COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for July, 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 wanted to update you:

I have enrolled Ben in the UCLA, evidence-based PEERS social skills training course. I would have never further looked into this or pursued this without your advice and help and I just wanted to take a minute and express my extreme gratitude and appreciation for your help.

However, don't think you're off the hook. You are a hidden gem and I know I will need your expertise again soon!

Thank you again so much!!!


Hi Mark,
I just want to inform you, my son Jeremy and I will be considering moving to the U.S this summer. My parents and three of my siblings have been living in Maryland for the past 20 years. Presently my mom who has been ailing for the past six years has somehow given up and I want to spend some time with her before she passes on. I want to let you know that I have been taking notes as I have been receiving and reading the e-mails sent from you and this has been a tremendous help and blessing to my family. My son Jeremy has improved and is looking forward to start Hyattsville Middle School September this year. Jeremy is now 12 years old and is ready to go into mainstream schooling. Presently, my nephew who is a student with a special need also attends Hyattsville middle school so it won't be much difficulty for Jeremy since he will have someone there he already knows. 
               I am hoping to see more improvement once Jeremy starts school in the U.S. In Trinidad 17 schools have been closed down putting further burden on parents with special needs kids. Jeremy is currently attending Autism Services for special children, this school is not Government assisted it is an NGO. Tuition is $1500 per month plus $500 in travelling expenses. I don't want my son to be left behind in our school system so I have decided on move to the U.S.
            In my quest to better understand my son and how to help him I have been studying some Psychology, and Special education as well as writing Social Stories, recently my sister ordered two books for me from Carol Gray. I have been actively involved with the Ministry of Education, Student Support and Autism Services in Trinidad, I want to support parents and teachers with special needs children. I want to sincerely thank you for all the e-mails I received from this website.


My son is 12.5, and my wife and I had another rough weekend with him.  He has no diagnosis... no teacher has ever suggested an issue other than in 4th grade discussing his inability to perform in group work.  I have , however, through the years, researched "Highly Sensitive"  disorder to try and explain some of his symptoms.   A therapist suggested he might have anxiety, but no improvements were made in multiple appointments. 

My son is extremely bright- he is genius level IQ.  No issues with speech growing up.   He has and still doesn't look anyone in the eyes; struggles to have any conversation that isn't one word with other adults; struggles to make friends or interact- often is 5 feet behind the group, off in his own world; use to have temper tantrums more frequently but still has them and always just repeats the same thing over and over when he is upset; used to just read all day long, or build legos all day, now would play video games all day if allowed;  has odd posture mannerisms- keeps his arm folded behind his back, never sits with feet on the floor but instead will squat on the dinner chair, also twirls his hands when nervous and can't stop it.  My wife often complains he has no empathy for anyone, only worries about himself.

I was typing in some of the symptoms and fell upon your website.  I see so much in my son that you describe in aspergers.  My wife loves him so much but is increasingly frustrated- he always promises to talk to other kids and parents but never really does ... we always just hoped he would grow out of these problems and "issues." 

Is it possible to make it to 7th grade and have no one mention Aspergers?   He has always excelled in school but the transition to middle school was tough-  struggled with organization, turning in assignments, following directions.


Dear Mark:

Thank you for making yourself available to so many families.  My step-daughter is beyond about the aspergers meltdowns her son has.  All the professional
people we have been put in contact with have given great hope, only to have nothing happen.  The school system is pointless with knowing how to cope and cause more problems for him than good.  I have seen information on line with help for teachers, and I would be willing to share anything I learn with them, but would need permission from the School District from what I have learned so far.  Here in New Brunswick there does not seem to be much in the way of help.  There is an autism group, but they are not funded by the government, so their help is limited, and they are closed for the summer.

I am determined not to let this young guy fall through the cracks.  Once I have all my info for the aspergers, I will look into info for ADHD for his twin brother.  Their mother does not have the time to devote to getting the info so we are going to work together.


Dear Sir,
I have been married to my husband for almost 33 years. The first 20 years he was very affectionate and caring.  Occasionally he would have episodes of anger and moodiness.  Now, it's almost every day.  It gets worse when he is drinking.  Often, I will walk into a room where he is at and he will be waving his arms in the air and be moving his mouth as if angrily chewing someone out.  He stops immediately when he sees me.  Sometimes he is doing this in front of a mirror.  He will be in a restaurant and grit his teeth and vibrate his head.
Is this something that people with this affliction do??


