong and not making him come home and face this.   
How can I help him or is it too late to implement any of your teachings when I am so far away from him?  Do you think he will come back? I honestly don't see how his father can even afford to feed him, let alone buy clothes, phone, entertainment etc.  Did I make a mistake by taking him there?  I was calling his bluff. he is extremely strong willed and has been since he was in the womb.
What can I do now?  I can't take him back here unless he agrees to our house rules.  His stepdad is sick of it and so is his brother,  I know that some of his feelings are justified concerning his stepdad.  Stepdad is too authoritarian - he tries really hard sometimes, but since he never had kids he is not able to love them as unconditionally as I do and he takes my son's comments personally -  and my son feels the distance and disconnect  There have been times when my son has not been treated fairly by his stepdad and the two of them had been avoiding each other for at least a month.  There have also been times when my son is just rude to his stepdad and it just builds nad builds. I'm glad it was me who "kicked" him out and not his stepdad.....I need help.  The counselor doesn't seem to offer the help we need - we are getting nowhere.

Mr. Hutten,
I first want to thank you for all the help you give to so many families. My son has high functioning autism (Asperger’s). He is 10 & will be 11 in March. Now that he is getting older I am seeing more behavioral issues popping up. Out of all your e books which one would you recommend? I have purchased one book in the past it was the teaching guide for teachers. This helped me assist his teachers at school. It was very informative and confirmed all the things I have been told by his doctors. Thanks again  for your time.


Mr. Hutten, I have a 13 year old daughter with AS. We are traveling for Spring Break by plane to the Bahamas as a family. Luckily, we have a direct flight so we avoid some chaos. Do you have any realistic suggestions to help her cope with crowds and noise at the airport and on the plane (especially take off and landing). We also have 3 other children all younger than our AS daughter.


My son is 22 years old with asperger and I am really struggling with some basic things like - when he should not repeat things even if he thinks people need to know. He just keeps hurting others feelings and he can not understand this. He says I have to get it out. It is so hard to find support once the child is an adult.  Any suggestions?


 Hello.  I have a 12 year old daughter with undiagnosed Aspergers.  She has a difficult time with eye contact and picking on social cues. She has been involved in Occupational Therapy for a few years. She has had a lot of emotional backlash to her struggles. I recently received an email from a teacher about lack of eye contact again which prompted me to do a search.  I came across your information and am curious about your book and what you have to offer.  I have tried social skill groups in the past and she was miserable and does not want to go back.  Is your book written for parents to use to help their children or more as a group therapy book?  I have done plenty of reading and am a social worker by training so I have a good knowledge base but I cannot figure out how to best help her.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.



I am about to purchase your book launching Adult Children with Aspergers but have  few questions...
I have an 18 year old who has a PROBABLE diagnosis of aspergers due to onset of anxiety and depression a year ago and as a child meltdowns, and ongoing sensitivities light sound, social awkward, and some motor clumsiness (not pedalling a tricycle until 4 1/2, intense interest in a few things.   But no one is for sure of DX:   GAD/ Depression/OCD/ Gifted/ Aspergers are all Dx considered.... 

once a straight A student who NEVER studied and was panning to study engineering- and that was his identity for which he was very proud of- Iq testing upper extreme visual spatial - now failing with workload reduced to 1 class... Now depressed and not able to contemplate the future- getting medicated and therapy for which he does not respond much to.

Question:  Do you think this book will help?  or should we wait until other issues ironed out?

Also as a young child he had ear infections a lot - was given antibiotics and was allergic to sulfa drug given- face red and puffy.-  And I just read about the yeast casien free diet on your website...  how can we test and find a doctor who will help with this in our area- I live in Murrieta CA- 1 hr from San Diego, 1 hour from LA... 

Question:  can you direct me to a Physician who is well versed on aspergers and will do the right testing so we don't make dietary restrictions in vain-  (He would have a HARD time adhering to anything he does not BELEIVE makes sense. ) ?  

Also:  How can I find a psychiatrist in my area who really knows aspergers and anxiety/depression?


Dear Mark,

We have instituted your program since my communication with you back in May with my 18 year old son that has been diagnosed with Asperger's and a mixed mood disorder as well.  He is on Seroquel 300 mgs daily for mood stabilization.

With regard to your program, we need help.  We have run into a wall.  We have been giving consequences of 3 day intervals as you suggested of removing a privilege for each offense either one of our boys makes to provide consistency and fairness to both children, not just the one with Asperger's.

