COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for Dec., 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.


My 21 year old son is sure I've been "talking to someone", since my parenting has changed.  I was appalled to hear myself described so clearly when you described an overindulgent parent. He had never been diagnosed, but has demonstrated defiant behavior his entire life. In retrospect, I wish I had recognized the link between his sensory issues and his anxiety. I can't tell you how many school counselors told me that I was doing a good job, he just has a defiant personality, and to hang in there.  Now, after 2 Baker Acts in the past 2 years and multiple psychiatrists, his list includes SPD, GAD, major depressive disorder, and PTSD (from the first Baker Act!).

It is painful, I'm dealing with a lot of "mouth" while cutting the purse strings, and he is truly a manipulative genius!  For the first time, I feel empowered. I have to listen over and over to figure out how to handle him, but I truly thank you!

Believe it or not, it is my daughter who has Aspergers. She is finishing her second year with City Year, which I described to my husband as a two year therapy session, with all of the focus on communication and team building for Corps members. She lived away from home while attending college, (despite roommate problems and deciding she was a lesbian), and is starting applications for her graduate degree in the medical field while back at home. She plans on moving out for school.

Thank you again. I only wish I'd found you before he turned 18!!!


My son is 33 now. Thought we had him on the right path.
I have not been able to find good consequences though.

He was arrested on Wednesday November 30. He is facing a court trial on Tuesday December 6 2016. For mental health issues. It is very serious

I was trying to wait until he could pay for counseling but now this makes it more urgent. He was out of control at the arrest. He now thinks it is something he can win or loose. He does not get that it is about his behavior.

I already realize that I allowed this behavior.

I would like to find someone to help him tomorrow. Just to show the courts we are starting the process. I have contacted you before.

He just started a good job this year and was making progress. In 2013 an evaluation stated: "I am very amazed at the progress Craig has made with all the issues he has"

I believe he needs therapy. I would like to prove faith that we are seriously working on things. I am trying to make an appt with a therapist that we already have had a meeting with here in Spokane but I don't know if he is available. We were trying to have Craig get the money up. He wanted that.

If there was a way to meet with a therapist to address Craig's emotions regarding the trial I believe it would help. 

Do you or do you know someone I could touch bases with tomorrow? On a one time eval maybe. Or what works best. It could be ongoing. Skype would be fine. I can pay.

I guess you could see that I am highly anxious and I need some therapy to learn how to deal with Craig better.


Well... how to begin... I'm from Brazil and my english may sucks, but I hope you can understand me. I'm in love with an aspie for almost 10 years. We have a long history of relationship and break-ups, but I thought that phase has gone. We was about to complete 2 years of marriage when he come to me saying that he only loved me like a mother or a sister. My world just fell apart. We had such a good relationship... Now I see that I didn't embrace his disability on the totallity, but I did my best at the time. I didn't want to abandon him. I know that you said in your book that sometimes they just need their time... I just want to know, is it common? For how long? Will he ever come back to me so we can work our marriage in a more correct way? I think that maybe I didn't studied enough about him... I can't stop thinking where I did get wrong even when he tells me that there's no one fault. I would be the best I could for him. Maybe I'm just selfish to think that I need him the same way he needed me. He says that I am the love of his life, that he gave me his best years.. even thought, he decided that we couldn't live together anymore. Now I know that he doesn't lie, specially saying things like that. Don't know if he think he isn't enough for me, like he said "he couldn't be the husband I need". Is it about his self steem? I'm sorry for this outflow. I admit that I had a meltdown after all of that, but now I'm recovering. I just need to say that your book helped me so much to understand more of him, but unfortunally just after he leave me. Maybe I'm just still imature, maybe he want to live new things away from me... I just need to understand why...


Where do I begin. My daughter up until recently was your ideal child she's quiet gets good grades and very soft spoken. However, lately she is acting up in school. Seeking attention in all the wrong avenues and as your video stated I'm lost on what to do. Good ol fashion butt whipping is what my grams said, she needs counseling is what my mother said, I don't believe spanking a kid is the answer and counseling put me in debt and no closer to a solution. Please help I have taken everything from her: electronics, the privilege of wearing regular clothes to school, no extra goodies snacks or otherwise and yet here I stand still with no solution. Un fortunately I don't have any examples to follow in my family. Television is truly what raised me. I'm open to ideas on what I can do to bridge the gap.


