Poor Social Communication Skills in Children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism

While a youngster with classic autism may have great difficulty communicating (or be mute), a youngster with Asperger's (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) will usually be able to communicate, but often experiences complications in social interaction – especially with friends and classmates. These complications can be severe or mild depending on the child.

Social and communicative deficits are arguably the most handicapping conditions associated with AS and HFA. Although the term “social communication” is used frequently to encompass these deficits, social communication is actually a redundant term. All communication, by its definition as an exchange of information between speaker and listener, is social in nature.

Communication problems in the AS or HFA child include: 
  • abrupt transitions
  • auditory perception deficits
  • Echolalia 
  • literal interpretations
  • miscomprehension of nuance
  • oddities in loudness, pitch, intonation, prosody and rhythm
  • unusually pedantic, formal or idiosyncratic speech
  • use of metaphor meaningful only to the speaker
  • verbosity

In addition:
  • AS and HFA children may have an unusually sophisticated vocabulary at a young age and have been colloquially called "little professors," but have difficulty understanding figurative language and tend to use language literally.
  • These young people may fail to detect whether the listener is interested or engaged in the conversation. 
  • They appear to have particular weaknesses in areas of nonliteral language (e.g., humor, irony, teasing, and sarcasm). 
  • The speaker's conclusion or point may never be made, and attempts by the listener to elaborate on the speech's content or logic, or to shift to related topics, are often unsuccessful. 
  • The conversational style often includes monologues about topics that bore the listener, fails to provide context for comments, or fails to suppress internal thoughts. 
  • Speech may convey a sense of incoherence. 
  • Although they usually understand the cognitive basis of humor, they seem to lack understanding of the intent of humor to share enjoyment with others.
  • Although inflection and intonation may be less rigid or monotonic than in autism, children with AS and HFA often have a limited range of intonation (e.g., speech may be unusually fast, jerky or loud).

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

Kids with AS and HFA are often the target of teasing and bullying at school due to their communication difficulties and their impaired ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues – especially in interpersonal conflict. In addition, these young people are often a target because they are extremely literal and may have difficulty interpreting and responding to sarcasm or banter, exhibit unusual behavior, and have very narrow and sometimes odd “special interests.”

In addition to the school setting, complications can occur in an unfavorable family environment where the AS or HFA youngster may be subject to emotional abuse by siblings or neighborhood peers. These “special needs” children are often puzzled by this ill-treatment, unaware of what has been done incorrectly.

Most kids with AS and HFA get along a lot better with those considerably older or younger than themselves. They want to “fit in” with those their own age, but fail to socialize effectively, which often leads to later withdrawal and asocial behavior – particularly in the teenage years.

When attempting to address the specific communication problems for young people on the autism spectrum, certain factors must be considered:

First, understand that optimal learning happens naturally. AS and HFA kids learn to communicate best during everyday conversations and activities with their moms and dads and other important grown-ups.

Second, moms and dads play a pivotal role. The family is the most important element in a youngster’s life, and the parent can and should play a primary role in his or her youngster’s intervention.

And third, taking others’ perspectives is key to effective social interaction. Boys and girls who can see another point of view and understand how others think and feel have the most success in making – and keeping – friends.

In summary, for young people with AS and HFA, the ability to “tune in” to the thoughts and feelings of others often does not develop in the same way or at the same pace as “typical” kids. Difficulty empathizing and seeing other points of view can make having two-sided conversations a big problems for these “special needs” kids.

Because they often do not know what to say or do in social situations, they can find it extremely difficult to make friends and to forge meaningful relationships with others. But this doesn’t mean that they can’t experience significant improvement in developing their social communication skills. With extra help and support from parents and teachers, AS and HFA kids with social communication difficulties can learn many important skills that will make connecting with others and making friends much easier.

For additional information on communication problems in AS and HFA children – and what can be done to help – click on the links below:

Teaching Nonverbal Communication Skills to Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Developing Your Autistic Child's Communication Skills

For information that will help parents teach social skills and emotion management to their AS and HFA children, click here.


COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for March, 2016]

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.


Thank you for your input. I have went through the course and made changes.  I have definitely seen positive changes in my granddaughter and in myself. Raising children or grandchildren is difficult, esp in this day and age. Thank you so very much!!! I will be going through the course multiple times to get everything down. God Bless You! Patricia


Dear Mark,

My wife Jane and I have just purchased your e-book ‘Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens 2’.  I have finished reading it and will re-read it again.  I thought it was very, very insightful and promising in its strategies.  I t inspires and encourages me.  My wife is just this instant finishing her reading.


Hi Mark,
I wanted to tell you that I'm now courting the young man I told you about! I could only overcome the obstacles by very strong prayer!
I'd like to thank you for sending me info and feedback without any charge. That was a deeply great thing to do and its now rare.
Thank you


My husband doesn't think he has a problem.  I cannot give clear 'instructions' on what I expect or why what I'm asking is important, because he perceives I am calling him stupid or socially inept.  I don't require him to go to social things with me anymore that I know he is not going to enjoy.  I actively work to engage on his interests. We don't 'fight' in a traditional sense, with yelling and anger.  I think he isn't 'feeling' much about our marriage at the moment which he is interpreting as having fallen out of love rather than that he might not be capable of some of those feelings in the first place. In short, I feel I'm attempting as many of the things I can when he doesn't know he has this problem.

So my question is, what is the best way to get him engaged in exploring whether Asperger's is part of the issue in our marriage, when it has such a negative connotation in his family?


