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COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for Jan., 2017]

 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.


Just purchased the My Aspergers Teen ebook. Thank you so much for all of your hard work Mark. I actually have an Aspie adult sister who I care for and am desperate to find alternative ways of helping her deal with life in general. She now has a 3 yr old son who is of course delayed in all areas of development because of her lack of social and emotional skills. 

I have began reading this ebook and can already tell that I can say things differently to her during situations. She is much like a teenager although she is 26 yrs old so this will help me. 

 Again, thank you for this awesome collaboration of real life examples. 


I have been married to my husband for 16 years now. It has been excruciatingly difficult to say the least. He seemed charming and attentive and considerate when we courted, although it was a long distance courtship. Almost immediately after we were married, he changed. He became distant and critical. Nothing I could do was good enough. I had given up my life in Canada, leaving my job, my adult girls and other family and friends and came half way across the world to be with him. Being in love with him, I was anticipating the closeness we should have had since he had said all the right things to show he cared and had my interests at heart. I picked up on a few things that he had said or done that seemed a bit strange, but I overlooked it since he seemed so attentive and kind.

He is Australian but came from a Yugoslav background. His childhood was chaotic and abusive. His father was an angry alcoholic who ruled his 9 children with an iron fist. The boys worked hard in the cane fields even from the age of 7 onward. The family lived in a small house in a country rural area. The boys witnessed a lot of abuse against their mother as well. This is the environment in which he and the others were raised. He left home when he was 14 and has been working hard ever since. He has had two failed marriages and has 2 grown married girls. He loves them dearly but they do not feel close to him although he tried to stay in their lives with regular visits and outings even after separation and divorce from their mother while they were quite young. Over the years I have tried to improve their more superficial relationship with his girls.

From the beginning however, I have been struggling and miserable to attempt to understand his behaviours and his oddness and peculiarities. He has been quite verbally abusive and has taken many fits of rage at me over the years. He put his head through the wall near the beginning of the marriage in one of his fits over a suggestion his friend had made to me regarding fixing our ceiling in the living room. Shock was not the word for how I felt! Meltdowns over trivial things happened often where I could not calm him down.  I would be left exhausted trying to reason with him. He was never rational.  He had no regard for my feelings. He only saw his viewpoint. No empathy as is common with these men.

He is obsessive about routine and spends long periods in his garden which is of 'special interest' to him. He has a literal rainforest that he grew in our backyard! Travel is always horrendous. His stress levels are over the top and it is extremely stressful for me. He has made me feel of no value to him even though I worked for some years in order to help him pay off debts. He never showed any appreciation for any of the efforts I have made over the years in any area. If I try to communicate with him, he treats me like some kind of crazy woman and walks away or ends the conversation rudely. All I want to do he says, is pick a fight. It is so disheartening! I cannot show frustration or he belittles me saying, 'look at your angry face!'

 After years of chaos and confusion, I finally did some research after two friends on two different occasions had encouraged me to do research about Aspergers Syndrome. One friend's father has AS.  Being desperate at that stage, I did. Well, after reading countless articles and books on the subject, I was amazed at how many of the behaviours exactly identified him. So I tried to speak to him about the possibility that he had this disorder, but he became irate and dismissed it right from the beginning. I gave him some concise information I had printed out on it but he still refused to accept it. He would just turn on me and say terrible accusatory things.

At the beginning of the marriage he did not like much physical contact. So if I tried to give him a hug in bed, he would say I was aggressing him. I was shocked and confused and as you can imagine, I was not very prone to demonstrations of affection after that. One time when I was sobbing from frustration, he slapped me hard on the leg a couple of times. He said I was just being hysterical and that he had to snap me out of it. I was of course again shocked and devastated. He reasoned, how else was he supposed to make me stop crying!  I told him then and there that if he ever raised his hand to me again, I would leave. He never has since.

 He isolates himself and hardly even speaks to me most days. He makes me feel like an intrusion in his life. Yet he relies on me for many things.  He has the same routine; work, home, drink his beer, eat, watch some tv and go to bed. He never stops activity on weekends or on days off. He works around the house like a mad man. He has depression off and on and suffers from anxiety but he will not take meds for it. He drinks beer at night to help him sleep. He has suffered from sleep deprivation over the years. He has had serious financial difficulties in his life and he has lost huge amounts of money in the two divorces as well. He used to be quite well off in the first marriage before it collapsed. So he has struggled ever since and he feels like a failure. Especially seeing his brothers financial situations where they have done well.

 He is 64 and still working long hours at a quarry. I had to stop working due to my health. The stress made it much worse. I was having severe headaches and I also have Fibromyalgia for over 30 years now. I have never used it as an excuse however and have worked hard to make his life better. But trying to engage him in any way, turns into a terrible argument. He says the most awful things to me and makes me feel like I only nag or that I am the worst person on earth. With the knowledge I have acquired about Aspergers Syndrome, I have tried so hard to apply the advice to the marriage. Nothing I do works. I am afraid I must be very inept at this. I struggle with very low self worth and I get emotional at times trying to convey to him the damage he does in his treatment of me. Yesterday we had one of the worst arguments ever. Me trying again to give him some insight into how my life is affected by his rudeness and conduct. He just explodes.