Our usual removal has been his phone, for three days, taking something away, paired with behavior contracts, has been working quite well.  We have usually only had to remove the phone and the consistency and him/ them knowing what to expect and how to get it back have worked quite well.  We have seen a better change in our son with Asperger's.  " Evan"

We have run into a wall, Evan has changed from being in regular high school to home based learning, he has endured a major amount of stress the past two years.  He spent a year in and out of the mental hospital, he went to a horrible residential program that was not suited for him out of state, it had drug and alcohol and violent kids there, and when insurance denied treating him, he came back worse than when he went in.  I emailed you a month later.

Since he has been back home, we had his some bumps but with your program and the mood stabilizers, he has done pretty well considering.

He has suffered greatly on all levels, personal issues, issues with his relationship with his biological Dad, school issues, a kid threatening to kill him, social issues, a suspension for implusive behavior at school for spanking a female impulsively on the buttocks, ( he was also a victim) to then lashing out at his Master Sargent in ROTC because that man is a Marine and didn't get Evan at all, and Evan could not take him, in his defense, Evan tried to get along with Mst Sargent for three years.  He had zero tolerance for Evan.  The blow up was coming there.  We tried to get support from the school, they ignored us.  To now not being in school full time, because we have had to hire attorney's to try and get the school to amend his IEP to his Asperger Diagnosis from EBD, and to provide services in language and Math that their own psychologist has recommended as well.  They will not do. He is 4 credits from graduating.  We have placed him on home bound learning due to the lack of sufficient support at school.

He is doing much better on the home based he is not less anxiety ridden, he is getting one on one instruction.  He took his Math grade from an F to a C.  Even though he feels more isolated.  We understand that after all the research and especially reading your material.  He wants to fit in there, he doesn't, he does try and then he is rejected, then he isolates and he hates that as well. He lives in a world of confusion.  The testing proved he has deficits in language and Math.
We now understand much better how Evan thinks.

We need to ask for your help.  He has home based instruction for one subject but we started new on line classes and those are so different from what Evan was used to, any change to schedule or venue rocks his world.  He is now responsible for reading all material and taking notes. He balks, he manipulates, he makes excuses, he is truly pretty sedated, sleepy and irritable on the mood stabilizers, he is not motivated.  So in an attempt to work with him, we have tried two different things, have him try and read the material being assigned, chapter reading, and then I will set down and re-read it with him, help him take notes on the important material he claims he can't figure out on his own, which according to testing is true, OR I will read a chapter to him, tell him the notes he needs to write and so forth.

Two different days this week, the change in what he is having to do, such as read, not just copy notes, truly memorize, and separate information, he has manipulated and carried on, argued, and resulted in tantrums so bad that yesterday, he blew up over the fact I asked him to write the word "Consensus" again into a note for the Chapter on Population in GOV.  Evan's argument, was, he had already written it on his vocab card. He refused all costs to try and understand why we were asking to write it again.  As your information supports what we see, if Evan doesn't want to do it, he will do all he can to keep from doing something.  If he wants something, he will do ANYTHING he can to get something if it's something he wants.

He argued, he lost control, I did not do well the first day either on my response  to him, however, we all regrouped and we took his phone for another three days for that offense.   He had just come off of a 3 day removal of his phone for telling me the few days before, that " I sucked".

We were about to give him a pass on the day before yesterday and allow him his phone back because it's his only connection to the ONE friend he has that also has Asperger's that he has come to rely upon for support and friendship.  We were going to give it back, because he did well with the first 3 day removal, we understood better why he melted down the day before yesterday and felt he needed some understanding and needed an outlet for socialization because he feels so isolated and trapped right now. So we were going to give it back yesterday AFTER he did his work with me for school, provided he cooperated as he agreed to.  Well, the word consenus and his view verses our view, melted down.  We screwed up after re-reading your instructions to us, we argued back, we tried to tell him he won't make it anywhere if he can't follow directions and do what people say, he has been let go from a job for that, he has recently been suspended  from a wonderful program we had him in for Junior Fire Explorers, ( he was suspended because he and his Friend, both didn't hear the full directions of asking both their supervisor and the fire station supervisor for permission to visit.) Thankfully they/he didn't do anything behaviorally so wrong. Its that they broke a rule.  So he is suspended for a period of 3 months, which to him, is a lifetime.  He is even more down on himself, his esteem is at an all time low, he is lonely, he is out of school, he literally has one friend to communicate with. So we told him no phone for 3 more days.

If we take his phone, it makes it all worse for him. That removal of the phone sent him really into space and anger.  As he tried to tell us we are cutting him off of the only person he has to talk to or that will accept him.  We truly feel he is not manipulating here.  He is lonely and feels he has no one.  Evan doesn't have a life persay outside of our home, we can't take video games away, he doesn't really play them, we can't take going places away regularly, the only thing we can take is air soft.  I will get to that in a minute....  Yesterday, he melted down like we have not seen since last year.  He broke our home phone when his Dad refused to be there for him, he threw it against the door of his closet, he broke it, he punched a hole in his wall, he screamed, thrashed, hated and berated himself, us you name it the anger poured from him.

