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COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for Oct., 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.


Dear Mr. Hutten,

I have a son who is 7 years old and was diagnosed ADHD Asperger when he was 4. Me and my husband have watched your film The Asperbergs-ADHD overlap this weekend and believe it’s a really great summery of the similarities and differences. Thank you!

I have one question though: when a person have double diagnose can the person show totally different sides because of the different diagnoses are shown randomly? We have a hard time understand what is what, what is diagnoses, personality and age. Our biggest problem is that we can’t see a clear pattern in our son. What he liked yesterday he rates today, the way he acted yesterday is different from the reaction we see today etc.


Hi Mark,

I'm an LFMT and mom of an Asperger's (HFA) teen.  My son is almost 17 now and in 11th grade.  He's very bright, and recently quite social (although lacking in social skills of course).  He was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child but we didn't understood his defiance, extreme inflexibility and lack of frustration tolerance as placing him on the spectrum until his teen years.   I'm thinking of purchasing your ebook and would like to know when it was written.  I'm in the Los Angeles area and wondering if you've worked with any clinicians or know of any that you would consider experts in working with HFA kids in our area?  It's been a difficult year.  My ex and I are scared by our son's anger
and his impending adulthood which is just around the corner.


Hello Mr. Hutten,

I was looking online to get some help for my Aspergers 18 yo who is a first year engineering student at Purdue. He is having a difficult time adjusting to campus life and just wants to quit and come home. I am trying to get him appropriate immediate help at the University which has proven a little difficult. His counselor is scheduled to see him on Friday. I am trying to get him into a clinic and into the academic success center, but he is not willing to take the necessary steps to help himself. He claims he wants help but cant get motivated enough to get the help. When things get rough, he avoids. He has missed a number of classes and his first Honors Engineering test on Monday (which he studied for until 2:30am) because he was too paralyzed with fear to take it. He scheduled himself to meet with his academic adviser yesterday and then he cancelled it. How do I get him the help he needs if he refuses to help himself? Do I just allow him to avoid and come home? Then what? BTW, up until missing his test on Monday he was getting all A's and B's in all of his classes. So, as he put it, it is not that he can't do it academically, it is that he is not emotionally prepared to be in college. How do I get him emotionally prepared?

To further complicate matters, the University will give us a 40% refund on tuition if he decides to withdraw this week. After that, it will be 0. Please HELP.


Hi Mark,

I think my partner may have Aspergers’.  He brought it up once when we were having a difficult conversation, but said he’d never been diagnosed with it and didn’t want me to tell anyone.  At the time I didn’t know anything about Asperger’s- now I’ve read several articles and fear that he is though I’m not sure.  I doubt he’ll go to get a diagnosis. 

Here’s what’s crazy making for me…  We’ve only been dating 6 months but have had wonderful times together when we spend weekends together which we usually do as he lives over an hour’s drive away and can’t visit during the week.. When we’re together I feel like I’ve been falling in love with him, but then when we’re apart during the week it’s like I fall out of love with him as our phone calls are so dissatisfying for me.  It’s like he’s a different person- and since there’s no physical touching, intimacy or eye gazing, etc on the phone, I feel like he treats me as a distant acquaintance… I don’t feel much caring, empathy or warmth from him. 

He says he’s a romantic yet I rarely feel seen, valued, affirmed, complimented, appreciated or known by him.  I think he does really care for me and is consistent and loyal but I rarely get compliments  (he says it’s very hard for him to compliment- he feels it’s dangerous- same with saying I love you and all kinds of loving, empathetic affirming statements.)  Since my love language is Words of Affirmation, I feel like I’m dying on the vine. 

Also, I find our phone conversations separating as they seem so boring and just talking about surface stuff- he’s extremely smart but says himself he has a very low Emotional IQ- so he doesn’t like to talk about feelings, etc.  We seem very intimate when we’re together, but hardly at all over the phone, or in any kind of deeper conversations… And I LOVE having deep, emotionally based conversations. He has a very hard time with these kind of conversations which is frustrating for us both.  I really care for him and even love him, but sometimes, like when we’re on the phone I wonder if I even like him, or if I’ll ever really feel seen and loved by him.  I’ve communicated my desire for compliments on several occasions and he is doing a little better but it’s so far from what I would find satisfying I wonder how much better it will ever be.  Any suggestions?