  He sees his life as a failure. His girls do not make an effort to include him in their life and this has been one of the most devastating aspects of his life. He doesn't see his 5 grand children so that is awful for him. I feel somewhat responsible for the bigger rift however because I confided in his oldest daughter about our issues. I have no family to turn to here. She finally told me not to talk to her anymore about it and that she is not close to her Dad so would not be able to help. I was shocked and of course never confided again. At the time I thought he and his daughter were very close before I came on the scene. I was quite desperate for support so I had turned to her. Now I feel so guilty about that! I probably made things even worse between them. So no matter what I do sir, it never seems to be the right thing.

He told me yesterday that he doesn't care about anything anymore and that he wants to die. His death coverage insurance is coming to an end and he says that he has to go before that. Imagine me hearing these kind of statements! Then later, he can act as if he had not said anything shocking! He was suicidal apparently when his last marriage broke up. But I have never heard him say this kind of thing, although I am sure that he has had these thoughts often enough since he is a very negative person. Considering the anxiety and the struggles Aspergers face each day just trying to navigate through all the NT expectations, it is enough to feel overwhelmed and depressed. I have compassion for him.

 I am so exhausted emotionally and mentally trying to be the help and support he needs, but there is really no support for me here.  His family has no idea what he is really like and his brothers, although materially successful, are all as messed up emotionally as well. One other brother I think has Aspergers. And with any marriage issues, they tend to blame the wife. Their father set the pattern for that sort of thinking. All these years of not being able to have a normal interaction with my husband and his loner tendencies, has created a terrible lonely and isolated existence for me. I have a strong faith in God which I think has helped me cope somewhat, since I do rely on prayer. I have friends but I don't like to dump these complex problems on them. They are aware of the situation but have no real idea what I am coping with.

He can be very generous and has given me a lovely home. His way of showing some regard is by bringing up a flower from the garden to the back porch. Or telling me to buy something he sees in an ad because he knows I may like it. I have two grown daughters and 2 grand children in Canada and he has been very generous and helpful to them as well. He has some lovely qualities. I am just often at my wits end to know how to cope with his many shifting moods and anxiety and oddities. I already had had a 22 year marriage with an emotionally abusive man who was cheating on me and gambling our family money. I eventually had no choice but to leave. So when I met my now husband, I had such optimistic hopes! I had no idea I would be serving another sentence of turmoil! If there is any advice you can give Dr, I would sincerely appreciate any help you can offer. I read your ebook and it is mostly things I am familiar with already regarding AS. I have read so much information and am always looking for better insight of practical ways to cope. But when he does not want to even consider the possibility of having this disorder, and gets hostile, it puts me at a loss of how to deal with it on my own.

I did get some therapy at one time but the therapist was always hinting at my need to leave him and the situation and get on with my life. I care very much for him and I know if I left, that would be a sure death sentence to him.


I discovered your videos and books through YouTube a few months ago. I thought you are the perfect person I can ask help. I have a son who is 20 years old attending community. When he was little he was delay in speech so he was in special ed class up until middle school. I always thought he is a boy and so boys tend to delay anyway. Therefore, I never look for help. His grades are always not great. When he was in high school, the psychologist said that he might be asperger. However, I never have him diagnosed. I look up on internet and study more about the symptoms it does sound like him. He is taking some GE classes in the community school. His grades are not good. He has difficulties with English and other classes. It is so heart breaking to see him struggling in school. He is not driving yet. He is also struggling to pass the driving test.Now I thought time for me to ask for your help. I hope it's not too late. Should I have him diagnose by a doctor or should I send him to one of those college learning experience for high funtioning autism school. Please help. I am open to take your advice. Thanks a million


I am writing because I'm not certain how or if I should proceed in getting a diagnosis for my son - I just want to do what is best for him. After watching some of your videos I decided to contact you. My son is 5 years old, 6 in March. Ever since he was 1, his doctor indicated that he may have some sensory issues, but he had never tested positive on the autistic spectrum. He is extremely bright (even if I didn't think so, anyone who comes in contact with him tells me so). He obsesses over certain subject matter - largely numbers, but it has also been siamese cats and characters from video games. He skips, constantly, back and forth, back and forth. He carries something in his hand always - typically a "bendy" straw, but he will substitute if necessary. He sometimes flaps his ears, puts everything in his mouth, specifically his clothing, and he bites the tips of his fingers because they "itch". These are all repetitive motions - not something he does once and then stops. He also grinds his teeth. Less than a year ago he had an IEP done, but he didn't qualify for services, again, he's very capable because he's so bright. They did an autism check, but he is socially and emotionally more aware than most children on the spectrum are. However, he tested extremely high in the areas of odd behaviors and behavioral rigidity. In addition, he is challenged by fine motor skills. The main reason I am contacting you is because these behaviors often impact our lives. It is difficult/frustrating at times to carry on a conversation with him because it is so one-sided and he has a hard time shifting away from a single subject matter that interests him. Unfortunately I feel this also impacts his ability to make friends. The constant carrying of the straw causes issues with him doing anything that requires two hands. Usually we make him put it down, but are we doing the right thing? The skipping is a great energy outlet for him, but it can be disruptive. And the repetitive motions can drive me crazy, but what should I do about them?! Is all of this just related to SPD or could it be aspergers or something similar?


