COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS (Dec., 2018 and Jan., 2019)

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Hi Mark! I feel like Im at the end of my rope with my 6-year-old son. He will be 7 in two weeks. He has not been officially diagnosed, but almost all of the AS symptoms have been there for years. Anyway, he cannot be corrected. Any correction sets him into a meltdown, discipline sends him into a meltdown... so many things send him into meltdown m ode! Dur ing these meltdowns, he screams, cries,, hits the wall, says random things that have nothing to do with the situation at hand, etc. He argues with my husband and I about EVERYTHING. We have two other children (5 and 2), and he is constantly aggravating them and bothering them. When we tell him to stop, he snaps back and like I said, cant handle any correction. My husband and I are definite believers in firm, but loving correction and discipline, and do not let our kids call the shots - we teach our kids to be respectful and kind... our sons behavior doesnt reflect what we teach our kids and I feel like Im at my wits end trying to handle him and figure him out. I guess my question to you is: how do I cope with the constant opposition to correction? No form of discipline seems to be effective with him, everything only seems to make him more angry and fuel his emotions. I feel like I cant even focus on my other two children because he takes up so much time in my day, trying to prevent or end his meltdowns.


I have a 19 year old son who has a mild form of Aspergers/ ADD mix. He is extremely defiant, stubborn, proud, intelligent, has mild depression, anxiety disorder, and sadly a compulsive liar! He  will NOT accept his Aspergers diagnosis anymore ( diagnosed with ADD in eight grade), which he previously did prior to high school. He has a fit ( young adult tantrum)if I try to talk about it!  He was diagnosed when he was in third grade by a psychologist (upon My request) after being tested based on the DSM clinician manual. The psychologist didn't  believe that he was, but I knew there was so something different about him.

Anyhow, I wanted to give you some history of him so you can help me and my husband know what would be the wisest direction to take  with our son.  Currently, he is at college in WA state where we live( Western WA University). My husband told our son, Micah, during the summer that for him to stay in college, he had to do $5,000 worth of scholarships by winter quarter. This didn't require him to actually win the scholarships, but just putting in the effort! . He hasn't produced one yet! We'll be picking him up from college December 15 and bringing him home permanently if he does not do what his dad asked. On December 15 my husband wants  to see at least 3 completed, and he has until January 1st to complete the other 2.

Are we making the right decision regarding bringing him home knowing his temperament and handicaps?  What would be the real reason for not doing the scholarships, because he writes really well. Is there something we aren't seeing as parents, besides obstinance? Also, Why would he originally accept his diagnosis and then deny it?


I have a 14 year old son who in the last 12 months has been constantly hard 
work. I have had the school on the phone regularly claiming he has been 
removed from class and placed into internal for being disruptive. My son is 
dyslexic and finds it hard to sit still and concentrate and the school are 
aware of this but he gets no extra help other than counselling once a week 
which I had to request . I live with my partner ( who is not his father 
)and my other son who is 17- they share the same father . But my 14 year 
old has been in more serious trouble in the last 6 months and have the 
police to my house twice in a week period. One incident was a girl accused 
him of grabbing her by the throat but luckily this was witnessed by other 
student who said he was defending him self from getting repeatedly slapped 
and punched around the head by this girl and he only pushed himself away 
from her. The other incident again was by the same girl who accused him of 
having a knife on the school but again this was not a knife but a climbing 
clip which had a nail file and small scissors attached and he was accused 
of waving this around on the bus . I have grounded him to his room and 
permanently taken his mobile phone from him. He doesn't have a game console 
in his room. His behaviour seem to improve at home and at school as we both 
signed a behaviour agreement and he signed up to the local Army Cadets . 
The agreement was designed rather than taking things away from him he 
needed to earn things with good behaviour such as going to youth club, 
watching what he wanted on TV etc. But last week he was caught stealing a 
chocolate bar on CCTV from our village shop along with 2 other boys. I made 
him go down and apologise and offer to work for free until they are happy 
he has repaid his debt. He said that he knew what he was doing was wrong 
but he felt pressured as he was with his friends. The shop have also said 
that they heard this on the CCTV video. The problem with him is its never 
his fault he always has someone else to blame and he never takes 
responsibilities for his own. Again I have constantly told him about the 
consequences to his actions. My partner and I have been together for 7 
years and living together for 5. They use to get on incredibly well but now 
all my partner does is shout at him and I dread coming home as there is 
always an argument and this is causing a rift between us. My partner feels 
that I am to soft with my punishment and need to be harsher with him and 
his punishment. Again I have grounded him to him room and he is only 
allowed down for meal times and to do homework as I cannot take anything 
else away. I had a serious talk with him and advised him the road he is 
heading down is not a good one and to start thinking about his future and 
his behaviour as he is in year 10 at school. Just when I think he learns I 
then today get another message from the school saying he was removed from 
his class again and will spend half the day tomorrow in isolation. I really 
don't know what else to do as his behaviour is affecting everyone in our 
house and my 17 year old son is also getting fed up with how his brother is 
as we live in a small village and everyone know everyone's business. My son 
does not have the best self esteem and really would be grateful for any 
advice you can offer.