Thanks for the quick reply! I've been buried in the program since I emailed you and didn't see your response till now. In any case, disregard my question! I have gotten my answer and I believe strongly that I have also gotten my 'answer' to my larger question...what do I do with this kid?
I have purchased the program, completely related to just about everything you have said in the first 3 steps in week 1, and I am prayerfully going to dive into this with everything I've got for the next 4 weeks.
Thanks and thanks in advance for this program.


Dear Mr. Hutten,
Thank you very much for taking your time to respond to my questions. The notes are excellent, in understandable language and responding to my need to help our grandson. Once again thank you very much.
Our grandson traveled over night from Kampala to Arua, a distance of about 500 miles. We asked the parents if we could stay with him. Today, we went with him to town and had lunch with him. We only told him, he was welcomed and that this was his home.
After reading through the notes from you, we are now going to start speaking to him.
From the list we noted that if you could help us with notes on the following, I think we will be more prepared to help our grandson get a new direction for his life:
1.       Gets suspended or expelled from school
2.      Is depressed
3.      Lies
Thank you very much Mr. Hutten for the notes. We shall be happy to share with you the outcome of our efforts to safe our son.


I have been married for 57 years.  About 5 years ago, I read David Finch's book on his Aspergers and marriage.  Then my husband read it.  We both recognized that John very likely has Aspergers.  He tried for a while to follow Finch's suggestion for "best practices",  but it didn't last long.  We continued to struggle.  He is now 83; I am 78.  In the last 6 months, things have really gotten bad.  Possibly dementia setting in.  I began reading everything I could about Aspergers.

What I found was that I kept thinking of several other family members probably having it.  Actually, I have found one son-in-law so out of touch socially since I first met him 23 years ago.  His wife, our youngest daughter, was always a bit different herself.  Friends said she was a "Little philosopher".  In first grade, her teacher alerted us to the fact that she kept trying to hug the boys in her class.  In third grade, we were told she had mild dyslexia.  Her older siblings worried about her social skills.  She also has a major sleep disorder.  At age 47, she does seem 'distant' (rather unempathetic).  She and her husband seem to have a good marriage, but I wonder if it is all real.

They have two children ... both of them very different.  The older was born female after a very difficult pregnancy.  She was also always seen as "unique" and into reading mythical fiction and cosplay.  2 years ago, she got into a relationship with a transgender FTM and announced in January that she was going to transition as well.  She/he is 22.

The other child is a boy who is now 14.  He has long shown AS traits.  Difficulty getting to sleep from infancy.  Exceptionally bright both verbally and in mathematics but doesn't do homework so is very much underachieving even though he has been kept in gifted/honors classes his whole school career.  Admits to being socially awkward (as has his sibling) and both talk that way about their father.  We are currently traveling with this child (we have given each of our six grandchildren special international trips.  This is the last one.), and his AS traits are more obvious than ever.  His diet has always been limited.  On this trip, he has devoured anything sugary with some meat thrown in.  No fruits.  No vegetables.  He points out any/all "errors" in our speech.  Ie, very literal.  His humor is childish and inappropriate (very much a problem his father has, too).  He is a collector like his grandfather (my husband - who collects stamps; pictures of manhole covers; fruit labels, and more).  Our grandson still collects stuffed animals and started to collect shot glasses when he was 12.  He has purchased 7 so far on this trip.  He stays buried in games on his iPhone.  He does love the outdoors, and we have tried to make this trip largely about that, but visiting Papua New Guinea to see cultural dances was of little interest to him.  His sister also spent much of our trip with her 5 years ago on the laptop.  Our other four grandchildren were far more engaged in the experiences we were having.

Cody (the grandson we are traveling with now) has had a female friend since 4th grade.  His sister played only with boys in her elementary years.  Cody and his friend are now boyfriend/girlfriend.  She is a delightful person (and as black as he is white).  We haven't been around her enough to decide if she is also on the spectrum.  They have been in the same classes until this past year when they went to different schools.  She is now very passionate about theater.

Anyway, I have thought that his sister's problem is really AS and not gender dysphoria, so I worry about her/his health down the road when he realizes that changing genders is not the answer to happiness.  He began college as a very bright Computer Science major but dropped out after 1-1/2 years and is now driving dogs to/from a doggy daycare.