We live in Pennsylvania and have a 15 year old daughter we adopted from Guatemala when she was 18 months old. She has been acting out and dating a 21 year old male. She recently ran away with him for over 5 days and was considered a missing person. She is presently in a child/adolescent psychiatric hospital and with her other behaviors are looking at a diagnosis of RAD. She was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 8 years old. She refuses to stop seeing him and they believe they're in love. We don't want her seeing him but can't have her constantly running away. He is not a great influence and gives her cigarettes and allows her to drive his truck. She told me they had sex and it was in text messages he sent to her but no charges have been filed. Police are involved and reported to CYF. Any advice?


My son is a 22 year old with fairly high functioning Asperger's, anxiety and mood disorder who was diagnosed right before his 18th birthday. I would say he is mentally around 15.  I was able to get him extra time in school which ended when he was 20.  He tried college for two semesters but didn't do well so he opted to try to find employment.  After a 3 year battle, I was able to get him SSI with me being the payee as they determined that he would not be able to manage his finances. He just landed his 3rd part time job at KFC/Taco Bell which I hope he can keep as he didn't do well at the first 2. He has a job coach & works with Mass Rehab to help him with employment.  He goes to counseling every other week and has a psychiatrist who manages his meds, which have really helped him out. So, while we have all of these things in place, he is lazy, unmotivated and lies all the time.  Since he started SSI last May, he pays room & board and contributes towards food and cell phone bill.  Every Monday -Thursday while I am at work I leave him a list of daily chores that are to be done before I get home. These include dishes, wiping the counters, cleaning his bathroom and room, vacuuming, cleaning the dog kennel, doing his laundry, etc.  Most days his chores can be done in a half hour or so, but most days he choses to go back to bed or play video games before starting his chores around 4 or so, knowing I will be home around 5:20. This results in him doing things rushed so they need to be redone. Sometimes he will decide he doesn't want to do something at all so he will cross it off the list and say he did it even though I can clearly see he did not.  My fiancé and I have talked to him continuously about this, trying to encourage him to start earlier so that he has enough time to do things right, to no avail. We also try to encourage him not to lie, sounding like a broken record playing the boy crying wolf story over and over. Honestly we are at our wits end with him and he is on the list with the local housing authority for an apartment but the waiting list is around 3 years.  I don't know how we are going to make it!  We started making consequences to his actions by taking away the things he loves the most - his electronics.  He only has 1 friend he rarely sees, he doesn't drive and he never leaves the house alone. Since we cant hold back food, the only other thing he loves besides his games, that is the only choice we have.  I hate the feeling that we are "punishing" an adult but he does not act like an adult and we cant just let him get away with doing or not doing whatever he wants without consequence.  So how am I doing so far?  :)

Now onto the (bigger) problem.  I had a falling out with my mother a couple years ago that will never be mended.  She has always doted on my son and he was the source of MANY arguments between us through out the years because she always wanted to treat him "special" because he was "different" while I had to constantly tell her to stop babying him and let him learn things and push him out of his comfort zone.  After our falling out, my son decided he didn't want to see her for a while and that made her very upset.  I told him I would never tell him that he couldn't see his grandmother but if he does decide to see her, I asked him to please do not talk about me, my fiancé or anything that goes on in our house, like Vegas.  He was finally ready to see her last May so she started picking him up once a week for a few hours.  This was fine for a while for the most part but I know he wasn't really sticking to the Vegas agreement.  With the recent holidays, he went there a little more often and spent a weekend and then almost a full week at her house.  Since I manage his finances, I had put money into his checking account from SSI to pay for new work clothes - which my mother took him to get.  When I went to review how much he spent, I noticed that there were $50 in gaming charges taken out of his account.  Needless to say, I was not happy.  When I asked him about them he told me "well, grandma told me not to tell you but she bought me an xbox to keep at her house so that when I get my stuff taken away at home, I can just go to her house to play games.".  I was furious.  Later that night, my fiancé and I had my son tell us exactly how the xbox idea came to be and tried to determine if it was really my mother's plan or his.  He seemed to be telling the truth but since he is known to lie, I had him call her while on speakerphone to tell her I saw the bank charges so he had to tell me about her plan to keep the xbox secret from me.  He also told her this resulted in him losing his privileges for a month.  We also put in place a "ban from grandma's house" while his privileges were lost, ruining the plan to get him to defy the terms that we had put in place.  It turned out that my son was telling the truth and my mother really was the one who devised the plan. She was very upset that we were "punishing" him again and told him he needs to start standing up for himself and tell us that he is an adult and should be treated like one.  She also said "Doesn't she remember what it was like to be 22?"  Well, Mark, when I was 22, I was married, living in an apartment with my then husband and newborn child, driving to work as a Home Health Aide for 50 hours a week.  So, yes, I do remember but apparently she doesn't since a comparison doesn't even make sense. Anyways, after the call my fiancé and I discussed things more and felt that while my son did try to hide her plan from me and spent money irresponsibly, my mother was manipulating him and the one behind the whole situation.  We decided to cut his consequence to 2 weeks but kept the month long ban from my mother in place.  The next day my mother called my son while I was at work and told him that she would meet him at his work to give him her tablet.  This way he could sneak it into the house and use it while I am at work and at night after I go to bed.  My son, this time, was wise enough to call me right away to tell me what she wanted to do and that he refused it because he knew it was wrong. She has no clue I know and am seething at her total disrespect of me as a parent.  I feel like I need to do something but I don't know what. My son also told her how we cut his time without his electronics in half, but he still couldn't see her for a month. Now she is furious. He said she asked so he told her.  Well, we did tell him not to lie...

