Problem-Solving Skills for Hostile Teens on the Autism Spectrum

Addressing hostility and aggressiveness in teens on the autism spectrum can be a frustrating and demanding process. The challenge for parents and teachers is to address the behavior in a constructive manner, rather than simply reacting to it.

When these teenagers are exhibiting hostile behaviors, it is often a sign that they are not receiving adequate support in mastering their environments, both at home and school. In addition, their aggressiveness does not necessarily reflect willfulness, rather they lack the social skills needed to “fit-in” and to be accepted by others – especially their peers.

Click here for the full article...

Sensory Integration Dysfunction in Children on the Autism Spectrum

Sensory integration focuses primarily on 3 basic senses: (1) proprioceptive, (2) vestibular, and (3) tactile. Their interconnections start forming before birth and continue to develop as the youngster matures and interacts with his environment. These 3 senses are also connected with other systems in the brain, and even though they are less familiar than other senses (i.e., taste, smell, sight, and hearing), they are critical to basic survival.

Sensory processing functions on a continuum. Everyone has difficulty processing certain sensory stimuli (e.g., a certain touch, taste, smell, sound, movement etc.) – and everyone has sensory preferences. Processing difficulties only become a Sensory Processing Disorder when a child is on extreme ends of the continuum or experiences disruptive, unpredictable fluctuations which significantly impact developmental skills and everyday functioning.

Click here for the full article...

Auditory Processing Problems in Children on the Autism Spectrum

"Is it common for children on the autism spectrum to have auditory processing difficulties?"

ASD Level 1 (High-Functioning Autism) has been described as a social/communication problem. Processing auditory information is a crucial component of social communication, and some children on the autism spectrum have problems processing this information.

One problem occurs when the child hears speech sounds, but does not perceive the meaning of the sounds (e.g., if someone says the word ‘blew,’ the child might hear the sound clearly, but not understand the meaning). Sometimes the lack of speech comprehension is interpreted by parents and educators as a behavioral problem, when in fact the child simply isn’t able to retrieve the meaning at that moment.

The underlying reason for auditory processing problems in ASD may originate in a part of the child’s brain. Research has shown that the hippocampus is neurologically immature in children on the autism spectrum. The hippocampus is responsible for sensory input, learning and memory. Information is transferred from the senses to the hippocampus where it is processed. Then, the information is transferred to the cerebral cortex for long-term storage.

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Due to the fact that auditory information is processed in the hippocampus, in children on the autism spectrum, the information may not be accurately transferred to long-term memory. In addition, auditory processing problems may be linked to other autistic traits (e.g., anxiety, confusion in social situations, inattentiveness, etc.).

Auditory Processing Disorder—

ASD children with Auditory Processing Disorder can't process the information they hear in the same way “typical” children can, because their ears and brain don't fully coordinate. These “special needs” kids often don’t recognize subtle differences between sounds in words – even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. This issue usually occurs when there is a significant degree of background noise going on.

Kids with Auditory Processing Disorder are thought to hear normally, because they can usually detect sounds and speech that are delivered one-by-one in a quiet environment. Children who can normally detect sounds in ideal listening conditions are not considered to have hearing problems. So, children with this disorder don’t have a loss of hearing, but have a hearing problem in the sense that they don’t process auditory information normally. If this auditory deficit isn’t identified and managed early, many of these young people will have speech and language delays – as well as academic problems.

The five main problem areas that can affect both home and school tasks in ASD children with Auditory Processing Disorder are:
  1. Auditory attention – the youngster can't stay focused on listening long enough to complete a task
  2. Auditory cohesion – higher-level listening tasks are difficult (e.g., drawing inferences from conversations, understanding jokes and riddles, comprehending verbal math problems, etc.)
  3. Auditory discrimination – the youngster has difficulty hearing the difference between words or sounds that are similar (e.g., buy/fly), which can affect following directions, reading, spelling, writing skills, etc.
  4. Auditory figure-ground – the youngster can't pay attention if there is noise in the background
  5. Auditory memory – the youngster has difficulty remembering information (e.g., directions, lists, study materials, homework assignments, etc.)

Auditory Processing Disorder is an often misunderstood problem, because many of the behaviors noted above also appear in other disorders (e.g., learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, depression). This is why proper diagnosis is crucial. To diagnose Auditory Processing Disorder, an audiologist will administer a series of tests in a sound-treated room. These tests require the child to attend to a variety of signals and to respond to them by way of repetition, pushing a button, or in some other method. Also, other tests that measure the auditory system's physiologic responses to sound may be administered.

Once a diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder is made, the nature of the disorder is determined. There are many types of auditory processing deficits and, because every youngster is different, the disorder may manifest itself in a variety of ways. Thus, it is necessary to determine the type of auditory deficit a given youngster exhibits so that individualized treatment strategies can be recommended that address his specific areas of difficulty.

If you think your youngster may have a problem processing words and/or sounds, consider the following questions:
  • Are conversations hard for your youngster to follow?
  • Are noisy environments upsetting to your youngster?
  • Are verbal math problems difficult for your youngster?
  • Does your youngster have difficulty following directions – even simple ones?
  • Does your youngster have reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties?
  • Does your youngster's behavior and performance improve in quieter settings?
  • Is abstract information difficult for your youngster to comprehend?
  • Is your youngster disorganized and forgetful?
  • Is your youngster easily distracted?
  • Is your youngster unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises?

 ==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

How to help ASD children with Auditory Processing Disorder—

Techniques applied at home and in the classroom can help with some of the behavioral issues associated with Auditory Processing Disorder. Since it is common for children with this disorder to have difficulty following directions, for example, some of the strategies that can help are listed below:
  1. Acknowledge that Auditory Processing Disorder is real. Associated symptoms and behaviors are NOT within your youngster's control.
  2. Ask your youngster to (a) repeat the directions back to you, and to (b) keep repeating them aloud (either to you or to himself) until the directions are completed.
  3. Assign regular and realistic chores (e.g., keeping a neat room and desk).
  4. Build your youngster's self-esteem.
  5. Encourage good eating and sleeping habits.
  6. For directions that are to be completed at a later time, writing notes, wearing a watch, and maintaining a household routine can help.
  7. Teach general organization and scheduling skills.
  8. Have your youngster look at you when you're speaking.
  9. Keep in regular contact with teachers about your youngster's progress. Kids with Auditory Processing Disorder aren't typically put in special education programs. Instead, educators can make it easier by (a) providing additional study aids (e.g., an assignment pad or a tape recorder), and (b) altering seating arrangements so the youngster can sit in the front of the room or with his back to the window.
  10. Maintain a peaceful, organized lifestyle as much as possible.
  11. Provide your youngster with a quiet study place.
  12. Since most children with Auditory Processing Disorder have difficulty hearing in noisy environments, it's important to reduce the background noise at home and at school.
  13. Speak at a slightly slower rate and at a mildly increased volume when talking to your child.
  14. Teach your youngster to notice noisy environments and move to quieter places when listening is necessary.
  15. Use simple, expressive sentences with your child.

The degree to which your youngster’s auditory deficits will improve with therapy can’t be determined in advance. While some kids with the disorder experience significant improvement – and even "grow out of" their disorder, others may exhibit some residual degree of deficit throughout the lifespan. Nonetheless, with appropriate intervention, all kids with Auditory Processing Disorder can learn to become active participants in their own learning, listening and communication success.

Effective Discipline for "Sensitive" Children on the Autism Spectrum

Sensitive kids on the autism spectrum pose some significant challenges when it comes to discipline. They tend to become emotionally overwhelmed easily, are likely to get upset if the parent raises an eyebrow at their behavior, and often worry about getting into trouble.

Coming to the conclusion that your youngster is sensitive can be tough – not tough to understand, but tough to swallow. But don’t despair! It is better that you know early on and take steps toward helping your youngster deal with his or her world going forward. 

Click here for the full article...

COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for March, 2015]

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


Mark: I tell you from time to time how much I appreciate these newsletters with Q & A's. Now is one of those times I must tell you from my heart, again, just how thankful I am I found you through an internet search and signed up and paid the low fee.  I have MORE than gotten my money's worth-just so grateful. 

We have an only child, and no basis for comparison to other children's behavior, or what should be expected when, other than seeing our friends who have children around the same age who are not on the spectrum.  Anytime I have a question about my son's behavior, I either receive an answer, some directional guidance, or a reinforcement/reassurance that a decision we've made and enforced is one on the right track.  