Good Morning.  Thank you for your thoughts.  We have re established contact with our son and yes he is taking his meds and seeing doctors in Austin for his various medical issues.  All those are good things.  Once upon a time when he was 18 months old, (more or less) he had an encounter with a bicycle gear.  In other words he lost part of his finger in that gear.  His 3 year old brother was riding the bike.  There was a product liability lawsuit and he and his brother won.  They got between them around $100,000.  That’s good.  The court allowed us to use some of the money to pay for parts of his psych treatments and pay taxes and other expenses. 

We never put the $ in trust so when he turned 18 the money became his.  Yes i took the cowards way out and never set up a trust as i didn’t know who could be the trustee for a reasonable fee.  Now i am paying the price for my cowardice.  The money he had is down to about $7000.  He spent the money on a new Fiat 5000 all kinds of tech gear and furnished his apt in Austin.  My wife and I can’t afford to support him in his new life in Austin.  Help yes, a little yes.  His entire rent which is about $1100 no.  We also got use to him not living with us and both feel so much better about hime being out of the house.  I feel free again and not like i’m walking on egg shells.  I really can’t take it when he gets verbally abusive to his mother, ( my wife), so we would prefer that he stay out of our house as a resident.  Visit yes.  Stay no.

Im not sure how to get him to slow down his spending,  .  Maybe if we are lucky he will start a job at Chipote which he has applied to and hired, but not yet started.  I am hoping that there is something we can say to our son that makes him stop spending like a drunk salior or ( the federal government.  I really don’t know if we can do this the “hard way”,  meaning let him live on the streets or out of his car.  He really can be a great person, just not necessarily to his parents.  He has great talents but how to monetize them is a different question.  He is great with technology and cooking.  But somebody has to hire him and pay him.  He tried working for Postdates, which is a food delivery service.  Great idea, except for the accident, he ran into a curb and 3 flat tires.  So he didn’t actually net out any money.  At least he realized it was to expensive to continue.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.


Hello, I am in the UK and struggling with my high functioning autistic teenager. He is very close to Asperger and lacks the diagnosis as he was non-verbal until 10. He is very intelligent, a talented pianist and successful artist. His spoken language is still limited but he writes well with great expression and his comprehension is good.
Over the past year his meltdowns have intensified become increasingly destructive, aggressive with self harm and a total loss of control. He tries so hard to calm himself it is painful to watch. He will cry afterwards for at least an hour.
To answer the problem his doctor has put him on antipsycotic medication but it usefulness is limited and the dose has been increased and increased to the point where he is a wiped out zombie. It is spoiling his life and taken the fun and good times.I want to reduce the medication, stop it and have my lively, funny, talented son back.


I have 17 year old daughter that I sadly fear will either end up dead or incarcerated in next 10 years.  This all started 3 years ago with inappropriate behavior with boys.  We sent her to boarding school in mississippi that worked with kids like Emma.  She got kicked out after 8 months for sex with student.  Then, used our last bit of money to send her to Outward Bound.  Great program, we were very hopeful.  Since getting home I got a call from principal she cyberharrased a fellow student and was on verge of being expelled from public school.  Yesterday, I learned over last couple months she stole about $500 from her grandmother who has been very loving and generous with her.

I am reluctant to spend any more money on her and was going to call the tenneesee women's prison for tour for her.

Thank you for letting me vent.  I just don't have much hope anymore.


Hi Mark:

I have a quick question-parent to parent! My son is in middle school (7th grade)-on the spectrum. They are assigning a book to read called, "The Boy in Striped Pajamas".  It is about two little boys who meet in a concentration camp. In the end, they die in a gas chamber together.  The reading is required, and then they watch the movie over the book.  Due to the contents of the movie, parental consent is required.  However, the book is not an option.  

I know that the book will affect my son deeply in ways I am not even certain of yet.  But he is very sensitive...and so I spoke with the Language and Literature teacher in a meeting about seeking an alternative.  She said there was nothing that could be done, but that she would speak to the Dept. Chair, as the students would not be studying the book until after Fall Break.  (Note-they finish with the book just before Christmas Break and watch the movie.)