I am sorry this is long winded but I want you to know everything that has been happening to lead me to the question the have. What does a parent do when you have an adult son with Aspergers that you are bending over backwards trying to help but you have an outside influence hell bent on trying to undo everything that you are trying to accomplish?  What bothers me the most is that she is using my son as a pawn to get at me, not to mention encouraging him to lie to us when we are trying to teach him not to lie!  Since my son is basically "stuck" here until an apartment opens up and he has no where else to go, am I wrong to limit his time with her or even going as far as to stop it completely if I continue to find out she is undermining us?  He is technically an adult but he is not one that can make major decisions without assistance, in fact I have been considering applying for guardianship.  My son says that it wouldn't really bother him not to see my mother - he just goes to get out of the house and because she buys him things.  I've tried to explain that it's not right to use someone like that but he says "well I don't mean to" but it doesn't stop him. I have asked him if he wants to go live with her but he says he does not.

I've made plenty of mistakes in the past but I have tried very hard to make the best decisions over the past several years, especially once we finally got the correct diagnosis. I would appreciate any advice that you would be willing to take the time to give.


Dear My Aspergers Child,
I am a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Binghamton University (SUNY). I am also a sibling of an individual with ASD. Under the supervision of Dr. Raymond Romanczyk and in association with the Institute for Child Development (ICD), I am conducting a research study to better understand the problem of bullying in school age children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). I am looking to recruit parents of children with ASD to take an online survey (up to 40 minutes) and participants may choose to be entered in a drawing for one of five, $50 giftcards.

After viewing both your website and Facebook page, I believe that 'My Aspergers Child' is connected to many parents who may be interested in taking my survey. I have submitted a visitor post to your Facebook page and I am wondering if you would consider sharing it for your followers to see? I could also send you additional recruitment text and information if you would be willing to include a survey invitation in your weekly newsletter. Thank you very much for your consideration and support of this research, I look forward to hearing back from you!

Best regards,

Hannah E. Morton, M.S.

Graduate Student
Department of Psychology
Binghamton University (SUNY)


Dear Mark

Thank you for your series of resources “Launching Adult Children” which I am finding extremely helpful as both a parent and a professional.

My professional training is in speech pathology and education. I have worked in the disabilities field for over 30 years and for most of that time in the ASD field in a variety of roles. Most of my professional life has been as a member of cross or transdisciplinary teams. I was trained and initially worked in Australia (and currently live here) but also lived and worked in California for 12 years. I am the mother of twin girls with ASD (one with Aspergers the other HFA in the ‘old’ categorization). My girls have just turned 20, and with some expected bumps in the road, are both progressing along their own specific paths  to independence.
While most of my professional life has been in the paediatric area, over time I have become more involved in services relating to teens and young addults. I am constantly in search of more information and upskilling to utilize as both a parent and a professional. Over the past 12-18 months some of my clinical psychologist colleagues have commented to me that they would like to be able to refer their late teen/adult clients to someone who could provide more of a Coaching experience for them alongside their formal psychology work. These colleagues have stated that they feel I would be an appropriate person to take on such a role.
I have been exploring resources and training opportunities to see what is available as I do not want to venture into a role such as this without feeling that I can provide a well rounded and  high quality service to any potential clients. There are many options in Australia for training as a general Life Coach but there is no specific career path or training option that is specific to individuals with disabilities generally or ASD in particular. I am currently exploring training options in the UK and the US. I am wondering if you provide any form of upskilling and/or mentoring for individuals interested in entering this specialized field, or alternatively, if you would have any suggestions as to possible options?
Thank you for taking time to consider my questions. Thank you also for your fantastic resources.


Dr. Hutten,
I found your website while searching for resources on ASD vs ODD.  My son is almost 5 and has been placed in a developmentally delayed preschool and labeled as autistic by the school psychologist.  The earliest appointment I could get with a local psychologist is not until May for a private diagnosis.
I have a ton of questions, but the one that prompted me to sign up today was dealing with emotional outbursts.  My son reacts very strongly to some situations and seems unable to calm himself down. 

Example 1:
This morning I asked my son to pick out what he wanted for breakfast from a short list of choices (it is Monday and the change in routine from the weekend is hard on Monday) he refused to respond with a choice or to put on his shoes and would only say "I'm playing".  I tried counting to three, then he got a spanking, which he acts totally unphased by, then started counting again and he finally put on his shoes.  I guided him to the pantry and repeated the breakfast choices - he ran into the other room screaming/crying.  I ended up grabbing three random things from the pantry and putting them in the car, then went back in and put his jacket on him and guided him outside (I have to be touching him when he is like this because he will not respond to verbal cues).  After I got him buckled in his car seat I offered him the food I brought - he responded by kicking/screaming/hitting and crushing most of the food all over the backseat.  I took all the food away and slapped his hands down to get him to stop, then spent the next 20 min driving him to daycare listening to him scream and cry about how mean I am and how much he hates me because I hurt him and won't feed him.  I did not engage him in conversation and did not "feed" his tantrum by responding when he says hurtful things to try and get me to react.  When we finally got to daycare I gave him sips of water and told him I love him even when I am angry and he is angry, and he calmed down.  He picked one of the least crushed food items and went into daycare like everything was fine.
Note - I do not like spanking or hitting, but can't find anything else to give as a consequence or to get him to comply with simple requests.  He is indifferent to verbal requests, though he seems happy to get verbal praise when he does finally do something.  He doesn't care if his toys get taken away for weeks at a time.  He isn't allowed to watch tv or get screen time at home - we watch maybe 1 movie every two or three weeks together. 
Example 2:
Over the holidays my mother was in town and he had a tantrum because I said he needed to sleep in his "big boy bed" and could not sleep with Grandma.  He was running around screaming and crying, so I told him he had to go to his room until he could be sweet.  (That is from 123 Magic and never works) He kept escalating, so I picked him up and took him into his room.  I sat in the rocking chair holding him around the waist with his arms held down (so he couldn't hit me or head but me) (I turn all lights but the nightlight off and turn the fan on).  We sat with me saying calming things like "just breath" and "shhh" for more than 30 min before he calmed down enough to even verbalize, it took another 15 min before I could let him up without him starting to cry/hit again.  Then he acts like nothing happened, and I am emotionally drained. 
So to summarize - How can I prevent these over the top meltdowns (without giving in to every little thing he wants, since he gets his way far too often as it is in order to "avoid" tantrums) and when they do happen, how can I get him to calm down faster (or better yet, on his own)? 
Note: These tantrums happen around 3 times a week, sometimes more.  He gets enough sleep I think - starts bedtime at 7:30 and wake up at 6:40.  He won't eat a healthy diet, but goes to feeding therapy for that and the tantrums do not seem to be "low blood sugar" related.


