The Easily Discouraged Asperger’s Student: Tips for Parents and Teachers

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the education of the easily discouraged youngster. Some teachers believe the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is in the “mainstream” classroom, while others believe the LRE should be in an environment that gives the correct amount of structure for that individual person. 

No matter where the child is placed, the right techniques can help in the right kind of environment. Research has shown that AS and HFA students do best in an environment that is predictable, stable, and structured. These kids need help in frustration-management and self-control through coaching, modeling, and teaching.

Click here for the full article...


Multisystemic Therapy for "At-Risk" Youth on the Autism Spectrum

"What therapy (or therapies) are recommended for struggling teenagers on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum?"

Not all teenagers enjoy the "happy-go-lucky" days of adolescence. Unfortunately, there are those who suffer from development disorders such as Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). When things start to go wrong (e.g., behavioral problems, meltdowns, poor academic performance, etc.), parents often despair of not being able to effectively help their child.

Arguments are waged as to the management of “special needs” teens who act-out aggressively at home or school, commit crimes, or even attempt suicide. Sadly, our society has impoverished resources to address such issues, and while some hospitals are available, all too often the answer is jail. However, research has demonstrated that “troubled” young people on the autism spectrum do not need to be hospitalized or incarcerated to get the help they need. A home-based model of therapy called Multisystemic Therapy (MST) offers treatment services to these teenagers, as well as their parents and siblings.

AS and HFA teens with serious emotional and/or behavioral problems (e.g., substance abuse, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, delinquency, severe anxiety, antisocial behaviors, etc.) have been successfully treated through Multisystemic Therapy. This therapy shows a more hopeful and positive approach and focuses on how to help moms and dads assist their “special needs” teens and how to teach these teens to cope effectively with their schools and communities. In addition, this therapy has been found to be an effective alternative to hospitalization and incarceration.

There is heated debate in our society about the proper roles of psychotherapies and medications for teens “at risk,” as well as teens already suffering. But, what we know for sure is that AS and HFA teens who go untreated: (a) often suffer in silence, (b) can’t learn, (c) tend to act-out their emotions rather than articulate them, (d) have great difficulty forming healthy relationships with friends and family, and (e) tend to isolate themselves from constructive social contacts. Some of these “special needs” teens are placed on a trajectory for jail rather than college at a very early age.

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism
Multisystemic Therapy is a mental health service that focuses on changing how these young people function in their natural settings (i.e., at home, school, in the neighborhood, etc.). It is designed to promote positive social behavior while decreasing problematic behavior (e.g., substance abuse, delinquency, violence, etc.). Therapy involves the following:
  • The family sets treatment goals, and the therapist suggests strategies to accomplish them. Specific treatments are used within therapy.
  • The interventions are individualized to the family's strengths and weaknesses and address the needs of the AS or HFA youngster, family, peers, school, and neighborhood.
  • Treatment teams usually consist of crisis caseworkers, professional counselors, and psychiatrists or psychologists who provide clinical supervision. 
  • Therapists focus on strengthening the ability of moms and dads to raise “special needs” teens who have complex problems.
  • Therapists working in the home have small caseloads and are available 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
  • Therapists identify strengths in the families and use these strengths to develop natural support systems and to improve parenting skills.
  • Therapy is a collaboration between the family and the therapist.

Multisystemic Therapy gets its name because it involves treatment that addresses each of the “systems” that factor into an adolescent’s health and well-being (e.g., his or her social circle, school environment and interactions with teachers, neighborhood environment, family, and home environment).

During therapy, therapists typically meet with the entire family in the home where they focus on such things as assessing and improving parenting skills, as well as the quality of the relationships the adolescent has outside the home (e.g., relationships with peers and the larger community). As a rule, therapists (a) are available to their clients at all times, (b) only work with a small number of families at any given time, and (c) place special emphasis on positive critiques during the therapeutic process. A typical course of therapy lasts for about four months. During this time, therapists typically meet with their families several times a week.

In clinical trials, Multisystemic Therapy has proven effective in reducing long-term rates of criminal offending in serious juvenile offenders – and in reducing their rates of out-of-home placements. Positive long-term effects of Multisystemic Therapy – even 4 years post-treatment – were found. Also, it was found that this therapy reduced long-term rates of re-arrest by 25% to 70% compared with control groups.

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Multisystemic Therapy:
  • increases family cohesion and school attendance compared with hospitalization
  • is an effective alternative to psychiatric hospitalization with “special needs” teens in a psychiatric emergency
  • is successful in preventing a significant proportion of teens from being hospitalized
  • reduces symptoms of internalizing distress and depression
  • significantly decreases behavior problems

In addition, families who received Multisystemic Therapy were significantly more satisfied with their treatment than were families whose teenager was hospitalized.

There is an urgent need for clinically-effective, cost-effective methods to manage antisocial and criminal behavior in “special needs” teens. Oppositional Defiant Disorder, as well as Conduct Disorder, is increasingly prevalent in today’s society and is associated with a range of negative outcomes.

Quantitative reviews carried out for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence have identified Multisystemic Therapy as one of the most promising interventions for (a) reducing antisocial or offending behavior and (b) improving individual and family functioning. If you have an AS or HFA teen who is acting-out in self-destructive ways, consult your family doctor for a referral to a mental health professional.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

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

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

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Pragmatic Language Impairment in Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism

Pragmatic speech is language used to communicate and socialize (e.g., knowing what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and generally how to “act” around others during conversation). Many children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism have difficulty using language in various social situations – even though they may have large vocabularies and are able to speak in full sentences that are clearly articulated. These “special needs” kids may say words clearly and use long, complex sentences with correct grammar, but still have a communication problem if they haven’t mastered the rules for social language known as pragmatics.

Click here for the full article...

COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for April, 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.


Mr. Hutten,

I recently purchased your booklet: "My Aspergers Teen".  Thank you so much for writing this. After reading the strategies in your booklet, I have a renewed hope that we can adjust our parenting style to focus on raising a mature adult male without the unnecessary frustration or guilt.


Hi Mark,

Oh my goodness. I can't stop reading your book. I keep saying oh my god!!! and yes!!!
While it is upsetting to realise I am married to a person with aspergers, it is also a relief to know I am not losing my mind!!
Thank you for this book.

Kind Regards,


Hi Mark,

I have done a lot of research over the past year on aspergers syndrome. This condintion was brought to my attention by a neighbor whose daughter is diagnosed with the disorder. I strongly believe that my husband suffers from this, and have found ways to bring it carefully to his attention. He WAS also convinced that he has this, and was deeply affected emotionally from it. He thought that something was very “wrong” not just “different” and the whole autistic title was too much for him to swallow. He now asked me, quite mockingly, if I still believed he has Aspergers disorder because he no longer thinks he does. I simply looked and nodded.
Our marriage and relationship has always suffered but we have maintained for 13 years. It was such a relief to find all of your information and help me to see that I wasn’t crazy. I have cried so many tears over the years over the lack of empthay and understanding. The mind blindness is blinding!!! I have always told friends that I would be better of talking to the wall.