I followed up today with the teacher to find out what had been determined, and her reply was, "unfortunately, the Dept. Chair didn't come up with anything, so I and your son's Resource teacher will be as supportive as we can be." 


First of all I want to say a resounding thank you. Your youtube video on obsessive thinking was spot on and I have honestly never heard someone describe it as well as you did. Thank you so much for that. Second, I am wondering if you do Skype sessions or even phone sessions. I am an adult with Aspergers syndrome who is married to my partner. How long would the session be and for how much?


  I could really do with this at the moment, my marriage is hanging by a thread and we're now waiting for a mediation appointment.  My husband ABSOLUTLEY REFUSES to acknowledge that he has aspergers.  Instead I am the persecutor, a liar and not to be trusted.  This has not been help by a lovely psychiatrist who would not diagnose because she said he didn't meet the current criteria and didn't have impairments in all categories of the DSM, namely he told her he played team sports when he was younger and she told me that people with aspergers cannot play team sports??

Sorry for the ranting.  By the way, I am in Ireland and a therapist myself!?? makes me feel even more awful to be honest.  


Hello Mr. Hutten,

My name is Laurie Cummings and I am the mother of a 23 yr old adult son on the spectrum, Dylan, and would like to inquire if you are accepting new Skype clients.  We are in Oklahoma.  I ran across your website when researching online counseling options for Dylan.

Dylan has struggled for years and has multiple DXs, including severe ADHD/Executive Function deficits, Anxiety, And auditory processing deficits…along with social anxiety.  In addition, he has struggled with compulsive self harm behaviors such as skin picking and pricking.  He is under the care of a psychiatrist AND pain management physician, however, we are looking for a psychologist for CBT to help Dylan with his struggles…. from the privacy and convenience of home.   Dylan additionally has had struggles with substance abuse (painkillers), however, is stable and in treatment separately for that.  We are looking for the “Third leg” of his treatment team…. a great therapist he can connect with.

Dylan is currently on SSI Disability due to these conditions, having been approved in 2015, without appeal, due to his extensive medical documentation over the years.  In short, he is a complex young man, but super sensitive, loving and smart.

Dylan agrees with the idea of additional therapy.


Just briefly:
1) What do I do to try to get my son to talk about things?
2) Respect household rules/curfews?

Anytime I try to talk to him he calls me a “helicopter” parent…regardless of what the topic is.

He recently had homecoming dance.  I said after the dance he needed to come home (he wanted to stay the night at his girlfriends house- Her Dad was there - we don’t know him and the girlfriend said it would be ok!)  Regardless we stated that it would not be appropriate and that he needed to be home when the party was breaking up. He stayed out (we didn’t have her address or phone # and his phone “died” with no charger (they are all generic chargers).

I was trying to come up with a consequence, keeping in line with the consequence should match the rule broken.  However he has his own pick up that he pays for himself (plus taxes, license, insurance, gas, and repairs).  I thought about using his spare key to “take” the pick up away from him, but could he then file a police report of theft?

There is no “grounding” him as he just refuses to listen.  So we ground him with other consequences:  Ex: Brother and sister get lunch bought for them because they are obeying the house rules.  You get to miss out on this lunch.

His girlfriend (really nice good natured young lady, with a kind heart) had a curfew with her Dad as did the other kids in the group.  I asked him about that.  I also asked if the Dad had any house rules for his daughter having her boyfriend stay over and he said “I had to sleep in the basement and she had to stay upstairs.  He has x,y,and z types of guns, knows how to use them, and told me of some land he owns?”  I think the Dad is military (which my son respects and is planning on joining himself. )

So basically, he understands and follows other peoples house rules, curfews, and treats them with respect but we get the opposite.
I have tried to encourage my husband to take him out, spend time hunting, fishing and talking with him.  It also opens up a pathway of two way male conversations.  They do go, spend time bonding, but it doesn’t seem to help when the chips are down.  It’s simply our sons way or no way!

How do we get him to understand that “parenting” is something all parents do!  Rules need to be followed at home, in school, at church, in the community, at his job, in traffic and online!  The only rules he has a problem with are home and school.  He sometimes leaves school during lunch but he doesn’t have the schools permission (due to failing grades, or time owed), but he wants to “go out” to lunch!
He won’t use notes for tests and sometimes (not always, as we have seen improvement) refuses to meet with teachers (as per his IEP) to get help from them.