Neither parent is happy with his/her job.  That's been their history.  Our daughter has a law degree from U of Mich law school.  She got into practice and hated it.  She got into real estate in 2005 and never got far with it.  She avoided work for 4-5 years and now is an operations manager but hates her work situation.  Her sister-in-law, by the way, also struggled her entire short life ... especially with eating disorders.  She died at age 38 as a result of years of bulimia.

Our other children include one with possible bi-polar disorder and substance addictions.  Has never had a job for more than 1-1/2 years.  Tried starting a business and failed.  Has been married twice and blames everyone else for her problems.  Her husband has had it.  Two kids are very creative and well-liked, but I worry about their decision making, too.  Older one is 27 and male-dependent.  Younger one is 16 and quite talented in film-making but without much good decision making.

Second daughter married a brilliant electrical engineer (Intel).  His siblings have brains but poor social skills.  One is divorced with awkward (!!!!) behaviors socially, as does his ex and their sons.  The other was married for two months then later decided to have a child through a donor.  She got twins out of that and lives with her parents at age 40.  Brian, himself, did not do much hands on with parenting his two.  The older is 23; a musician of sorts; a college dropout - twice; lives at home; few friends; no girlfriends; and has been on meds for serious depression for a long time.  He was considered suicidal a few years ago.  His sister is going into her junior year at Mills College majoring in computer science.  She has had pink hair for quite a while; is gay and a militant SJW.

Among my kids, I have seen a serious case of being a helicopter mom; a woman who has been labeled narcissistic (by a psychologist in her divorce custody case); a woman who has very flat affect and no consistency in discipline; and our 51 year old never married son who is on his 8th fairly long term relationship.  He is an engineer who struggles with bosses and collects musical instruments (last count he had 28).  He spends every chance (and most money) on concerts around the country.  He, too, has struggled with drugs over the years.

And I am the NT in the family who tries to keep everything positive and in reasonable control.  But this trip with 2 Aspies has gotten to me.  My family needs help, but I don't have a clue how to get them aware enough to want to make changes ... especially my husband as we age and my youngest grandson who could be helped, still, to manage his ASD as he grows up.

We (the grandparents) love in Mexico.  Oldest daughter is in Australia.  Second is in Portland, OR. Son is in Sacramento area.  Youngest is in Virginia.

I really hope you have suggestions for what I can do to get out from under the weight of all this.  We have a family reunion in Mexico every two years.  This year is it ... complete with partners, other friends of the kids and a gay couple from Paris who are like family.

I hope you have some ideas for this very tired "invisible" wife/mother/grandmother.


Hello Mark,

I am in Canada and bought your book for a missionary lady in Uganda who has a 'family' (adopted off the street) and has raised them for several years.  One of the children, Fanice, has been diagnosed with Aspergers.

The missionary lady, (Belgian, speaks English very well), asked me to pay with PayPal.  Other purchases I've made allow for 'gifting' an item to someone else.  As you likely know purchasing online, downloadable books doesn't seem to have that feature...  My first time, so now I know.

I'm sending Dominique the payment information as below and have suggested she attempt to now download the book.  If she has a problem she will likely contact you or get back to me for help.

I did take time to read down the website and found it super-informative.  My wife and I are in our 70s but have lots of interaction with families who are being 'run-over' by their kids.  Some of them seem to fit the issues you describe.  I will look to the Lord to direct me where a tactful suggestion might gain them your insights...

Thanks for all of your studies and the time it's taken to put them together to help others.


Hi Mark,

I have been in relationship with a man for 4 yrs, recognizing at the beginning that there was something 'different' about this man with such a great heart.

 As I learned more about Aspergers I began to understand how he fit in that category in many ways. However in other ways not so much, and I have learned that personality is the first consideration. For example, on the DISC Assessment Profile he is in the very high I category. This category of individuals is very fun-loving, likes to joke, childlike behaviors etc. Also, his 'love languages' are attention, affirmation and affection.

I suggested to him that I thought he had some Aspergers tendencies and he agreed it might be the case and that would 'explain some things'. (His 80 yr old undiagnosed father is clearly has quite a mix of autism, terets syndrome and ??? His younger brother is high-functioning autistic and his 2 grands are both on the spectrum)

He did an on-line Aspergers assessment on his own and then asked me to do it with him. On a scale of 1-50 (questions) he ranked over 35 which indicated a definite diagnosis. According to this website there is an 80% accuracy rating.