Just recently, our son's mainstream teacher, who is teaching this year for her first time out of college, is new to Indiana, new to the school, newly married, and no children, told us that she is going to give our son bad behavior marks for not listening. She said he constantly loses focus and it's "getting ridiculous".  Our son is a straight A student getting ready to go to middle school next year, and is not a bad behaved child, but does require prompting and rule enforcement and constant guidelines. His psychologist-more than one-have told us he does not have ADD, he just is a "typical Aspie" and no medication will help him focus; only behavioral changes will help.  

Your video link below was right on time. I sent it to the teacher, b/c I believe going forward in her career, it will be helpful for her to understand why Asperger children have a lack of focus, and what simple tips can be employed to aid the child---and ultimately the teacher! 

Thank you for sharing your time, studies, knowledge, tips, etc. Please keep marketing on the internet for those like I was: stumbling-looking desperately for answers or reassurance that an abnormal situation to many which is your normal is not a bad thing if the right methods are in place to help you and your child deal with life!!! 

  As Always, LTS


Thank you Mark.  I am working through your materials.  It has been so helpful so far.  I am so thankful I found you & the awesome resource.  I just wanted to write to let you know that what you are doing makes a difference, so thank you so much for the help!

Kind Regards, 

Hello Mr. Hutten, Thank you very much for all the help. We hope you already know the profile of our son from our previous emails. He has Aspergers/HFA with inattention and a lot of obsessions and emotional rigidity. We have also read your book ‘My Asperger child’ and other similar literature. We know that inconsistent performance and lack of motivation are  one of the main personality characteristics of these kids. Many times they do not have good compliance and it appears that they don’t ‘attempt’ all the tasks suggested to them. As you said in the book, it may be due to their having missed many underlying concepts what we normal people have acquired.

Now we are having conversation with the school that due to IEP and IDEA/FAPE, the school system should support our son until the age of 21. We are in NJ. But they are saying our son does not ‘attempt’ what all instructions they give to him. We think school is not able to distinguish issues caused by developmental disabilities vs other disabilities. According to them it is kind of our own responsibility to take care of his education after high school. We are asking school to not graduate him but give him certificate of completion, which is permitted by law.

So my questions is what evaluations tests we can get independently done to emphasize the point that what school thinks is his intentional behavior (to not follow all instructions) is actually a big part due to his underlying Autism/Asperger’s. Any other idea to demonstrate this prove the point to school is welcome.


I have a 3 year old daughter with Aspergers. First she was diagnosed as "strong willed" (by me) as a 7 month old. Then she was diagnosed with severe separation anxiety and Anxiety Disorder at 15 months (bitting finger and toe nails til bleeding) |Then at 2 she was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (light and sound issues...yelled DONT TOUCH ME to everyone, agressive, hyper and odd behavior). Then at 2 years 11 months the new physician said this was Aspergers! And I think she has dsytraxia too... she falls down for no reason.
I am a single mom. Her father is an alcoholic that I finally broke up with before I found out I was pregnant. He has court scheduled unsupervised visits. (nothing I can do- since he has no dui's) He has his parents money and keeps taking me to court. He also works for his parents building modular homes. Most of my energy has been spent protecting her from him. But she is a handful and INTENSE. I now look at his visit time as a serious parenting break.

She is brilliant and odd. She was mute until 15 months,, at which I enrolled her in Music Classes and now she is more verbal and articulate than an 8 year old. I believe she is a verbal autistic. VERY LITTERAL.
I think her father as this condition/// I read the book "Look me in the eye" and that was him! I dealt with it for 15 off and on years.
I feel overwhelmed and emotional. I was taking all her behavior...(hitting me and laughinhg) personally. Now i see she doesnt get pain. I tried to TEACH HER pain to no avail. She just doesnt register pain and express it. She gets her and is blank.
The most frustrating thing is how normal she looks and appears to others....they dont believe this diagnosis. My parents included. She is set for the behavioral testing in a few weeks to confirm her doctor's suspicion.
The intake advised that ABA therapy works. It sounds like training a dog... not a child. And I have a heart breaking response to edible treats for good behavior.
What is your take on ABA? She will not potty train. She poops in her diaper in a corner under a table. She will pee in a potty. Her rational is that she doesnt want to get the toilet dirty...and it hurts to poop on the potty and her feel get sweaty. The logic is so warped.


Hello Mark:
I was reading information on your website and was wondering if you work with parents of older teenagers and if your online coaching includes  issues with older teenagers.
 My son is 17 and had Aspergers . He is very high functioning and has a core group
of friends. Over the past few months he has become more defiant and withdrawn, and lacks interest in school or getting prepared for college, and is growing more immersed in online gaming. I've tried many approaches, but cannot get him motivated, and am looking for information
Thank you,


Dear Mr. Hutten,
Thank you for being such a valuable resource to so many of us.

My 20 yr old daughter is at risk of failing 3 classes this semester in college. 2 of the classes are required for her major, she has already failed these two classes last semester so is repeating them. They are music thoery and ear training. She is a vocal performance major in her 2nd year at college.

She also has dyscalculia and failed her first math exam. This is the "easiest" math offered by the college. We are asking her to drop the math class and either get a waiver or modification or take it some time in her senior year. We feel she needs to focus on the 2 classes for her major and save math for another day.

We do know that her dyscalculia and problems with working memory and her aspergers are getting in the way of her succeeding in music theory. There are no resources we have found that can help her. Extended time on tests is not the answer. And extra drills online help to some extent but tests and quizzes are disastrous.

Regardless, she is so opposed to the change of dropping Math. She is listening but continues to state she hasn't heard a good reason. We have tried framing this in a positive light. This evening we will make a pros and cons list and all of us add to the list together.

If that does not convince her, I feel I need to "force" her to drop the class. If she fails Math that will bring down her GPA and could affect her financial aid. we have downloaded your book about launching adults but need some additional guidance and insight.

How do I make her drop the Math class if all reasoning and loving guidance cannot convince her? Please advise.


Bought your book on teaching Aspergers. I have been in a class for the past 6 years and we have had a wonderful experience with great kids. This year, we got a mixed bag with lots of behavior issues from yelling out to violence, very high IQ to very low, obsessive compulsive, ADHD, English second language, to hearing voices.  So, when I read your book, I feel that we are doing all that you suggest, but our problem is that we have too many kids with issues and they feed on each other and there is no way to keep a calm, consistent, scheduled class. They 'bug' each other and then escalate into anxiety and more behavior. We are over our heads trying to keep it all going.

So your wonderful ideas, which work well with one Aspie get overflooded with too many with similar problems to deal with at once. They are then feeding off each other.

Any thoughts?


Dear Mark,
Thank-you for all you do. Your insights are great. I have an 8 year old ASB, ADHD, process disorder. I am a pastor and make just enough to cover rent and food. In California, where I am at, the Regional Centers which we were a part of for the last 2 years has cut off all help for you who are high functioning as have the schools. So he will not receive any help at school or elsewhere. My wife, who is extremely bitter is withdrawn, now we are stuck.
We do not know here to go for our precious son Ryan to get help, like a behaviorist, vision therapy and tutoring that is affordable or what he needs. Do you have any ideas?

BTW I am too Dyslexia, ADD and Asperger’s and now I have been diagnosed with MS…. So I am limited what I can do… Thank-you!


Help, my daughter has taken an overdose of 15 paracetamol and4 anadin she had been in hospital for 2 days having her liver flushed. Thank god she is going to be ok ... This time.
Why? Is it attention is it stress as she has said? She has got a lot on her plate and has been bullied recently, her man was ill in hospital and her dad letting her down and she is also currently very angry with me for moving her schools but she is enjoying the attention from friends etc. as a result of this.
I don't know what to do, I have just been here with her loving and supporting get and trying not to get wound up by her constantly wanting to text her friends but my family is angry and says I should be too and not giving her the attention and she should loose her phone and social sites etc.
She is going to be fine now but please help, do you know much about this?
Many thanks


Mr Hutton,
How do you locate a social skills facility that is reasonably priced in the south jersey area?  My insurance won't pick up the tab because the lack of CPT codes and I can't afford to spend thousands of dollars getting help.  The school does provide the service but recommend not to take it because it interferes with the academic portion on my sons day,so what good is that? I'm not sure where to go from here.


Dear Mark,

our now 12 year old son has been our 'problem child' sine he was a toddler. At that time, we were desperate for a diagnosis as we were sure he was on the autistic spectrum. However, none of the health professionals shard our concerns but said that there wasn't enough at that time to give him a diagnosis, and we should come back in 3 years time, maybe then they could diagnose him. Wow! As we didn't want to waste these precious early years, we took matters into our own hands and embarked on a program of ABA and SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) between ages 2.5 and 6. It worked really well and he caught up with all his milestones etc, apart from, well, the social skills, which never were great. But we thought that would come with time....