Mark: I don’t know if the name means anything to you. I am a columnist for the New York Daily News, host The Sports Reporters on ESPN, and appear regularly on MSNBC. But I am best known to children for the books I have been writing for Young Adult readers and Middle Grade readers, novels set in the world of sports, that have become amazingly popular over the past 14 years, to the point where there are 5 million now in print. I am writing a novel about a young girl with Asperger’s who joins a successful girls’ softball team at the age of 12. She has played other sports, never softball, but turns out to have a gift for it. This on a team with ambitions of making the girls’ equivalent of the Little League World Series. The star of the book is a star player named Cassie, whose dad also coaches the team. I won’t tell you the whole story, but Cassie embraces the new girl — Sarah — while her teammates do not. To the point where Cassie will be shunned. Sarah, just in the first 50 pages, is difficult. This is all new, she is scared, stands by herself, rarely engages, goes to her spot in the outfield. But she can really, really play. The scene I’ve just written is the end of a scrimmage, and Sarah has hit a home run, and Cassie is waiting for her at home plate, wanting to give her a big old high five, and yells congratulations to Sarah, who is startled and instead of high-fiving her back, shoves her out of the way.
I am not looking for putting a bow around Asperger’s. I want this to be real and educational and even inspiring in the end. Mostly I want it to be true, and was wondering if you might have some time to talk about this.


Dear Dr Hutten,

I have completed reading/listening to all the material that was relevant to us - we are an Aspie 60 year old married to a 64 year old NT. We skipped the parts written for families with kids  as we have none (and I've spent a great deal of my life teaching students on the spectrum, both as inpatients in psych wards and in school situations).

I've been looking for a several years for a counselor in Vancouver, BC who has experience with NT+Aspie relationships. I've searched all the ASD orientated websites, contacted people as far away as Montreal to see if they had any leads I could follow and I've tried to find Skype-based counselors from other countries. Nothing. No one has any expertise with ASDs in adults.  Last year we went to couples counseling where the counselor had heard of Aspergers, but admitted she didn't know what it was> She was completely unable to cope with or understand the Aspie issues and was a dismal failure for everyone concerned after 5 stressful sessions. We need someone who 'gets it'.

I tried again this month to find someone who I could see on my own, but couldn't find anyone with any knowledge of people on the spectrum at all. I had an initial session with a young counselor today in hopes that someone with a more recent qualification might at least have heard of ASD, but she admitted that though it was mentioned briefly in her training, her only experience was a 12 year old on the spectrum who she met once when she was 9.

Do you have any leads for me in my city or Skype-based? I desperately need to talk with someone - ideally, we both do, but will take whatever we can find. We have no car and I have mobility challenges, so it would have to be within range of transit.


I am looking for some assistance/guidance with my 9 year old son, Ned, who has recently been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome.  Currently our main issues are meltdowns and school.  This all came about following a family move about a year and a half ago.  Prior to the move, while we noticed some Asperger’s tendencies, we generally just considered him as having a quirky personality and had no real discipline or school issues.  He is incredibly bright and creative and has always done very well in school. In fact, he is in the gifted program.  The move and all its changes, however, were very difficult for him.  School has also become an issue due to the anxiety caused by the move, but also because of an issue with a bully last year and a less than ideal response from the school.

We have been desperately looking for support and guidance in our area, but it has been a difficult search.  Currently we are on a waiting list for a BCBA therapist that should have an opening next month and the school is working on an IEP.  In the meantime, Ned has become extremely anxious about school (focusing on everything negative that has happened including the experience with the bully and the responses from teachers and staff) and has begun refusing to go.  He will get up and get ready to go but when it comes time to walk out the door the panic sets in and he has a meltdown.  I have tried talking with school staff to work on some of the issues that are causing the anxiety, but without the IEP they have not been very accommodating and the more we push him the worse his anxiety becomes.  At this point I am at a loss as to what to do and how to work through this so that he can go to school and get the services he needs.  We are at a point of considering homeschooling but part of me feels like that is giving up and failing to deal with the issues.