Thank you, Mark.
That helped a lot. I was able to get paperwork together. The trial was postponed to another date due to a conflict of interest. It was the judge that was involved in the incident.

We were able to follow through with an appointment that we started in September. He is a therapist who works with autistic and Asperger people. He diagnosed him today at first with severe trauma. But then it came out that Craig was schizophrenic. Craig is working well with him. He will be doing out patient treatment with a therapy called neuropathways at first. Also he will be going through psychotherapy.

My Question. How do I balance his brothers burnout with Craig? Adult. I think he will come around and support again in time. He had put a lot of time and energy into Craig. But now he is "done". John needs help as much as Craig with his military PTSD. A few months ago, John had to go thru a similar incidence with Craig and a neighbor. That's when we starting working on therapy for Craig.

I will look over your articles. But I wanted to know if you could steer me in the right direction. This is very hard. It's like he is jealous. He needs as much help as Craig does.

I am feeling weary like I really was too late. But maybe this is the right timing.

I need some information on how I can stand strong in setting boundaries. John is shutting craig out. But he is shutting me out too. Because he is burned out and wanting to go on with his own stuff. But his thinking isn't right. I feel like I have 2 sons with the same degree of dysfunction. But in differing and opposing ways. John also has traumatic brain injury.


Your youtube videos always come up in my search for anything to help me "fix" this marriage. 

My husband was diagnosed with Aspergers in January, although he has not fully accepted this yet.  Our son is 14 and was Dx'd when he was 8.  We also have an NT 16 year old daughter who's caught on the crossfire.  I'm 17 years into this marriage and I'm on my very last leg.  We have seen endless marriage counselors with no success as nothing sticks.   Tomorrow is always a new day for my husband but feels like groundhog day to me. 
Can you help us or refer us to someone?  We are in Dallas.  The one aspie marriage counselor we saw is not reliable as I believe he has cancer and is going through treatments.  Dr. Robinson diagnosed my husband but he does not work with couples.  Any help or referral will be appreciated.


Dear Mark

I hope you are well. I will try and keep this short. I am a single mom to a 17-year-old daughter and our home is hells kitchen as you describe - for her and me. I related to the video re: the stages - i.e. denial, acceptance and feel I am at the acceptance stage. I had the wool pulled over my eyes for I don't know how long. I got a call to pick my daughter from a so-called study sleep over and she was motherless drunk and vomited in my car. Since that stage, at the end of October 2016, things have gone downhill because I have stopped all sleep outs and am probably seeing with my own eyes what has been going on for a while. Since then I have picked her up once smelling like alcohol (denied it but I had bought an electronic breathalyser). Her Dad and I (who haven't been together for 16 years) decided that she should go away with him to his hometown a week earlier for the school holidays - with the realisation of alcohol use/abuse has come the realisation of a huge amount of lying as well as ducking and diving (I have picked it up as well as her Dad and school). I cannot tell you how much lying I am picking up. I cannot believe anything that comes out of her mouth. She begged and pleading and pulled out all the stops not to go the week early with her Dad, but I stood firm for the 3 hours of pleading/anger. She went out with her friends the night before leaving (with a curfew of 12 midnight) and was motherless drunk again when I picked her up and had been into town (I found out from another mother) at a bar when she knows I don't allow her to be in town.