He used to be a really happy, sunny, very clever, highly talented boy with perfect pitch who'd play the piano like a genius... but he still kept having anger tantrums and meltdowns, and was bullied at school, but nothing we felt we couldn't handle as a family.

Well, now he's 12 and in Secondary School (we live in the UK, but are originally from Germany) and things are going from bad to worse. He is really low to the point where i think I would say that he's depressed, he still goes to piano lessons because he loves his teacher but hardly ever plays anymore at home, all he's interested in his his mobile phone and the computer. He is highly inappropriate sexually with his 14 year old sister and 9 year old brother and his swearing is atrocious. He's a sugar addict (so ironic after all these years of having none and us always having instilled healthy eating habits in the kids) and regularly steals money from family members (and other people??). He's a very picky eater, unless it's pizza or junk food, and his anger tantrums and aggression are out of control.

Since money is the only thing that gets him these days, I've started taking away pocket money for things like heavy swearing, inappropriately touching other family members, or hurting others intentionally. Of course, that gets him even madder, but it's the only handle I feel I've got... Unfortunately, since he totally hates me for doing it our relationship which was always really close and loving, is starting to break down...and I feel I'm starting to loose him...

His school has approached me a few days ago suggesting he might have high-functioning autism and would we get him tested for it?

As parents we are torn as by now we do realise that we need support (which as it looks like we'd only get if he got a diagnosis), but don't want him to be 'labelled for life', especially as so many people have a skewed and negative perception of autism... I'm waiting for blood results and hair mineral analysis to find out whether he's lacking anything and he's just recently started therapy with a woman who uses a body-mind approach (he likes her, so I think this will be good). I'm also in touch with somebody who does long-distance Kinesiology to help getting him to feel more balanced.

I've just subscribed to your newsletter and might be interested in your parent course, only that, as I said, we haven't got a diagnosis for him. Will this be a prerequisite for the course?

Also, if we did get him tested, what's your experience, best to share with the child or not?

If there's anything else you can think of to share with us with regard to this email, please feel free to do so.

All the best from an exasperated and sad mum


I am afraid our district is getting worse not better. They did set up a great program which started 6 years ago and has grown to many classrooms and grade levels. I have been involved since the beginning. Lovely kids, great progress. Last year the district special ed department had a huge turn over and new staff is running it. It is becoming a catch all for those kids that are not low enough for all day care, and not just behavior. So we get everything in-between - ADHD, autistic behavior problems, low IQ, and very affected autistic. With this large mix, we can not get the calm atmosphere that we have had in the past, so the anxiety of the Aspies is accelerating as we try to keep the others under control. there are 2 teachers for 13 kids. Kids that were doing well last year are slipping backwards and acting out. It is so hard to watch. Very stressful for the kids and myself.

Last year our problem was too much hugging! Big difference!!!

But thank you for your thoughts. And thank you for all the information in your book, it is a great reminder and confirmation that we are on the right track. I also have a 27 year old Aspie and have enjoyed other books and news that you have printed. My son is so envious of the kids/family that get this kind of information now days. When he was diagnosed there wasn't much info around. We tried everything we could find, and he is a very nice young man, so I can't complain. Now if I can just help these others youngsters (especially with dysfunctional homes).


Hi There,
How do you deal with an ASD child (my son is almost 8 years old) that constantly says mean things to people? We are doing positive and negative reinforcement, but our son still says terrible things and cannot see how his actions affect others. It's almost like he is antagonizing people and we are really frustrated. He comes off as being a mean kid or a bully.



I hope all is well. I was curious if it would be possible to recruit parents to complete a survey through your website, newsletter, or facebook page? The survey is for my dissertation and we are creating a measure that will help assess the etiology of peer rejection in children with developmental disabilities. Parents will be entered to win target giftcards for participating. The survey is all online and should take between 20-30 minutes. Let me know if this is possible and I can send you a blurb (including the link) to post. Thank you so much for your help and I look forward to talking with you soon.

Aaron Boyce, M.A.
Doctoral Candidate in School Psychology
University of Houston


Dear Mr Hutton

My daughter's 14 year old daughter has asperger's here in  the UK.  Our granddaughter is regularly going through meltdown and her mother is at her wits end.  She is also going through a divorce and her husband - not the asperger's father - is telling our granddaughter all sorts of lies which often leads to meltdown after her Sunday visit.  Life is becoming hell and support is difficult to find.

I have downloaded the book on Meltdown but I am wondering what would be the best way to help our daughter cope and use the book.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

I am sure you have heard all of this before.  This is a family in crisis.  Any pointers would be a life saver.


Good Evening Mark,

Thank you so much for your warm welcome to the news letter. I look forward to learning as much as I can.

As a parent of a 19yo spectrum son I am always interested in new information.

At this time I find myself at the end of my rope, once again. It seems this disorder is bent on destroying any relationship I have.

I have lost 2 husbands and 2 very significant others due to the extreme and unpredictable bx created by this disorder. My current relationship is starting to experience the all too familiar beginning of aspbergers exhaustion.  Its only a matter of time before this one crashes and burns.

My story is very very long and quite extraordinary. It is also heartbreaking and overwhelming. I make up that you probably have met many people in my position. at least I secretly hope you have...its very lonely here.  This disability has brought out the best and the worst in me. It has taken its toll over and over and over.

I am, frankly, god damn sick and tired of living like this. Everyone says they never met a child like mine or seen the disorder quite like this before. no one has answers and the only help that there is comes in pill form. there is no real help there...

If you are as good as I hope you are you can read between the lines...the depth of my situation is staggering to most people. I don't know what its like to have a typical life. I could write pages and pages but I will leave it at this. I need some help helping the people I love get along with each other.


Hi Mark…I am the parent of an Aspergers young teen in 8th grade, Michael.  Though he is somewhat socially improving, his grades are failing as his confidence is low and motivation nil.  He is also diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety.  We need help.  He is transitioning to high school and has D grades.  He has lost interest in school.  What do you recommend we read?  He does have meltdowns at home and insists on eating in his room….can’t get him to the table… his brothers are following suit.  Please help…..Linda



My boyfriend long term (we have been together for three years) has apergers. I then found out that maybe my dad and even myself probably have aspergers as well, though I am a lot moreneurotypical than my boyfriend would be. 

I had given up on the relationship and was looking into dating someone else when it didn't work out. So after 2 months of being away I am trying to pick up where I left off with my aspies boyfriend. 

I have called and visited him several times. He is a bit squeamish in having anything to do with me. Recently I have also taken up reading about Aspergers and have found a type of sad comfort knowing that even myself would have some traits of aspergers. 

I would be interested in info that could help our relationship. He is very stubborn and it takes a court order in order for me to get him to do anything. His habits are very set in stone and I do feel very lonely. 


Thank you Mark.

It feels weird that the only thing that she responds to is taking away her movies as a consequence for running off on me and other bad behavior. But I just read the article that explains it is really the only effective motivation.

I just dont know how she will be more cooperative. It feels like I have to think of a million interesting things to get her to cooperate. My mind is fried. She is exhausting to handle. I am burnt out most nights.

Do you know anything about Autism and allergy conditions? IS there a link? She was just diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Disorder. And they want to put her on h1 and h2 blockers (oral meds). It may take the edge and hyperactivity out of her. 


Hi Mark,

My name is Derek Schauer, I am an associate producer with the national Meredith Vieira Show, a national daytime talk show which premiered this past fall.

Next week, we are doing a segment about sexting, and more specifically, how to talk to your kids about it. We are hoping to find real parents dealing with this issues, who might be willing to discuss them on our show in a non-salacious and productive manner. 

I was hoping that you might be able to help connect me with some families in your network that are dealing with this problem. If you’re able to help connect us with candidates, there are a few ways we could incorporate your work into the show.

Let me know if you have further questions, and if this is a possibility. I appreciate your consideration.


Hi mark

I have a 6 year old hfa son who is very challenging at the moment. We were diagnosed a year ago and have had no outside family support. We are now struggling with his behaviour he has become very violent which is aimed at myself and my husband. He seems to be able to flip at the flick of a switch with no apparent warning. If we as a family want to do something and he doesn't want to then we can't do it as there is no persuading or reasoning with him. Any suggestions on what we could try.


Thank you Mark - 

M y husband has not been formally diagnosed but two counsellor friends who know the situation have strongly suggested he could be – especially with his rigidity of thought issues (he is also “passive aggressive” although that may just be aspergers in a different guise)

I came across your book whilst praying through how to deal with the current situation – which is that he moved out in November – still says he loves me and wants to reconcile – but keeps imposing a reward and punishment approach to resolving the situation which doesn’t work well with me and I respond badly  - which of course makes a decreasing cycle.