Hello Mark,

I have a 22 year old Aspie that has been targeted by rural males in his junior college. He has been called "gay" and "loser". I believe it is because he is different, and he does not like the Aspie label.
He has OCD and unfortunately he has an obsession with what these men are saying about him. One "friend" came to him and told him that there is a rumor that he is gay. He definitely is not. He has told
me that he just wants to be left alone. He was bullied in a developmental Math class by these males and now refuses to attend the class. I am now taking him to the college to take his Math test to stay on
track. This is Alabama and Aspergers means "retard". He has pretty good social skills but some problems with executive function skills. Problem solving for him is tough and he feels too embarrassed to talk to his female instructor directly.

I have contacted the teacher and asked if he can  do his homework and tests online or be switched to another section. Do you have suggestions for working with a sweet young man that has been bullied
since middle school? His anxiety is pretty bad right now. He has accommodations in place but the state of Alabama is poor and cut services. He is pretty sophisticated and not really aware of social skill problems, like talking too much and not knowing when the other person is not interested anymore with a topic.

Also are there online classes (college level) that do not cost an arm and a leg? He is under the care of a psychiatrist and a lady counselor. The lady counselor does not really understand "male culture"
here in Alabama. He is not a good enough student to go to a local university. I am thinking about some enrichment courses but these are at night and interfere with his rituals.


Thanks for accepting me subscribing to your literature.
I am so happy so far with the little I have read on the subject of asperger; I am at the frustration point with my 14 year old son. I honestly did not know why he was behaving disorderly, but my daughter who studied as a Social worker is trying to educate me on that subject & his behavior; I felt I had failed as a parent when he tried to
fight back when I disciplined him physically; he gets furious, agitated and would insist that he did nothing and I am hitting him for no reason; worse yet when he is not allowed to have his own way; he just storms and does not want to hear  anything. It is something new to me cuz I had 2 children b4 him and did not tolerate rudeness and disrespect; but I did not know that I was now dealing with a special needs child. It is so true ignorance of the law is no excuse . I look forward to embracing the tools that you are providing; you will be hearing from me as I walk that new path.


3 weeks ago my grandson was diagnosed with Aspergers, now his Psychiatrist isn't sure. Meanwhile he is taking Respirdal? Shouldn't that be discontinued until we get a proper diagnosis? We live in Louisiana and Mental Health care is not up to the services in Massachusetts. Can you help me as I sort of CO parent this child and I am desperate for help to get him the help he needs before I get too old to help.


Good morning, I am concerned about my 17 year old grandson who has adhd and aspergers. He has been saying some disturbing things like wanting to join Isis because he wants to be famous. He is a lovely boy and I breaks my heart hearing him say these things. We are trying to help him in finding something that he is interested in to maybe find employment but he doesn't seem interested in anything. His psychiatric doctor wants to send him to an assessment centre for 2 weeks but am wondering if this will help. Thank you  regards Christine


Hello, Mark,
    I was looking at your Asperger's Comprehensive Handbook ... as we have finally concluded that our 32-year-son must definitely be suffering from A.S.  What I don't understand is why we didn't figure this out sooner.  Daniel was always a difficult child, but we just attributed it to his high intelligence and stubborn willfulness.  We probably made a lot of mistakes with him because we didn't pick up on the cues -- we even took him to a foreign country at age four and immersed him in a new language environment (Spanish), though he attended an English-language school after his first six months in Spain.  But it's not like we lived in constant crisis mode; it's just that communication and discipline were a constant challenge with him and he seemed to have no empathy for his little brother (two and a half years younger), whom he could mistreat with a flair, though they could also be very good friends at play.  I mainly identified with your comment about "did you ever feel like you actually didn't like your child?"  I loved him dearly (still do), but there were so many times I wanted to give him a good kick in the pants!  (I resisted ... but probably did spank too hard sometimes.)
    I won't bore you with the details of his growing up.  My question is what to do with him now -- divorced by his Dutch wife of 9 years, who claims to still love him, but just couldn't go on walking on egg shells all the time with him, and she has their three children (in Holland), whom he was caring for (stay-at-home dad, very devoted to the kids, but not always good at getting them to school on time -- she bugged him a lot about his "issues" [paranoia, blaming everybody else, MJ use = self-medication], and he finally became obsessive about how well he was and how sick she was -- he hates psychologists, lawyers, social workers, and policemen, since she called on all of these to "help her out").  Since the divorce last Aug., we survived the first five months' of his "denial," grief and anger (he's living in our upstairs room -- Spain), and now he's into a somewhat "stabilized" phase with his routine of working on a website for translations and English teaching.  But of course, he now wants nothing to do with his children (doesn't like it that we still maintain contact with our grandchildren either).  His only defense against "what she did" is to forget that he ever had a family, so we don't talk about them.
     Long story short: have you also written about adult Asperger's sufferers and how to deal with them?  Or do you recommend any specific book on the subject?  BTW, the diagnosis has been my own doing (he would never submit to any kind of psychoanalysis) -- just reading the literature and observing the characteristics (I read that Jeremy Bentham, the 19th-c. British economist, was suspected to be A.S., and that got me to researching).  Daniel is a classic case study as far as I can determine, but of course, I realize autism disorders are about a "spectrum," and my limited experience keeps me from being able to place him accurately along the spectrum.
     Anyway, thanks for reading this far if you have.  Any hints will be appreciated.