I have spoken to her counsellor (she hasn't seen her for about 5 months) as I felt a move to her Dad might be what's best for her (more family there to keep an eye on her, there is a school space for her there to do her final year of school 2017). She said I should give her the choice of finishing off school with Dad or coming home and agreeing to no alcohol (for a period until Easter when the situation will be reassessed) and no sleep outs (and weekly sessions with her counsellor). To cut a long story short, my daughter refuses to discuss or agree to these terms but wants to speak about it in person when she gets home (i.e. she will try and get out of the rules). She has been begging and pleading to come home from her Dad, but - again another long story short - we have realised she has a happy face for him and a miserable I'm being damaged here face/messages for me. The counsellor says that she needs to agree to the boundaries set before she comes back.We are having three-hour conversations on the phone and she won't take no for an answer (that the boundaries are not negotiable and she cannot home now but on 27/12 or 28/12 depending on flights).  The counsellor also suggested that should she break the rules of no drinking etc, on the third time (i.e. of drinking) she should have a choice to go back to her Dad or to go into teenage treatment (there is a clinic here in my town with a teenage unit - not just for substance abuse but for behavioural issues too). I should mention that I am a recovering alcoholic and her Dad is a recovering addict so the alcohol use is a huge thing for us due to her predisposition gene-wise. My daughter thinks that she is completely normal and I am blowing everything out of proportion.


Hi Mark

Thank you so much for your wonderful website!
I wonder if you can advise me please, I have a 12 year old Aspie daughter who seems to be getting worse the older she gets:
She is very depressed and anxious and on medication under the care of a psychiatrist, she refuses to see a psychologist
She won’t go out to the shops at all anymore, the only place she goes to is the movies occasionally
She now prefers to have the curtains drawn and live in a low light environment
She’s not interested in food
She only has 1 good friend at school but she doesn’t always play with my daughter
Academically she’s doing very well but hates school

How can I help her with her anxiety and get her to push past these boundaries she’s built around herself?


Hi there I've just come across your page whilst looking for some help with my 11yr old son.
Really need some help with getting my son understanding and accepting social situations with his peers, he becoming increasingly ostrisised by his peers for being annoying ,however he doesn't understand what he's doing wrong.
I've tried working on social stories with him but I really need some help, as a parent and an educator in the special needs sector myself I'm worried I'm not seeing the bigger picture and I'm bereft that I can't help him.
He hasn't got a diagnosis as I've always felt it not necessary to label him , but I'm devastated that he's so unhappy at school and I need to help him
Please can you help ?



Just a quick message to follow up on my call.  I am the "perfect example -
ticks (or should that by styms) every box" high functioning aspie.

The UK psych decided that he had never met such a perfect case.  I have 3
aspie children, and a long suffering NT wife.

One of the principle advantages of getting a diagnosis, at least outside the
US, is the fact that once a formal diagnosis is present, the child / adult is
far more likely to qualify for benefits.

I have never managed to hold down employment.  I have thrown in the towel on
well paid contracts repeatedly, because I was unable to put up with travel on
the tube / suburban trains.  I fly to see clients - and get escorted through
the airport. I'm still a damn fine lawyer - albeit one who must work in private
practice.  There have been suggestions that I am John Cage from Ally Macbeal
(possibly the odd in-court outburst).

Those not on the spectrum have substantial issues understanding why someone is
"a little odd", why an AS individual (as an adult) is more likely to be the
victim of violent confrontations - has a much lower chance of being in full
time employment.


Dear Mark Hutten,

My son Aaron is a 23 year old high school graduate with an Aspergers diagnosis accompanied by high levels of anxiety and impulsivity.  This afternoon I am reading yourblog entry:  Fight, Flight or Pretend:  The 3 Anger Styles in High-Functioning Autistic Kids.  Of course I am recognizing my son Aaron who falls into the first camp most of the time, and sometimes the second or third, depending on the circumstances.

More broadly Aaron is supposed to receive support from a psychologist / social worker as part of his employment readiness program, however this has been intermittent and unreliable. At this point we have given up on addressing Aaron’s needs through the DC system and would like to find a private psychologist or social worker.  We did that for many years before Aaron finished high school and it was helpful. So now we are looking for a practitioner who has experience focusing on high functioning young adults with like Aaron.  

Please advise if you have any colleagues you may be able to recommend here in the Washington DC area.

Hello ,
 I am married to an Aspie. We have been married for just 10 months , after dating for about 3 years. This is a second marriage for both of us. I always knew something was different with my now husband, but thought it was because we have different cultural backgrounds ( he is American and I am Cuban ). I finally had him tested and definitely meets the criteria to be in the Spectrum  as an Asperger. Just yesterday I ran into your blog about Living with an Asperger partner and all you describe there is so going on in my relationship. The grieve cycle, I have been calling " the crazy cycle", because I think we will get out of it when he says he will try , but then we get pull back in again and it has truly destroyed all hope in me. We live in Cincinnati , Ohio and as I was checking your website I realize you are not that far from us. I was wondering if you offer workshops, conferences, office visits, small groups, that we could go to in order to avoid divorce that is what truly is in my mind at this point.