Dear Mark,
I have just come across one of your YouTube videos and then to your website. I can relate so much to everything I read there.

My husband is 72 years and has multiple mental health conditions;
C-PTSD from childhood emotional and physical abuse from his mother (whom I now suspect was on the spectrum herself) and bullying at school; Combat trauma and military rape trauma (Vietnam); diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia.
He also ticks the boxes for OCD and ADHD. Our daughter, 39 years, was diagnosed with ADHD 12 months ago, which I had never suspected but since researching for her condition I realized my husband is very similar.

My youngest son, 49 years, from my 1st marriage, I always knew was different from toddler age and have always said he was Asperger's from the time I first became aware of the condition. He is not diagnosed and has many life problems.

My daughter is not diagnosed Asperger's either but she rocked as an infant and very early in her life I was removing labels from her clothing and she now has many sensory issues.

So I have been aware of Asperger's but never able to find much information about long term relationships until less than six weeks ago. And even less information about Asperger's in aging.

In the past two years my husband's behavior has deteriorated. He has become financially abusive although he provides me with TWO late model cars for my exclusive use.
His way of showing love? He also tells me that my health care is not his concern. I have no health insurance.

A year ago I went to stay in my eldest son's house 700 Kilometers distant. My son works away and I knew nobody in the town but I stayed away for seven months before I could face returning and I now I return for short periods to the marital home. I guess I have compassion fatigue, burnout, whatever. I now have a very short fuse, literally screaming with rage, where I have always been very repressed in my life since childhood.

I was always attributing my husband's behavior to PTSD and allowing for that,  although it's been a lonely 40 plus years. I have never been included in my husband's mental health care and I am very angry with his longtime psychiatrist and psychologist.

In view of my husband's multiple problems and his age, do you think there is any chance of improvement in our relationship. He has always stonewalled me, no resolution ever.
We just terminated 6 sessions of "Couples Counselling" which was a total waste of time and money. My husband still stonewalled although he did agree to counselling for the first time ever. Probably a result of my prolonged absence.

I know this is a long screed any probably disjointed but my husband's case is complicated and his mental health people aren't listening to me.

I hope you can give me some advice or suggestions of links relating to aging Asperger's. I am in Australia.
Mentally and emotionally I am not in a good place.


Been dating a AS man for a little over a year now. I was reluctant at first to go on a date as I was previously married for 23 years to a   narcissist.
This is my second relationship.
I went and it has been the most amazing experience ever until he had a melt down/ shut down 2 months ago.
My therapist has diagnosed him with AS without seeing him. I’ve done my research and have to agree she is 100 percent spot on.

He is a executive chef. Was very attentive to me, always saying he loves  me, loves affection. Was very happy. Even bought each other promise rings which haven’t been exchanged.

So the melt down happened due to change of restaurants. The stress leading up and belief to still continue lead to he’s slow withdrawal, then complete shut down. Telling me he hates this situation and he doesn’t have time and won’t be able to make me happy.