The biggest issue now is that we have a five year old special needs daughter with ADHD and GAD, also a lot of vestibular motor issues. My husbands parenting has always been a little “rough” around the edges, but I am now starting to see the effects emotionally on my daughter. His idiosyncrasies that I can handle make no sense to her. I really could use some advice and encouragement.


Hi Mark
           Thanks for email me,Mark I have got fifteen years old son his name is Ranvir,he has got asperger autism,he gives us lot of problems I try to find out any help from different different authorities and agencies but so far no one's help have not help or some of them refuse to give help because they saying Ranvir does want to help they can't do anything, because Ranvir refuse to met them,I am really helpless I can not do any help to my son.He has refused to go to school,he is in final year in gcse,there was also bullying on the school.Ranvir was so scared to give the exams he could not take the school pressure that's why he refused to go to school,school was sending the homework by email,but slowly slowly Ranvir left that work also,he saying he can't give the gcse exams even we have told him do some or half subjects exams,because he have not go to school from last sixth month I  think he could not understand the work.I am worrying about his education and also he don't socialised.Most of the time he locked himself in this bedroom and playing ds and computer games, no one can't go his room if anyone tried he kick him out,he sleep very late night and also wake up late morning.When we try to put pressure on him not to play or do some school work he becomes very aggressive and start hitting and kicking us,we don't know how to deal with him and how we can educate him. I am concern about his future,I am really appreciate if you can help us and give some advice and will he change or he will stay like that his whole life.   


I need your help please and advise . My five and half years son who is high functional autism is addicted to cartoons and watching u tubes on the Internet about transformers and other cartooni characters . he wants to watch cartoons for hours ,some days I manage to control theses hours but usually I can't . He gets up very early and there isn't enough activities to keep him busy all the long day and yet once he finishes any activities or playing with toys .he screams for t v . He now talks like cartoon characters . His language isn't suitable to his age . He is so naive . Are these hours on t v and net harming his mind and how long should he watch cartoons  or should I completely prevent him from watching it.


My 13 year old son, who is diagnosed as having Aspergers really has a difficult time with emotional regulation. Because of this lack of control, he often gets into trouble at home and at school. I am getting better at handling these situations, but I struggle with his lack of remorse for the problems he causes. This is the bigger problem to me as a parent. It is one thing to do something wrong, but to show no remorse… this really upsets and troubles me. I worry about adulthood for someone who doesn’t care he has done something wrong. Please explain why a child with Aspergers has difficulty/completely lacks a sense of remorse.


hi there,
            I think my grandson has aspergers as he has a lot of the symptoms, my son is working in Doha Qatar i visit twice a yr,i have suspected something was wrong since Joshua was 3,
           The problems he has are he is very sensitive, has a uncontrollable  temper when he cant have his own way,will go to great lengths to try get what he want's seems not know the meaning of no,is extramarital fussy with food,does not like using  knife and fork,only likes to wear certain cloth's, such as on morning brings down 3 pairs underpants's he likes, will look feel them before deciding which  once he will wear, same with the sock's he wears inside out.  he is behind at school they have suggested he may be dyslexic but are going wait till next year to have him tested,have pointed out there is no one in the school who is qualified to do this,he is very good at art, has lot's friend's, he makes up the most interesting stories,often to his friend's parent's, i was chatting to him at bed time and pointed out to him i loved the nice Joshua but did not like the nasty Joshua, his answer was its this ghost inside me said to him can you not try to get the ghost inside him to be good,he said well the trouble is grandma it just takes over my body
he has a massive imagination in the stories he make's up,he does have eye contact once to get his attention,i do not know how to approach my son on my concerns, as we do skype can u advice me on what to say ?sorry about this email not looking good but have problems with my laptop jumping about when writing,

hoping you can help, regards kathleen,


Hello Mark,
I have a big problem, I put my defiant teenager into boarding school eight weeks ago, and have come home to see her and she has gained sooo much weight in 8 weeks. She says that the food in the school is unhealthy etc, but I know she makes bad choices. She is an extremely fussy eater, loves carbs etc. she has been bought up on good nutrition and advice. I am worried sick as I know it can be a downward spiral as the weight gains on and on. I have told her she must take responsibility for her life and what she puts into her body. Any advice will be much appreciated.


My grandson was kicked out of 2 preschools before he started kindergarten. He struggled through kindergarten and was kicked out of summer camp between kindergarten and
1st grade. It took 3 years on a waiting list for Dennis developmental center at children's hospital in little rock, Arkansas to get a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (basically asbergers) last April.  Lakeside schools worked with him until December 2014 where an incident occurred and John spent the week before Christmas in a facility called rivendell in Benton, Arkansas which was a video game playing holiday.  He was put on meds by a psyche doc late December 2014.  His dosage increased once in latter January or 1st of February because of continued anger issues and melt downs. Tonight, we had to admit him to Methodist children's hospital in maumelle, ark after attacking 2 teachers and the principal at school and demolishing the principals office.  This boy lost his dad the middle of January. My husband who is his grandfather is the major person he loves and who is on call 24/7 to help my daughter when she calls.  My daughter who has a 2 year old and 13 year old, works from 7:30 am to 5:00 as a RN in a GI clinic. She is broken. Any suggestions, recommendations or prayers would be sincerely appreciated. I'm the grandmother and if I only knew what to do to help keep this family together in some kind of normal life I would. Thank you for listening.


Dear Mr Hutten,

I am a recent College graduate with Aspergers Syndrome in the UK living at home. I have been living at home for a couple of years but because of a recent depression which I am only just getting out of, I have been unable to make moves for some time.
I have identified controlling parents particularly in the case of trying new things or doing new things as a major barrier in growth development which means that my overall growth development has automatically slowed down within the last few years.
Behaviorual control has ceased to the point that I would feel guilty of blaming other people but I was wondering if the following were appropriate of my situation?

It has led to a point where at the age of 23 and going through a quarter-life crisis before hopeful extreme growth development that has been held back for some time, that I am almost having to directly overcome the extreme tellings-off and dictatorship that I had during my teenage years and been sent back in time to overcome it.

- I feel unable to do tasks because of how they would react
- I get blamed for blaming others if I do irrationally because that is how 'my dad would react'
- I was sent to an excellent school and flagshipped off to University
- My parents say they take control for my education and what I have achieved in life
- They prevented me from doing things like Tennis or Athletics because I was a beginner or anything etc
- They get annoyed when I take food
- A feeling of 'you must do what I say' even at 23 like 'You must do this...okay'
- Getting told off for asking simple things like asking for a lightbulb.
- Overpraise for doing something good or getting over criticised for doing something apprently bad.
- Being told that the father works hard to support the family.

A lot of this may not have happened if I had been independent to leave home straight out of University at 21 but because of the circumstances surrounding what the CBT would do, I have come to the situation that it does have a lot to do. My feelings, thinking and stress all come almost from the feelings of the controlling negative parents. Just for the record, I actually did move out for a brief period last year but this was all bankrolled by my parents.

Because I am going through the CBT and identifying these issues as they arise. It has led to a period where at 23, I still have growing to do because there are a variety of things that I have never tried or even done before.

Would you suggest saving up to move out or would you suggest getting on the bankroll as soon as possible to becoming an independent adult? I have found it is contributing to my depression but equally a self-growth block which could almost lead in particular to trying too hard but additionally might be changed by thinking. I am astonished that I am having to deal with this after University.