A significant concern to me is this. In the past year we have experienced what I might  identify as seriously emotional, angry meltdowns on 4 dramatic (on his part only) occasions.

My concern is, because I have understood that things get worse as Aspies age, what am I to expect in the area of this behavior? He gets through the episode which is extremely loud and angry and then gets perturbed with me because he doesn't understand why I am upset and feel the need to 'shut down' and withdraw from him for a couple of days. He does not tolerate the silence.  I told him I am an not trying to hurt him, but that I'm afraid that he will (by my definition) lose control again and I'll have to endure a repeat performance. He argues that I am not in control either if I handle it by shutting down.

This has become a serious issue for us. I feel like the only solution for this situation is that I need to somehow gain strength the endure his meltdowns.

Do you have any guidance for me?



Hello. My wife and I have been reading a great deal attempting to understand the trauma we've been living in for the past couple of years with our Adopted Identical Twin Sons, who are now 15.

I came across your expertise, directed from a number of different articles. 

We are in Los Angeles.

One son is currently in placement (serving a 9-month court order) the other was just released from placement and is currently back home.

Beside ourselves would be an understatement... Outside of staging it all with Dr. Phil and airing everything on TV, can you help us, or point us to someone or an institution, program, or... anyone that can actually help?  

Both boys were diagnosed by UCLA with Conduct Disorder and ADHD last summer, after a three and a half week admittance in the UCLA hospital through Dr. Mark DeAntonio.

Josh is the anger and muscle, and Jake is the manipulator... a "deadly Duo." Both boys are very athletic, average intelligence per UCLA testing. 

Anything you can do to help is seriously appreciated!


Hi Mark Hutten,

My 6 year old son was diagnosed with ASD or HFA and I've found your ebooks helpful. He seems pretty normal socially to me at home in regard to eye contact, conversational back and forth and playing with his younger brother. But in a group setting like school or camp the behaviors really come out. He does pretty well while sitting down in a small group, but when everyone is standing around or standing in line he mostly runs around and does a lot of pacing back and forth during recess time. Usually, once he's more comfortable he'll do less pacing but this can take weeks or months. I'd love to find a way to get him doing more socializing and less pacing at school and on playgrounds. He does often initiate social contact (sometimes in inconvenient places like at the mall or sidewalk) but frequently runs off after saying hi or engaging briefly. Any suggestions regarding pacing behaviors? We're moving to a new school in Utah next year. I'm hoping to get him off to a good start.


Mr. Hutten,

Ran across your online option for counsel.

Husband and I have been married 25 years, 2 children - daughter 21 in college, working and doing well.  She is on scholarships, does not partake in promiscuous behavior etc. Have small issues with her when she comes home, has one more year then grad school.  Our son, 19 -- we need counsel !!
Graduated from High School 2016 with a 2.9 ! Obtained his Eagle Scout Award.  He fits some of your profiles that I don't think he feels competent in school so he ran to the "video" fantasy world.  Wanted to attend Full Sail University (for video work) but did not want to apply himself in High School for much of anything sooooo we said no college until we see you are serious about ACT scores, studying etc.  He has had several jobs in HS and is working now for Coca-Cola full time.  He gets himself up at 3:30 AM and goes to work 5 days per week.  His work ethic, we are told is awesome!  He moved in with 2 guys 5 months ago (marijuana smokers and pornography on their walls....argghh) and they parted ways several weeks ago.  Before that, he was partaking in very risky behaviors with a girl -- sleeping overnight etc.  He didn't lie to us about it and we gave them both our morals and values speech.  We do not think he is doing any drugs because Coca-Cola does drug testing and he likes his work there.  His girlfriend doesn't do drugs either.