Can you please let us know how you could help us keep our marriage ?

Thanks so much and many blessings to you and your practice.


i have learnt about your coaching after googling THERAPY FOR PARENTS OF ASPERGERS. Before i register, i would like to know if you could help me in our situation. My son is high functioning aspergers, is 22 yrs old , but is not living with us. He is abroad, lives with a  kind family, works in a special needs place as a leader in the mornings, and has study partners in afternoons and evenings. He is having CBT therapy twice a week, and is on  medication. He suffers a  lot from anxiety and is very obssessive in his thoughts. I speak to him almost every day and my husband around 2 or 3 times a week.  If we have the right tools , perhaps we can pass them on to whoever interacts with him. Please advise me, ty in advance,


With regards to a 3 day grounding with, for instance no cell phone, PC, I-pad etc – I have tried on a number of occasions before to get my daughter’s cell phone off her, but it gets physical where she will not give it to and I try and get it and it ends up in a tug of war with the phone. I’ve always therefore given up because I don’t like to get physical with my daughter. What do I do ?

She also has excuses for why she needs her phone such as her school work is on there (they are a very technological school so it could be true) or she has group chats re: homework. If I take just her phone away, she will then just use her i-pad and PC for chatting. Again the excuse is she needs it for homework/school. She is 17.


Dear Mr. Hutten,

As you know, I've contacted you before about what a fan I am of your work.  I would like to work something out with you wherein I might occasionally reprint one of your articles and then provide a link to your website.  I can also put in the credits whatever you want about the for-pay services you provide and how to contact you.   I'm asking on behalf of my webpage OASIS @MAAP.  If you are interested, I may be reached at the number below at anytime during business hours. 


I've done an online diagnosis and all of my children have is well, and all agree that my husband has Aspergers. He admitted it at first until he felt like he was the " problem". Then he backtracked and  his anger toward me wad too much and I went back into denial. I ordered the book and and am absolutely going to follow it is closely as I can. But would it not help if he could at least admit he has Aspergers? How can I help him do that?

I am a special needs teacher and work with autistic children every day. I have all of my course work done in for my PhD in psychology. I have been working on my dissertation in combative relationships for 20 years, and have not been able to complete it, because just about the time I feel I have answers, more big fights throw me into despair. We both love each other and have a beautiful family and are very committed, even after all of the fights over the last 42 years. But I am emotionally broken and desperate and don't know how much longer I can go on.


Dear Mr. Mark Hutton,

We are in the process of downloading your book TEACHING SOCIAL SKILLS AND EMOTIONAL  MANAGEMENT.  My daughter is 31 years old, by profession a teacher and fully employed. She is an Aspie, not identified but we know.  We’d like to keep it “hidden” because the school board would take it as a convenient excuse should anything occur that is unusual.  Her students (Gr. 7) love her as she has unending patience and this has been the greatest gift.  On top of it, she has a big heart and feels for them all.  So far so good. 

Our concern is her lack of social skills with her peers. She is wonderful with kids, even better with the older generation but any “budding” friendship dies within a couple of months.  Thankfully, the professional group that she works with has been professional in every aspect.  I am just concerned this might not always be the case.  In fact it was not.  In her previous school, it reminded her of the horrible years in high school where she had a tough time.  There she was totally ostracized.  I am dreading this could occur again.

For this reason, we are trying desperately to find ways of rectifying the problem.  We know, Asperger cannot be cured but what we are looking for are skills that help to cope with “it” and the world.  Most advice and help is geared to children and teenagers.  Our daughter was always a good student (except in math), did well in university and did well in job interviews.  She found all her high school jobs on her own and this one right out of university so we did not think “the social aspect” could cause a problem though we knew it was there.  Now, as an adult this seem to have intensified.