Hi Mark,

My son has been on several different meds since 2009. In 2009 his IQ test results were average. He was tested again in 2012 and he had a 27 point drop. He had a MRI, EEG and both were normal. He and his brother have galactosemia so I took him in for further information all his levels were good and they said they would expect an 8 to 10 point drop over the years but not an out of the blue drop of that magnitude.
I don't think it's coincidental that since he's been on meds he's had the drop.
I am hoping you have some insight and if it is the meds (causing processing speed and working memory issues) will these be corrected when weaning the meds.

Thank you in advance, Deb


Hi Mark
Just checking in again. We still deal with a depressed 17 year old son who does not attend school and is at home 95% of the time.
We eventually did develop a pattern of him handing the cell phone in for the evening on school nights. He still questions the validity of this, feels he is being treated like a child and sometimes breaks the rule. We follow through with consequences.

Our next dilemma with this young man is his braces. He had braces put on when he was in grade 10. They should have come off last fall but due to him missing appointments often and not wearing his mouth plate they are still on. The orthodontist is frustrated with him. Alex needs to wear a mouth plate 24/7 to have his teeth shift into place and he will not do this consistently. Alex says he does not care if he has straight teeth. In the meantime we have spent $3000.00 on his mouth and want him to complete this.  The orthodontist firmly recommends that this procedure be completed and we of course agree. He feels it would take approximately 3 more months. Following this he will have the braces removed and then will have to wear a retainer for another 2 years. 

My husband and I are going to follow the "When we want something from your child" plan.  We would like to know your thoughts about this.


Dear Mark,

Our son, Jesper is 17 years old; diagnosed with aspergers at the age of 14. Before that, he struggled at school and socially (not academically, I.e. Content but did have problems with teachers) , but we thought he was a difficult child. From diagnoses onwards, life became more and more difficult for him at school and with the few friends he had and finally, mid last year, we took him out of his (boys only) school and enrolled him with the correspondence school. During the time at school, he had  support from a therapist (she is not trained as a psycho therapist but as a degree in education with special training in Aspergers).

The first 6 months at home, Jesper struggled greatly with motivation.  He managed to sit a few external exams at the end of last year. (School year in New Zealand is February to December). Jesper’s motivation do anything has become less and less. We tried to take him to the chess club, to the bridge club, we encouraged him to exercise or go for a walk with the dog. He usually says yes and when the time is there he delays until you leave without him or he comes up with excuses. We also encourage to get his driver’s license to become more independent but again he is not doing anything to make this happen.

With the start of the new year this February, he made extensive plans to direct his studies, all geared towards going to university in 2016. Sven and I decided that we would let him decide what to do and when, for his studies, gaming time and sleeping patterns.

We now have a child that is full of good intentions, talks a lot about what he will do, makes schedules etc., but they remain words only, …..he hardly studies, plays computer games and watching online tv, sleeps most of the day and is awake at night. He is also disrespectful, demanding

His psychiatrist (who prescribes anti anxiety medication) advised us to enroll Jesper for a course at the  local polytech to allow him to become a bit more independent and experience adult education. He sits a maths class twice a week. This seems to work at the moment.

We live in New Zealand and in a small provincial town. Jesper also has an anxiety disorder, has become very obese; will not go out and about; has very few friends, apart from online; depends on us (Coby in particular) for everything; he can be nice if things go his way; hates it when there are other people in the house (awkward for his sister); is convinced the world is full of basterds; mostly blames other people, or him having a bad day, headache etc. etc.
He also steals food, can’t have chips in the house or he’ll eat it, same with fizzy drinks etc.

Our biggest fear is that he will be living with us for the rest of his life and we don’t want that.

We want Jesper to become self reliant, to be able to succeed in life and want to implement your programme. Our questions are:

Do we start 100% from nothing (he does no chores etc. gets more than enough money to buy things ($ 200 per months for clothes etc. on top of pocket money per week).
We understand the chores e.g. Emptying dishwasher, but what are reasonable parental expectations: clean your room, takes dirty washing down?

How do we get him to study, is that a house rule? This the main thing. He has plenty of time to study but he doesn’t. In a way his study is “his work”. Do we need to use his study output tolet him earn his freedom ?

Do we hide away every food item that he/we like or not buy it or is that a house rule, you ask or else…? (in the past he has been hiding empty cans/packets etc.)

We know that we have created this high dependancy relationship and we are 100% ready to make the changes. We look forward to receiving your guidance.


Hi Mark,,
I am frustrated. My 3 yr old girl went for autism testing ADOS and she didnt score as autistic. But all the other questionaires I filled out showed her as severe. The psychologist diagnosed her as Autism Spectrum Level 1 Mild. But the Doctor ... who is new.. only been a physician 3 months wants to send her for a second oppinion. Basically she wants me to get the same ADOS from the MEDICAL DOCTOR she trained under. We have been on the waiting list almost a year. She says she wants him to look at the case since the discrepency between severe in my report... and mild when you meet her for 3 hours is huge. I feel nervous because i have got her so much therapy that she is functioning well...when I buffer her and prop her up for the day with sensory stuff. The doc wants me to bring her in normal shape and not buffer this time. but it causes all kinds of fall out. If my daughter loses her diagnosis... she will not get services in school and wont get into the integrated PREK.
She is having a hard time at the public preschool... she doesnt get social cues.. she was punched in the face last wednesday. The boy got sent home and in trouble.. but she knocked over all his blocks (to help him clean up she said). She also puts her hand down her diaper with poop in it and will not use a toilet. I am running around doing damage control.
What do you suggest?
Should I try another doctor? Is my doctor too nervous about making her first diagnosis? She DID diagnose sensory processing disorder. SHe knows that my daughter falls down a lot too. The OT wrote her a letter.
What the heck? I get my daughter therapy and now she wont score on the ADOS. Should I call a genetisis?