Any direction, guidance, suggestions or help of any kind would be greatly appreciated


Dear Mr. Hutten:
Thank you for your additional assistance; I was successful in downloading the files this time. My son is 28 1/2 years old, was (and still is, I'm sure) highly gifted as a child--reading at 21/2, scored in the in top of the top percentile on SAT in 7th grade when he took it as part of Duke Talent program; took high school advanced chemistry at age 10 and other high school courses and graduated with English and History degrees from a state college. He started about a year early because of college credits he had already earned and perfect score on SAT and was asked to be in the honors program at his college but after about the first two semesters did not seem to really be particularly motivated and ended up with a C+grade ratio. He went back to night school while working in minimum wage type jobs and took remaining courses that allowed him to also get history degree and brought up his grade point ratio to maybe a B although he would never say for sure. His father and I were separated from the time he was 10 until he graduated. His father and I have gotten back together but don't see much of our son except for brief times on holidays and birthdays. I'm not really sure if my child is autistic; I'm sure he has many traits of ADD. He had gross motor delays, as a child was diagnosed with proprio-sensory deficits and had to have speech and occupational therapy which was stopped in middle school. He didn't ride his bike until 10 and even then poorly, falling off all the time.  He still grips fork and knife in a continental style; is left-handed. He speaks normally but his response at times seems just slightly delayed in terms of conversational timing. He loves to read and knows many arcane facts about everything. 
He has been out of the house since he was 22 and has been employed during that time but at just jobs that pay just minimum or slight above wages. We recently for first time saw the interior of his apartment that he had to move from which he had been in for several years since he could no longer find any long-term roommates to share the rent; I offered our help with his move since it was down to the wire that he found another room to share with someone and I thought it might be a good opportunity to see for the first time his living conditions since I suspected they would be very chaotic. We were shocked at how just how extremely messy and filthy his room and living quarters were, with important papers scattered among everything else, no order at all. He has three ferrets that he had taken in from previous roommate that had damaged carpet in his room and so my son had just cut up the places where urine/feces was bad and replaced it with little areas of tile, thinking that would be okay. We really didn't know what to say to him at the time other than try to help him get out by the deadline which was extended by 48 hours by the kindness of the manager. Otherwise it would have been $50.00 for every hour beyond. We had not ever done this before for him. He seemed unable to plan his move or gauge how long it was going to really take to get packed/cleaned. 
Anyway, we give him very little financial help -we have him on our cell phone plan and allow him to charge his prescriptions to a charge card that we allow him to use for that. He is on an anti-depressant and maybe something like Ritalin and has been on something for an arthritis type pain that has yet to be diagnosed; he can't sit for too long without extreme pain in his groin, he says. His former employer allowed him to stand while handling customer service and the job he has now he is on his feet most of the time. 
I sound like the parents you caution against from what I have previewed in your lectures online but can see your point too so perhaps we will find some helpful guidance from your material. My son snaps at me if I question him to just get basic information no matter how tactful I try to be. I have probably had a total of 15 minutes conversation with him for the past year.  His father would prefer to "let him learn on his own" but I wonder if he will in time enough to get on track towards something he will find fulfilling and gainful enough to not be impoverished. He has a wonderful smile and can be extremely thoughtful and kind. He has several friends, one from middle school so he is not isolated socially. He does not currently have a girlfriend although he was close to one several years ago. He never dated in high school. 


Hello Mark

My 29 year old son was diagnosed with HFA last year.  Since then he refuses to talk to me about his condition almost as if he is in denial. He lived in Germany for two years with a girlfriend but that ended and he more or less had a breakdown.  I am trying to help my son build his confidence and self esteem up.  But I struggle to communicate with him about everyday topics such as paying rent, I feel I have no control unless I am doing what he wants.  I believe I am enabling him and that his circumstances will never improve unless I get guidance.  I am wondering if your book is suitable or if you could recommend a book for parents to read for a young adult suffering on the HFA spectrum, he also gets panic attacks and over analyses.  To anyone who meets hims he is a very likeable fellow but living with him is very challenging, he also has a terrible work record but we are hoping now he has found a job he can hold down.  I know he finds it very hard to do his job and 'banter' at work tends to get him down as he sometimes doesn't know what to talk about with his colleagues, he says he doesn't fit in.  He is trying so hard at work, but then with me I feel I am being treated poorly by him.  Looking at your advertising video I know I walk round on egg shells when he is around and anything I want to discuss with him usually ends up in an argument.  Do you have another book or recommendation that would help us?

Hi Mr. Hutten,
While trying to find information for my son, who I suspect has AS, I came across information on AS in adults and believe that it fits my boyfriend almost to a tee!  With one exception, he is very social and is very outgoing.  From the information I read in your book, most men with AS are withdrawn or not very social.  Is it possible that he could still have it?  He has pretty much all other traits that you list.  I could never suggest it to him because he would never accept it, but I would like to know so that I can learn how to deal with him better...I'm about at the end of my rope but want to save our relationship. 


I am the mother of a 32 year old aspire.   He was diagnosed in college, after losing a scholarship because he stopped going to class.  He transferred to the u of Iowa and, with the help if an adviser, took only a couple of courses a semester until he finally graduated with a degree in journalism and minor in counseling (due to his first effort to be a psychology major but statistics overwhelmed him).

