COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for June, 2018]

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 name is Heather. I have a 6.5 year old child on the high functioning end of the spectrum. I wanted to send you a message over Facebook as that is where I found your content, but, there wasn’t an option. I found your email through your website. I wanted to personally send you a quick message to say thank you for disseminating such important and vital information specifically targeting children who are have Aspergers. Because my son is so high functioning, we have been questioned, ridiculed, and at times been laughed at when trying to explain his struggles. My son is very verbal and friendly and is often labeled as a bad child or an awkward weird child but never autistic. Luckily , his school has recognized the autism and we are getting a lot of help through them. However, we have family members that we cannot be around anymore because of their inability to keep quiet with their unfounded and ignorant opinions on how my son does or doesn't behave. I have had to cut friends out of our lives and find people that share in the same struggles and understanding of what my son struggles with and have real and positive advice to offer. Of course, the public can be very brutal with sneers, looks and whispers. My son sees and notices a lot of it. I have longed for more information so that I can be more equipped to help him navigate his way around people and the world in general. Seeing your articles and constant information about the very same issues we deal with is very encouraging to me and my husband. I have chosen to use my Facebook page to educate people on high functioning autism and what it looks like, how to handle it, maybe recognize it in their own children or in themselves. Thank you for helping and understanding. Please keep posting this content. I rely on it everyday. Thank you.


Dear Mark,

I purchased your excellent book: "Living with Asperger's (AS) Partner".

Very valuable advice! Helped me improve dealing with my husband of 44 years.

These were challenging years. There is so much that brings us together, yet our different emotional build up caused us a lot of serious, hurtful disagreements and suffering throughout the years.

I stopped reacting to his inconsiderate behaviors in an emotional way, forcing myself to walk away, think through when and how to respond in an effor to avoid such hurtful behaviors on his part in the future.

Yet, although we have been closer...and things were calm, warm and mutually respectful for a while...

Yesterday, we had a couple of old friends visiting.

He starting rushing me to immediately start the (already prepared) dinner although we were not done with appetizers (about half an hour into the visit). Then, when I reached for a small piece of sweetened pineapple treat, he moved the ball away from me, in front of our friends (I am very slightly overweight and have been watching a very healthy diet and lifestyle for the past 4 months, which includes some minor "treats" from time to time, in agreement with my doctor - and it IS working beautifully).

I let it go, and mentioned it only next day: said "it made me feel embarrassed, controlled, afraid to reach for food the rest of the evening, second-guessing his reaction". Asked that "he never does it again", to trust me, "that I am a intelligent 62-year-old woman, and know what I am doing".

His reaction was furious: name calling; that I should be grateful he prevented me from eating more bad food; that all these doctors I am listening too (excellent experts in an online series of newest research on pre-diabetes) are stupid, "why I am even listening and then not (100%, I guess) following their advise etc.

Again, I pointed out I trust myself and don't need him to CONTROL me. He continued to interrupt me, yell at me, even threatening divorce (which he has done 1,000 times before).

What else can I do to make him trust my judgement and not be demeaned like that in front of my friends (and in general) in the future?

My husband, a retired engineer spending most of his time either on his engineering "projects" or watching or playing tennis; prone to angry, often abusive outbursts if under stress; with strong tendency to control and criticise others'  behavior, and an underdeveloped empathy, fits 90% of characteristics of a person with Asperger's. My luck;)....

Any other suggestion how I could have handled the situation more effectively?


Thank you so much!!  I have read all of the material and will be joining my fiance after 6 weeks of separation not due to the struggles we have had in our relationship but maintaining our individual homes in different states.  I will see him next week and he has asked for a list of things that he needs to correct or do in order for us to get along better.  I haven't told him that I believe he has AS and am hesitant to do so, but I want to gear our conversation toward those traits and need help in developing some guidelines for my list.  Any suggestions?  Also, last year we had a complete breakdown in our relationship and from Jan until July was seeing someone else while we were still together.  He has shown a lot of remorse and is confused as to why he did what he did.  I have tried to move past his lies, cheating etc and it's strange but in his mind, he doesn't remember much about his affair or acts as if it never happened.  I need some pointers should the subject come up, how to handle it .


There is  a lot of info out there about children, but not very much about adults.  Sometime I wish I could tell parents what to expect for their children in the future, but hopefully their child will be Bill Gates, not my husband.

For people not diagnosed until adulthood, family and teachers just assume this is a problem kid.  My husband set fires in his locker at school, burned down his grandmother’s house, blew up all his toys like the bad kid on Toy Story,  later got into drugs and alcohol, dropped out of school, stole cars, went to jail and tried suicide three times.