I was completely shocked! It literally went from a 10 ( amazing ) to 0 ( nothing ). I couldn’t comprehend so I wanted a meeting seeking closure. All along desperately hoping he would snap out of it, as I care for him so much. Took me 3 weeks for him to finally commit to a short meet up that I was seeking.

When we met, he was open and loving and told me he thought about me every day and that he loves me but there is so much pressure at the moment. We kissed, held hands and he walked me to my car and asked if he could see me next week. I agreed.

Next day slowly goes back to calling me and things seemed promising. Five days later gets the news he’s dad has cancer. Understandably he goes back to slowly shutting down.

Meanwhile I’m slowly pushing to see him again. We agreed on a day ( which was rescheduled a few times due to work ) making my way there little after midday and he calls me. Saying he won’t be able to make it as the menus haven’t finished yet. I was literally 8 minutes away from the restaurant so decided to go there.
Not knowing he is a AS at this point and they don’t like surprises it didn’t go down to well. He was very rude. Not like him at all, besides the previous melt down.

I left and later that night I sent him a text sadly ending the relationship. I was so upset. A week later I reached out to him via text and basically said - don’t know what’s happened to us, no communication..... etc I know we have a beautiful connection if you are still in love with me, can we do dinner this week.

He replied right away and said ... the next restaurant has been hard on him and thanked me for the message and he will call me tomorrow. He did call, saying he would love to do dinner and if we can do the following week and this week is crazy, short staff. I agreed to do the following Wednesday.

So we slowly again start talking and texting. He said he was looking forward to dinner and so was I. Leading up to the dinner he seemed to get little distant, I just put it to weekend work always more extreme. Monday I asked him to call me when he is free to chat, calls and starts to indicate how busy they are going to be and I asked about Wednesday and he said he doesn’t think so.

To be honest I lost my cool. He’s like ‘what do you want me to do’ ! I can’t remember what words where said but he seemed to brush the whole dinner and if you still love me... to him accepting as the ‘ proper thing to do ‘ and ‘ something about being friends.

I was mortified! Playing hot and cold and twisting things and I was so confused. To my anger and no control for the first time started to send hurtful texts. Not rude but hurtful in a sense things I’ve always wanted to say but didn’t.

He called me but I didn’t answer. Called me a few hours later and I took he’s call. He couldn’t answer if he loved me, and all of a sudden ‘ how is it going to work’ he would say. Which made me more angry. I asked him during the first withdrawal if he wanted me to walk and he said no! All I know is he was sending very conflicting messages to me.

Next day had therepy and she diagnosed him with AS without seeing him. Your book is all him! I felt even worse now to know that the pressure made him completely change.
I called him to apologise and he confessed that he made the wrong decision leaving the first restaurant ( which I advised him not too ) and is working long hours. Has a lot of regret and is leaving the whole industry soon.. which is a big blow to him and he’s reputation. Having issues with he’s ex wife and is moving.
He stated I don’t know what’s in he’s head, he has so much going on. He asked if we can still be friends, to contact him once a week. He cares for me and let’s see what happens in the new year.

Help me...... please. Is he still playing games? Should I not contact him at all? Last phone call was 4 days ago. Should I tell him about AS? I absolutely love this guy so much! He was amazing and still love him regardless these hurtful times.
Does he want me in he’s life or no? I was so clear with the dinner text —— if you are still in love with me .... and he replied and agreed 

Just love him and want him back in my life. He is 36 years old with 2 boys and I’m 42 with 3 kids. He is Australia, Christain and I’m Muslim Lebanese. We used to met up once a week. Talk and text everyday numerous times. Been to dinners, lunches and he has cooked for me. We have even talked about marriage.