Now he is back in our house reluctantly, car repairs taken all his extra cash.  His girlfriend was in our driveway the other night at 9 PM waiting for him as he packed a bag to go over to her house (where her mother and 2 grandparents approve of them sleeping together I found out, and were looking for a rental house the next day to accommodate them both, what is this all about??????).  I went out to her car and requested she (girlfriend) come in our house and we could talk about what they were doing.  My husband, myself, girlfriend and our son sat down (sort of) and talked about what they were doing.  It was very emotional and I ended up asking them to make a choice, sleep together and tomorrow we take our son off of our cell phone plan, car insurance, and health insurance and all his stuff is on the front porch (was raining that night) OR no sleeping together and we would help with all these things and a wedding next month so they could sleep together.  They chose no sleeping together and have not heard about a wedding plan for now.  I think my son is not seeing her anymore, that was 5 days ago......argggghhhh.

My husband, myself and my daughter are Christ followers.  We do not do any proselytizing with him but we do share truth and he asks me to pray for him when he has trouble.  I know this is a family problem and not only him.  He wants his independence sooooooo bad which we are happy for.  We have started the Financial Peace University online program which we are hoping would show him how he can be independent financially in a responsible way, what about his immaturity in relationships?

My husband wants to kick him out the next time we have a problem like this.  I want to try a contract with him with hopes that he can save his money, and get his own place.  Some how I feel in his desperation to be on his own, he landed with this girl that has a mother that did not care about her daughter much and has no boundaries or limitations and thought my son's rent money (which he does not have right now) could help them all out.

Thank you for your website, it has already been helpful.


Good afternoon. I took your advice and literally printed out your ebook on paper and put in in a binded folder so I could go through and make notes in the margins and use it more as a workbook. After reading it and making notes on my own feelings the entire way through I told my husband about the book and that I was attempting to find some support whether he agreed with my suspicion of him being on spectrum or whether he had a willingness to seek an evaluation and diagnosis. I didn't expect what came next, but he found the book filled with my notes, took it to work with him, made a copy of it and read the whole thing. He was surprisingly not upset by my notes and said it was helpful in understanding my feelings better. We still have a lot of trouble communicating and understanding one an another, but I feel that was definitely a step in the right direction.

Now, my one son who is on spectrum is starting Kindergarten and we are trying to prepare him best we can. I attended a workshop yesterday about how to use social stories to help influence behavior change in children with ASD hoping to find some closure with a few behaviors my son is having that would be bothersome in school. I was surprised how applicable many of the example social stories were to my own martial arguments. Just yesterday we got into an argument about him leaving the house and not saying goodbye to me again (one of the very first examples discussed in one of the social storybooks). I will tell him how that makes me feel and why he should be mindful to give me greetings and goodbyes, and he understands me, but feels I shouldn't care about being greeted or told goodbye just the same as I feel he should. We get locked into not agreeing on what is correct or "normal." He often tells me that he feels judged by me and he's correct in that I am continuously offended by his behavior, the way in delivers messages both verbally and non-verbally, and his tone. I don't want to be offended by him constantly, but I am. Additionally, I believe he actually is not intending to be offensive and hurtful, but I am still hurt. I know I can't attempt to make my husband read children's social stories to influence the interaction between us as a couple, especially when he doesn't even agree that he might be on the spectrum, but I'm hoping that learning about our son and how to help him might give my husband some further insight on our issues. There are so many resources I've seen offered for children and parents of autistic children to help them, but very little from what I can see on how to help adults or spouses of adults that might be on spectrum that want to stay in their relationships have a smoother relationship. There is your book and support groups from what I can tell (and these groups appear pretty negative), but is there any additional resources that you suggest for spouses trying to find ways to make communication smoother or legitimize their feelings about what is acceptable and not acceptable and why it would matter to people (people like me)? If there are further resources or audios please let me know. Thanks again.


Hi Mark,

I need some advice, please. My sister is a widow with 2 children, a boy (15) and girl (12). The boy has been diagnosed with ASD and is high functioning. He is a Grade 10 student who had to leave the regular school program due to frequent episodes of the police taking him to the hospital and the psychiatrist suggesting that he enroll in a different type of school program.

He is abusive, defiant, destructive, disrespectful, refuses to attend psychiatric appointments, has abused his prescribed medication by hoarding it and then overdosing and causing psychotic episodes. In a nutshell, my 56 year old sister is at her wits end. He refuses to go away for a week’s vacation in Drumheller with the his mom and his sister, and his mom doesn’t trust him at home on his own. She is desperately in need of a break and has her own physical disability problems. Is there a place that will take autistic teenagers to give her a break from the intense, neverending strain she is experiencing?

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