The current situation is that whilst he says he loves me and doesn’t want to – he will divorce me if I don’t agree to go to counselling to deal with what he sees as my major personal issues.  I of course see this as a blackmail threat – but I know he doesn’t mean it like that .  I am thinking it would be useful for me to go to counselling to learn a different technique to deal with how to approach him – but am scared that if I agree – he will just use the threat of divorce in future at any time he wants to force me to do something – because it worked this time.

A difficult decision for me.  And I know it won’t help at present to let him know that I think he might be on the spectrum – so will have to handle this sensitively.

We have had hours of joint counselling and hours of “informal” counselling with our counsellor friend – but no move forward as immediately after the sessions what he heard being said or what he thinks has been agreed – doesn’t seem to match what the rest of us in the meeting think.  Which makes progress very difficult.

Anyway – I am looking forward to reading your ebook.  Am away this week so it will have time to read learn and inwardly digest!

Many thanks

Hi Mark
My 8 year old son with adhd and aspergers has a lot of melt downs ... Any suggestions on his to handle this? He even says .. I'm going to have a temper tantrum!! Which book of yours do you recommed? We just finished going thru about a year of getting him to go to sleep with nobody laying with him ... Up until age 7 we stayed in his room until he was asleep.. But finally after a year of all the yelling, door slamming, holes in the wall and etc ... He now goes to sleep alone!! Yay for that... It never ends ..always some kind of struggle!

We are constantly working on eating and sensory issues ..sharing, misbehaviour when bored, always wants to play minecraft and video games!

Thanks for your help!  


Good morning - 

Someone sent me a link to your site where there was a lot of discussion about Asperger's not being an impediment to young folks playing sports. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading it. I am the author of The Legend of Mickey Tussler series, books that feature as their protagonist a 17 year old pitcher with Asperger's. The books have become very popular with folks in both baseball and Autism circles, especially after the first book was adapted for a feature film ("A Mile in His Shoes") starring Dean Cain in 2011. 

If you have time check out my website - I think you will find it interesting as would your readers who may have a young person not sure if participation in sports is a good idea. 

Thank you again for a great read! 


Dear Mr Hutten,

Thank you for your excellent, helpful website.

We are parents of a 20-year-old young man who has shown signs of Asperger's for most of his life, although he has not been officially diagnosed. We were advised to contact you because we understand you have names of therapists in our area who are experts in dealing with Asperger's.

Although Greg recognizes he has difficulties in social settings, he is unwilling to participate in social skills groups or therapy. He is attending the local community college and managing ok, but we as his parents would like guidance on the best ways for us to parent him as he becomes an adult.

Can you recommend a therapist skilled in understanding Asperger's kids who can help us?

Thank you,



I happened across your blog while doing some research for a friend whose son is suspected of having Aspergers.  You have so much great information on there, but I was wondering if you have any experience with using essential oils for your patients?  I have heard some amazing testimonies of people seeing drastic changes in their kids while using the EOs and wondered what your thoughts were on the matter?

Thank you,


I hope Monday is treating you well?
I was just on and was hoping you could help me. I’m helping to share my friend’s non-profit educational sites, and was wondering if they have the criteria to be added to your resources here?
They have been created by a group of experts, and have a lot of government support such as so we really hope you find it useful
These are the resources:
Any feedback is always very welcome. We are always looking to improve our information for readers by the feedback be receive from other professionals in the industry.
Either way, I liked your site, keep it up :)


Dear Mr. Hutton,
I have concerns for my son who just turned 25. He is a college graduate honors. He since has not attempted for a Job. He says I don't know what I want to do. He has been told he is a gifted writer and does communicate well . He does however has the piece of Aspergers. Through out college he did well but I knew when he graduated we would have difficulty having move to the next step.
He did have a medical operation which was corrected .breathing issue which need surgery. Now it's been a 1 1/2 year which he is better but seems to be in fear something will happen to change  it.
He is health conscious , but needs to get back to living . We moved recently which is near the college he attended and he had a good experience. I suggested to get a job there were he is comfortable.
I am writing because the more discussion leads to him be argumentative in avoidance.
Thank you,



Would you consider posting my research project on your facebook page? I would love for parents of children with Autism to fill out my questionnaires. And can I put my research on your message board on myasperchild?

This research explores the link between stress, coping, and child behaviours in families with a child who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Therefore, this piece of research is applicable for mothers and fathers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mothers and fathers will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires, and it is expected that it will take about half an hour. I would really appreciate their participation, as unfortunately this area of research has not received much attention, therefore we hope that the information collected will hopefully be able to be fed back to professionals to illustrate the needs of the parents and to help the needs of your children.

Here is a link to my questionnaire if you would like to take a look:

When it asks for ‘your ID’ please put ‘test!’, so I know you are having a look. However if you are the parent of a child with Autism spectrum disorder, then please take part in my study and fill in the correct identity (not test!).

Thank you!

Please email me if you have any queries :

Kind regards,

Ashley Wilkinson


My 20 year old doesn't realise he's got Aspergers.  He knows he's different from others and is feeling depressed as he has no friends at all, feeling all alone in this world. We have tried to get him together with his college friends but he keeps saying he can't talk with them.
He was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD when he was young. He has been pushing himself all these years and have been doing well coping with his disabilities so that he can go to college, hoping for a new life with new friends but was disappointed again. Now he has lost all determination to continue his studies in college.
It's really heartbreaking when he is trying so hard. And sad to say, I don't have much resources or specialist help where we can come from.
Hope you can advise me.

I am the Grandmother of a 15 year old girl (Natasha) diagnosed with Aspergers. The difficulty my daughter faces is that Natasha does not have any interests, does not watch TV, has no friends, does not use social media.  In fact it will be very difficult to use your method of  "taking away" because there is nothing to take away from her.  Can you suggest anything?  The main difficulties with Natasha are her sometimes severe paranoia and physically attacking her mother.  The last time she attacked her mother, my husband (Natasha's step-grandfather) and I had to go to my daughter's house (which is very close to where we live) and we had to physically (but as gently as possible) take her to our home.  Natasha saw this as a punishment and did not want to come, it took a long time to get her out of the house.  After a lot of screaming and hysterics we finally managed to get her in the car.  However, she did calm down very quickly when she got to our home.   We told her that every time she attacks her mother this is what the consequence will be.  Is this the right thing to do I wonder!!!

My daughter often says if she did not have to consider the tenant in the apartment above her she would find it much easier to cope with the behaviours.  She often has to "give in" because she fears that the tenant will complain to the Landlord about the noise and banging and her paranoia about him, when she shouts his name and says he is watching her.  The tenant in question has his own "odd personality". I would appreciate your views on this.


Dear Sir,  I am the grandmother of a HFA ,18 year old.   I've been studying my grandson for many years . He is great at sports, exceptional with math and electronics . has the difficulty with carrying out verbal requests if too long or detailed ,lasting friendships .organization of room, clothing etc.   His wonderful loving mother past away suddenly four years ago .  Since then he gets very little  
 positive praise and has a troubled 15 yr old brother. His father and new wife have little understanding of his difficulty and sloppiness , both work. He is driving so far responsibly/
    My immediate concern is the father doesn't know if the prep school they have been advised to send him to is the right placement.  Trinity Pawling School in NY  has a point number system  for grades and effort -  marking and privilege system that doesn't allow for weekend visits unless earned. I am afraid of depression with such change and distance from his familiar home and family where he is able to find solace most of the time.  He has grown very quiet since faced with this choice of prep school ,his senior class marks are dropping . He would like to go to Bergen Community GE where he is familiar , take few study courses. work part time and live at home.  Not sure if parents want him out of house .I am getting a double message about this.
    I was impressed with your video and hope you will be able to give our family  some direction .

Hello. I have read some of your articles and watched a few of your YouTube videos about adult children with Asperger's who still live at home, don't have a full-time job, etc. I was thinking of buying your book but I don't know if it would help in our situation.
Our adult son has 3 chronic health conditions in addition to being diagnosed with Asperger's. He has to remain on our medical insurance because of ongoing treatment for these conditions. We cannot and do not want to give him some ultimatum about getting a job and moving out because I'm not sure with his health issues he can hold down a full-time job. He does work part-time from home. He is very concerned about the situation as well.
Would your book give us any information that would be helpful in this situation? Thank you for your time.


I have an 11yr old son with Asperger’s who is being bullied at school. I have been in contact with the school for the past 2 years, and they have completely failed to protect him. 
·         Wednesday afternoon, a high school kid shoved him on the bus and hit his head against the bus window. 
·         Following that on the same 20 minute bus ride, another 5th grader pulled a knife on my son and mad a stabbing motion at his head. 
·         No adults saw or intervened.
·         My son pushed the knife away from him.
·         The next morning, other students who witnessed the event reported it to the principal.
·         The school had a disciplinary hearing and suspended the boy for 30 days.