Hi Mark Hutten
I am married to a man who I believe fits the profile of a HFA or Aspergers (he has never been medically diagnosed.) There was no way, when we married, for me to know this. Although there were signs, I just asssumed he was a well spoken silent type. I am 64 and he is now 75 yrs old. It has gotten to the point that my Mental and Physical health are at risk. We have a daughter together, who is Down Syndrome.  She is a thirty yr old adult now and she still lives with us and it is just us three.  She doesnt function highly and she is non verbal. I don't have any family near me for support. So I have basically been trying to wing it all these years. I am retired now for 10 years but almost suffered a nervous breakdown, when I was working, trying to Supervise in a stressful job, and maintain self, marriage, daughter and home.  It all became quite a bit. Now I feel my health at risk Heart attack/Stroke so I feel I have no orher chioce but to end this onesided relationship.  I Recently downloaded your ebook after viewing some of your online videos , but I have not completed the book. I dont know that I can pull anymore out of me for his sake. He is not a violent person at all and although there are no outward signs of anger, there seems to be some passive aggression. I do care about him dearly but not to the detriment of my life. I would like to know if we could do an online or phone conference etc. in order to speak with you directly, since you have such a vast knowledge, and background on these matters. I need your expert help . Will you help me please . This is not just for me but our daughter also.


I think my son has aspergers. Parenting him is exhausting and I feel angry all the time. I hate feeling this way because I know he can't help it.

I am trying really hard to teach him social boundaries and to take him out to experience the world so that he can get used to it and live in it happily. But it's so hard. I believe my husband also has aspergers and this is also becoming very taxing on me.

My main concerns for my son are teaching him how to play with others, sharing, turn taking, not poking his fingers into faces, not waving toys or objects into faces, not roughhousing inappropriately, etc. Also teaching him to play gently with his 10 month old brother. Teaching him to not scream at me constantly and demand things constantly, everything has to be on his schedule and his way.

Also teaching him how to deal with his emotions. He is so precise and when something isn't lining up or fitting as he'd like he screams and throws and has such tantrums. I'm so stressed when he's playing, waiting for the explosion, it's daily and often many times during the day. He rarely plays by himself, everything involves me or my husband and Leo gets so worked up if I say no I can't play right now and he'll just pester me insistently until I feel like I'm going to explode. He refuses to do anything I suggest him to play, like drawing or playing with his bubbles (things he likes to do), he'll only play what's his "idea", and if he does play something I suggest once he realises I've suggested it and it wasn't his idea he'll start yelling and have a tantrum and throw the toy and pester me with demands again. 

He takes up all my time and I feel like I'm either appeasing him, meeting his requests, calming him, talking through his feelings and agreeing to schedules and negotiating and so on.

I have a 12 year old and a 10 month old and they both get hardly any attention.


I’ve emailed you a couple of times in the past and I’ve been thankful for your assistance. I have worked to implement your strategies for dealing with high functioning children but I have a different opinion that I’m hoping you might be able to show me where I am wrong.  My intent is not to debate with you, I am earnestly seeking guidance from you as a professional.
Throughout my son’s childhood we have use debit and credit as a form of punishment and reward because that seems to be what the manner he understands the most. As the same re-current behaviors would happen I would elongate the punishment because frankly I’m frustrated by dealing with the same thing over and over and having the exact same result which carried the same weighted punishment.
In the last year the playing field has been enlarged and our son was given a car. The stipulation of having the car were: that he were to maintain good grades, work, stay out of trouble.  He is having trouble with two out of the three at any given time. He has not worked in months, and he has been in trouble over the last four months which have involved both drinking and drug use.  We have behaviors in  our home that are simply are Simply nonnegotiable, drinking and drugs being two of them. The first punishment for being caught while using and driving under the influence was to lose his car for a couple weeks and that the threat of ultimately losing the car permanently if the behavior continued.  As the situations have happened again, and then once or twice more, the words that I had in the back of my head were of you stating that keeping punishments short and consistent is important. That sometimes if the punishment is too severe or strict that the child might throw up their hands in defeat.  However when dealing with issues like drugs and alcohol and the dangers that come with drug use, and driving under the influence etc. I believe that those carry more weight than typical cause-and-effect punishment within the home. And I wonder if that throwing up of the hands might be the start of a path to change. But I’m not sure so I wanted to find out it’s in situations like this, you still believe that short consistent punishments would still apply? We are very involved parents and we are struggling and trying very hard to find the right path to follow.