I am going to stop here, as it’s already too long!  Sorry.
Any advice?   He just shouts, gets angry, and gets up and leaves.
I am reaching out for help and hope you respect that by passing on some info. you think might help us.

Sorry to be blunt, but I need help, solutions, advice, and guidence …our son is a good kid but I don’t know what to do to help him understand, cope, problem solve and remain calm in stressful situations.

We have tried various things, some work, some don’t.  Just looking for something new.
Thank you for your time.



Our 17 year old, 12th grade son was diagnosed at the age of 13. He has a difficult case according to the three doctors, school district testing, etc.   He had a medical reaction to the two different ssri administered at the age of 13.  It was so bad (every black box) description. We almost lost him. It took a year for him to recover from not knowing his name, violence against walls, and hit me once one time,  etc. during this time, cops were called twice by my husband.

At the age of 14 he went to high school. Recovered more and by junior year thriving with basketball, chess club, drama, musicals, grades etc.. to a point the doctor thought we were doing well and we kept in contact. School officials and teachers also saw the phenomenal growth and trajectory.

Then in second semester junior year, he regressed to not showing up on time (hour late). Feeling like he was not doing well. Was bullied at school. We worked with school. During this time his OCD germ phobia that he has kicked in higher.

Now it's senior year. His first week started on time. Then bully spit on him and school told him something that was unprofessional (they did charades of students to orient new teachers and he was told). Now He's showing up later and later (meaning I'm late to work as well) because his OCD has kicked into high gear from spraying nothing to spraying everything with either febreeze or soap and water. I mean everything (floors car handles and seats books papers etc).  Hes also hoarding the soap bottles, cans, etc. we can't touch the items. We have tried. When do, he melts down  and doesn't move forward. He is processing everything, the ritual of what moved when, how,,etc. until it's put back. The cops were recently called by our neighbors because they heard my son saying you're hurting me, which was actually the other way around. Since then, he saw a cop drive by our house and he literally comes running to me and says "mommy mommy please protect me. You didn't call them did you. Please protect me." I hadn't called. The cop was just driving by.

Our son is also controlling when we/I leave our room and where we/I can walk through house.

My husband and I have temporarily separated about August 13, at my son request, because my husband had so many disagreements and such poor communication between us two. As our doctor said three years ago, we need to get on same page, but we couldn't. So, thinking it would help us and help him, my husband and I agreed to temporarily separate with the intent to get back together.

At the end of August our son started to slap me when routine was disrupted. He's not done this multiple slapping thing before, even at worse time when he was 13. Since august 13, he has slapped me four different times for lengthy periods. He blocks me from moving or retreating.  I bruise easy. They were slaps. I understand  it's bad, and son started to see that not good and started to self regulate by saying I need to go for a run, I'm upset. Because of this self correct  and because he is fine in all other places including mainstream school, I don't want to call the cops.

But the last time (oct 14) he changed. It's now kicking and slapping harder. I told him to stop. Its inappropriate. He said stop talking and reacting or I will hit you more. I stopped. He stopped. It's now been two days of processing how bad he feels for doing what he did, etc.

My husband and I are back seeing the psychiatrist  and seeing a marital counselor in the next week. Our psychiatrist has referred us to marital counseling so that we can decrease the stress and thereby decrease the OCD etc.  the doctor also notes our son appears at times to runs roughshod over us. I stand up as much as I can, correct him in loving manner when in error (and he is receptive when not in meltdown), and when it's the right battle to choose...Like getting to school, etc. but lately  when I state we must leave At such and such time and give warnings, he regresses into further processing everything. Then when he is late, he regresses because now he's late to school. The desire is there, its implementation.

My son is sleeping normal hours for a teen.  He's not in drugs or alcohol. During meltdowns or processing, he can't eat, but otherwise eats well. I know because I'm with him.

Also, my son refuses medicines of any kind, refuses to see doctors, etc because of everything that went on before. It actually causes horrendous issues just seeing his orthodontist.