After we got married (his first marriage at age 37, my second at age 40), he could never hold a job for more than a few days or weeks.  He would always end up getting fired for saying the wrong thing at work.  I tried so hard to teach him how to act at work, but he would always get angry about something and say something inappropriate.

Intimacy never really worked out with us either.  Most of the time he had ED, plus he doesn’t really like anyone too close, especially not leaning on him, or on top of him, or touching his face.  He says he “can’t breathe”, or he says it “freaks him out”.  So that part of our marriage is basically dead. 

He can do a lot but always says he can’t do anything.  He knows a lot but claims he doesn’t know anything.  There is a lot he can do, but he can’t tell the different between doing something useful and doing something just for the heck of it.   Some things he does well, other things he can’t do at all, or says he can’t. 

He got diagnosed a few years ago and now collects disability, which is not enough to live on, so we always struggle financially.  This is our life now, with no hope for retirement, or having any money to do anything fun.

Maybe his life would have been better if he had  been diagnosed in childhood.  If we had never met, I suspect he would have ended up homeless.


Dear Mr. Hutten,

Thank you for your text yesterday evening. I have a few questions that possibly you could please help me with. My questions are not only about my son, who is 15 and has Aspergers, but about myself and how I deal with him. He is a very sweet boy and he always means well. He is very polite but very timid.

Every school morning, he takes a long time to get ready. I don't know if waking him up earlier would help or if he would just fill up the time. I find myself getting upset with him then getting upset with myself for getting upset with him. I don't really want to spend the time to keep on top of him. But, should I?

He really struggles with homework. He is especially bad at Math. Generally speaking, he takes a long time to do all of his homework. He then gets upset that he does not have free time to see his friends, etc. Should I just get him a tutor?


Dr Hutten: Thank you for your expertise in this field of working with couples  who are dealing with Asperger’s within their relationship.
After reading and listing to your book and audio I feel I fall somewhere in the Asperger’s Spectron.

My wife  for years has tried to figure out my  quirky behaver and emotional lack of interaction with herself and others.
At this point in our relationship she is ready to call our marriage quits.
She recently  found your web site and said, I might what to take a look at your material.
What I found did help me understand what I have felt for years. But was not able to articulate until reading your book.

My background Iam a white male 56 years old marred for 18 years two children 10 and 15.
I own a printing company  here in San Diego with 5 full time employees for the last 20 years.
To the world I seem to be fully  functional  normal person who can run a business be married and be a parent.
My wife who I have know for 30 years knows differently and has spent years working with me on trying to get me to connect
Emotionally with herself. I know she deserves 100% myself but  I can’t seem to find the strategy’s needed to truly connect with her.

My question is do you take on new clients  into your practice who are out of state.
I like the fact that you already have a great understanding on what married couples are going though when one person falls within the Asperger’s spectrum.
I  would like to tap your  knowledge and expertise in this field to, find strategy’s to help mediate my inability to emotional connect with my wife
and let her know I do care and want to find a path going forward where I can Communicate with her in a meaningful way.
Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated
Thank you.


My son who is almost 20 was aggressive towards me, his mother, through all of his teen years, due to anxiety - not because he is bad ! He is very kind, clever and was a happy little boy! But due to not having a diagnosis, despite so many attempts where we live to get one - he was not understood at school, or by others generally. We finally had one last year but it was handled so badly he felt totally dejected and it led to more outbursts and blame on me for having given birth to him! It resulted in him being removed from the home last year. With little information on how he is faring due to being classed chronologically as an adult - I am bereft but know that I couldn't cope with his outbursts or unreasonable demands for us to buy him expensive cars etc. We are reliant on social Services to support him and help him to learn about life - after all of my efforts over the years I feel a total failure. Not sure anyone can help when services say they are dealing with an adult although they have no plan as to what to do to support his needs.


Thank you so much. I am currently fighting for my marriage and have the added struggle of an unsupportive step-daughter and son-in-law.

I am currently living in Indiana for the summer but going home to Alabama once a month. Last time I was home there was a big blowup because I wanted that one weekend home with my husband but he ended up bringing his grandsons (as happens every weekend) home instead. The parents have the kids ask and my husband does not want to say no. They are his life. I am not.

Now he is preparing sermons for my next visit home. I love my Bible but he becomes fixated on his and finds verses to prove that I AM THE PROBLEM and he is just suffering through dealing with me. He is the perfect picture of a husband and the fact that he works, provides, and doesn’t drink, makes him perfect and the fact that I desire emotional support is ridiculous.

His latest revelation to me was when I told him time with him was just as important to me as sex was important to him and would he feel unloved if I didn’t want to have sex.