Dear Dr Mark,
I wish I had found your information years ago.  My sister, likely not knowing what to do with my niece sent her to my elderly parents for an “extended visit”.  This taught our niece that she had several safety nets and she did the classic things, played video games day and night, made rude demands for everything she wanted. 
It almost killed my parents.  I sent her home to her mother after 2 years of this.   Next she was sent back immediately to her other grandparents  and when they realized the problems they sent her back to my parents!   All kinds of neighbors had many ideas such as our niece going to the military.  Not really a choice for a girl who wouldn’t shave, get a haircut or bathe.  
I couldn’t take her because that would be a straight line to my parents. 
I took away my nieces safety net and sent her back home again.  Her mother immediately threw her out and our niece tried to call every family member she knew. 
She was taken to a homeless shelter.  I was called by police. 
She learned in a very hard way to take responsibility and get job training.  I got her into a job corps school.  She now had a good job as an IT technician on the other side of the country. 
She is still selfish and cruel to us and of course I will never be thanked for anything as this is perceived as all my fault.  She isn’t my child but I saw that she is younger and will outlive us so she needed to support herself! 
I hope that my hard choice will help others!  Thanks for listening


I have inherited my grandson, who has High Functioning Autism.  He does not function in a public school setting.  I opted to work from home so that I can homeschool him.  He careens through multiple meltdowns daily.  And he is largely non-cooperative (80% of the time)….  he either simply ignores me or flies into a meltdown at the slightest hint of redirection.  He is verbally gifted - I think it is one of his preferred topics.  He is unique and interesting.  He is also manipulative and socially clueless at the same time.   I raised 3 children in the 1990-2000s, using the Positive Discipline Approach (Jane Nelson, Ed.D. & H. Stephen Glenn, Ph.D.).   I worked administration in public education for 7 years, hands-on in the In-School Suspension room.  Before that, I spent another 10 years as administration overseeing  an assisted living center that specialized in Alzheimer's disease.  Working with individuals with behavioral challenges is not new to me.  But HELP!  Oh Dear!  His meltdowns are huge - loud - physically violent - and long in duration.  The typical meltdown is anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes!  A "good" day includes 1-2 meltdowns - - a bad day can have back-to-back meltdowns all day long.   Nearly all of his meltdowns are related to not being able to maneuver through his desired activities.  Transitions are difficult.  The remainder of his meltdowns are triggered by accidentally playing too rough or too close to a peer or adult resulting in redirection or peer chastising. 

We just had an appointment with his developmental specialist today and she says what she see is typical Autism....  she says she thinks I am doing a good job....  but I NEED some techniques on how to handle meltdowns ON THE SPECTRUM.  What I do automatically (from my years of experience) does not work.  He does not comprehend social boundaries nor expected social behavior.  He does not understand that others hurt when he strikes them.... he feels remorse but rarely due to understanding the way others feel around him - but more so in his failure to meet a goal of "no hitting today".  So typical CBT-type discipline and redirection does not work. 


I am a parent of an 11 year old Asperger's son and I must admit I am very new to this as  a parent and also as a educator in terms of autism/aspergers. I am a also university professor with many of these students in my program at Bowie State University here in MD.

I just purchased and downloaded your book "Parenting Children and Teens with High Functioning Autism" and found you to be a very necessary and important resource, so thank you for all you have done and do. Yesterday, my wife and I  had an IEP meeting at his school, followed by a meeting with his psychiatrist and I left both feeling worse than when we went in.

He currently attend public school here in Prince George's County, MD (just outside DC), at a lottery/speciality school for the visual and performing arts. He is currently in the 6th grade but is struggling emotionally, socially and I see his esteem and spirit being lowered day by bay.

I must admit, I woke up as I could not sleep and I was extremely depressed this morning; feeling very defeated, frustrated and even worried in terms of my son and his future. I know these are emotions we all go through but I woke up at 5 am this morning, and just started searching fro help, I  found your website.

After watching your videos, I told myself, No! Get up and do whatever you can for Malcolm (my son) and for all children and their parents both in this school system and even as a university professor. I am not giving up and was so blessed to come across you, your videos, books and resources. here are the crux of my questions.