Any thought or advice would be very much appreciated.  Thank you.


I am having trouble with my daughter and have been for a while. She has been in therapy, but it was inconsistent, at best, and ineffectual.

I have read articles about the various symptoms, but she has so many, She has a lot of combinations and no, single, article seems to address this complexity.  I don't know where to begin.

Going back several years, my daughter was having health issues. Her weight was high and she was being treated for precocious puberty and pre-diabetes. Soon after, she was being treated for ADHD. To make things worse, for some reason, she breaks REALLY easy. I mean physically. She has had over 60 fractures. Most have occurred in the growth plates near the ankles and many are avulsion; however, she has also fractured her fibula, femur, hip, and scaphoid. the vast majority have happened at school before you jump to the conclusion that there is some sort of abuse. Honestly, that's probably the ONLY reason we haven't been investigated by child services. Less that 20% of her injuries have happened in the home.

As far as symptoms, here's the list in no particular order:
* She has difficulty making and maintaining friendships. This has been exacerbated by our recent move from Pittsburgh, PA to Buford, GA. Before the move she never had more than 1-3 friends and even those relationship varied.

* She compulsively lies to family and friends. I recently found out that she concocted a very elaborate set of lies to her "best friend" that included a fake boyfriend, pretending to get high, sexually active, arrested and tazed, lost in the woods, etc. These were so elaborate, that she actually had whole conversions with this "friend" in the persona of her "boyfriend." The "boyfriend" complained to the friend that my daughter was sending inappropriate texts to another guy and sent screenshots. This friend described to me that the personality was SO different than my daughter's that she never suspected and even developed a friendship with "him," My daughter sent texts to this friend while "high." It was very convincing as it contained constant typographical errors, meandering focus, stupid jokes, memory lapses, etc. Amazingly detailed. When I later put the timeline together, she was sitting in the dining room playing board games with myself and her younger brother. 

* She continually engages in inappropriate relationships. These become very illicit including the exchange of pornographic photos and videos. Some of the contacts were her age, others were much older. At one point, last year, the police were involved. Her phone and online accounts, which included social media and dating sites like "bangbudies.com," were examined and the police are attempting to make cases against these predators. Luckily, the police were not interested in incarcerating her. She was 14 at the time and some of this had gone back almost 2 years. We have gradually been trying to rebuild a trust relationship by allowing her to return to the "social" world, but limiting her to Facebook. We have her account password and watch her phone. Unfortunately, I just discovered that she has returned to these behaviors and have suspended her access to internet and texts.

* Along those lines, while I don't believe that she has been sexually active, she has declared herself bisexual. Unless she is sneaking off to the restroom during school to have sex, she doesn't go anywhere or do anything outside the house except school and occasionally babysit. I've tried to supportive while trying to explain to her that it is no one else's business. She can fall in love with who she wants, but doesn't need a "label" to define it. She doesn't need to post on Facebook that she is bi and certainly doesn't need to run out an buy a rainbow flag. Just love who you want, just like anyone else gay or hetero. Change your status to "In a Relationship" like anyone else. Tag who you are in a relationship with, just like anyone else. Don't hide it, but don't flaunt it. She posted that she was bi. Gay people jumped all over it to rally their support, others had criticisms. It was overwhelming and upsetting. I told her, 3 dangerous topics to post about are religion, politics, and sexuality. Don't post about it unless you are prepared for a lot of responses, good, bad, and otherwise.

* She is obviously depressed at times and at one point was cutting. The meme's she posts and the music she likes reflect this, but also a whole range of other emotions. She deeply into romance movies and music as well. I think she feels isolated and has low self-esteem despite the fact that she has lost the weight, we've gotten her very stylish hair coloring, etc. I know that these are only superficial, but a feeling of self worth has to start somewhere. If she looks in the mirror and feels pretty, maybe she'll start to believe it.