Hi Mark,

We had a rough afternoon and evening yesterday with Jackson.  He was supposed to stay after school to do make up work from his suspension. I had to pick up the littlest boys at 3:40. In order to kill time, we stopped at cup and cone. I was not supposed to pick up Jackson until 4:30. I pulled up to North campus about 10 minutes early and he was walking along Division Street with A girl and a boy that I don't know.

I curved through the parking lot and let him in the van. Upon entering the van he said "why were you guys a cup and cone?" to which I replied that we were killing time until we were supposed to pick him up. I asked him how his labs went and he told me his teacher was not there. He then yelled at me to go because there were people behind me and wanted to know what he was going to get for a treat. I am pretty sure he said "what's MY treat going to be?" We went and picked up Emma from a haircut.

When I got on highway 96 headed toward 35 E, I decided to try asking him how his day was. He responded that he was going to take a nap and I said it sounds like you don't want to talk right now no problem. He repeated I am going to take a nap and I said OK. He then said no you know what mom, pull over I'm getting out of here. I said in a calm voice Jackson, I'm not going to pull over the car right now. He unbuckled his seatbelt and opened the door. I moved over to the right lane and pulled off of the road to let him get out of the car. When he got out of the car I started to pull away and he got mad that he did not have a skateboard. He pounded on the side window and I drove away. I called the White Bear Lake Police Department and followed him at a distance while he walked away. An officer spoke to him and helped him calm down. Another officer spoke to me. In the end, Jackson said this was all about ice cream - he was jealous that William got ice cream and made the assumption that I would not get him any. I would have taken the bigger kids by cup and cone but Jackson got in the car angry and accusing (making the assumption that I would not take them). I decided not to reward his bad attitude with a treat. He told the police officer he could keep himself calm in the car if no one would talk to him.

I agreed not to talk to him on the way home but as soon as we pulled away from the police officers, Jackson tried engaging in an argument. He said something to the effect of, now he would have trouble getting a job now that he has a criminal record. I told him we could talk later but that we agreed to be quiet in the car. He called me a bitch and said fuck you.

I did not respond and after a few minutes he said I'm going to call you Shannon. I'm choosing not to call you mom anymore. I said that's fine you don't have to. He said now you're talking.

At that point I got my husband on the phone and just stayed connected with him but did not talk very much. When we got home I asked Jackson to go to his room. He came up from his room several times. He was physically passive for the most part but we had to ask him to return to his room repeatedly before he would do it. When David went down to time dinner was ready he was asleep. This morning he was calm and even a little bit hyper. He was quiet on the first part of the ride but after I dropped off the little boys he was beginning to act a little bit hyper. I dropped him off at school and he went inside. I have not heard anything from the school yet today. Last week he had an out of school suspension on Thursday and came back to school on Friday where he got a detention from bringing a condom filled with water to his language arts class.

I know that is a long story and I am impressed if you made it all the way through this long email.

Is this just bucking the new program - challenging us and trying every way to get us to give in?
I am guessing stay the course?

I am curious - what are your thoughts on seeing a psychiatrist? I don't think that trying to get out of a moving car fits not getting an ice cream cone. This behavior seems irrational and dangerous. I don't want to have to wait until things are a lot worse before he gets more help…

It seems to me that a response this big about ice cream is significantly unusual. Since his suspension from school last week, he has been in a downward spiral.

If I sum up the events like this, in the last seven days he has had a suspension followed by detention followed by breaking his chrome book and leaving our house for a couple of hours followed by opening a car door of a moving vehicle, it seems like he needs additional support of some kind.

I am not confident that when he is angry he will not hurt himself or others.


I am going to give you a brief description of what I am dealing with and maybe you can tell me if your program could help. I am the aunt of a 13 year old girl. I do not have legal custody of her because her father (my brother) will not allow it. me and her father do not talk and have never liked each other or agreed about anything. her biological mother lost rights to her when she was a baby, and her step mom was cruel to her.  I do think she is bipolar, both of her parents are, but I can not get help for her because I do not have the legal right. she has been living with me for 4 years. I love her with all my heart but she is being very difficult, always has been. she has had a tough life but that is not an excuse to act the way she does. I live with several other family members and of course we mostly disagree with each other on how she should be dealt with. she is lying, caught on little things but I am sure there is more, her grades are dropping considerably, she angry all of the time, she is spoiled, probably my fault, and extremely disrespectful. a conversation in nearly impossible, punishment doesn't help, rewards are useless, and acknowledging good behavior has not worked. I have not given up on her nor will I ever but I know if she keeps heading down this road soon there will be no turning back and I will not let that happen. i'm not sure what this email will do except give me a chance to try something, so if you have any advice it would be so appreciated and you be able to help me help this child.


Hello Mark,
  I suppose no question is too weird.. Although this issue of "fanfic" and My Litty Pony obsession has turned in to a full blown problem with my 14 year old daughter. She is home schooled now- and doesn't understand the dangers of having other online community members contacting her, or the socially unacceptablness of reading about diaper pornogragphy. Any help with this??? I am trying my best to be logical and not shame her for it... but I dont want her talking to other kids when she goes back to high school next year about it and getting bullied.


Hi! I have a 12  year old son with autism and he is having a lot of issues now.....every minute of everyday is a struggle and I am a single parent with no help from his father.....he's been absent now for over ten years even though he lives 15 minutes away.   Anyway, because of these struggles I was beginning to feel like I really messed things up with him because I have no idea how to talk to him or help him understand things he has to do.
I came across your site by just looking for a way to do a contract with him.....it was nice to know I am not alone with the constant struggles.   I am starting session one with him.....I am feeling much more calm though.  Good to get someone else's  advice instead of people making me think I'm a bad parent.