It finally got to the point, he would not cooperate, he was testing us big time, I told him if he couldn't control himself, he couldn't stay here, he would have to call his Dad to come get him.  If he can't follow our rules.  This was a big break because four weeks ago, he stole cash from me, bought cigarettes with that money while we were ALL together at the grocery store, lied about where he was in the grocery store, he smoked them in our home, we caught him.  We took Christmas gifts back as a result, we told him if he wants to smoke when he 21 he can, but not in our home, with our money.  If he is going to live here, he has to respect our rules.

Yesterday, I told him he had to leave his lack of cooperation for me when I literally reading the material for him, telling him what to write as notes, and he throws a tantrum over being asked to write the word consensus?  I had more than I could take. I felt like we have reframed, reorganized, rethought, reworked all areas, schedules, plans, we had done all we should be to help him understand the schedule, the expectations, etc.... what we think really set him off yesterday was that we told him we would be done at 3:30 provided he didn't dally on other areas and provided I was not having to put my attention to some other task in our home.  It was our giving him a time commitment of 3:30 that allowed him to start that behavior.  He knew 3:30 was coming, he would have to work longer than he wanted to, he didn't want to even take notes.... so here he went.

So at that point, I told him... he would need to call his Dad. His Dad is not supportive and would not come get him.  Evan raged.  We almost called the police and ambulance like we had to last May when I wrote to you the first time.  However, we disengaged, let him scream it out, and he fell asleep. My husband his step Dad he is close to, stayed to monitor him and his safety.  I left our home with our other child to protect him from the situation, when we returned near 10 last night. When I came home Evan was awake and pouting.  He did apologize... however, when I went to engage him on what had happened, he did what we know he does, and your information say they do, he went off on tangents that didn't relate to yesterday and was blaming everyone but him, it seemed like he was purging things that are really bothering him, or at least the ones he found he could communicate about, and when I redirected him to the present issue, and what he had agreed to verses, what he did.... he started in saying we don't love him.  Then he calmed down, and became straight faced and wanted to know, since he apologized for his outrage, would we still allow him to go to airsoft tomorrow?  ( Today)

We said absolutely not.  He went into a rage again.  We went to his room to remove all electronics, and all cords, strings etc to make it safe and we took his beloved DVD player he watches Movies with to calm him down to sleep, he raged worse, we took it for discipline purposes and also safety purposes ( the cord), we took his stereo which he sleeps with going for noise because he can't sleep without noise.

We took just about everything besides large furniture we could get, he raged.  He did manage to calm down and went to sleep eventually.

After this episode, my husband an I reread your information, we rethought what was happening from our perspective and from how Evan sees things.  We also realized part of what is sending him over the edge so severely is all the changes, to routine, isolation socially and the straw that is probably really breaking the ice is not having his phone to call Chad his friend with. It's truly his life line.  He has been upset over being suspended from the fireman group, but he coped because of two things, his police scanner and Chad over the phone they text constantly.  They are both lonely boys.

We are determined to stick to not giving into allowing him to play airsoft today so we don't reinforce his behavior.  However, we are thinking we will allow his phone back, in order to give him hope and connection back.  He is miserable and feels so alone.  He does well respecting the short 3 day removals, add 6 or 9 days, its death to him in his eyes.

We are thinking would you agree to allow him to have it back with a behavior contract and if he doesn't follow the contract its automatically 3 days?

Would you allow the stereo back, so he can sleep and but keep the DVD player and police scanner 3 days?  Those are the only two things we feel are fair based on him and his situation?

We need your guidance.  Usually this works and it's not right now.

Also, would you tell us, he has to attempt to read his homework, and I will still go back over it with him, provided his behavior is good with a behavior contract on that subject, and if he is not, he will have to do it himself for three days, or take away a privilege for three days?

If we make him study on his own, it won't get done.  He truly has issues there  he needs support for. Our problem is, we don't seem to be able to support him if he is unwilling to cooperate the least bit like taking notes and writing the word I ask him to write.

What does a parent do in this situation?

Please help!! We need guidance.  Thank you so much for your work, your writings, and for your help,  we have seen progress, we have hit a bump, and we don't think we could have done this without your program.  Immediately after reading your program, we have learned to give him a schedule, let him know what to expect to prevent meltdowns and chaos to his world of what to expect.  It has helped immensely.  Some days I have to admit I do better at the poker face than others, yesterday, I tried the poker face, but I felt I it got to the point I had to tell him he would have to leave.