Dear Mr. Hutton

               My name is Christopher, and I want to ask you if Aspergers is nothing more than a cruel joke. I only say “ Cruel Joke” because of the bombardment of people recognizing it as a gift, profusely disturbed me. Let me explain.
               I was diagnosed with Aspergers 5 months ago, I’m currently 29 years old, but when I was 7 (1992) my psychiatrist said I had ADD.  Elementary, Middle School, High School, and College were ultimately loops feedback. Negative feedback as in society torturing me physically from bullying and reactions from things I said, to my positive feedback of not knowing what I did to make them treat me like an animal. As caring and supportive my parents were, they didn’t understand anything I conveyed about subjects I found interesting or the emotions I was feeling. So I tried to find words that cold help me understand why I was having a hard time with everything that involved me, be it school or socially. It wasn’t until taking Psychology 101 during my first semester college that I started to question my diagnoses.
               My first Psychology textbook became like my bible and the theory of cognitive dissonance was the door to door salesman. It just came easy to me and I ended up taking it on as a major. It had nothing to do with wanting a job in psychology. I wanted to learn for the sake of finding out more about myself. The further I dove into the world of psychology, the more fascinated I was with the idea of thought patterns and deductive reasoning. I changed my major to Psychology and minored Japanese. My attention drew elsewhere, particularly my waistline. At the age of 20, I was 230lbs at 5’10, but my parents said that I wasn’t “Fat” Fat. Sadly others disagreed and I was emotional tortured from being made fun of about my weight my entire school career. Again, my curiosity got the best of me and I went to the library and read every book I could find on nutrition. I lost 90lbs in one year, but I wanted muscle, so I went to the library again. The year after I gained 20lbs of muscle. This transformation was the forefront in my application into graduate school for Applied Nutrition. My degree in psychology didn’t help the transition, except that I took extra courses through community colleges in human biology and chemistry (Pre requisites that could transfer. A’s and B’s were the bulk of my grades. At the age of 27, I was accepted into the Master Program.
               It’s difficult for me to make a “long story short,” so I’ll try to wrap it up. I apologize if this annoys you.
               Suddenly my perception got worse every semester. I currently attend a university that was made for women, with the graduate department being co-ed. Even my college advisor told me to apply on the basis that they would more than likely accept me because I’m a male. It was the Community Nutrition Professor that opened my eyes to the truth. I’m not sure how she perceived me until projects that involved other people. I responded constantly by asking for any subject that didn’t include dealing with the general public, the same people I’ve isolated myself from just to avoid possible conflict. One day when class ended, she asked my project partner to discuss our theme proposal. She was packing to return to her office in the class room when I approached her. My professor wanted me to change the parameters of our project. The subject was creating a nutrition program was for children, because the class curriculum for the semester was categorized by age groups through the semester.  That’s when my world started to crumble.
               For some reason, I don’t like kids, but I’m great at socializing with them, or “great with kids” as my mother would often say during my life. In the same way, I grew up befriending and conversing with adults. So when my community nutrition professor said no to my request on doing my project on athletic performance improvement through diet, (I worked at the YMCA during the time as a fitness coach and Zumba instructor) I kept telling her reasons why. Then she yelled “ Would you just get the fuck out of here,” right in front of the class as they were in the process of leaving for their next classes. I never felt more embarrassed in my life, and it killed my passion. That was when I met the schools social worker. It took her 2 sessions for her to say “ I think you have Asperger’s.”
               Surprisingly, I had considered it, because I didn’t stop learning about psychology after I graduated with a B.A. in it. It never crossed my mind in the past. To me it sounded ridiculous, but I think it was because when I though of the word “Autism,” my mind would go to pictures from my text books and from movies I watched, with people being depicted as being crippled. Possible misrepresentation in the media/book publishers, or my misinterpretation of isolated instances in the photos/movies, but I digress. The point is when I took my social workers advice and researched the subject I’ve been avoiding, I cried after reading every piece of information I found. It all made sense when saw examples in my life that correlated with the diagnosis. 1 year after that, I was finally diagnosed. This at the worst part in my life so it the experience was bitter sweet.
               Before my diagnosis I was fired from my diagnosis, and from then on after things became much more difficult to deal with, not with my diagnosis, but with my environment. I spent 5 months worrying about getting unemployment benefits ( Denied initial but I filed an appeal and won, but apparently they keep delaying me, which my father replied by saying “ It’s normal for state to do that.”  I’m still confused why they would do something like that), coping with the rest of the semester, in which I received two C-‘s in my classes that I need to take again for my degree, trying to get health insurance after a panic attack at a convention which lead to a huge hospital bill, my bank account getting dangerously low, helping my mother after my grandmother died, socially isolating myself, etc.
               This leads me to the reason why I’m currently sitting at my desk at 2 am ( It was 1:17 when I started typing) even though I should be working on my Nutrition program and intervention class project. For 2 weeks I’ve been in ruminating constantly, switching from my research to reading books, watching TV, making costumes, seeking comfort or doing research on Aspergers to find my answer. At this point in time, I’ve lost all drive to do anything else, but find someone to talk to and get some possible validation. I know more about Autism then most psychologist I know do and I was still in emotional turmoil. Then I discovered TED talk for the first time, 1 month ago. Because of my education in and out of school, I understood practically every TED presentation on a level that, from what people have said to me, goes “over their heads.” This is how it is for me every day when I try to include myself in a conversation, in my failed attempts at socializing by adding more to the subject, rather than idle chit chat. When I watched the Barbara Arrows presentation on her experiences being autistic( 3 hours ago) my emotions took over once again and I cried, but I was happy at the same time. This leads me to question.

               I’ve felt like an idiot my entire life because I keep acting and comparing myself to other people. I grew up hating myself for no reason through most of my life. I dismiss all of the great things I’ve accomplished in my life, only because I was taught that I was like everyone else, so I thought anyone could do what I did in my life. I can’t start or finish anything now, because I’m afraid of the outcomes or that I’m going to make someone mad. Usually the outcome is never as bad as I perceived it to be. I need to know from someone who can understand what I’m going through.  From your professional opinion, am high functioning? Am I stupid? Am I just tricking myself into believing that I’m a smart person? Am I just selfish for choosing to study subjects I like? Do I belong in graduate school at all? Is this some cruel joke my mind keeps playing on me? Second guessing every decision I make has been a habit lately that I’ve been trying to stop.  The only time I had regularly sessions with a psychiatrist was during high school for depression and the psychologist who diagnosed me. Going through this loop of finding answers to cope as you know leads to confirmation bias. I’m pleading for help because it’s keeping me from doing anything else besides only leaving my room (I live with my parents) to workout, my girlfriend for obvious reasons, and my friends. Do I have any hope at all to continue on my path? I don’t want to leave graduate school because I love nutrition science with the same passion I have with my hobbies and I don’t want it to stop. I’ve made terrific grades during times when I’m not depressed, but my brain tells me I’m worthless and everything I did was a fluke. I really need some perspective on this. I’m at the point where I’m discussing my last breakthrough finding a connection to my aspergers and my cousins Turners syndrome with fragile X Syndrome. Of course they didn’t understand and my father didn’t want to discuss a possible genetic disease in our family, mostly because my aunt (His sister) died from cancer 3 years ago. This is consuming my time and making me miserable. If you can email me back with any information I would be truly grateful. Thank you for your time.

P.S. Writing helps me get my thoughts out and calm down. Writing helps me cope, so this writing this letter helped me calm down from the panic attack I had not too long ago. If you’re to read this, know that you’ve helped me get through it.


Hello. My son is 16. He has aspergers.  We have been through the most chalenging times with shim since the ageof 13/14. Firstly was accused by a parent from a pupil at school that his son found he has a bag of drugs found on his ppossession and the boy said it was our son that sold it to him. This was the start. Samuel, our son, then started self harming.  Th8ngs went from nad to worse.  He was always getting into trouble at school, regularly jumping the school gates, and always in the inclusion room. He couldnt stand being told what to do and rebelled. In the end near the beginning of year 10 we decided to take hi out of school and home school him as we couldnt get him out of bed to go. We paid for Oxford home schooling and all seemed to be going well. Since xmas he has stopped working, probablt wont be doing his GCSE as he is so far behind. He smokes heavily and because we limit him to 10 a week pocket money, this is not enough and he is selling his be!
 longings, ie his Tablet which was a xmas present, his xbox, his amplifier, all for around 20 each. When I realised wh a t had happened.  He told me hespent the money on booze and fags and that Iit was our fault for limiting his money and that we annoy him.