Once he graduated a year ago, he headed to the Bay Area.   He only emails us if we e mail him. For a long time, we didn't know where he was.  He won't answer the phone. We had taken his twin brother to visit Christmas 2015 but Eric said he had plans and wouldn't see us.   We finally literally confronted him on his way to work and had dinner with us.  No communication from him.   My husband went out this November and, again, had to waylaying him to get together.  He thought they were re connecting but then Eric sent him an email telling him he wouldn't come for dinner.   I'll forward the email.

We feel that we have lost our son.   We send him money to keep him going because we want to support this dream and we don't want him living with us again. It's like having a black cloud staying in his room all day. 


My son has been out of control for past 5/6 months since he found out that his dad had a girlfriend. He hates me for not taking his dad back after we separated and blames me. There has been a lot of shouting in past and he has seen his dad not speaking to me nicely. We get on much better now and have resolved a lot of our issues and are thinking of getting back together. We have over indulged our son and have been passive and aggressive.
He has been excluded from school twice this yr for refusing to work and neing abusive to a teacher. He is on verge of getting kicked out of school. He was caught drinking last night and i grounded him. He has gone out anyway and i know from past experience he will run away from me if i go looking for him. I don't know what I should do. Please help.


Dear Mark,

Firstly, thank you so much for providing this service. I feel I have nobody else to turn to right now so finding your web site was a real blessing.

This enquiry is regarding my 12 year old son. He has been diagnosed with strong autistic traits, sensory processing disorder and some dyspraxia. He has always suffered from high anxiety but at the moment it appears to be escalating.

My question is regarding one particular issue with school. He attends a private school in the U.K. and they are doing their best to accommodate his needs but we are at a loss at the movement as to how to help him.

Seb is currently refusing to go into school because he is so anxious about attending games sessions. His anxiety is causing him to be physically sick. They are playing non contact sports but he still finds it very intimidating and the situation is also affecting his self esteem as he gets shouted at by the other kids when he won't join in properly. He also has an issue with wearing his sports kit. He says it makes him hate himself and when he hates himself he wants to hurt himself.

Do you have any suggestions please as to how best to handle this situation? He has a games lesson tomorrow and is becoming very anxious at the prospect.


Mr Hutten,

I have a question on your program. We have a high functioning autistic child, Aspergers would be the old terminology, I believe.

We see a Psychiatrist as well as Occupational Therapy and ABA Therapy. Obviously I would not be considering your course if we have had success with the
other types of therapy.

ABA has been going on for about 6 months and it’s all positive reinforcement, however the meltdown’s continue. There really seem to be no consequences other than not getting as much reward.
A good example is the earning of iPad time. He can earn time if he behaves and is on task. If he melts down they dangle the carrot of iPad time if he redirects and gets his behavior under control.
The end result in my opinion is he misbehaves and still gets a reward, the iPad time, for getting it back together. So he sees that he can melt down or misbehave and still get his reward.
I am told that this is how ABA works, it’s only positive reinforcement.

Like I said, we are no better today then we were years ago and no better today then when we started the ABA therapy.

I wanted to know how your program differs from ABA as we have not seen progress with that system. They keep saying it will get worse before it gets better. It never gets better, it gets worse then
back to the starting point but we never make forward progress!

Any insight into your program possibly being a better alternative would be helpful.


Hi Mark,
 My husband is from Switzerland and we where there visiting his mother and siblings. She in fact I am quite certain has AS so I was having a bad day when I sent you the email. 

Anyway you had asked me what an immediate problem may.  You had suggested in the ebook that the NT confuse the AS partner with a positive response to their negativity with the goal of getting the AS partner into a different and more positive mindset.  I have read this elsewhere too and I think it’s a good concept – in fact I have tried it on occasion but the problem is when my husband sees I am happy and all is well – that’s his “license” to be negative, grouchy and basically a malcontent.  As soon as he sees I become annoyed by his behavior he will say something sweet or act nice.  This is good of course but it doesn’t last and has become a pattern. I am generally a happy person but he has almost" trained me "not to act my happyself around him which only invites negativity on his end.  He’s extremely negative by the way as is him mother.  Having said this my general demeanor around him most of the time is to be flat if you know what I mean (not happy, not sad – but this is not me nor how I want to be.



Our story is long and convoluted.  The upshot is we moved to America because where we have been living virtually no resources exist for kids with HFA.  We need advice before Sunday evening.  I am sure you are asking yourself who this crazy guy is asking my opinion and including a deadline...

I want to introduce us and explain but I am not certain e-mail is the the best way to start.  Can we possibly speak on the phone?  We know that you offer online support but would immensely appreciate a short phone call if you are willing to accommodate some desperate parents.  Obviously, we are willing to pay for your time and ideas.  We would love and appreciate ongoing phone or internet support if you would be willing to provide it as well.  We are uninsured but willing to make further sacrifices for our son to make his, our and his siblings' lives happier!

The last seven years we have had no guidance, support or wisdom.  In fact, essentially all we got back from the world is that our kid was bad and we were parenting him poorly.  We have three other children and have known since this boy was born that he was different yet doctors and therapists were totally unhelpful for a myriad of reasons.  

Now to our currently dilemma: our son was asked to leave the public school he is attending for understandable reasons.  For him this is one in a string of school failures.  He is school phobic, suffers terrible separation anxiety and has the social skill, emotional management and sensory integration issues that many of these kids seem to have. He is very smart but has had virtually no education thus far.  That said he is capable of much, is extremely precocious in many ways and is incredibly lovable when he is not dysregulated or agitated in any way.