 After re-reading your articles last night, my husband and I agreed, maybe what we did wrong according to your advice, is we should have allowed him to NOT write the word consensus if he didn't want to, even if we knew it could be a disservice to him, because arguing over an issue with him, he can't work out in his head,  regarding changes to what he normally does, to the reading comprehension issue, to the language issue, verses what we know he really needs, it backfired...... We aren't sure what to do about thinking by giving him the timeline we were helping him and us. That backfired as well, because when he wanted to stop and shut down he wasn't going an inch further. Regardless of us warning him we may have to go longer in time.

Should we have let him have his way on not writing it but kept moving as long as he cooperated? Should we have stopped at the time we provided him to begin with because that is what we allowed him to expect?   When we tried to talk to him about it... he melted down and then we couldn't get anything done for him or with him.


My name is Gemma, 31. I live with my Husband and daughter age 5 (6 in April) in the UK. I have had my suspicions that something just wasn't quite right about my daughter ever since she was about 2 years old, I could just never put my finger on it. Around May last year I started to do some research and found that my daughter had many characteristics of Aspergers syndrome. I felt quite relived that I had found a reason why she seemed on a completely different planet.
Our major issues started at the end of Alisha's first year of school. She knew the summer holidays were coming up and that meant a big change as she wasn't going to school for 6 weeks. That is when the sleep problems started. She refused to go to bed as she didn't want to be on her own and wanted me to stay with her all night. I got to the point of sitting with her to get her to sleep. We would start getting her ready at 7.15pm and it would be after 9pm before I could leave the room. She would then wake several times in the night and I would have to sit with her again until she went to sleep. This carried on all through the holidays. She started back at school in September and within 2 weeks she was sleeping on her own without me being there. It all stopped as suddenly as it started.

Over the last 2 months her sleep problems have got worse again. Every night we always give her a count down to bedtime. We always start at the same time every evening. The routine is go to the toilet, brush teeth, put on pyjamas, read a story, get into bed, put lullaby music on then go to sleep. We have done the same routine ever since she was a baby. Tonight it has taken nearly 2 hours to get her into bed and asleep. We go through the routine every night but she refuses to do each stage. First she ignores my request of "please go to the toilet". She stands in the bathroom singing and dancing around. I ask her again, still no response. I can ask her 6 times or more and she will still refuse. She will then start to scream, shout, yell at me that she doesn't have to do it, why do I have to do it. I then calmly explain that if she doesn't go to the toilet before bed time she will need it in the night so it is best to try now. Whilst I am trying to explain the answer to her question she is not listening, just starts to run off, laughing. I will keep asking her to go to the toilet, getting more cross every time she runs away. She then laughs and starts running around the house rambling random things. You can not communicate with her at all. The more I try the more she laughs and runs around. When you have been doing this for a while I will admit I do start to loose my patience. I know the more I shout and get angry the more she laughs at me. But I find it so hard to stay calm when all I want her to do is go to the toilet! We end up getting to the point where I am a crying heap on her bedroom floor whilst she is charging around the house like a mad thing! After over an hour she eventually stops and goes to the toilet. By this point I am at the end of my tether. I then ask her to please clean your teeth and it all starts again! Eventually she is in bed, we are both exhausted. When she is calm I asked her why she was running around and laughing. She said I don't know, my head just tells me to. I then ask her when she is laughing, does she feel happy or sad. She said sad. She said when she cries she feels happy and when she laughs she is sad. I explained that when Mummy feels happy she laughs and when I feel sad I cry. She looked at me very puzzled.

I have read loads of books, read your website and understand a lot of why she behaves the way she does. I just don't know how to stop her doing this at bedtime. I always spend a lot of time with her during the day at weekends doing different activities and playing.

Everything I do is for her. I am trying my best to understand, be patient and calm but she is really pushing me to breaking point. She also gets up at 5am every morning but that is a whole other story!


Our son is 18 yrs. at home, has a drug problem (marijuana daily) + he is dealing to make himself money to keep with his obsessions, has a Doctor & drug counsellor, (has been on Prozac for 12 mths, but has decided to stop this about 1 month now), has been diagnosed on the Autism spectrum with testing done through the drug counsellor, doesn’t take anyone’s advice,  and is in denial about everything. Our Doctor is helpful but just a regular GP and our drug counsellor tells us what we need to do but doesn’t understand the autism side, so advice we are getting is conflicting, confusing and not working.  In my area we have tried to get a definite diagnoses, but it’s just not possible and not enough doctors have the skills in this area, I feel like we are just going around in circles, but my husband and I agree that our son has fits a lot of the categories.  