* She has no motivation. She is very bright, but is doing a great job of failing a lot of classes. She, in a letter to us, blamed it on moving to a new school, but she barely made it out of 8th grade 4 months before there was any kind of job offer and moving plans. Her last quarter of eighth grade includes several "F"s. Her letter went on to state, that she is not even trying to study or do her homework and she will do better if we send her back to Pittsburgh to finish high school. I pointed out that her grades weren't ANY better in Pittsburgh and she's only been in high school for less than 2 full months before we moved. My interview for this job was October 7th. We moved to Georgia October 30th. I rushed thinking the quicker I got her into the new school, the less chance of her sticking out as the "new" kid. It's new to everyone there despite that fact that they were there a few weeks ahead of her.

* She has a really bad rivalry with her younger brother. They fight constantly. I've tried to step back and observe and what I see is she is bored. So for something fun to do, she "pushes one of his buttons" and the fights begin. I had a sister, I know they do that. This is at a higher level, but, I also have to admit, this is the very least of our problems.

* She has a troubled relationship with her mother. This too, I am aware, is not altogether uncommon; however, it is really hard to watch. Having said that, everyone in the house has a troubled relationship with her mother, myself included.

About her mother...
Her mother is disabled due to back issues, but also is nearly legally blind, has severe digestive issues, has trouble maintaining a healthy weight. She suffers from depression and anger issues. She is not physically abusing, but she can be mean. She had a troubled youth with uncaring parents, she was molested by a neighbor as a pre-teen, cruelly beaten and verbally abused (her mom went so far as to pay some kids to beat her up after she told her father about her mother's affair). She did manage to build somewhat of a relationship with her father, who in my experience did not resemble the monster of her youth that she described. Unfortunately, he is since deceased and she refuses any contact with the rest of her immediate family. The dysfunction in their relationship with her was clearly evident to me prior to her breaking off contact with them.

Dear Mark,

I had a long talk with my 21 year old yesterday.  It varied from my telling him  that if he refused to leave my bedroom I’d call the police and have him trespassed from our home, to real tears about things that he remembered from his childhood.  He feels that we should apologize to him for “making him the way that he is”, and for being such lousy parents.  The manipulative part of him wants to “sue somebody” for putting him on Vyvanse for focus during his school years, (about 6th grade on).  He thinks I should have researched more, and never put my kid on medication.  He thinks the medication changed his brain, and made him less capable than he should be, (and its all our fault).   He also thinks that we “owe” him because we are the cause of his problems; that we should’ve recognized his SPD and put him into a public school for treatment.  (Psychiatric testing in 3rd grade gave him an IQ in the 80’s; brother and sister were 150 and 140).

There is no way he would’ve agreed to that at that time.  My husband and I have Master’s degrees, mine in physical therapy.  I stopped seeing patients due to an illness when he was in preschool, and stayed at the school teaching middle school until he left after 8th grade, (for him, but now he says it was a big mistake.  He says I should’ve stayed home and home-schooled him, even though we couldn’t afford it and was advised against it).  We paid for him to go to Catholic school, meeting with teachers and counselors all along the way.  He always refused to go to a professional counselor, and I didn’t put up the fight to make it happen.  He has been defiant all of his life.  He is the youngest of 3, with his oldest brother successfully working and living independently at 26 yrs. old, and his 24 yr old sister with high functioning Asperger’s finishing her second year of City Year and looking towards graduate school.

HIs IQ is definitely better than what it was tested.  We definitely over indulged, and we definitely lowered our expectations of what he would achieve in life compared to his siblings.  He said two things:  1) he feels like he was being carried, and is now being dropped; and 2) we held him back.  This kid who couldn’t sleep over at other people’s houses, (even a favorite cousin—he would drive home at 4-5 am when everyone else fell asleep), resents us because we didn’t encourage him to go hundreds of miles away for college.

Yes, we paid for his car and insurance.  He is living at home, and has been “looking for a job” for weeks/months.  The faucet has been turned off.  He has to earn everything.

He wants an apology from us for “making him” the way that he is.  He dislikes us.  He even said he’d go away to college now, (he failed freshman English and placed in remedial math that he refused to take at a local community college after graduation from high school), as long as we paid for it like we did for his siblings.  He feels he’s “getting less than they did” because we did pay for their college.

Ugh. He needs a job.

I’m not sure how to turn off the money, yet treat him fairly compared to his siblings.

Thank you again for your guidance.


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