His response to me was to read 2 Samuel 16: 9-12 and followed up with this:

Well, forgive me but I’d rather accept the things that I don’t like or that are of discomfort as to the fear of God and judgement against my own foolish acts of unrighteousness for why should I be a fool in thinking that I do no wrong or justify that my wrongs are actually right. Why should I deceive myself but yet I am my worst enemy.

What in the world is he trying to say to me? I’m so confused, as usual, and our minds just do not work together well at all.

Crying, crying, crying


Hello Mr. Hutten,

My husband and I adopted three children as toddlers who are now in their teens.   Two are biologically related to each other.  The eldest, Kino, has never really bonded with us.  He endured at least seven different placements before entering our home at age 2 1/2.   Both biological parents had poly drug addiction and were arrested for various crimes, so we can only imagine what he was exposed to.   As literature on treatment of attachment disorders suggests, conventional discipline and parenting approaches have not proven effective.

Kino is now 17 1/2.   He does not have full blown RAD, but he does show definite tendencies across many of the diagnostic criterion.   Low empathy, can be quite cruel and hurtful.   There is no apology or repair following instances when he has violated or harmed others, and he shows no respect for our parental authority when we assert limits/boundaries and consequences for his misbehavior.

 On the other hand, Kino has never been in trouble with the law.   He generally observes rules of society, though he shows no deference toward those in authority (coaches, teachers, other adults).    Kino is naturally athletic (basketball star at his high school), and endowed with a bright mind but could care less about grades, seems determined to under-achieve, resents being asked to make an effort academically or in other areas.

In general he shows strong narcissistic traits.  People in his life serve primarily a utilitarian purpose.      His cruelty is often insidious...controlled, not outwardly emotionally reactive but rather calculated, controlled, he’s very adept at manipulating situations and people to ensure he’s in control.   Uses his younger sister as a wedge, and often as his surrogate to carry out his bullying, shunning, etc. of others.  She is just beginning to understand how he uses her in this manner and we’re trying to help her learn to set boundaries with him when he does this.

Our third child is just four months younger than Kino.   Marco suffered TBI and other serious injuries as a baby which have left him compromised in many ways.   Kino has targeted Marco, and often if angry with my husband or me, Kino will retaliate by being unkind to Marco.   We think Kino is threatened  in that Marco is very empathic and although he struggles with emotional regulation due to brain injuries, Marco is very self aware, communicative and able to connect easily with others, in ways that are difficult for Kino.

I’m writing way too much, but essentially interested in knowing how effective your approaches have been with youth with attachment challenges.  We are weary and on verge of losing hope.  Have considered separating our family, sending him away, etc. but we fear that will only reinforce his belief that he is unworthy of being loved.


Hi Mark - my name is Jen and am about all the way through your course. Thank you for all the detail and I appreciate your experience.

My son was diagnosed RAD several years ago. Long story. He is now 13. He is emotionally immature. Very frequently doing overly childish behavior.

Many of your suggestions are familiar to me going through therapy but such good reminders, as I get overwhelmed with the day to day and often let things going.

Self-reliant strategies and making sure to praise regularly to give my energy are two main things I am implementing right away.

I am feeling a bit uncertain about implementing the discipline/grounding ideas. Our main therapist who has helped us the most was trained in Beyond Consequences with Heather Forbes. She is now retired. So as you can image, connection as been our main priority but discipline hasn't. He was sooo fantastic for about a year and a half, then 13 hit. 7th grade hit. And we have had a big regression.

He has times where he is so rational, but others that I fear that he is incapable of making choices on how he is acting. Which brings me to my question. If there is a disconnect/lid flip tendency of a RAD kiddo, do you still feel confident that your methods will be effective?

He is a good kid when his brain is working well! His anxiety and fear override and make him so disregulated that it can get scary.

Thanks Mark! I am sure you get so many of these questions. My husband and I have tried so many things over the years that I just want to confirm that if we commit to something that there is a high probability it will be effective.


Should I allow (with supervision) my just- turned 16-year-old daughter to date an 18-year-old?  She has snuck boyfriends in the past, but she told us that if we would allow it, the relationship could be out on the open.  The young man could go to church with us, work out with us, hang out with us.  I havent been able to trust her in the past.  She seems to have ADHD, struggles severely with academics.  It seems like she uses her body as one of her greatest assets for acknowledgement.  ... like dressing in tight clothing, short shorts.  I have fought her on attire for a couple of year now.  I have just chosen not to make that issue the deal-breaker. 

I also homeschool, but I want her going to a regular school,  it am concerned she will wind up pregnant.  Any counsel?


Good afternoon!
Although not formally diagnosed, my 60 year old husband of 30+ years has many characteristics of having Asperger's. We are both educators so it's been manageable for the most part. Life changes have come our way. We have been retired two years and work part time. Our two children are grown.