I am a 67 year old grandmother to an Asperger's 15 year old grandson.  I've also been informed he is ODD and OCD.  A couple hours ago I decided not to prosecute my grandson for fraudulently using my debit card to order about $1,200 in computer parts.  The orders were canceled, and I lost no money.  My decision not to prosecute was made after speaking with my primary care physician, and I go into counseling on Monday.

During the turmoil after discovering the purchases and my daughter's short-lived furor, I was disowned by that daughter and her oldest daughter.  I could not accept the young man's apology until tonight.  The issue is over, and I have forgiven him.  I have no idea what will happen with our family situation.

My question for you, going on the presumption that I will never have an opportunity to discuss my grandson's situation or assist his mother in any way with him, would your program and e-book educate me on what Aspergers is so I can understand from my daughter's perspective what his life and hers really are like?  Or, should I look for other educational materials?   If I should look further, can you point me in the proper direction?

It was easier telling him in writing that I forgive him than it would be to meet face to face. I have guilt for not wanting to see him.  It hurts to be disowned, but I've never considered what he and my daughter have suffered alone because I have no clue except probable fear and terror,  It literally has been a painful nightmare for all of us, including the rest of the family who have been involved.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to receiving your reply.


I am raising my granddaughter who is 14. She is failing all he core classes. She informed me that it is because she just doesnt do the work and talks in class. I told her I would not pay for summer school if she fails 8th grade because she chooses not to do the work( knowing she will fail ) . I know how crushed she will be if she does fail and all her friends go onto 9th grade. Should I pay for summer school if she fails or let her take 8th grade over?


Dear Mr. Hutten,
I found your videos on Asperger on line .
My name is Daniela, I am 39 years old, I live in Italy.
Recently, a person told me I might have Asperger. I have not received a full assessment yet, although I made on-line official tests (90-99% score). I looked up videos from ASPI woman and read their books, and at the end, I came with answers to so many questions I had through all my life. As I child I was just seen as stubborn, shy, high potential, and always “different” from the other children. My teen’s ages were awful, as you can imagine. However, now I am a happy married woman with a wonderful son.
I was born, and still fight with, a sensory processing disorder, mostly sound and touch, vestibular and proprioceptive system imbalance; and I developed a mirror touch and pain synesthesia. This means that even though I “think” and “process” like an ASPIE, I can literally feel other people pain and emotions. What I could not understand, when I was as a child, was the reason why a person felt that way: why was he/she angry, upset, or extremely happy. I could give read emotions; however, I could not read and understand the contest. Moreover, I could not really understand why I felt different about almost everything: things that upset me did not bother others; things that made them sad did not mattered to me.
Many people argue if ASPIE feel, or what they feel, or if they understand other people feelings. I think there is a difference between feeling and behavior: what I could not/and sometimes cannot understand, is not the feeling but instead the behavior.
What really upset me as I child was to look at people and feel sick about their double face behavior: people smile even though they are sad, people say they like something even though their body says the opposite.  ASPIE are not like that. ASPIE do not like a deceived world. We are so overwhelmed by sensory information and “wrong” perception; we need to find people who are” true” human beings.
So when a parent needs to teach her Aspie daughter how to behave, let her know there is no one way of thinking, nor one way of behaving, but we must try to respect (even though we do not understand) how people feel and behave; sometimes this means to try not to say in public what we really think. This is hard to accept because it sounds like being a liar to oneself and to the others. Saying things as we see them is not to being impolite, for an Aspie it means being honest.
Please, tell parents not to teach feelings to their children using dolls: they are unhuman and they do not have feelings. Please do not teach emotions only trough flash cards, we will never find faces but total moving body in the real world; instead teach how you see the world, what you feel and why you feel that way in the real world. Tell parents to design their homes with conformable sensory devices and furniture that could help their children feel secure and loved. Tell them to accept their meltdowns because these will leave them exhausted and help them understand what has caused their meltdowns but after they recovered because the will not listen to the most lovable mother while they are getting one of their overwhelming breakdown. Tell them their Aspie children need them, more than they think because most of the time they will be the only key they have to understand the world they live in.
Thank you.


Hi Mark,
I was wondering if you have any advice for me. My daughter is 18 and was diagnosed with Aspergers  in middle school after already having a diagnosis of sensory integration disorder and ADD. We knew there was something we were missing. She is very bright and very stubborn. There has never been any acceptance of the diagnosis or any acceptance that she is different. However, She has become more and more solitary and has developed a lot of quirky, OCD type habits. It is very difficult to get her out of the house to do anything, although she does attend school, we are fortunate enough to have an alternative high school in our town of Eagle, Colorado. She will be graduating May 20, but we are so overwhelmed with what is going to come next.
It is extremely difficult to reason with her, we don't feel she's ready to handle the outside world on her own, and would like her to go to the community college first to get the experience she needs and prove herself to us that she will attend and follow through. There is a long history of her not being truthful about what she is doing and how she's handling  her responsibilities.  Her first two years of high school were a disaster, she did so poorly because she would never turn her work in. Then we tried online school at home which was even worse because she was not doing any of the assignments or attending the online classes even though she swore she was, it was more than either of us could handle. She has found success at this alternative high school but I fear that when she is out in college her support system will not be in place and I don't know if she can execute well enough on her own.
Most of her work is done in the school right now.