The upshot is we have two very different schools with very different models for life and education and we cannot determine which our little boy is better suited for (or rather, which suits him better). One school is a special ed classroom within a public school. There are seven children between seven and nine, all with an ASD diagnosis and behaviors similar to our son (eloping, aggression, impulse control issues). They have full time behavioral support and four staff members. OT, speech and psychotherapy are available on campus during the week. For recess and lunch, the children in the special ed classroom are integrated with the other neurotypical children. This program is available from elementary school all the way through high school with the possibility to join regular classrooms for some lessons if the development is positive in later years. The academics are parallel to the regular classroom and the kids in the program perform at or above grade level.

The other school is NPS. It is very small (ca. 15-20 students ranging from age 9 to 18 - our son would be the youngest by two years -, they have seven in staff) and follows the state curriculum. The setting is far removed from what a typical school looks like. There are two rooms for studying, all of which happens by individual instruction through the teacher, independent learning or group discussions. Elementary aged students study English, math and science at their own pace and via means appealing to them (different media/input-output methods) with the support of the teachers and/or older students there. All the students have IEPs for a wide array of disabilities and all of them are believed to be college-bound/high achieving. Apart from the academic work, the kids have lots of other opportunities.  They go ocean swimming three times a week (and occasionally travel internationally to compete in swim competitions), do yoga, meditate, work on life skills (shopping/cooking for everyone twice a week; taking care of the animals in school) and social and behavioral issues (the staff reports that most children phase out speech/OT/therapy, since there is an intense, if unstructured social skills training there). 

To condense this even further: the first option seems to provide a more systematic approach in skills training, the opportunity to have peer relationships, and provision of on-campus therapies and services; the second option would give our son an opportunity to discover his most effective way of learning, develop as an individual with an appreciation of his skills and talents, and allow him to thrive academically.  Our son prefers older children and adults.  If he himself were just a few years older the second option would be ideal we believe. Would we be doing him a disservice by not trying to place him again in a more traditional classroom setting with same age peers? 

We have by Sunday night to make a decision we do not feel qualified to make.  Nor do we have anyone in our life at this point who can guide us.  So we have turned to the internet and found you!   The urgency of our decision is born out of the fact we learned today that we are supposed to bring our child to the new school next week.  We do not want to introduce him into both environments as already he has so many external stressors beyond what a normal child with this diagnosis has to endure.  We can discuss these should we work together. 

This question is additionally challenging because our child has had many negative school experiences including abuse at one of the schools he has attended.  Our son is amazing in so many ways and we have been flying without a net and not always making the best decisions.  He needs us to do better and perhaps with you guidance he and we can . . .  


We have a 10 yr old, soon to be 11 yr old and and can no longer have family holidays. We have had 2 run ins with an adult son and daughter-in-law. They will no longer come over with our 3 grand boys. What a heart ache! I am reading your ebook and am new to this. He is violent when mad and destructs things. I have been simply drawing boundaries and following these for yrs. He has got worse. I love him and he has so many gifts. His only melt downs are at home or in car. He entered brick and mortar school for the first time this yr.  (fifth grade)  He was home schooled all the rest. He was to afraid to go to school. He has grown past this and is having a GREAT year. He enjoys his teacher and she seems to be a good match for him. I have implimented two contracts attacking 2 bad behaviors he has. One involves music and his clarinet. If he wants to continue he cannot run from house and stay 'out' for hours and worrying us. He has stopped that behavior! Second was being a crossing gaurd and his behavior in the car. If he took his seat belt off and kicked seats while we are moving (traveling) no school gaurd. Also a victory! But there are so many areas to go yet.  But at home it is a diff story. I am comforted and relieved reading your book! I don't feel so alone. In the future we may purchase the counseling program. He is the 9th child and last. Whew! I fear loosing my adult children and grandchildren as we do not want his behavior around them. We are probably going to have to go to their homes and leave our son at home. Some are close by in the neighborhood. Some are out of town. Then he would have to travel with and stay in car and read for a short visit. But one family has already disconnected. *:-&lt sighI am exhausted. He has not yet stay homed from school even though he threatens. I am quiet and go about my business and he always have come around. Victory! He bullies me badly! Hubby reacts in anger and forces him (grabbing) to his room. Bad situation! I can only control my behavior. In some areas he is doing better. He used to go to the bathroom and lock it, spread toothpaste all over and break soaps, ect. He has since stopped that. I will add that he has never been diagnosed with Asperger's but his meltdowns match it. He does NOT fall into the description of it. He is a healthy, athletic, smiling, helping (in school) kind of boy. He makes eye contact, hugs and snuggles. He is a very good student. All but a FEW descriptions fit him.  I was wondering if he just had a sin problem in anger. I am following the advice for Asperger's as it does fit his meltdowns. His anger goes beyond average kid anger! And he has been this way for yrs! I could handle much better as a younger boy. I can not handle him well these days. I will press on and learn, ask my God for help. I believe you are an answer from my Lord! So my main concern right now is not being able to have company over or holiday get togethers! His birthday is in Feb and he already saying he wants nothing, no cake, presents or special food. We are prepared to go get fav food and cake at last minute or the next day. Of course we will not have any company, just our boys yet at home. We have 3 boys in the home yet. Thank you for helping and on ward I press!  Sincerely,   A tired but hopeful mom, Pam


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!!!

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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