And at no time during this, were myself or my ex-husband notified.  We found out about it through the grapevine. When we asked the principal why we were not notified, they responded, the assumed we knew.  What can we do to protect our son?


I have a 16 year-old daughter named Brooke who is passsive-agressive towards her step-mom(my wife) and I. She will speak only when spoken to and does the bare minimum to get by in our house. She is not disrespectful verbally, but will walk into a room and not speak unless spoken to. She will stay in her room except to eat meals or do her chores. She will come into the house after I pick her up from her moms and not speak to my wife or her boys. I will pick her up from her moms and she will not speak at all. She has stated that she did not ask for all of this when I remarried. Her mom and I have been apart for 8 years. I have her half the time. Her mom verbally bashes me as a father and verbally attacks my new wife infront of the kids when she has them. We have the kids do chores and have rules in our home that Brooke does not like because she did not have to do things like that when I was a single parent due to me having to work two jobs. I was not around as much to enforce them, so she did not have to do as much. Do we follow your advice on your article about kids giving the silent treatment? We are trying to get this right this time around. She will do her chores most f the time without being asked to do them, but often has to redo them due to  her poor effort on doing them the right way the first time. She was allowed to homeschool this year due to reoccuring problems with migraines. My wife and I are against this, but her mother signed off on this. We agreed that if her grades were not sufficient, that she would have to return to public school. Her mother allowed her to stay in homeschool instead. What do you advise?


            My name is Driton Pllana and I came across your blog on the Internet. I was very excited to contact you because we are launching a small ecommerce business and we wanted to know if you would be interested in helping us out. Our company name is Feight and our mission is to help bring funding and awareness to the worlds greatest causes. We are are a new type of business promoting socially, environmentally and globally conscious consumerism. We create awareness & funding for the world's best non-profit organizations by conducting limited edition apparel campaigns and contributing $8 from every sale to the current weeks cause. We create unique designs that represent the charity's cause and for every purchase made at during that week, we will donates $8 to the current weeks charity. Every two weeks we team up with a new charity to help spread awareness and create some funding for their cause. This donation is reflected transparently through the ticker found on our website that keeps track of exactly how much money we are contributing. For each item sold, the ticker amount will go up by $8 and everyone will be able to see his or her contribution. We notice your blog has a lot of content marketing towards autism awareness  and we really love your content. Our first campaign we are launching is with 4 paws for ability, which is an organization that enriches the lives of children with disabilities (one of their main focus is to help children with autism and their families)  by the training and placement of quality, task trained service dogs to provide increased independence for the children and assistance to their families. They also provide service dogs for a large range of disabilities. We would love to know how much you charge for advertisement and hopefully we could work something out. If you would be interested to know more about us or about our upcoming campaign we would love to set up a conference call through Skype or over the phone. We would love to learn more about you and your blog. Hopefully, there is a way we could help you as well throughout this journey! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day and reading this email. I hope you have a wonderful day.

I hope you have time to look over our website 4 paws for ability as well. We would really appreciate it if you can help us make this a successful campaign and spread awareness for our campaign.

Thank you,
Driton Pllana 


Hi Mark,

I have recently signed up for your online newsletter. It is interesting.  I work at a therapeutic boarding school in Montana. It is college prep and is for teen 14-18.

Our cofounder just published a book for parents of teens titled An Upward Spiral- A developmental approach to Parenting Your Teen.  You can learn more about the book at

I was wondering if you ever use books in your work with parents.   I would like to visit with you if you have the time about both the book and about Summit Prep. Is there a time on Tuesday that we could chat?  I will be at a conference  Wed- Friday, so if Tuesday does not work could we connect the following week?

Looking forward to chatting with you.



Hi Mr. Hutton,

I was just wondering how you manage the inquiries you get. Do you request some type of compensation for responding to the questions you receive? If so, please let me know how I might possibly compensate you.

As I previously mentioned to you a few weeks ago, my family is fostering a 4 year old child with RAD who will be returning to his adoptive mother who also was abusing him, in May (despite any efforts I may make in suggesting it would not be good). Anyway, the child was reminded of this the other day, and shortly afterwards, approached our children and asked them, for the first time (we have had him since September): "Do you love me?" I was unaware of this,  but he did ask me (today) the same question, yet told me two days ago, "I like my mom stead of you." (He didn't like something I had done to try to discipline him, as I recall ... anyway, I was wondering if you can help me better understand why he is asking this, due to so many of his other chatter/conversation is designed to manipulate/control.

In all honesty, I do like him sometimes, but the challenge of caring for him has been great, and our children are looking forward to having him out of our home. Though I feel much the same way, I also had hoped that I would really grow to enjoy him, but that hasn't happened very much. It's best when he is helping me with something, and I have told him many times that he is a good helper. He seems to enjoy helping very much and I always try to reinforce his many attempts to help. 

If you are able, and willing, I would appreciate any advice you can give. 
Thank you very much!


The information on your website (and the site you provided me today) has been read over and over, again. Our children have also read it, but the stress of having him is great, as you well know. I never wanted to add to the problem, but so much is out of my hands, given the national/state mandate to "reunify" families, no matter how dysfunctional. I wish he/I would never had to deal with the abuser/adoptive grandmother, but because she has  been going to all the classes and doing what was mandated by the court, our little foster child will go back to her. 

When our foster child asked me if I loved him, I told him "yes" and that I like him when he ... (listed many positive things), but that I didn't like it when he did many of the rotten things he does. I hope that was a good way to respond, but knowing how best to parent him has been turned upside down, as you know. 

I won't go on further, but just want to thank you very sincerely for all of the helpful information. 


My son is 32 and living with me (I am a widow).  He had H Flue Meningitis at 2 weeks old and almost died, and suffered some very strange seizures at the time, then again at 4 months was rushed to the hospital with larger seizures.  They put him on phenobarbital until he was 4 years old.  No one ever told me they knew it caused he got older a Dr we met in a clinic, who had been on his case in the hospital when he was an infant, asked me how he was doing because they KNEW the drug caused problems.  When a supervisor at the local school district learned of his history he advised us not to document it (for educational reasons) all possibly bad mistakes. 

 He has never been diagnosed.  He has several learning disabilities he is not driving, he can't seem to hold a job.  He has limited contact with friends.  He has had apprentice jobs with plumbers, electricians, carpenters, landscapers,apartment building maintenance supervisors...all friends of our family ...all love him....all say they can not work with him.  Yet he is a great help to me around the house, and I know it is a stretch for him but apparently these problems with other people are social.  

A few years ago he made an effort to "work on this", because people kept asking his what was wrong, and he was finally able to actually communicate with family, and has a few friends (which he does not reach out to but they are aware of his problems because of an older brother explaining things to them).

I have tried repeatedly to contact agencies to try to find him help and am met with dead ends or never returned calls or emails.   I do not know how to help him or get him aid or healthcare which tax time is coming up.  He has nothing to report, and so far no health care....and I am afraid we will be hit with a fee.  I am living on ss and I am increasingly finding it hard to support us both..

I do not even know what you could do to help, unless you can point me in the right direction to try and get him some kind of help.  (I am fully aware that the majority of children, let alone infants, who had this disease either do not survive or are severely brain damaged..simply put I call it intuition that made me get him to the Dr, who was just leaving for lunch and stayed to see him, who happened to be the correct Dr for his case at the right time...and the hospital team that saw him...and the fact that I did not leave his side, and insisted on nursing him when he was well enough and off iv..(he almost died the first night, they did not have the correct medication and need to have it air lifted from another area) oh another thing..he had been born in that hospital 2 weeks before and they had a number of cases of meningitis, mostly viral, but a few bacterial ones as well..from the nursery..I am not sure the outcome of any of the other children with bacterial at the time) 

Anyway that's his story and if you have any leads for me to try to follow to get him some help it would be very much appreciated...

Dear Mr. Mark,
Before I explain my son's case and our family status quo. 
Would I please ask first if you would read and reply.Brief information, I live and work in Egypt with my 14 year old son, my husband and his father lives and works in Lebanon and I don't have access to professional help.
We discover yesterday from an Instagram video that our son is playing with fire at dangerous levels.
I hid all matches.
But I need to find the right things to say or do to help my son.

I really appreciate if you can help us. 
Thank you and I will await your reply


I am inquiring to see if you still do parent coaching and to see the type of benefits the coaching would provide. I have seen a couple of your videos and so far like what I see. However, if I am going to make a payment to pay pal I want to make sure everything is legit and that it will prove helpful. My son has ADHD and only recently discovered that he has aspects of aspergers. After looking at a lot of information he has more aspergers aspects than what we thought. When he was younger I think it was missed because the adhd was so pronounced. We see two people now- one for medicines/aspergers aspect diagnosis and the other as his counselor. We are making progress on some things, but taking a few steps back as well. Teenage years are very hard. We are at a dangerous point and I need to gather any information I can to educate us ( the parents) and the child.