Have you had other children in this type of situation? She wants to study history and possibly be a museum curator,  she's very interested in traveling and reads voraciously. She knows so much about medieval history and other world history, it is amazing.I know there is a place for her in society somewhere, but she has never had a job and we live in such a small community that there are not many opportunities for part-time jobs for someone like her.
If you could offer any input, that would be very appreciated, I believe you are in England, so A call would be rather difficult.


My nearly 15-year old son  se I refuses to talk with us and gets angry when we try to talk with him.  Sometimes he will not even look at us.  He has virtually withdrawn from family life and stays in his bedroom.   He has stopped doing basic house rules like picking his mess up from his floor.

There was a horrible fight between him and I this morning in which he swore at me to get out of his room after he had punched the furniture several times. For the first time since things deteriorated, he used force and pushed me out of the room several times, swearing.  My wife also feels intimidated and physically threatened by him although never been physically attacked yet.

But what if my teen doesn’t even want to respond to any thing we say but give us either the silent treatment or hostile one word non-answers?

I was at fault because I broke 2 rules in your book – I reacted with anger when he said something rude and then forewarned him of 3 to 4 consequences based on the material in the book.  I think I overwhelmed him by not sticking to just one thing – that was my second mistake. I am not surprised now why he went into a violent rage.

My son has self diagnosed autistic and has told our doctor that he is depressed, has anger issues,  and has considered killing himself.  He has been referred to a child psychiatrist and is awaiting an appointment.

Mark, how can we even get pass this first huge barricade of angry non-response from our son to even start some of the communication-based steps?

I think my son has entered into the 6th anger phase described on page 35 of your book.  Please help.


Good Afternoon Dr Hutten,
I take this opportunity to thank you for all the teaching, support  and guidance all your articles have given me  throughout the years when meeting individuals with Apergers.
We have a caring, mild spectrum, constantly improving  10 years old boy .( not officially diagnosed )
All your strategies and articles have been very successful till we have recently encounter a great challenge with our child’s  fixation on a class mate’s behaviour.
From a caring and devoted friend, our child has evolve into an obsessive fixation with his friend as the reason of his daily trouble at school and misery.
He replies back to this frustration with violence to his former close friend.
To make things worse, his class mate has a negative and manipulative verbal approach towards everyone in general , finding always the week moment or word that will trigger his balance , self control and stability at school.

We are all facing a great quiz to move our child out of this pattern , the more exposure to this boy, the more  unstable our child is becoming and unclear his judgment towards the real facts. His fixation is affecting his thinking, school learning and his entire social life at school.

He seems unable to work on all strategies given when teased, challenged verbally and annoyed : breathing, staying focus, seek teachers help ….

Trusting we will be able to have your evaluation under a consultation when convenient.


What can you tell me about aspergers and children who are violent and physically abusive?  My eight-year old son becomes very angry and physically hostile towards me (his Mom) and his twin sister. He punches, kicks and charges at us when he is reminded of what he needs to do.  He will also run upstairs yelling hateful words, and then lets out a blood-curdling scream.  Once he screams he runs & hugs me apologzing and then with his nerves in full swing he gets the gggiles and can't speak for about five minutes because he can't stop giggling. What is it all about????


Hi Mark

i'm about to sit down now and read your book and advice.  i've been reading as much as i can this past month or so, ever since i've started seeing an ASD specialist phychologist.  Indications are that I have ASD, first recognised at the age of 39, which unfortunately has contributed to a serious relationship breakdown with my fiancee - though I'm yet to request/receive a formal diagnosis.  i wish i had been aware of this earlier, and advice such as yours.

And while I look forward to reading your book, and will no doubt learn some useful tips, I fear that it's probably too late to salvage my relationship with my fiancee.  and based on how relatively toxic it has become over the past 12 months, I'm reluctant to attempt a meaningful relationship with a significant other again in future. but never say never, right? 



I am diagnosed with aspergers and I am not married but have fallen in love with a young man with aspergers who spends all his time with me. I think we are both in love with each other but I do not know how to move the relationship forward because we are both just as bad as each other. I wondered if a consultation could help? I have read lots on loving someone with aspergers but not on how to initiate intimacy. We see each other every day and we both say we can't get enough of each other but somehow we can't seem to establish if it's a relationship of a romantic kind or not - although it's clearly romantic in our own ways. I'm a bit lost becasue I can't read his cues, he can't read mine and I don't know how to break out of it. I'm willing to make the first move - if I knew what the first move ought to be. 


Dear Mark,
I do need your direct advice. After reading your book parts, what was most meaningful for me were Part V,  emails/responses, and the list about returning aggressive acting out with a neutral/positive response.
Guess I need to write you a book to describe the situation with my 20 year old son, Tom, a triplet, who has been struggling since his early years, but especially Middle School on. High functioning Asperger in combination with other issues, none of them successfully addressed(opposite), which leaves us as dangerously deep in the vortex as we've ever descended.
Will try to do chapters. I guess,  unless you have a format or questionnaire that works for you.
Hoping for small miracles, glad to have found you online.