Just recently his laptop has gone missing with all his GCSE music on there. We feel that he maybe using cannabis but are not sure andhe only speaks to us when absolutely necessary and then it is a grunt. He is so highly strung and we are worried about him.


My son is 11 yes old I went to the Dr's office with him today to ask about putting him on mess for adhd. I went over withe Dr what some of the school problems were and he said and I agreed that what problems he's having in school have more to do with his aspergers than adhd. He did say to go back to the school and reopen his iep. My question is how do I get the school to address his executive function when I'm not sure what that means. Can you help me?


I am struggling in Perth Australia we have a lack of Health Specialist and I can not afford the $5000 it will cost privately but there is still a 12 month wait for diagnosis.

My son is four years old I have always stated there is something not quite right however no one believed me including 10 or more GP’s.

My son started Kindy this year (5 days a fortnight) and unfortunately as I do not have a diagnosis the school refuses to put strategies in place to assist him.  with in 8 weeks of school my son is now extremely aggressive, appears depressed, violent, I feel like I lost my lovely happy child although quirky.

Last week I was called to the school to pick him up after another melt down.  I could hear him from the carpark screaming, I entered the school and there was no one in admin so headed towards my sons screams as I was about to enter the principals office a staff member stepped in front of me and told me I could not enter (LIKE HELL) I pushed past and found the principal pinning my child to the floor with a chair as he sat on it restraining his arms.  My son was red in the face and ears with a red rash all over due to the stressful position he had him in.

I can not in good faith send my child back to that torture again this is the only time I caught them restraining him but I know it had happened other times.

I am now so frustrated and lost I do not know what to do my child is now out of control and can no longer go to daycares when he went happily for 4 years.  I am a single mum and struggling I just don’t know what to do and there is no help for me until he is diagnosies which is a 20 month waiting list on the public system.


Mark, we are desperate to help our daughter and feel that we need outside intervention.  She is angry, defiant, has begun cutting, threatening, etc...We have seen numerous therapists/psychiatrists over the past several years, but no one has been able to help.  Female Aspergers has only recently been brought to the table as a possibliity w/ no official diagnosis, however, we need help desperately.  We are US State Department employees living overseas but will bring her back to US if we can find the RIGHT person/facility to help her.  We are looking at residential treatment as a possibliity due to the fact that we have no "home" in the US.  Do you have insight to guide us?


Hi - I have a lot of questions about parenting.
I came from a seriously and unhealthy codependent family (my parents were 15 years old when they had me, then 2 additional children before they were age 21).
My childhood was largely abnormal, neglectful and abusive.

I am now raising 3 children (ages 8, 2 1/2  and a cerebral palsy child age 7 months).

My 8 year old has learning disabilities (possible ADD and/or dyslexia) so she is struggling in math and spelling. She is a somewhat normal kid but is not getting enough attention due to the family size and other needy children.
My 2 1/2 year old is in a phase going through dreadful fears currently (loud noises, ambulances, dirt, other kids, etc.)   She is also jealous of the baby and highly sensitive and needy. She currently isn't sleeping much.
My baby has CP so I am trying to juggle his therapies, doctor visits, etc. 

Additionally, dad has ADHD and cannot help as much as I need with the kids (he is only home long enough for the evening meal and bedtime routines). 
He complains in-between helping that he can't play video games or smoke enough to settle his own frustration from work and the kids and complains that I can't give him enough attention.

My dad and grandmother are also dying currently. 
My parents are largely unsupportive because my sister was killed in an accident, and they never recovered from it.
I feel like I am pulled 6 directions with no time for myself or rest (I am absolutely exhausted). 
Our family members are quite far away (2 hours drive) and they aren't really willing to babysit.  Most of them are quite old, sick or mentally ill with drug/alcohol problems.

We are living in a new city and struggling to find other families like ours to build a support group.

Any tips on carrying this heavy load when I was taught literally no parenting skills?
Kind of feel like I'm navigating in the dark.



My name is Lisa and my 9.5 y/o son, KJ was diagnosed last April w/autism, he is high functioning/Asperger's, w/ADHD-Combined and ODD along for the ride.  It has been a LONG road to get this far.  I am not even sure how I got to your website but I am glad I did. 

Now for my question, you asked if your child is asking if he was a mistake; why was he born, etc or surviving in anger; hate, isolation, etc.  KJ has said, asked or behaved in ALL the ways you listed PLUS he wants to know why I didn't abandon him when he was born or I must NOT have really wanted him since I don't let him have his way or do things his way or whatever the issue is for that minute, since he was around 7.  It has gotten worse over time and he has began puberty!!!  AGH!!!!! My heart breaks when he says these things because they are so far from the truth!!!  I am doing the best I can as a single parent but it NEVER seems to be enough. 


Hi Mark,
My name is Garey. I am a single Dad who adopted two boys from China. My oldest, Matt is 17, has Aspergers and is bipolar.

In general, my concern these days is to try and get some peace in my home. Matt is actually doing better than say 2 years ago. However, he and his brother do not get along at all. In the past, Matt has tried to strangle his brother (years ago) and has hit him from time to time. His brother, Ben, hates him for these things and wants nothing to do with Matt. Every interaction is painful and usually ends with both of them yelling at each other. Matt has a therapist and goes to a therapeutic day school. Ben, will not talk with anyone about this. I was wondering if you have any wise words of wisdom for me?


I have an 18 year old son who I believe has Asperger's syndrome- no official diagnosis has been made due to his refusal to go to the doctors with me! Instead he suggested that I need the doctor as there might be a problem with me ( it's so frustrating). He's always had communication problems - he doesn't engage in conversation with me or his siblings. Instead choosing to isolate himself in his room , when he's home. He hates social interaction and appears very awkward when other family members visit ( he even gets angry asking why they're visiting )again it's so frustrating! He does not give eye contact and just gives one word answers. Up until a few years ago all he would do is play his Xbox in his room. He wouldn't go out, socialise , he wouldn't do anything other than play his Xbox. At school he started to shut down - did not want to study and failed miserably! I think his teachers had an inclination there was a problem but they didn't know what to do! One teacher even called me up and said 'get him to a doctor he's not right!' One of his teachers said he has very low self esteem and confidence- and she said to him , in front of me - 'you can't give me eye contact can you?'. 

Lately however I've become really concerned about him because for the past year he has resorted to smoking marijuana- and as a parent I feel like I've lost all control! He does not see that his actions are wrong- he leaves the house in the afternoon and does not come home until one o'clock in the morning. I ask him who is with what he's up to and he just simply rolls his eyes and doesn't communicate! I tell him to come home at a certain time, he doesn't listen or he tries to distort the facts by claiming he came home at an earlier time. His father has had enough and wants to throw him out the house- and to be honest I can't blame him! But as his mother I believe there has to be a different path to take in order to help him. I've tried speaking to him about his actions , his disrespect etc but he's not taking the advice or if he does agree he continues to do the same thing- then we're back to square one! 