 I am supported by people like you, our psychiatrist who has said I'm doing the right things, the aspergers experts, the aspergers parenting community, several friends, and my faith. But, I am honestly getting tired from doing all the work physically and basically emotionally alone (I.e. No one is with me when a melt down occurs); being the primary bread winner throughout our marriage; dealing with my temporary separation; and my husband's recent unemployment. I'm looking for tools to help me help my son.

My son refuses to let anyone else help. When I say I need to have someone else drive him to school or that I need a few minutes to take a rest because I've got a cold,  he melts down and says I'm not there for him and I'm his rock I need to be there. 


Dear Mark

 Two months ago my adored Aspie/HFA partner of 23 years announced he was leaving and never coming back. He has bought a motor home and plans to live in it, go to music festivals and ‘explore other relationships’. I know our relationship was struggling, I have had such huge pressures over the last few years (being sole breadwinner and homemaker, redundancy from a well paying job I enjoyed, having to take a lower paid new job I do not enjoy, menopause, overweight, two teenage boys to raise, one of whom also has had an autistic spectrum diagnosis) I could no longer meet his needs or deal with his ‘idiosyncrasies’. He had his diagnosis in his late 30’s, shortly after his nephew was diagnosed. It gave him some explanation of why he is how he is but there was little support or information available at the time. How I wish I had you then! I could have done so much more. Your book has gone a long way to help me understand, I resonate so much with many of your correspondents. I am at such a low ebb myself, with having to maintain domestic normality as he has not yet told our sons of his plans, I am at a loss as to how to proceed. He is adamant that our relationship is over (in his words) ” I respect you as a friend but I don’t see you as a lover anymore”. How wounding is that to a 55 year old overweight NT woman who feels she has given him everything and how typically AS? I would be very appreciative of any advice you could give me that would help our partnership as I feel it can be salvaged. I know he would not consider relationship counselling, he does not appear to want to save ‘us’ and would view it as ‘someone else always telling me what to do’ –one of his main gripes with me was that I always made decisions for him = me not believing him capable of decision making. He is capable, but so careful and so considered in his decision making that it invariably overruns the timescale within which the decision has to be made! I am trying to be strong and considerate to him through this but I am really cracking now and don’t know where to turn, please help!


I am wondering whether you could help me.  Let me describe my situation.
My son is 19.  He is difficult and manipulative with me but well behaved in the outside world and an excellent student.  He has a twin sister.  He played with her a lot when they were little but never had much of an interest in outside friendships.  By high school, he avoided being with friends if he could.  All he cared about was school work and getting into a top college.  He stressed himself out trying to be a perfect student.  He didn't get into any schools close to home that he wanted, so he went to a top school that is a plane ride away even though he had never been away from home and was very nervous.
He hated it from the start, always thought he was failing even though he ended the year with a 3.85 gpa.  He lost twenty pounds from stress, anxiety, and depression.  He developed an intestinal blockage from the weight loss and was hospitalized this summer and needed a feeding tube.
He did not go back to this college.  He is currently on leave.  He is home recovering and taking classes at a local school and doing an internship.
He's upset and stressed and feels like a failure.  He also has sensory hypersensitivity to light, sounds, and clothing seams and tags.
I'm really the only person he enjoys spending time with.  However, if I say something that annoys him (like if I tell him that he doesn't have to go to a top college to be successful), he starts insulting me and telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, and it just goes on and on.
He doesn't want to see a therapist, but I told him he had to go a few times.  The therapist he saw of course said he's extremely anxious about school, and this makes him controlling.  The therapist says he has sensory integration disorder and possibly Asperger's, and that the Asperger's could be causing his rigid thinking and perfectionism.
However, he understands jokes and sarcasm and doesn't take thinks literally and easily manipulates me (he knows how to push my buttons).  His speech is excellent and normal, and his coordination is normal.  The therapist says autism is a spectrum, so my son could just be very high functioning.
What do you think?  I found you by googling whether kids with Asperger's are manipulative or defiant with parents.  It seems like they can be defiant.  But can they manipulate, or does that require theory of mind?
He's also worried about being late, and he is just perfectionistic all around.  He could also have obsessive compulsive personality disorder and not Asperger's, but the therapist says that since he has always been this way and has tantrums starting at seventeen months and has sensory issues, it seems like Asperger's.
I can't get my son to keep seeing a therapist, and the therapist said not to force him because he will see it as an insult.  It will also just anger him.