Dear Mark,
My son is 17 years old, he has Aspergers Syndrome/ADHD. He has struggled at school from day one and was sent home and stood down for not a lot really. He wanted to stay at home and watch rubbish trucks from a very early age. By 11 yrs old I removed him from school because a Lawyer advised us too and he has been doing correspondence schooling at home. He has done well with this, until he hit puberty. He found girls and started watching lots of music videos. He wants a girlfriend but he doesn’t know how to go about it, he also has no friends.
He followed a girl off the bus when he was between 15/16 years, only a few meters to see if she lived in our area. This will haunt him for later. He then asked the council if he could light a bon fire at the beach, but he thought it was getting out of hand and rung the fire service, who then rung the Police. He had to do a fire safety course.
By this time he was excited by all the Police attention, he started looking up crimes and sentences until it looks like he is obsessed by it. He started naming crimes and what you would get to me out loud and it sounded like he was planning them. We got a Psychologist involved, but he told us to ignore the crime talk. Which we did until he went out and found three cards one was a visa. He then went and spent it on a whole lot of silly stuff, then come home and showed us. We rang the Police and they came to take the stuff and he got a pre charge warning. But while he was with Police he likes to rave on, he gets very high and will be smart. The girl he followed was brought up and the Police were more at looking at him being a predator.
Our concern is we can’t ignore this, but how do we know if this is an obsession and there has been mentioned by the Police of an intellectual disability, because of all of his ravings. He will say he is going to do car stealing or going on about other crimes.
The psychologist says he can’t help us with this, if I go to a psychiatrist he wants to medicate him, which my son refuses and that’s all he will do. What should I do and how can I get through to my son. He says he doesn’t want to go to prison in one sentence then he is raving on about crime, then says I need help mum. Where should I go for help, I know I am in a different country, but do I need someone who can help with obsessions or does he need further investigating into his mental health? Thank you for your time.

Hi.  My son's IEP is tomorrow, we have had an extremely difficult time with his teacher refusing to do his accommodations, and I need the usual accommodations written in explicit terms so that misinterpretations are no longer an excuse.  It sounds so easy, but I am really struggling with it.  Do you have a link you could send me or please show me where to copy and paste from your book? Thank you!! 


I am at my wits end parenting a 16 year old teenage boy diagnosed with Aspergers at 13 years old and ADD at 14 years old.  I have had to move out of my family home and leave my husband and daughter to live with my son because of the stress and chaos being caused in our family dynamics.  I came across your e-book on an internet search.  None of the ‘normal’ parenting strategies which work with my daughter work with my son.  I feel desperate for him and just want to feel connected with him again and improve his self-esteem.  How do I get hold of a copy of your book?
Thank  you


Hello, Jackson is 10 ½ years of age and in the fourth grade. (DOB 08/18/2005). He saw an Asperger’s psychologist specialist, Dr. Gaskill and Dr. Joy Ross. They both said he has ADHD but was possibly mild with Asperger’s symptoms. The school psychiatrist, OT evaluations did not see the Autism issues (seemed ignorant about Asperger’s) because he is so verbal.  We have just stuck with the ADHD primarily as dx. The school decided it was all behavioral and we are constantly told by friends and family that we don’t discipline him enough. This is frustrating because we feel we do. After reading your manual I know that yelling, screaming, isolating and spanking him does not help. The main diagnosis has been ADHD and Sensory processing disorder for Sensory seeking.
Quite frankly, I have fought the diagnosis of Asperger’s because I feel he’ll be scrutinized and labeled (or us too). I’m sure pride and feelings of defeat are in my way. But as Jackson is getting older, he is still showing social skills and higher anxiety issues and he seems so immature. I am wanting to be open to find help for him. The diagnosis has been frightening for me to surrender that he truly has a brain disorder. My husband and I have had marital counseling and the therapist stated that my husband seems to also have an adult Asperger’s syndrome that he has learned to adapt to the environment with. I’m reading. “Over The Edge”, by Kathy Marshack. It is helping me see my husband, Will’s, issues as well as Jacksons.
As far as the main question to begin with is he needs to go to his afterschool program (YMCA since Kindergarten). His year, he is homeschooled (private tutored). (The teacher uses applied behavioral therapies.)  The YMCA has  many electives that accommodate his interests. We know to select small classes and to avoid unstructured groups. Regardless, he  is having more conflicts with not listening, arguing, disrespect and punching/hitting. He doesn’t communicate well and the kids are noticing his obsessions and oddness. Kids are mean at this age and he is getting teased for liking dolls and girl toys. He also loves battleships, Godzilla, history, mythology, etc. but his interests are of both girl/boy things. Kids are shunning him and he gets frustrated. The YMCA in the last two months has seen his behavior escalated and he has been aggressive and more impulsive. He seems to impulsively push or grab and then stop. It doesn’t continue for more than a few seconds but they say he’s being “violent”. He has been suspended multiple times. The leaders at the Y have been understanding to a degree but they don’t monitor children as his age as much. We (the teacher and I) are meeting with them next week to discuss options and to further explain that we feel his issues are not intentional. They have a “Zero tolerance rule” about physical aggression. I don’t know where else he will be cared for to attain social skills and build interests.
Main question for now is, “How can we help him stop the physical aggression?” That is our biggest concern since it halts activities. Jackson has been practicing breathing and relaxation techniques and listens to CD’s from Lori Lite. He loves them yet doesn’t seem to correlate the cds and books as a tool to everyday disputes. We also maintain blood sugar balance and hydration. We try to get him to have a good night’s sleep. He takes natural dopamine and gaba products with cofactors. His gluten and casein is not totally eliminated but is minimal. We think the Quillivant can make him irritable but it does seem to help with impulsiveness to a degree. Help!?!