My daughter Danielle is 16 years old and was just diagnosed with mild Aspergers. I have struggled for years to understand why there seemed to be a disconnect or something missing with her development and I believe I finally have the answer.  She obviously does not fit in the traditional mold of aspergers criteria although most of the criteria seems to be directed to boys and not girls. 

Here is a little background about her, she is very sweet and caring and never a problem either at home or at school. The only problem I had was her moodiness but I thought she would outgrow it as she got older but she always said she didn’t know how to tell me how she felt or why she was upset.  Her language skills have always been a problem and she has struggled with keeping friends but I thought she would outgrow it or learn as she got older, she was tested twice in school for any learning disabilities but nothing came back as high.  Because she was not a problem she always seemed to fall through the cracks in the school system. 

She started high school in Sept of 2012 and for the first month seemed to be doing well but suddenly our lives changed. She started saying she wanted to hurt herself and from September 2012 to April 2013 was backer acted 6 times.  When I would try to talk to her she would run away, she would stay in the neighborhood but I could not find her for hours. She was diagnosed as major depressive disorder and prescribed antidepressants and respiradol but her behavior became more erratic and aggressive. After a long struggle I was able to get her in a residential program in July 2013 so she could be correctly diagnosed. The doctors could not diagnose her and finally a specialist in Autism (Dr. Susan Folstein)  evaluated her and diagnosed her with mild aspergers in December 2013.  My concern is that they plan to release her soon and during her weekend home passes that started during the holidays I see that she still gets very moody and will not communicate with me, she just shuts down she becomes very rude and has an attitude for no apparent reason.  She does not seem to be able to regulate her emotions and seems to get upset all the time for no apparent reason, my attempt to communicate with her becomes very frustrating for me and I do loose my temper and proceed to punish her for her behavior but this gets us nowhere because it is very difficult for her to see things in any other perspective but her own and although she is 16 she really isn’t.  


My stepson is almost 17. Giving him consequences is - difficult. He has Aspergers, and severe OCD. When given consequences, he gets very upset and follows us around, raging and demanding that we give him a way to "earn it back". We have always held our ground, but it is so hard. From time to time we leave the house to get away from him, but that's often not practical. We've even called the police but he's rarely violent, just terribly disruptive. Any thoughts to share?


My son who is 17 years old completed secondary school in 2012 and did extremely well.  Being unsure of a career path, he went back to his high school to do a 2-year pre-university program.  He has only completed the first semester of the two year program and has decided that it is not working for him.

The problems he has with the program are:

(1) The teaching methods have changed, so unlike before where a lot was taught and explained, he is now required to do a lot of reading and preparation on his own, of course he was never big on homework as he cannot see why school work has to become home work.

(2) There are 3 hours in each day where he has no classes/assigned activity and seem not to know what to do with himself in that time.  He spends his time at school mostly by himself and seem to spend this time, sitting in the same location probably listening to music or reading.  usually a novel.

(3) He seem to have lost interest in the subjects he chose.

He sees a therapist (cognitive behavioural therapist) once per week and he says he has discussed the matter with her and she like myself is encouraging him to continue the program.

I am concerned that the continuation of this program is resulting in depression. I am unsure of what else to do with him at this time, and hence my dilemma.

My intention was to stop the program at the end of the first year and send him to art school, which is what he says he wants to do.

I would be grateful for any suggestion you may be able to give.
Hello Mark, I was reviewing your website and getting information about books and therapy.  Why did you choose to get into this field of counseling and why home based family therapy?  It sounds like these are techniques we can try immediately and put into practice. 

Do you have an opinion or recommendation about the schooling environment for kids with Asperger's.  We have a teenage girl and each year it has become worse and worse with school and the social environment.  She is now a sophomore.   A high school with 1700 students can be overwhelming.  We have not been able to find a social skills group that works.  It's mostly all boys in social skills groups.  How do we keep her in mainstream?  Maybe that is not the best option.  She has additional verbal language disorder as well as ASD.  She is not successful academically and struggles to keep up with the volume of work, reading and problem solving at school.    She needs to get through high school but maybe an alternative way to get a high school diploma should be considered.  She tells me daily, please get me out of the school.   Each year I keep saying it will get better and it hasn't.

She is feeling rejected each day and is anxious and upset about going into the school.  She wants to make friends so much but feels left out and unable to connect.  What do you recommend?

Hi Mark,
  Appreciate your newsletter, it has been helpful with our son and good to share with others so they understand him a little better. We are older parents, myself 50 and my wife 45, and our 6 year old is our one and only. Lately we have been considering adopting a 5 or 6 year old boy. We feel that this would help our son in that he gets SO devastated when he can't play with the neighborhood kids (like when they have grandparents or relatives over, or when they are doing an all girl party). Reading on your papers how HFA kids struggle with friends, we also think this would help going forward in school.
  Our son is a joy, and he does like to show younger kids how to do things so we think this might help focus his attention at times as well. Any input you can offer would be appreciated.