Is there anything you can suggest we do in terms of getting him to open up or getting him to understand that his actions are wrong! I feel like we're talking to someone who is physically present but because he doesn't talk back or says very little, I might as well be talking to myself! There is nothing! No emotion, no understanding on his part - there is simply nothing! His facial expression never changes, he thinks we are the problem! I love my son and want to get him the help and support he needs, but I'm not sure how to do that when he's not cooperating with us- it seems impossible! 

Any advice would be much appreciated Mark! And sorry for the rant! I'm just a desperate parent wanting to help her child!


Mr. Hutton,

I have long been reading your articles and posts from other families. Today I knew that you may be the only person who can help our family in this difficult situation. I have a newly 13 year old son, Parker. He is an amazing kid, stressful at times, but what kid isn't. As a young child my husband and I knew that Parker was different and exceptional. I started college when Parker was about 3 years old, my major was Psychology. I knew then that Parker had Autism, or Asperger's. I was fine with this, I knew that it may promote challenges but with enough coaching we would make it through the tough times. School and social situations have been his biggest opportunity. He was given an IEP in fourth grade, he is now in 6th grade. The school said that he did not meet their diagnostic criteria of Autism, but they diagnosed him with a learning disability. My husband and I were not too concerned at the time, we were just thankful that Parker was going to be getting the help that he needed, and we also felt that this would make his educational years more tolerable. Take into account the fact that he started with this school district in second grade and I tried to get help for him every single school year, because I knew that he was not really getting the content. The teachers response was that he was doing fine, and "he is a good boy". Fast forward to 4th grade, Parker was struggling and he knew that he was not getting the educational help he needed, so he told a teacher that he thought about hurting himself or dying. This really caught their attention, and ours at home as well. This set the IEP in place for his learning disability. He never really wanted to hurt himself or die, but Parker feels he must come up with something big to get people's attention after he feels ignored. We also started counseling at that point. After that everything was seemingly fine, although it has always been a struggle for me to get to communicate with his teachers, or get an IEP review, otherwise no problems. Fast forward to 6th grade 2014, our lives changed drastically. Parker had been feeling very frustrated with school. I told him that I would request a meeting so that he could have time to tell the teachers how he felt, and what he needed to learn. I e mailed the IEP coordinator, only to find out that the one we had the prior year had retired. Which would have been nice to know. We had not even been able to meet his Special Education teacher, and had no idea who he/ she was at the time. In early September, I requested the IEP review and I was told they would be more than happy to move it forward and would contact me with a date. I never heard from anyone at the school until September 22, when Parker was expelled from school for being a danger and threat to the children and personnel. He had a moment of frustration and told his special education teacher that he had a vast knowledge of school shootings, terrorist groups, etc. He also stated that he did not want to hurt anyone. The school expelled him until he was given a safety assessment. My husband and I agreed of course, for one thing we knew that Parker is one of the least dangerous children you would ever meet, and two we wanted the school to know that we understood the situation and had a protocol to follow. It was absolutely terrifying to be in a room with police officials, personnel from the school and made to feel like Parker was a dangerous criminal. Take into account Parker has never had a behavioral problem at school, never raised his voice, never put his hands on anyone, and never even been sent to the office his entire life. The safety assessment was done, and Parker was given 6 hours of home school education a week. Actually , the person who did the safety assessment did not feel like Parker was a threat, and wanted to make sure Parker was not treated differently. Plans would be made for a transition back to school. I made regular appointments for him to see his psychologist, whom he still sees 2 times a month, and I also called Semo Autism Specialist in Cape Girardeau Missouri for an independent diagnosis. Parker's psychologist has diagnosed him with Autism, anxiety disorder and OCD. The school contacted me in February, almost 5 months later, to propose a transition plan, I rejected that plan because it would have been discriminating and embarrassing to him. I have been working with his psychologist and Semo to ensure that Parker is given the chance to learn like every other child, without being discriminated against because of his disabilities. The school has still not contacted me, and the Semo center said to request a manifestation hearing to see what types of behavior Parker needs to show in order to go back to school. The school year is almost over, and next year will be his first year of junior high. If allowed back. I am furious at what this district has done, and been allowed to do to him. I want to look at pursuing a suit against them for discrimination. He is only allowed 6 hours of home schooling a week, and I am told that is equivalent to what he would normally get if he attended school in a regular setting. He feels so bad about himself and what he said to cause them to panic. He doesn't deserve to be treated this way, and I am at a loss on what to do next. Please help us, I greatly appreciate your feedback in this situation!!!


Hi Mark,

Can you recommend information (reading and videos) for our Asperger 13 year old to use and educate himself on his disability, and then use to discuss and educate fellow students/teachers on his disability?  We know this would help him now and also in the future to help build his self-awareness, be able to help identify his strengths and weakness' and to help those around him to understand him better.  While each person with Asperger's is different, this information would ask and answer questions he and others may ask of him.  You information for schools and parents is useful, but not what a teen/young adult can use that he would understand other than us spewing info at him.

Plain and simple...this is kind of a teen/young adult with Asperger's talking to a teen/young adult with Asperger's.


Our daughter is 15 and has been diagnosed with depression, however we feel the depression is onset by underdeveloped social skills and aspergers.  She is an extremely bright young girl, however does not have friends even though we have her in many organized social activities.  She doesn’t understand nonverbal cues, and is embarressed frequently at school by her meltdowns when she panics about doing the wrong thing or not understanding when an assignment is due but thinks she is annoying if she asks a classmate or the teacher.  Do you have anything written that might help parenting skills for the older child with aspergers?


We are toward the end of week one.

My 16 yo son uses his alarm to wake up, but asks me to come in and make sure he is awake at a certain time.  He is at level 4 on the anger ladder.  I usually tell him it's 7:00, and I touch him to get a response and make sure he is awake.  He eventually responds to me by telling me to shut up in an angry tone.  I leave the room and he gets up.
Since we are just toward the end of week one, I was planning to sit down with him this afternoon and use the fair fighting dialogue below:

When there is name calling and a mean response when I wake you up in the morning, it's a problem for me because it makes me feel attacked, I know you are doing this because you are frustrated, but I'd rather come up with a plan where you are able to get up on your own without my assistance.

I know as we move into next week, I could use getting up by oneself as a mandatory chore/hygiene and the natural consequence would be missing school and the assertive consequence would be if he misses school, then he will have something taken away, then everything taken away.

Question is should I try the fair fighting dialogue today or wait until next week to address this issue with consequences as outlined above.



I have a 5 year old diagnosed with ADHD and Anxiety.  Although the more I read your newsletters and parenting columns, I am increasingly concerned it is Asperger's.  We have an 8 year old with PDD NOS so it is not out of the question.  It is amazing how different my boys are.

My husband and I have been faced with increasingly aggressive behavior at home with the 5 year old.  Every symptom of ODD is present and yet at other times he can be flexible and willing given the right choices and direction.  The question is how to manage the acute agressive behavior?  He is half my size and strong.  He kicks, hits and pulls hair.  I cannot escort him anywhere to be safe other than his 5 point car seat.  Once there we can calm him and regroup, but I struggle physically to get him there.  He would destroy our home if let lose to his own devices.  Destruction of property is a real concern.  We have tried ADHD medication without success and  our psychologist has recommended something more for the anxiety to ease his temperment like a prozac.  But in the meantime what do you recommend in these tough instances.  They happen weekly.  Really, this is the toughest behavior I have ever seen.