Hello Mr. Hutten, just views your Skype counseling video today, and I've been looking for someone to talk to about my ASD.
I am self diagnosed by reaseaching my condition out by viewing U Tube videos.
I'm 48 years old, and without any medical insurance, and I am currently trying to get an official diagnosis which would be of benefit to me.
What you're willing to do by providing support is a Godsend, and I look forward to possibly corasponding with you - Ps. my life has been crazy for me, but finding helpful videos on the Tube has been comforting and helpful.


Greetings Mr. Hutten,
My husband Dave  and I have 5 wonderful children—number four is 18-year old Ethan, and he has had more challenges than the other 4 combined. We just discovered some of your videos online and were astonished at the way your descriptions resembled our son
We are strongly considering  purchasing your e-book but would greatly appreciate your input, as we are at a critical juncture in Ethan’s life. 

As a quick background:  Ethan was born approx. 10 weeks early to a very ill mother in Korea and was given up at birth and hospitalized for months due to LBW (3 lbs), severe pneumonia, failure to thrive, and the need for initial surgeries related to a severe hypospadias condition. Hypospadias is a genetic birth defect of the urologic system and its severity in this case required four major surgeries at Johns Hopkins and years of related physical therapy for Ethan after we adopted him at age 1. By the age of 10, Ethan had been diagnosed with severe ADHD, with PTSD subsequent to numerous traumatic surgeries, with anxiety, depression, and PDD, and mood disorder. Since age 10 he has added/confirmed  diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder Type 1, Asperger’s (later shifted to simply ASD with the arrival of DSM-5), attachment disorder (RAD), ODD, OCD. With his violent mood swings and Hulk-like rages that could erupt over virtually anything and last for hours, the treatment focus was always on the mental health side, on anger management, DBT,  

Ethan has been hospitalized a dozen times at Sheppard-Pratt, primarily for severe symptoms of rage, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. He  is usually in the neuropsych ward for 1-2 weeks, and often finds it relaxing because of the structure and relative calm of the environment.  He remains on an ever-shifting host of meds, including depakote, concerta, valium, lexapro, saphris,  and trazodone. He has had a psychiatrist and psychologist since age 5—but the moods continue to deteriorate and for several years he has been a terror int the home—physically aggressive (to the home—he bashes/kicks doors and furniture and throws items, but does not threaten us except through verbal abuse, profanity, and almost daily incidents of  loud arguing, screaming, floor-rolling and  agonized crying bouts). He is the POSTER child for your ebook ad— arguing, ranting, shouting thoughts and despairing cries of his uselessness, why was he born, that he wants and deserves to die but can’t help treating us so badly, on and on for years now. Dave and I were astonished at the similarities we read in your description—he is all that you say and we have tried endless therapists and psychiatrists to improve our home environment for all 7 of us—but it continues to get worse. Ethan has an IEP-ED and is a high school senior and a smart one—he has over a 4.o GPA at a county school for kids with special needs—taking regular and honors classes. But he has extreme impulse control issues and multiple obsessions  (video games  porn, food and  football are his world) and lacks motivation for the school job programs they try to provide. He has had no friends for years but frequently cries over this fact, and he truly believes that everyone is against him and that no one understands his challenges. He ends up in the position of being bullied because he is a short Korean boy with glasses who looks about 14 and behaves immaturely and inappropriately and socially- awkwardly, and he keeps falling into anxious/paranoid/depressed or agitated funks and either asking for hospitalization or even calling the police on himself.  We have even had several psychiatric professionals tell us that Ethan is beyond their ability to help. 

Ethan turned 18 several months ago and agreed to look outside the home and make a move towards independence;  with our help and the support of his psychiatrist and therapist, he applied for a local, county-offered Transition Age Youth (TAY) program for young adults, 18-25, with severe mental health issues. With his challenging record of hospitalizations and  diagnoses, he was accepted by the program; he moves out in 2 weeks. Our whole family  hopes to somehow become closer to Ethan through this separation, but we feel so many potential problems still lie in wait. The TAY program has put Ethan on a probation of 6 months, since they too have concerns about his hospitalization record and poor social interaction history. This is a residential program—not a therapeutic one—so he will have a place to live and a house manager—but only basic life skills (money management, hygiene, shopping, etc) for therapy. We want to help him succeed, but our years of efforts have seemed fruitless; as smart as Ethan is at school, he does not learn from his mistakes and sinks deeper each time into despair, feeling he has failed everyone. 

Thanks so much for your patient attention—much appreciated!!!!  
Thus our questions for you are straightforward but complex:   
With Ethan at 18, moving out, and with mental health issues as well as the (apparently under-rated) autism factor, can any of this really help, ebook or not? 
Ethan cannot drive, so any transportation needs will have to be worked out, but should we also try to locate a behavior therapist such as an ABA specialist? Friends and specialists say to step back because Ethan has put us “through the wringer “ for years—that he should learn to make his own way…but his good grades can’t make up for his anxiety or paranoia or settle him from rages. Can we help him with your program as he enters TAY residence and leaves our home?
Is he too old for your ebook program to help him at all? I’m sure there is no age limit, but at 18, many habits and expectations are deeply ingrained, and since we will not be living with Ethan, how can changes happen?

Thanks for any advice or suggestions you can offer…it has been a very very long haul, and despite Ethan’s needed relocation, we know that we all have  far to go.    


Hi Mark,

I have a 9 year old step son who is about to come and live with us this summer.  We live in Antigua and he was living in Grenada (in the Caribbean) with his mom.  He usually spends holidays with us and just yesterday with my prompting was finally assessed and diagnosed with asperger's syndrome.  Its a bit overwhelming not only to have the new responsibility of raising him (of course in partnership with his dad) but also because sometimes I am not sure how to relate to him.  He is very different from most of the children I know including my own. I want to make sure that I understand him and accept him for who he is and help him as much as I can.  Right now I feel as if there is a disconnect.   He is a happy kid but a lot of the time in his own little world, spends most of his waking hours in front of the tv or ipad.  There is the social aspect as well, he comes across as being rude sometimes which I don't tolerate with my daughter but now I am wondering if it is the AS and I am being unfair to him.  He is with us right now for the easter holidays and will move here in July and I feel totally out of my depth.


According to these comments, my adult daughter has all the characteristics of High Functioning Autism.
Not wanting to “label” her, but adults can more readily accommodate the word HFA than Non Verbal Learning Disabilities.
My adult child and many adults just “don’t get it”
Besides, Autism and HFA is now more in the media than when this situation should have been addressed in childhood.


Hello Mark,

I was just reading your article about your ebook and have forwarded this link to my sister-in-law.

The person in her life who is the Asperger's subject is not her children although as we discuss situations I am going to advise her to get this ebook and I will too and still use some of the strategies while raising her children, since they are the children of my brother who is very close to the exact definition of the adult who as a child might not have been "conditioned or trained" to be and act more socially aware as an Asperger's child.

I don't believe my mother realized that he had Asperger's. His IQ is easily over 165 and he pretty much breezed through everything academic and even sport wise ( it made him frustrated though that he was too small to play football in high school), he was highly musically talented and possessed not only perfect pitch but also a photographic memory. 

The world seemed to revolve around Frank, the III (third) and even when my mother reflects back her own perspective is that my father paid more attention to Frank, first born son, his name sake.
She also reflects that is hard for anyone not to, though, because he always had a presence in a room which commanded all attention on him first before anyone else.

So, my second brother Chris, and I grew up in the shadow of Frank's "greatness". I think it affected Chris more than me mostly because I was and remain the only daughter, parent's princess. My younger brother born 5 years later, the baby. (I think he also fits this description by the way and even did show more signs of it as a youngster, however, we all just thought his behaviors were based on his being the "baby" and being immature...until now.)

I'm looking now at an almost 55 year old man and 47 year old man, both with extreme anger issues.

Matt doesn't bother me as much, he is single, no children, and I don't really bother too much with how he acts, it doesn't affect me one way or the other because I don't see him much, hard to say for a Sicilian girl who adores family. 