We have spent over $10,000 in cognitive behavior therapy with “Life Skills International” in Denver, CO that specialize in abusive relationships.  The counselor at the end of our second week long therapy said, “I’m sorry Michelle.  I don’t know what’s wrong but your husband just isn’t getting it.”  Whenever I used the techniques I was taught by saying, “I feel … when ….. please do or do not do….”  my husband called me a bitch.  I finally took out the dictionary to show him the meaning of the word bitch and he was quit remorseful and has not used it since but he tells me I’m “too intense” or nagging him.  Now I understand that when I explain how I feel about a situation he sees that as nagging or judging him. 

Our oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 13 when he was punching holes in the doors and arguing for 3 hours at a time.  He is 19 now. He was on medicines (Abilify and Prozac for 5 years) and had 10 hours + per week of intensive behavioral intervention therapists working with him to teach him life skills.  Although he sleeps a lot (12-18 hours per day) because of a sleep cycle disturbance he is functioning much better than he used to and is off all meds for about a month now.  He is going to our local junior college’s evening classes for aerospace composites.  My husband constantly calls our son “lazy” and just does not accept medical reasons for his behavior.  Our son admitted to me that part of the reason he sleeps so much is to escape his father’s constant criticism.

My husband was diagnosed with anxiety and depression but he didn’t want to take any meds.  The counselor told me to support my husband’s hobbies – boating, off-roading and computers.  My husband typically gets fired every 5 years like clock-work.  He is 4 years into his current job and I’m seeing a lot of signs that transition is coming soon.

I’ve been on anti-depressants for about 5 years.  I am 45 years old.  I just survived stage 2 breast cancer and cried when I woke up after surgery because I didn’t want to come back.  I was hoping to go on to heaven because life is so hard with my husband but I don’t want to divorce because of my religious beliefs, not wanting to be alone and concern over my children being alone with him even though they are 19 and 16 now.  So now that it looks like the Lord has chosen to give me some more time here on earth I’m trying to figure out how to cope with my situation.  I had already learned about moving past resentment into forgiveness but had reached a place of acceptance that, “this is as good as it’s going to get” which is more like being business partners but it’s just not satisfying so I typed “living with an aspie” in google and found your youtube videos then purchased your e-book. 

Upcoming situation:
You mentioned it’s ok to email you with specific questions so here goes.  Our oldest son with asperger’s has a passion for robotics.  I became his lego robotics coach for three years in order to join his world and connect with him as best I could and help him practice social skills with his teammates.  Now I coach a new team at a local school and our son helps mentor them periodically.  The kids look up to him.  My husband (an IT guy for our local police department) however, forces his way into the robotics team and causes chaos every time he comes.  He yells at the kids, “stop eating” or “shut up” or “sit down” and pushed one of the students last night on the shoulder to force him to sit down.  He has even told a grandmother of one of the robotics kids in the past, “shut up!”  She was horrified and asked me what was wrong with my husband.  I told her I thought he had asperger’s but it’s never been diagnosed.  My husband will be going to the robotics competition this coming Sunday, Jan. 26th which is all day from 8-5pm and it will be loud.  I have 10 students on my team and their parents will all be there along with 45 other teams.  My husband has requested strongly that he be listed as my assistant coach as he has been “helping” me the last few weeks (by changing the strategy the children have had for 4 months just one week before the competition in order to get more points – they are freaking out and he doesn’t see it).  So, I am trying to process what I heard and read from your material to figure out how to coach my husband with how I would like him to behave this Sunday


I am new to your newsletter, but I have to say I feel so blessed. You are spot on every time with your newletter with your articles. Its like you know my son personally. Have a fantastic day and I can not thank you enough for sharing.
Mom of a 16 year old son with Aspergers