Hi Mark
I have just come across your website and I am thinking to o order your ebook.I am a single parent with 17 yr old twins. Boy and girl. The boy, Cameron, was diagnosed Aspergers when he was 14yrs. While this was a relief to me, he has never really accepted it. It was good in the sense that, as well as having an explanation for his behavior,it also meant the school had to offer support with his learning. However, Cameron didn't accept or WANT the support. He continued to struggle and finally drop out of school with low grades. He is now in college doing a computing course which he chose to do because of his love of computing. However, the last month or two he has started to miss classes and I wonder why? He makes excuses about tutors being inefficient or not turning up etc. I am now trying to make contact with his course coordinator to try to find out how he is actually doing. 
He is getting help from a psychologist and he is on medication. Fluoxetine and Respiradone. But doesn't take them unless I put them beside him with water! His dad undermines all the help and support I have put in place which includes support workers from NAS (National Autistic Society)taking him out 8 hrs per week. He tells him I have had him 'tagged' with a condition but that it's ME that's mental and that I am driving him the same etc. This confuses Cameron and he always comes home hating me and not wanting to take his medication because his dad says I'm drugging him up and that keeps him tired and less bother to me!! 
Cameron seems to be fixated on his sister and hates her most of the time. He constantly picks on her and publicly humiliates her all the time. I am guessing he is jealous because she is NOT Aspergers. It causes huge problems in the home as well. He has extreme anxiety and OCD and lots of cleaning regimes. He 'bullies' us all the time, by shouting and swearing if we don't tidy or pick up after ourselves every time we move! We have locks now on our doors to stop him constantly invading our private space to tidy and rearrange even inside our drawers. But he steals the key if we forget to put it away and still goes in our rooms. We feel stressed as we have NO private place or sanctuary!
Cameron quite often has,what I presume are meltdowns if I don't be careful and walk on eggshells around him. He has smashed all the  pictures frames in the house and removes and ripped up replaceable baby photos in them.  He shouts and swears and threatens us. He shouts he wants me to die a horrible death etc..... However.... He has lots of times when be hugs me and tells me how much he loves me and how good a mum I am etc.  

I am living on my nerves with him and his sister refuses to accept his behaviour is Aspergers related. She thinks he is nothing but a bully and she hates him!  He is really awful to her the majority of the time and I dread if they are in the house together especially if I am not there because I know things will kick off and he gets vicious  with his tongue!

I am putting these issues to you to see if you think what is going on here is 'typical' Aspergers behaviour and would we benefit from your online tuition for dealing with any of these issues?  


Hi Mark,

Firstly I would love to thank you for your you-  tube clips, and it was my aspie hubby of 15 years that brought them to my attention just over 12 months ago.
particularly grief of an NT and tough message to husbands.

I am a nurse from Melbourne, yes yes I know a another empath NT,  brought up in a home with undiagnosed aspie Father, step father and brother.

My hubby is very high functioning and had mastered coping skills to a perfection, he is sexual, funny and social, loves live music an admittedly used to self medicate with alcohol to feel relaxed,.

Im not a needy person and the first 3 years of our marriage went reasonably well, Im not a jealous person and loved the fact my aspie gave me so much freedom to follow my own hobbies, work commitments and friends.
There were certainly moments of WTF and him shutting down with conflict. but real drama hit when my ex husband ( father of my children was diagnosed with terminal cancer ) The household was not a happy place as two children were coming to terms and grieving the inevitable, My own emotions were spread everywhere and I didnt have the time nor energy to focus on my current hubbys pedantic ways.

He announced that the house to was too miserable for him and he hated coming home to such sadness.. well I lost it, and between the both of us we sprayed some pretty nasty venom, ending with me telling him Ï hate him and he is a selfish asshole"

That was 6yrs ago and he left and I was devastated, I was dealing with a terminal ex and 2 children, an awol aspie ( undiagnosed at the time ) and spent some time in crazy ville..

I decided after 4 months of him running and spending time on couchs, hotels and sleeping at Office, ( he did approach me during this time, but it was too blame me, I did things wrong, I was pyscho, too emotional and he has never met a women as nuts as me)
I was angry, very very angry and didnt allow him to bend me into the person i had been, I was always the peacekeeper, the sorry one, the one that said its ok lets move on..I simply had no move on left in me.

I decided on a whim and to save my sanity from a alcohol gambling hubby that rang at 3/4am to talk and then sober ignored me., to head to Bali for a much needed no contact mental break with the kids.
on my return 3 weeks later, he begged me to take him back.. I had conditions and they included therapy, OMG I had him pinned as narcisstic.

We are in Australia, an I looked for a clinical pysch as I knew the problems were more than just relationship issues, within 5 sessions (including individual sessions) I was pulled aside
and told that my husband has aspergers, I had a week before he was told and like a nurse i researched as much as i could, sadly back then all I coul find was very horrible blogs, stating to run like hell!

Im an intelligent women, and have always prided myself on my communication skills, I stupidly thought I would be the miracle success and began researching, learning everthing I could, I gave up on books as they told me
I would have to accept a life with no intimacy or to get my connection i would need to do it outside my relationship, I called bullshit on it and thought NO!! If he chooses to be with an NT, then he is also choosing o learn about
my world as much as I am learning about his.

Things ran smoothly for about 3 months until he had built courage to tell his mother ( ummm bingo ) She called him horrible names, blamed me for his diagnoses and hasn't had contact since.. YES..wow the aspie world widened, Shanes mum brother and sister all undiagnosed also.. Its absolutely mindblowing.

I decided after 5 long years of research and him slipping in and out of denial, me getting ill and depressed finally diagnosed with CFS / fibro that I was an idiot!
I have choices in my life and sitting in a stagnant non accepting relationship was not for me.
I had spent several years while researching AS looking at my own family dynamics and wild reactions based on my own inner childhood feelings of abandonment due to my own family of aspies..
ha, I am so NOT codependent, said the codependent person..mmmm that was me!!