Has two daughters who witness his behaviors daily.
He treats my sister inlaw, who by the way is awfully intelligent in her own right but an empath, like she basically is unwelcome in the home she provides, he swears at her, shows out extreme anger, swears, he's that way to anyone who annoys him. He doesn't physically abuse her but mentally and oh what a mouth.
He pretends he's the "house husband" unable to "work" because he HAS to raise the children and SOMEBODY has to run the household.
The only rooms in the household that are kept "clean" are his kitchen and laundry room. The rest of the house is a pig sty of piles and stacks of all kinds of things mixed up all over the place. 
She works 10 to 12 and sometimes more hours a day as a freelance writer (copywriting) in order to support the household and still they don't have much money because they live in San Carlos CA where as we all know the cost of living is exorbitant, and he refuses to work and bring in anything financially to the household..
He blames her that the house is a mess.
It takes him, literally, FOREVER to do any tasks. He cooks so slowly and can't seem to even bring out all the food at one time. (Um, he's a trained chef?) prep to finish for any meal (simple fare, chicken and rice, fish and rice and veggie) takes him 2-3 hours. He serves the girls one item at a time and never sits at the table with them to eat unless they are at a restaurant. 
She works, she pays the bills, she "handles" anything he doesn't feel like "handling", like if a car needs to be fixed she has to take it to the mechanic...
He puts her down constantly and undermines her authority with the children, 
He calls them "his" children and her "that crazy lady who is staying in his house".
I watched him talk to her a few times and his tone goes flat and he just spews out his words like she's some kind of recording device. 
One of these times he was telling her to contact some friends and confirm the invitation they had made on a certain day of the month. She had to ask him to repeat himself because she didn't even know he was talking to her because he almost never does and he didn't even say her name to get her attention.
Then she replied sure she would and asked if he had their phone number, they are old friends of his from college and she knows them but they are not her friends.
He just said the number, monotone, fast, and when she asked him to repeat it he did the same thing but more annoyed and faster.
I called him out on it, he went into the kitchen and muttered some swear words and remarked "what business is it of my little sister and who is she anyway to tell her older brother how to act".

Their oldest is 9 years old now and my sister inlaw is about at the end of her rope with how he behaves. 
The girls will admonish her if she ever says anything unkind to Frank, so she just says nothing at all. 
It's not good for the girls! Nicole knows it but is afraid to leave him and take the girls. He is a very angry man. 

There is so much more, I'm certain you know already this is all just the tip of the iceberg.

I even recently started researching having him committed. If for anything, for self endangerment and child endangerment when he drives them (which she tries to avoid at all cost, luckily, she can work completely around the girls schedule because all she needs is a place to sit and used her laptop)...
Unfortunately, when Papa tells the girls to get in the car and go with him they simply obey.
He drives angry, honking the horn constantly, angry at all the "bad" drivers who are, of course, in his way, and he pretty much keeps his middle finger up perpetually! He yells out the window at other drivers all the time and believe me he's got a voice! He's a trained singer!!!

I'm surprised no one has already pummeled him for his behavior.

Intelligent I say? Anyone would see that and think he's out of his mind!
I've begun the research, as I said.

So, this letter is a Hail Mary!
At his age he should know better, but he doesn't seem to.
I plan to continue my commitment research and call the police and begin conversations with an officer. I'm certain something like this has to be handled very delicately, and his intelligence will easily disguise and/or trick a medical provider, and he will be release, and then angrier.
I want him well. I don't think there is any hope at this point.
I want Nicole to live as normally as she possibly can.
I want the girls to live in a peaceful household.
Nicole would have a ton less to do financially if Frank were not such a financial burden in the household.

Is there anything at all we can do? Anything?
What are your thoughts?



hi mark,
we are the parents of a highly functioning aspergers daughter, 28 years old. she has graduated college, lives on her own, and currently works as a teacher's aide with autism children. (a very stressful job for her)

one of the things i, as her mother,need help with is how to handle her moods when we have family gatherings. she has twin older brothers (both married) and a younger (19 months younger) sister who is also married. she has four nephews and one niece, who all adore her and she them.

doesn't sound like much of a problem thus far, does it?

after having a girls' weekend this past week, i immediately came home, searching for any help i could get. the weekend was intended to be a time of relaxation, a (first) time for the girls to get away and spend some quality time together.

i thought i had prepared julie ahead of time for what we would be doing, but i never dreamt that small things would set her off.

may i share here a letter i wrote her that might explain some of what happened?

Dear Julie,
I hope you had some relaxation in this last weekend.
I have been thinking about the time, and I realize there were many things I did or did not do that probably lent to some of the anxiety or frustration you probably felt.
I realize when we checked into the hotel you felt you were being excluded because the hotel staff said there were 2 rooms, 2 in each room. I know your sense of right and wrong, black and white was wanting to scream out, we have 5 people. I am sorry that I did not correct them. That was wrong of me.
I am sorry I made you do the facial. I should have listened to you and realized you did not want, nor did you even know what a facial was. I know you have had massages before and were somewhat comfortable with that (even though you say you have a hard time relaxing, you said you probably needed one). I should not have made the facial apt for you.would that have made it better for you? Would the weekend have been good and fun for you?
I am also sorry I did not print out a schedule of the days happenings. I realize (now) that I should have done that. I should not have assumed you knew you could go back to the room during the day. Do you think it would help, in the future, to have a plan written out so that you would know what to expect?
I thought I had prepared you for the dinner. But I sensed you did not want to be there. Was it because I had already made you mad? I am sorry I ordered extra food for you. That was wrong of me.
An observation I had: Sometimes your body language makes it appear you are bored or put out. You may not intend it to be that way. Perhaps we could do some role playing so we can try out different ways of communicating with our body.
From what we talked about in the car on the way home, I appreciate you being open and being able to say out loud what you need and want. From the conversation, I gathered you need/want to know someone cares about you. I hope you know, without a doubt, that I, along with dad and the rest of your siblings and their families care deeply for you and want only GODs best for you.
I am wanting to learn ways to help you, but I also need you to be willing to reach out and learn coping skills so you can handle situations better-or at least know what to do to express yourselfperhaps that can be done through role playing with a counselor that specializes in Aspergers (not Vickie). i think we can both find coping skillsways I can better handle situations and help you to know what to expect in family gatherings, etc...and for you to handle situations, etc.
I know we have talked about aspergers before, but I have done some reading in the last few days. There is even an on-line resource that you (or I or dad) can ask questions or talk about situations and what possible things could be done. I will let you know when I sign up and pay.

(me again here) here, i am...needing help in figuring out ways to help her. and for her to get the help she needs. where do i start?


Hi Karen,

I think you already hit the nail on the head (i.e., in the future, provide details of the event to improve predictability).

“Aspies” have underdeveloped areas in the brain that cause problems in the following areas:
  • communication
  • focusing on “the real world” as opposed to becoming absorbed in their own thoughts and obsessions
  • learning appropriate social skills and responses
  • understanding the thoughts and feelings of others

As a result, they need routine and predictability, which gives them a sense of safety. Change can cause stress, and too much change can lead to meltdowns (or shutdowns).  Routines and predictability help them remain calm.

Anger in these “special needs” adults often occurs due to over-stimulation of the senses or a change in routine. It is often the only response they know. Anger-management presents problems. They see things in black and white, which results in adult-tantrums when they don’t get their own way, or when they feel threatened or overwhelmed. Some of them bottle-up anger and turn it inward, never revealing where the trouble is. Many Aspies are perfectionists, reacting with anger when things don’t go as they wish.

One of the most difficult thinking patterns of Aspergers is mind-blindness. Mind-blindness is the lack of ability to understand the emotions, feelings, motivations, and logic of others – and not care that they don’t understand! Consequently, they behave without regard to the welfare of others. The only way they will ever change their thinking or behavior is if it is in their own interest to do so. Even then, convincing the Aspie to change her mind is an uphill battle.

In any event, definitely provide details in writing re: what will happen during family gatherings, and try to stick to that plan as much as possible, factoring-in occasional side-tracks.

Mark Hutten, M.A.


Hi Mark,

I strongly suspect that my mom has a light dusting of high functioning Aspergers. She is a lovely person but I have really struggled to find an answer to what 'the problem' is, and I think this may be it.
I grew up fairly isolated on the tundra in Alaska. I basically raised my brothers, and I suspect one, maybe two of them (of 3) has high functioning Aspergers. I am the oldest.

If you think you can help me or know someone who can please let me know. I will qualify for low income grants or whatever there is in terms of help. I live in Sonoma County, California.


Dear Mark,  Thank you for your ebooks and lectures, they were very helpful   .I realize how busy you must be,  I have asked my son to read them also. He has asked for us ( grandparents ) to help out of frustration.

      He has not been an easy parent,  has a quick temper and a soft nature at different times.