When we met with the psychiatrist yesterday, she seem to come to the recommendation that we consider removing him from his current school (if or since they may not be able or be willing to provide him with  the services he need) and into a private school for children only have autism/Aspergers. I have mixed feelings about this and truly wanted a second opinion.

Number one, we simply cannot afford this and I don't think that we've explore options at his current school in terms of his IEP and accommodations. Number two, I hate moving from his school that he has attended since kindergarten. He is actually on the honor roll and is enjoying and thriving in the creative arts areas and especially in terms of the visual arts. I also don't want him to continue to sufferI want to make the best decisions for him in terms of his future specially as he prepares going to high school and prepare for life and other critical and skills.

She also recommended we find a Advocate to help us and I'm not sure that would where to begin with this here in our area in Maryland. I'm still on break going back next week to teachAt my universityI will be off the next few days if you're able to chat by phone or perhaps by email or Skype. I'm sure you're busy and appreciate and respect your time I look so much to hear from you. My number is below and if we need to do Skype, Facetime,  Zoom or even Google chat let me know.


I am following your Facebook page and I notice people would ask questions, but I didn't know if this is how they get a reply.  I need directions on my son who is 11. He was tested at 7 yrs. They said he was high functioning autism and had executive function disorder as well. They've mention getting him tested again, but it cost to much. So, with asperger and high functioning autism, is it normal for them to get tired when their is not enough stimulation from computer and tv? If we do school or drive in the car, he gets tired and falls asleep. Also, what are good activities for kids with autism? He gets sick and wants to leave as soon as we try anything (parkour, piano, karate). It's like he can't stand to much stimulation in busy surrounding but falls asleep if theirs not enough. Thank for any input!


I have downloaded your ebook as we have our 17 grandson living with us now. He is a pleasure to have most of the time and has become more and more independent since being with us fir the last 14 months. He has held down a couple of part time jobs and is doing well on his college course. However there is an area he is struggling with, he has to attend English lessons as he had failed the English exam twice and also a resit. He can’t see the point of attending these lessons as he feels stupid and it makes him very  anxious. This causes some issues as he isn’t in the right frame of mind and often uses inappropriate language. Not aimed at anyone but inappropriate to use in a classroom. An example is that today he was asked to describe his thoughts about gangs and he used a word which he thought was ok but is a very offensive word to use in the classroom situation. He was asked to leave the room and now he can’t understand why as it was his thoughts and not used to attack anyone. He did leave but obviously his language is a big issue with the college. I’m hoping that this programme will help and I find some ideas of how to teach him to control the language he uses, to be aware if his audience and to use more appropriate words.
He knows that this could effect his other course which he is thoroughly enjoying and is a highly thought if member if the class. He is gaining distinctions and proving to be a great member of the group. We are so worried that if he can’t get along in the English that he will have to
leave college. I think this will have a massive effect in his self esteem which is already very low.


I am a speech pathologist working with many autistic kids across the spectrum. I have a question concerning one specific student.

"Max" is a junior in high school. He has been on the track team, received the Eagle Scout designation in Boy Scouts, yet he is a loud, demanding, socially volatile young man whose parents are at a loss to know what to do with him. I have been working with him for 3 years on social skills and over all we have made some but not enough progress. He enters every classroom and therapy session with his iPad up and running insisting he include videos about Marvel or DC super heroes and tries to overtake anything going on. "Max" is in all regular classes, makes all A's and B's, and his parent's are insisting that he go to college. latest idea is to do voice training to be a professional ?voice> for new super heroes to be created for movies.  He has had a girlfriend (Life skills student) at school but considers himself a "ladies' man" and loves to flirt. The girlfriend got upset and dropped him. The girls he flirts with are talking with him to be nice (they regard him as "special needs"). When the "girlfriend dropped" him, he really didn't care.

How can I help this guy? I feel that we have a good relationship as far as he coming to see me and at least discussing topics between him needing to relate everything through the eyes and voices of super heroes.His parents both work, and their lives revolve around "Max", yet they are over trying anything new at home because of the "fall out" they get from him. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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