Dear Mark,

My husband and I are in Toronto.  

Our 21 year old son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD.  He is "addicted" to gaming and rarely leaves his room for anything or anyone other than his girlfriend, a bit of food at night, and occasional night wanderings in the city.  He does not like to work and is having trouble finishing high-school although he has a very high IQ.  We are currently in our 4rth year of trying to support him finishing high-school since he crashed his 86% average and scholarship in 2013 - failing in the last two months of Grade 12.

For years I have been saying, we must remove the computer from his room.  He built himself a mega-gaming computer last year after burning out his laptop.  Recently we bought him a laptop for his school work with the plan of removing the gaming computer which is so much faster - but it has remained in his room, pending all sorts of promises and assurances and we have repeatedly bought into the concept of "harm reduction" rather than "cold turkey".

We have consulted numerous professionals who never seem to get the seriousness of the gaming addiction.  They dismiss the games and look for the underlying problem - as if leaving the bottle of vodka on the table helps an alcoholic explore their deeper emotional issues.  Imagine what would happen to anyone spending 1,000's of hours on those repetitive sniper attacks!  He sits for hours at a time.  While his mind and body have gone into decline over the last 5 years (really since Grade 11), we have not gotten the moral support/professional help we need to take what feels like a risky step.  He has scared us; he has made threats.

However, I feel like I can't sustain this any longer...we are now paying for private school, gym membership, cell phone, therapy, medications, and visits to his girlfriend in another town - and we get nothing in return.  He is still skipping school and the gym; he has no outside job, dreadful sleeping and health habits, a regular diet of hostility towards us and he is spewing conspiracy theories while reading all sorts of things on-line.  I fear we are training him into mental illness by supporting his on-line life.  

Hi Mark,

My son (JT) has been diagnosed by a respected psychiatrist in the Salem, OR area about 3 - 4 years ago with Asperger's Syndrome (HFA).  Over the last 18 months, my 17 year old son's OCD has been getting worse & my wife & I are often at wits end & are very frustrated on how to deal with this.  Here's are some of the aspects of his behavior which are of concern:

1)  Fear of germs:  We are not allowed out of our room in the morning to go to work unless (JT) has done is ritualistic cleaning which includes spraying (usually with Febrees) one or both of our cars, hallway, kitchen, sometimes the door handles and sometimes new things we have bought.  He also uses soap or Febrees on his hands without washing the soap off which makes his hands red & knuckles split open.  Also, he has a ritual of vacuuming a certain part of the family room carpet before we can leave our room..  He sprays so much liquid from the chemical every day that the laminate flooring in our hallway is starting to buckle.  My wife is concerned the carpet in her car is getting moldy.  Also, every area where we step including the garage floor is sprayed.  The only exception is the carpet inside our house.

2)  Hoarding Objects:  He will not throw away empty hand soap, laundry soap, Febrees bottles, or drink cans.  All rooms in our house my son feels comfortable in have his clothes, food, objects I have touched he thinks are contaminated, etc. spread out on the counters and floor.  Apparently, not throwing away stuff is tied to good or bad memories he is not ready to release yet.  Or it may be he must accomplish a certain goal before he can clean.  Problem is, he doesn't always tell us what his goal(s) are.  If we as parents try to help him clean or touch objects which should be thrown away, this causes my son to freak out.

3) Excessive tardiness, absences from his first period:  Naturally, this is a byproduct of his OCD and stress he goes through every morning causes JT and my wife and I to be late to work.

4) Discipline:  When we as parents try to use various types of discipline or correction such as, Please don't spray the floor, it is damaging the wood, etc., he will usually respond with, "Stop, you are causing me more stress"  Or if I say, JT let's go now, he responds with something like, Dad, you are causing me more stress, stop talking or we are going to be later.

Do you have tools to help our son with these specific issues?  We believe getting him to see a counselor would cause more stress so this is not an option at this time.  Is there a online blog or support group to understand what other parents have done in similar circumstances with successful outcomes?

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated!


No comments:

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