Hi there!

Thankyou I love these  weekly newsletter…I sent an email to my somes teacher today and referred to something that happened yesterday when his sister was leaving for school. When I read your news letter later today I was amazed. My God has perfect timing! My son is not diagnosed but I have been following this newsletter for some months. He has an IEP at school For Development Delay /Emotional Behaviour and sensory.

Here was a concern I have copied that I wrote to my sons teacher today,  as he went back to school after being off three days with cough:

Something on a deeper note: Yesterday when he said good bye to E*^%#@   he said ‘Have a good day E*^%#@, I’m not going’ Then he said after he thought for a second  ‘Oh but you don’t have bad days do you? because you don’t do bad things?

Made me feel quite alert that he is beginning to be aware of comparison…. I told him after she left… ‘E*^%#@  has bad days sometimes too…and your behavior and listening has been much better lately too, you have been getting your jobs done for Mr M and Mrs W ….thats awesome, you have lots of good days too…. I didn’t want him to begin dwelling on those things but focus on the GREATNESS in the things he does J


Dear Mark,
I have been reading information on your website for the past two weeks.
My son Jack has only recently been given a diagnosis.
We have been having huge problems since he has been high school age.
He was bullied and assaulted. He runs away. He drinks large amounts of alcohol to try and fit in/cope with life. Socially things usually don’t work out at all. He has been arrested. He has tried suicide on several occaisions. He was in psychiatric hospital for about 10 days when he was 15 due, we think to the stress of exams. He moved college to complete his A levels only attending for lessons. He has since tried going to University twice but it didn’t work out for him.
Since January he has been in hospital again and has been put on medication 150mgs of sertraline in the mornings 15mgs of orlazapine at night. He seems very depressed. He doesn’t have any interest in life outside his bedroom.
He has been having CBT therapy but there has been no improvement. He says he is frightened by his behaviour but doesn’t seem to learn from all the times things have gone badly wrong.
As his parents we are not sure he is getting the right support and we feel unsure that the medication is helpinh.
We want our son to be able to function as an adult and are keen to hear your views as to his treatment so far and any suggestions for a way forward for him.
Looking forward to your reply.


Dear Mark,

I have a seven year old son who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was five. I have subscribed to your newsletter and have been reading ever since then. My son has also been in therapy for two years now. Prior to the Asperger's diagnosis, we also thought he had ODD. I read your article on "My Out of Control Teen". I was wondering  whether you have an e-book that is more appropriate for a seven-year old kid? My son is exhibiting a lot of the ODD characteristics and behaviors that you mention there and it seems to be escalating now.

Dear Mark, 
Thank you for your offer of assistance.
Marianne has had no diagnosis and we are at a loss to know what is causing her episodes of distress. Can you help us with our little darling?

Marianne born 23/5/2010 is about to turn five years old. She is a warm, sweet and loving happy little girl. Marianne has highly developed language skills and has good social skills.  She is very observant to what is going on and has attention to detail. Her Motor skills are very good. Marianne is very intelligent and is learning to read and write and loves painting, drawing, swimming and junior gym.  She is in 4 year old kindergarten where she behaves well and appropriately.

However she has developed some puzzling behaviour, particularly over the past year.

Marianne can break out suddenly into angry agitated outbursts, turning to fury over a trivial incident. She becomes even more furious and distressed when we try to find out what the problem is or how we can help her.  Although her verbal skills are high, at this time she is at a loss for words and can only grunt and scream.  She prefers to use pointing/sign language that she has made up sometimes.

Shouting and screaming occurs more often than not when her expectations are not met.  This is often related to not following a ritual or specific action like not doing a dance in the exact way she is expecting. She appears completely out of control and a victim to her own strong emotions.  For example, kicking a ball in the bathroom where the ball does not go as expected or the activity is stopped, she screams at fever pitch sometimes for up to 10 minutes. She becomes incommunicable, screaming louder as you try to engage with her to find out what has caused the upset. Marianne then shows frustration by whining and not communicating and sometimes stands on your toes and starts kicking and hitting.

After she has finished a screaming session she becomes suddenly calm and happy again, often laughing at the end. The frustration has been released. She often says she does not remember what the upset was about and rarely wants to talk about it even when she has become perfectly calm again.

A change in a routine is difficult for example Marianne walked up the footpath to the hospital to visit Mum, and Dad walked up the road to the building.  When Dad and Marianne went to visit Mum a second time, the following day, a meltdown occurred when Dad did not oblige her by walking on the road because it was raining, whilst she walked on the path to get to the hospital. We had not followed the exact same way for entering the hospital as before so Marianne lost her ability to cope with this minor change. There is a lack of flexibility to most things learned.  New material has to be shown in the “correct” way and functional light so it becomes useful.  There then is no deviation to what is learned.  It is difficult for her to grasp that something can be achieved by many different means. When the exact procedure is not followed a screaming episode breaks out and she cannot cope with even a slightly different approach. Marianne is severely challenged when her expected outcome is not realised. There is a lack of adaptive behaviour.       

She behaves quite differently toward us, Mum and Dad, as to others.  It may have to do with the familiarity with us compared to others.

Marianne has allergies to pollen and when she is feeling unwell her screaming sessions are naturally worse.


We have used “time out” for 5 minutes sitting on her special chair for aggressive behaviour and  “recovery time” in her bedroom to play until she has calmed down from her disappointments. We allow her to come out as soon as she has calmed down, so she sets this time period. Recovery time seems to work better as she feels understood.  We want to strongly discourage aggressive behaviour, and not reward it, but not sure how to best handle it.

There has been minor improvement in her general behaviour for frustrations as she initiates her own recovery time sometimes. Luckily she is happy most of the time but her screaming frustrations are a real concern especially when we are in a public place.  


Our 13 yr old son was just diagnosed as ODD.  This was actually no surprise to me.  I guess it just affirmed what we knew.  It also ruled out ADHD and found him to be of Superior Intelligence.  They also said he may have some level of Autism - high functioning - more testing required to find out exactly.  And they also said he may also have something called pragmatic Social disorder.  Anyway, he is for sure defiant.  He only does what he wants when he wants to.  Sometimes we can use reward systems to say, if you keep up on school work you can go to this activity or that activity.  We are trying to stop yelling (bad history there) and we calmly tell him when he is yelling that he can quiet down, we aren’t yelling at him we just need to work out the issue. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that.  He has put holes in walls and slammed doors to the point of breaking them.  Oh, and he absolutely refuses without any flexibility to go to counseling.  He just won’t go.  We did get him to go for testing for the above diagnosis and we are going to try one more time with counseling, but I am not confident it will happen.  So we have been contemplating putting him in an in patient therapy/boarding school program in Missouri .  The focus is on the therapy,  but they do school along with it.  It is basically a one year program.     Then I found your website.  He is so defiant and angry all the time….I guess you will tell me it will work.  I am just very skeptical….We are also out of options…. 