Realizing my own enabling and reactive behavior was a huge part of our problem, but he still was in denial, I ha lost my will for my marriage and I was calm and no longer feared
being on my own, or losing my material wealth we had accumulated. The anger was gone and sadness for myself was lft, I loved my husband but i no longer loved myself with him and that was my turning point
and my own empowerment.

I calmly told him that loving him was not enough for me, and I can no longer stay in a relationship with a diagnosed manchild that sits in denial an blames me. I told him I didnt need a response and
I wasnt threatening him, I was truly ready.

It took him 4 days, during that time I spoke not a word about AS not a word about us or my feelings..I was done, he came to me after work and asked me to sit down, he then proceeded to show me your series of you tube clips,
my eyes were glued and he kept repeating like a lightbulb had turned on.."thats you" "that sounds like you" and he admitted he had been using the diagnosis as an excuse and he was angry abut it, he was terrified I would think of him as retard.
Autism is a BIG word for a man in his 40's.

He told me he would never live in denial again, and he could see how miserable I was, but he didn't know how to fix years of hurt. Very cautiously I listened to him and with little trust I went back into the relationship,
 he has been open and more honest in 12 mths than our 15 years of marriage.

I have learnt so much more about how he thinks and what he thinks and the key to communication has finally opened.
I had a few conditions going back in and they included Anxiety therapy I implemented and active listening skills I made compulsary..lol

The anxiety therapy was very adjusted for his mindblindness and TOM, but basically allowed him to stop think about his feelings, helping him recognize what is anger and what is frustration, confusion etc.
The active listening skills involved both of us checking back and clarifying, at first this was a difficult task and with time it has become a natural part of how we communicate and I once again feel safe to offer
opinion or difference of opinion without being attacked or told Im wrong.

I would like to know if you are offering therapy as I now along with a mental health nurse married to an aspie ( also in a success story ) Admin a private page on FB
that supports ladies in relationships with ASD men, each story is very different and each aspie is very very different. Some are lower functioning with huge sensory issues, while others are like my hubby.

Our  page is a safe place for ladies to explore and feel validated, its been a crucial part of helping them with the grief they feel and also encouraging ladies not o sit in a victim role and be proactive in creating
positive change, Being with an aspie partner is not for everyone and we certainly have ladies that are very angry, but the page is very unique as Michelle and i do not tolerate generalized hate or comments, they must be kept to their own experience.

Part of the page is allowing ladies to have a safe place to vent, and is crucial in their support. Some are recovering from violent relationships, an we stress that AS is not a license for bad behavior, but rather that is also a personality or environment thing.
Currently we have 510 members an are very proud to say how amazing and wonderful these women are, bullies are weeded out and people telling others to run or leave is forbidden, unless there is obvious physical violence. then they are requested to seek womens support shelters or helplines.

Ladies are from all over the world so the support is 24/7.

Currently we recommend  http://counselorstephanieholmes.com/?p=207 

But I would love to be able to share your insight with ladies going through some pretty tough times, and i like your tough approach, no bullshit and we are lucky in Australia to have Tony Attwoods clinic here, but to be honest my hubby does not relate to Tony Attwood, he says he sounds pretentious and condescending.

Not all aspies ar engineers or computer addicted nerds, some like mine learnt from an early age that to be cool smoke, drink and get full tattoos and be different was his way of being accepted. ( he had a child at 14 ) with no parental guidance ue to his AS
mum, he was a rebel nightmare teen.

Anyhow thanks for listening.

Cheers Leisa

Happily married to my amazing ASD hubby.


Hi Mark

I bought your e-book in March after reading your website and identifying so completely with all of the feelings you describe a wife of an Aspie feels.  It spoke directly to me.  It happened at the time our son of 15 started to see an educational psychologist for  help with focus and socialisation.  When she mentioned that she thought my son has Aspergers it dawned on me that my husband perhaps does too and I started researching and came upon your book.  I have listened to both the recordings about resentment (yes I am struggling with this one) and about what would be required of us both to make our relationship work.  

We separated last  year in October, but I chose not to go immediately for a divorce in the hope that a separation may shift things between us.  At the time I did not suspect he had Aspergers but felt we had become dysfunctional and co-dependent – with my being the one who has taken on 100% financial and social responsibility for our family and he has become more and more self absorbed and disconnected.  We will have been married for 18 years on Tuesday.  I am facing a real dilemma, as my husband has denied for many years that there is anything wrong with our relationship, that he might need help and has resisted every attempt that I have made to get our son help.  I really do want to find a way to make my marriage work, but am afraid that unless he is prepared to openly explore the possibility he has Aspergers and we get help the won’t have even a chance.    

I tried to broach the subject today by  mentioning to him that I had been reading and thinking a lot about us and that I wondered if he would consider the  possibility that he might have Aspergers since we care a lot about each other but seem to come at life and relationships in such divergent ways that perhaps this was the reason.  He was skeptical and said that this seemed to him another attempt by me to have him and our son diagnosed or made to have problems and that this reflected more about me than them.  He did say however he would read up and see but I am not all that hopeful.   Of course this may come up again when we need to face it with our son if this is  the outcome of the assessments.  I do however feel under some pressure to get us to explore this possibility as we are seeing someone for marriage counselling and without disclosing this, I feel awkward.   I am fairly clear that I cannot go back to where I have been unless we can explore this as a possibility and a bridge to re-building our relationship.

I would really appreciate any advise or thoughts that you have for me to get my husband to consider this as a serious possibility and as something that could actually be positive for us all.  


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