All these years I have planned, prompted, and steered- foolishly thinking that his awkwardness, rudeness could be covered by my sense of humor and southern charm. However, in the last couple of months I have been unable to "cover". Our social circle is shrinking rapidly. He's offended people from young children to elderly. It seems to be escalating.

Although I have addressed his issues with him, he truly doesn't see that there is a problem.

I'm struggling.... is it due to life's circumstances or our aging?
 How do I get him out of his current negative thought pattern?
Do we remove ourselves from situations that bring out the rudeness to spare the feelings of others?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Aloha from Hawaii!

I am reaching out desperate and very interested in what I have been reading about your work in trying to seek out some assistance for my 15 year old son.

After seeing a local psychologist for the past year, we both feel that my son may be "on the spectrum" exhibiting a lot of Asperger's Syndrome characteristics with possible video gaming addiction. So PsyD feels my son may need/benefit from more of a psychiatric protocol of treatment with possible mood stabilizers to assist with self regulation.

Although my son was evaluated in 2012 with a resulting axis-I diagnosis of Dyslexia/Dysgraphia (more of the latter is prominent), he has always been a very emotional and rigid learner with poor expression/communication skills that has often impeded the joys of what should've been happier times in his childhood that I often feel guilty about thinking much was my fault as a poorly skilled mother.

With this dysgraphia diagnosis he matriculated successfully to a private special school setting (Assets School) through middle school up until when he felt he was not being helped and wanted to try another private campus for his high school years (an all boys school).

Up until recently, my son has always sought out opportunities to be with friends/others as he is an only child with a limited social network. However, although we've tried to engage him in a number of activities- boy scouts, martial arts, sports, music etc.- he would often lose interest and protest to the point that we allowed him to drop out of these groups.

In lieu of this he unfortunately has found much comfort in devices that has resulted in what we feel is a dependency that tends to drive his moods and isolates him from much else to the point where nothing else exists/matters.

Although there are some good moments, he demonstrates signs of depression and anxiety rarely seeming happy about much and becoming argumentative as well as easily frustrated/angered with himself and others which often results in very destructive meltdowns particularly if he is not allowed unlimited device time. He no longer has much friends that he interacts with and often shares how he doesn't fit in anywhere and is worthless even though he has had much academic success when he wants to extend the efforts and/or is monitored.

With the above being just a general overview of what has become very concerning I am writing to inquire about whether we should have my son further evaluated for an official ASD diagnosis in order to seek our your program/services. If so might there be anyone you could suggest/refer us to in Hawaii, as I have not been too successful in trying to locate a reputable provider who is accepting new patients with adolescent psychiatric expertise with Asperger's or even device addictions- the ones I've been in contact with are not able to take on new cases or have wait lists.

Apologies for this lengthy correspondence as I am hoping this can provide some insights into my situation to discern what to pursue next in trying to reach my son and hoping it is not too late.

I sincerely appreciate your time and any considerations that you can offer particularly if you think your expertise could make a difference.

I will look forward to hearing what could be possible to explore with much indebted gratitude.


My name is Hadeel Sabti Hmeidan. I adopted my son when he was 1 month old.  He is 8 now. When he was six he was diagnosed as ADHD with asperger.  He is on concerta medication to help control his hyper activity. He is good in school specially math and reading.  I was advised not to put him in international schools. I have the following issues which I need help with
- some times he is aggressive. If some one hit him not intentionally while passing by he his hard and attack as if he was hit hard
- he attacks older kids with no fear.  Usually he does not attack but he hits instead of saying I don’t want you to do this.  I tried teaching him other methods of communicating but not as successful as I want to be
- I am scared at times when he is angry he says things like if I have a knife I would kill him . He is not in an aggressive environment but he uses aggressive language.

Please assist.  I feel overwhelmed


I have a 13 year old child finally diagnosed with HFA (Aspergers) last year after many fights with school since she was in second grade.   We have an IEP that is no where near robust enough to help her generalize the little social skills that they are putting in place for her.  About 40 minutes a week 20 group and 20 one-on-one with speech therapist plus 20 minutes of counseling a week.  I think the biggest problem for the school is that she is a straight A student in mainstream classes. 

We see a child that is so used to rejection nd bullying from her peers that she is beyond sad, depressed and angry.  We supplement school based speech and counseling out of school, but she is so smart that the therapists aren’t sure what to do with her.  She can answer every social question appropriately but cannot generalize.  I have bought several Michelle Garcia Winner books to read with her and am really trying to help, but she hates thinking that she has a problem. 

I’m wondering how your program will differ and how we can start to connect with our daughter.  She fights me tooth and nail all the time and I’m exhausted.  BTW – she has Dravet Syndrome, a genetic based disease that caused epilepsy and may be the root cause of her aspergers diagnosis as well.

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