I am a grandmother of 2 teens, 10yr old; 5 yr old girl from a blended family and baby about to be born.  I would like to get the program for my daughters as they are having a tough time right now. I want to be here for them all -and in the most loving and healthy way.  I am also a caregiver for my husband who has multiple sclerosis and just came out of the hospital.  I am actively looking at what I can do in an easier and better way for all of us and my intention is to be in unconditional love for myself and those I love.  Sounds rather lofty but feels right and gives me a great goal.  Clear communication and boundaries are ongoing for me. I was brought up to be codependent and did a good job of showing my daughters how to be also.  I would like to stop this being passed on to my grandchildren.  My daughters agree but they seem to be entrenched in their habitual behavior, although they both recognize things could be a lot healthier.  I have made every effort to let go of my 'need to control and judgements'.  Having experienced mostly conditional love growing up I have had to educate myself and am still learning.  My concern, and when I can get hooked, is when I see my grandchildren experiencing the consequences of their parents' behavior.
They are great kids -all of them and the teens -16 yr boy and 13 yr girl are certainly not out-of-control.  We want to avoid that.  They are just typically argumentative with an attitude pushing the envelope.  And they are very loving and caring.  I feel truly blessed.
 My daughter tells me my16 yr old grandson had sex for the first time and used a condom.  My 13yr old granddaughter is so beautiful and admired but is not yet interested in boys.  However, her friends are.  10 yr old grandson is having trouble with friends.  5yr old girl is new to our family and is having challenges sharing her "daddy" and now she is going to become a big sister. I am impressed with all the comments on your site and know there is no quick fix but life is a journey.  I would like if we can all have it be less stressful and more joyful.


Mark, Thank you for your encouragement.  I agree we did make progress.  The conversation seems to have helped because we had an amazing day.  He was helpful, never raised his voice, was enjoyable and was able to problem solve without losing his temper!  In fact, things went so well he was able to help the team solve a hardware issue on the robot at the last minute and our team came in second place and are moving on to the next level! 

I appreciate your help.  I look forward to using reframing in the future now that I’ve started practicing this new skill.  It’s already helping me internally to reframe his looks, comments and behaviors in a positive way to myself that allow me not to take things personally and I don’t even feel I need to address every little thing!  Sweet! Thanks for your help!


I am 41 yr old mother of 4. I have been married 4 times, my current, 4th husband and I just discovered my Aspergers from recent diagnosis, and we are happy and I am sad to learn I have this, it helps make sense of so many things, but it also makes me feel hopeless that I am a horrible mate. I was just hoping you had more for Aspergers females. My profession is as a Nurse, I feel empathy for my patients and I feel people's pain. I am often told by my husband that I don't care about him, and it is not true. There is so much more, and I know you probably have more information for Aspergers women. If you would please direct me in the way of finding this information, I would really appreciate it.


I have a question I hope you can help you with. My 15-year-old daughter says that she likes to smoke marijuana. I caught her on several occasions with marijuana in her bedroom and I've confiscated the marijuana and the paraphernalia. I did the same last night and my daughter got angry at me for going into her room and take her things.  Should I add an additional consequence like taking away her phone for 1 to 2 days in addition to taking away the contraband.  Do you have any suggestions?


Dear Mark,

Thank you for all the steps and lessons in your book. I found the videos especially helpful as I was doing a lot of these things but was finding them difficult to justify and explain to my  husband, your assertive videos helped me explain clearly to him why I am doing what I am doing.  Our 15 year old son with high functioning Aspergers has had a tough time  keeping organised for high school and has chosen to escape into computer games and online life. Up till grade 8 he was enthusiastically participating and doing really well in sports.  We gave him the benefit of the doubt the first term he dropped his sports and effort went down but now he is looking for any excuse to be online rather than on task doing his homework,  He is blaming me for quitting his sports saying i pushed him to get up for swimming in the mornings. Sinc she has stopped his ability to focus on anything but screens has decreased.

His school provides laptops and all curriculum is online. We realise we let him have a self-managed account this year and this is when the trouble began. He goes to a teacher after school who helps him plan his work but my so has poor impulse control and can’t get focussed when there are way more fun things to do than homework. He usually has a ds lite (that he bought from summer job)  connected to his work and it stops him from focussing too. All of the other classmateshave self managed laptop account but he is just not mature enough. They spend 8 hours plus a day online. He is on holidays for CNY and his other interests have dwindled to nothing other than the laptop. He turns everything around to suit himself when someone tries to interrupt him and blames them for not finishing his work (really!) I think 3-4 hours should be maximum online for holiday.

I need to take steps backward and make him a stricter schedule, it is too much at his age to make it a visual one on fridge like we used to? He has a 13 and 11 year old sister. I do most of the steps from your book with them already. Once I change his accounts I know I will be facing an explosion, or a shutdown. I have my poker face and empathy ready but would appreciate any new resources/ideas you may have on Aspies and internet addiction.

Also, we are concerned is because my son’s effort  and organisation grades have slipped  to NI “need improvement” in all subjects. His grades are  just passing in most but he was getting much better marks before. We don’t suspect alcohol or drugs, (hey we live in Singapore)  , if he doesn’t get his effort/organisation marks up he won’t be able to continue with the IB programme he has always been keen on. He is in Gr 9 of the 2 year GCSE programme. Staff has hinted  to him he may not get into IB because of this,  but he is going into fight or flight mode and withdrawing to computers instead facing the issue.  it is like his only passion is for online connections now.