The boys have had very hard punishments, 15yr old was sent off all summer to a trailer,alone all nights, in the mountains 2 1/2 hours away,to work off  500$ wasted  at a wrestling   weekend for smoking pot.  During the week days he worked for a carpenter.  His phone limited to parents, NO other connection except Saturday parent visits with much distress.  Now 15yr old has serious anger., started therapy

    Boys are close to each other , 18yr old fearful off losing fathers support ,is quiet and feels he has to go to fathers choice of prep school, he didn't like,  I worry that Trinity Pawling in NY is not an understanding guidance for H FA. Their stated program awards effort, which I believe is great if  teachers understand his limits, so as not to remove privileges to visit home.   He definitely has difficulty with long verbal instruction. organization. He would like to  go to a Community College and take a few courses . He is not lazy, has worked various part time jobs ,pays for many of his needs and electronics, does chores when asked , cooks for himself,. misses his Mom.


Hi Mr. Hutton,
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you can be of some help.
About a year ago, our daughter who was at the time fifteen years old, took several pills in an "attempt" to commit suicide. We admitted her to an outpatient program that she attended for two weeks. At the end the two weeks the head physician/psychiatrist over her program told me that our daughter Elana might be autistic. However another attending therapist said she really didn't think so.
After about a month we found her a wonderful therapist who was getting ready to administer tests to Elana in an attempt to find out what her diagnosis might be. The therapist thought autism was a definite possibility. However prior to starting the testing we decided to move and we had to start looking for a new therapist. After we finally got settled we found another therapist. The new therapist thought maybe borderline personality disorder. We didn't talk much about the autism possibilities and my husband and I thought we would pursue testing after Christmas.
Things escalated and we finally decided to consider a therapeutic boarding. We found what sounded like the perfect one, Discovery Academy in Provo Utah.  We decided to enroll her there. Shortly after arriving, her new therapist informed us that he thought she was autistic. He worked for 14 years in a therapeutic school for autistic children, so I think he might be a good person to trust on this.
His diagnosis of Elana seems to finally explain all her quirks and the insanity that she has brought to our home. It also has confirmed what her two older brothers have been telling us for the last year or two: that they have ADD and/or autism and/or OCD. We have four children; what are the chances that we would have three that are in the spectrum? The older two boys are probably only ones or twos on a scale of 1 to 10, but it has definitely affected their lives.
When we sent Elana to Discovery Academy, she was always depressed. She has incredible insomnia and lots of stomach aches. She constantly threatened suicide. We had taken her out of school (again) and she was homeschooling, because nobody at the new school was befriending her. Being noticed, accepted and included are all she has ever wanted. It is like an obsession with her. But she never recognizes when others are willing to include her. She dislikes people because they are different from her; i.e. they like sports and she likes theater. She has not had a real friend in three and a half years, since our first move.
Elana symptoms do not include twitches, repetitive actions or speaking, slow motor skill development, speech problems, not looking  people in the eye, organizing things, obsessions with things, characters, games, etc., not understanding personal space, speaking out of turn (much) and several other things that might have clued us in to her issue. Everyone who knew her just thought she was rude, no one ever asked me if she was autistic, not even close friends. She is very high functioning. (Her brothers also did not have most of the obvious manifestations. Each of our children are quite different in how their autism exhibits itself.)
What Elana does do are all the things you described in you Highlights from the Mark Hutten Show, as the stages of trying to feel included. She had gotten to the second to the last stage, but after calling the police on her one time and taking her to have her admitted to a hospital another time, she cooled that down quite a bit. Also she was put on Paroxatine which brought her anger level down several notches. 
Her symptoms also include:  biting and pulling hair when she was about 2 and 3 - not caring if she got bit back or her hair pulled, not registering some social clues, not liking to ride in the car when she was younger because her ears "got plugged up", the singing in church was too loud, she has never liked to touch towels, her socks, shoes and coat bothered her to the extreme when she was about 6 to 9, always wanting to control what her friends would play when they came over, wanting us to role play/act out things ad nauseum, never wanting us to do things for anyone other than her, various phobias that would come and go, constant aches and pains, extreme messiness,  and the list goes on.
So my question for you is: Is a boarding school, where everything the kids do is highly regimented, right for our daughter? 
She is there with a lot of spoiled rich girls, (we are not wealthy) who have done drugs, alcohol, sex, self harm, run away, been violent and spent money however they wanted.  They do shut downs when someone gets in trouble and so Elana is paying for their crimes. There is little self expression or opportunities for creativity due to the regimen.   Very few of the girls talk to her. There is a lot of complaining and gossip and talk of drugs and sex that Elana cannot stand.  Elana is 16, but probably 12 emotionally. She is very creative and is a B+ student at school. She displays mild attention deficit, but gets concepts. She was very controlling and manipulative at home, calling  me stupid and blaming me when she couldn't find something, and always mis-remembering how our arguments went. But she wasn't doing the things these other girls have done. Her therapist says they have several other girls and boys (they have boys there too, but they don't get to mix much) who are in the spectrum and that Elana has made friends with one of them. But according to my daughter this friend talks about sex a lot. 
I don't really want to take her out, for four reasons: She doesn't need to change schooling again, I don't want to "rescue" her again, we have commited to six months of payments,  and also I want what she is learning (respect, self comforting, patience, how to deal with all kinds of people, the blessing of her own home, family, room, favorite foods, freedom, etc.), to really stick and I know that takes time.
I have not been able to find any threads online where parents are talking about this, nor articles that include information about the usefulness of private boarding schools with someone as high functioning as Elana. 
I will be meeting with her therapist (here in Ohio) next Monday, and then we go out to Utah to visit for a parent's seminar on the 15th of April. We are hoping to make a decision by the time we go. Any input you might have would be helpful. 


Your Question.  Why is important to me that our children support our grandson .Shaun ?
It is for many reasons,  first of all, we don't see the support, . only criticism in his home. We want him to have a fair chance  at a full life.  We have all been suffering the loss of his Mom . It has been four and  a half years and the Dad , my son, has recently remarried.  Shaun is a good kid ,willing ,but called lazy. Willing ,but forgetful.
    My grandson's problems, I'm sad to say, were not understood and he received very little encouragement through his teen years .Earlier his mom worked hard to teach him good manners and to express himself.   His confidence is low although he excels in sports, math .built his own computer ,loves forensics classes.    He is also hearing- repeatedly-- You are eighteen"   He is not sure he won't be ask to leave home ,as he has been told once before and left over night.  Also ,his younger brother was sent away, alone, to work for a full summer.  
   My husband and I expressed our disapproval to no avail . We were cut off for a short time.       Since then we have been called upon, out of their frustration with the fifteen year olds dealings. He is no longer truthful, .doesn't understand why he doesn't care. , He has convinced Shaun that his parents don't love them.   I can see he doesn't recognize his own anger in wanting me to dislike his parents.  Pray therapy will help.
  The boys talk to me and have always been close, as was their Mom.  My husband and I have worked with Shaun with his reading  and I took him to classes ,held at Bergen Community College one summer when he was fourteen. English is still his most difficult subject.    We recently had a family discussion,
and we are ironing out some miss communications, but stress is still apparent from new mother who wants to send the boys and their problems out of the house.   My son is becoming ill ,seeing a doctor.                                                            He sess  he has assured Shaun that he will support him, whatever he decides to do.   Bride is not content. Refused Easter  family dinner at our home  . We love her, but don't understand her hard approach.
   Hopefully Shaun will believe his Dad's support and feel some confidence  in his own decisions .Our communications are difficult, since  cell connection has been taken away until April 20th.  House phone used for business. Sorry my son and wife are not following your advice on punishment or encouragement.  
       Thank you again ,for your time and consideration, deeply appreciated.       We will not give up hope and welcome any suggestions.


Dear Mr. Hutten,
After many hours of previewing and reviewing programs, schools, and documentaries, I have concluded that you and my son need to have some type of communication pertaining to his 11 year old son, Rayce.

The story is for a textbook, I can't begin to tell you everything this child has been through during his life but I can tell you he has been diagnosed just this year with Aspergers.  We always knew he had some form of autism, he has been medicated since he was two, and he is having more and more melt downs.  His parents are divorced.  He and his siblings along with his dad lived with my husband and I for 4 years.  Within the past year my son moved out and is attempting to raise the two boys on his own of course with my help as he needs it.  

Rayce is having more and more melt downs.  His dad is having more and more stress because the mom constantly tells him he is doing everything wrong.  i am the Referee along with the female parenting role.  I need help understanding this condition and my Grandson.  He was born with many problems, partial cleft palate, heart problem, ADHD and Aspergers.  He is a beautiful child who wants to belong but doesn't know how.  He is now threatening to kill his brother who is the instigator most of the time.  He tore his classroom apart yesterday, the school security guard had to hold him til his dad got there.  I am desperately needing guidance and help,  My son wants to handle it himself but he simply is not equiped to handle this.  Please let me know how you can help us.  Yes, I am looking for a miracle!

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