I have looked at a few of your youtube presentations. I appreciate your insight into what the neurotypical partner goes through..pointing out that 80% of these marriages  end in divorce. For me divorce is not an option. For 32 years I have lived not only with an aspergers mate, but also an alcoholic. I am living in a nightmare. My mate is 57 now so there is as the mental decline that goes with age. I honestly need help from someone who truly understands and can help me manage the frustrations that occur all day each and every day. My mate retired at 50 so for 7 years I  now deal with this full time. I wish I knew where to turn. Been to talk to a few counselors in my town of Boise Idaho but haven't found anyone who could support me. I have the Cassandra syndrome that goes along with this..as a side effect of being with this person. Of course  he never suffers from his condition only me. Please connect me with some resources or support group. Most of my friends do not understand what I experience and perhaps even think I make a big deal out of things. Not realizing  that the stress is cumulative. I'm  afraid that my own mental and physical health is being compromised.  Please let me know if you have any advice for me.


Hi Mark
Thank you so much for your email below. I have a 12 yr old son with Asperger's. Could you help me with a challenge I face every day? " how to get my son to comply with simple requests". For example he has been playing the same video game for hrs and I can not get him to turn it off to go take a shower. Is there a particular strategy that works with kids like this? Is there a method that works best? Traditional strategies which work with my other kids like " counting down from 10" or offering an incentive or negative consequence don't seem to work. He is just so stubborn!
Any bright ideas. I would love a strategy I could implement!

Hi help with another question? Why does my 18 year seem so normal for several days - laughing, joking, going outside, trying some new things, even being positive, sleeping normally,   but then suddenly he is back to the opposite again all negative? What can i say that will
Help him feel ok again? Thank you so much if you can answer.


Hi Mark,

My husband and I have a 20 year old son who was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 17.  He had been going away to college but recently returned home as it proved to be too much.  We have struggled with his rage over the past five years.  Recently it seems his anger and rage have gotten worse.  He refuses to get help.  He can be very threatening when he is in a rage where we feel we need to hold the phone in case we need to call the police.

Do you think your book can help with our 20  year old? We have gone to multiple support groups, have a friend that is a psychiatrist and have done a lot of research.  Unfortunately, we keep coming up short and the situation feels like it is not getting better.  I realize we are not alone, however, it is very discouraging to think about the future.

Any thoughts appreciated. I would like to buy your book if you truly think it could help a young adult versus a child.


Hi !  I came across your website and wondering if the strategies used in the ebooks and sessions address sibling issues.  My daughter, 9, has made our home a living hell.  She has been verbally and physically abusive to her brothers, 7 and 10 for many years.  My youngest son has unfortunately taken the brunt of this and he has been modeling her behavior over the past several months.  So, it is as if he also has this problem..........

They are starting counseling next week, but my biggest issue is her and her siblings fighting.  Is this brought up at all in your books?  If not, any idea where I can get online help for this?

Thank you for your time and God bless you for the work you do!


I have Asperger's and was wondering whether my accommodation request is reasonable for a job interview.

Dear  Philip Wiggett:
I am excited to have the opportunity to interview with you but I would like to give you a heads up before we speak. I want to let you know that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a neurological condition which effects my social interactions and speech but not my ability to work. Some people with Asperger's Syndrome such as myself are exceptionally loyal to their positions and have an excellent work ethic. During an interview my demeanor may seem like it lacks enthusiasm, this is due to the flat affect attributed to Asperger’s and is not a true depiction of who I am. Some people notice differences in my social interactions as I may appear nervous and awkward, but once people get to know me, these differences are accepted and understood. Soon thereafter I am viewed as a bright and capable worker. These characteristics do not in any way affect my job performance as seen per my resume. In fact at my previous positions my supervisor said I had an exceptional work ethic, am adaptable, and worked diligently.
I would like to request an accommodation for the in-person interview by receiving the interview questions in advance. I was suggesting April 22, 2015 at 5:00 PM and I will submit the answers by the day of the interview. This will allow me to familiarize myself with the questions so that I may answer them as completely and as smoothly as possible. I would also like to provide you with the answers to the interview questions in writing in advance of the interview. This type of accommodation is recommended by Job Accommodation Network, JAN, for applicants with Asperger's Syndrome and has been granted in previous interviews.
I would appreciate you taking this into consideration during our conversation. I am also open to discussing any questions or concerns you may have. Looking forward to hearing from.


Dear Mark
Thank you for your copy of "My Out of Control Child." Our understanding is growing and there is a real contribution in your E- Book for school age children. I shall use these techniques as soon as she is old enough.
Our 4 year old daughter has long out of control screaming sessions where she is not interested in communicating even when we are calm and assertive. She is genuinely distressed but does not want to talk about it, even after she has calmed down. She is very articulate so she has lots of words to draw on but she can't at this time. Sometimes her screaming session ends with laughter and she is back to her happy self again.
What we need to know is what to do about the blood cuddling screaming when it first breaks out, especially in a shopping mall!

I have a grandson, in which I love so very much. Of course when he was only a baby , somehow I knew he was a little different. it began with the small things...As he grew up I kept on seeing along with his Mom and Dad a certain difference. he has been fully diagnosed as having some AS and HFA. He is only 8 and has been through so much in defining relationships already. His school and his small church congregation know that he has his moments and at times, they only help to fuel the problems in his behaviors. His Mom and DAD have had to work out a way to discipline him without breaking his spirit . I have watched and learned from them and from what I have read on HFA...Although, I must say it is hard to understand. Much of what I see in his behavior is seemingly harmless but when he tries to direct his anger toward someone or something  or even himself I get concerned. he goes to a child PSY. and he is seemingly helpful. I have asked my daughter if she goes into the room with he and her son  for his sessions...She has said in the beginning she has gone with him, however, of late she has not. My concern is that he is so young to be in by himself with someone who can say anything and influence his life greatly...I know I am expressing a huge concern and probably over protective....I really wish that there were a lot of folks where they lived that are knowledgeable in the HFA....My daughter is proactive in his school and has met with the group of teachers ect. who come in contact with him...It usually takes a full semester before the new teacher and class gets to know him and is  used to his HFA,,,,The teacher he has this year was young and said she understood HFA. It was a shaky start this past year to the school year...He is doing all way above the avg. childs expectations in his studies...However his social is way down there ...I know this is part of the Aspergers and the HFA....but it is so disconcerting to watch my sweet lil guy be so very vulnerable...
Enough said . I am certain you have heard it all...Although my heart breaks I know there must be a bright future for him in something special that he will excel in and be a part of society...I just need to know some positive stories of children growing up with this , that actually have done well.
Thanks for all that you do to help others. I do like the newsletters and continue to read and try to learn as much as I can to be able to enjoy him when I am with him...:) 

Hi my teen son said he wanted to go to high school (with his issues I had not been able to get him to go before) everything was ready and he couldn't make himself go so he didn't graduate and his way of dealing with any frustration is to blame me his mother. I tried so hard and wanted him to go. Now he has just turned 19 and really hates his life. Now i see help that i never saw before when we needed it. I kept asking the advisor at the school for help getting my son there but he didn't know?  What can we do? He still wants to grad but doesn't want a ged. Thank you !


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