Hi Mark, Thank you for your great article describing SPD in My Aspergers Child, the Connection Between... It is the best I have seen so far.

Can you refer me to anything on the subject of Adults?   I have been living with a crazy husband for 30 years and finally researched his oddities and came up with this diagnosis.   It certainly helps me realize what is going on, but still leaves me with no hope of having a  reasonable conversation.  Nobody would believe me because his speech is fine, but his dressing up as a pirate and singing sea chanties to every visitor who comes through the door wears thin on me.  I can't have discussions or conversations with him or anybody when he is involved, and his lack of grasp about the future and money and having a job have recently sabotaged my savings and a financial "strategy".

Some help needed, Thanks! 


I need advice on Asperger and college education. What kind of education help can I get, are their college teachers with the skill to teach an Asperger student? I need success stories and hope.

C. is 23 years old with Asperger, ADD, anxiety and depression. has skill with computers and presently I am try to work towards obtaining State residency, I have signed him up for a couple of online classes, but cannot presently afford non residency tuition. Today he will be starting guitar lessons (he has some musical skill), we have him signed up for Vocational rehab with a meeting with an Asperger specialist Feb.  J is overweight and we are trying to encourage daily exercise, his weight is something else that adds to his depression, but he eats a very limited diet and would happily live on beef, milk, cheese, pizza and other bread with a wash of orange juice.

The goal is independence, maintaining connections with his family and an education with the hope of eventual self support. Both C.’s mother and I agree that disability and assisted living without purpose is not an option. Preliminary goal is to work through a Community College’s disability first to obtain at minimum associate degree before working on computer degree. Computer classes will be integrated into his work to keep him interested.

Work? so far  C. does not even get interview as poor work experience. Limited by needing a day job due to medications.

C. is now living with me because his family could not cope with some of his behaviours; video game addiction, waking family members up at night, even ordering games online with family credit card. However, at the same time he LOVES his family and sometimes I feel I have a 15 year old in my home who has been abandoned. The choice was given to C. that he would be taken to the homeless shelter or come and live with me: very much a “throw the baby in the swimming pool to teach him to swim approach”. C. misses his mother and 8 year old sister the most, they were the best  emotional support for Jordan and he loved helping his little sister.

C’s father has NEVER coped with his son with constant criticism and no constructive help and yet there are many positives; he is smart, intelligent, good with computers, did very well high school.  JC. has worked in the past and amazingly for 10 months(longer than many of his colleagues) in a call support center. The environment was harsh with constant complaints, irritated customers, angry customers and C. did not do well with this and finally needed to leave. Any thoughts on any education and life skill direction would be so helpful.



Dear Mark, Thank you very much for your advice, my husband actually refers to it as “goofing off” as well.

The most effective thing so far was a big sign saying “no goofing off’ in front of him when he had a big assignment due. My son is listening more now and cooperating.  I was doing a lot of the programme already but feeling guilty and not justified, we are working on building a contract for anger management as the last one went up in flames. My husband and I disagree on these points as he is also Aspie and a lot of it is just painful memories.

My question now is regarding “the stuff” , confiscating laptop is working, he does not care about the phone as he hates to talk on the phone and sees it as a nagging device, (remember this, do that) the other things he cares most about it his DS Lite, it is easy to bring everywhere and does much the same thing as a laptop. The issue is, he  bought it himself with money from his summer job and says we do not have the right to touch it. We have been putting it in the safe if he has overdue assignments, and give it back when assignment is completed. He gets very self righteous and leaves notes to self/us saying “reclaim my stolen property” . How do I approach the confiscation if he has bought it himself? 


RE: How do I approach the confiscation if he has bought it himself?

In this case, the same as you would an item that you bought. He's living in your house isn't he? If you parked your car in a private parking lot without permission, they would have your car towed -- at your expense -- because your car is in the way.

Is that fair? Yea, even though it's your car - it's in their lot. So even though your son owns his DS outright -- it's in your house and it's getting in the way of things (i.e., academic performance).

This should be your statement each time he complains. Every time he wages a protest, repeat it like a broken record in needed: "Its real simple: do your assignments, then play on your DS."


Hello Mark,

I'd like to thank you for the extremely valuable information and clearly written articles that you provide in your weekly newsletters! I admire your professional knowledge and attitude. I can't emphasize enough how much me and my husband appreciate your opinion and help!


Raising Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Parents' Grief and Guilt

Some parents grieve for the loss of the youngster they   imagined  they had. Moms and dads have their own particular way of dealing with the...