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Post High-School Education for Teens on the Autism Spectrum

"My 18 year old [with high functioning autism] will soon be graduating from high school in a few months. What are the best options for post high school education?"

The future is looking brighter than ever for young people with Aspergers (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). As most parents know, kids and teens on the spectrum are usually very intelligent, but suffer from a lack of social skills, communication abilities, and sensory issues. The recent surge of information, education, and treatment options are starting at younger ages, increasing the chances - and the choices - for post high school education.

There are several secondary education options to investigate for your AS youngster:
  • Technical or vocational schools: These schools offer career training in a relatively short amount of time, with the added benefit of being close to home. If your youngster is thinking of a career in computer repair, air conditioning and heating repair, general office duties, or computer technology, a vocational school is worth a look. Check your local schools for the programs available in your area. Many of these schools offer federal financial aid, as well as state or local aid.
  • Community college: If your AS teenager is interested in earning an Associates degree, the local community college may be the solution. These schools are close to home, yet offer the ‘real’ college experience. For young people who are uncomfortable with the thought of going away to college, this alternative can give them that big school experience at a more manageable volume.
  • Specialty schools: Single concentration schools are popping up everywhere. These schools cater to one certain specialty. For the young person with AS or HFA, special interests can mean sure success when it comes to choosing a career path. Some examples of specialty careers are culinary arts, cosmetology, graphic arts, fashion design, and animation.
  • Colleges and Universities: It is no longer unusual to find young people with AS and HFA going away to a college or university in search of a higher-level degree. These schools are starting to make necessary accommodations for students on the spectrum, offering more assistance on campus.

Young people with AS and HFA are demonstrating their capabilities by adapting to college life quite well, as long as the preparation has been in place during high school. Possibilities for financing their education are numerous with federal and state financial aid and scholarships.

Preparing your youngster early by working on social skills, organizational skills, and living skills will ensure a successful adjustment from high school and home life to the college experience. Finding the right post high school opportunity is not only possible -- it is promising.

As one parent stated:

"The GOOD NEWS is that many colleges and universities are offering more support to autistic students than elementary, middle and high schools. A professor at Georgia Tech has been telling me about the ASD supports at Tech -- phenomenal! Faculty and staff are on board, you don't have to fight the system, they recognize the differences in learning style and accommodate as a matter of policy. It gets better! Also, consider the Job corps. They have arrangements for living while training your child hands-on with a variety of trades. They specialize in training kids that need that extra help."
 

=> Launching Adult Children With Aspergers: How To Promote Self-Reliance

Junk Food Addiction in Teens on the Autism Spectrum

"My teenage son with high functioning autism has (in my opinion) the absolute worse eating habits ...honestly, potato chips and soda make up about 75% of his diet. He would rather lose game privileges than eat a vegetable. I've given up! Help!!"

We all know that adolescents need to eat well since their bodies are still growing, their brains are still changing, and their hormones may be taking a toll on their moods and energy levels. But we also know that adolescents are prone to eating irregularly, and sometimes quite poorly, particularly as they distance themselves from parental controls and eat more meals away from home.

Pizza, cookies, ice cream, and soft drinks may be the most common foods in their diets at this age. But we have more influence and capacity to affect our adolescents' diets positively than we may think we do. The keys to positive change in the arena of diet and nutrition are positive attitude, planning, and preparation. These keys are already in your hands.

Moms and dads have a particularly strong advantage in this arena because, generally speaking, they have higher incomes than adolescents, and adolescents would rather spend more of their incomes on clothing, music, movies, and other entertainment, and as little as possible on food. Adolescents with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are not much different; the only real difference may be that appropriate diet and nutrition may be even more important to help them keep improving their social skills and relations with peers and grown-ups.

Even slight worsening of moods, or additional absent-mindedness due to low blood sugar from skipping a meal, may cause an adolescent with AS and HFA to fall into difficulties in important social situations. Once he or she has created a "social storm," such as a rift with a friend, or opposition to a teacher, the “special needs” adolescent often has more trouble than other adolescents navigating the troubled waters and reaching a safe shore.
 
==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Using the keys to positive change in the arena of your adolescent's diet and nutrition is not difficult. Here are some examples of simple and direct changes parents can make:

Positive Attitude—

Most of us yearn to have peace at the dinner table and in the home; we would like to provide healthy food, and have our kids eat it with appreciation and without complaints. Yet we may forget that a positive attitude about food has to begin with us.

In many countries and cultures of the world, kids and adolescents are only too glad to have enough food to eat each day. In much of Africa, families still eat all their meals together, and in rural areas there is generally a single bowl of food, a grain or root starch with a vegetable sauce that young and old family members share. Meat is often more of a luxury, or may be offered only in small quantities. Soft drinks and sugary desserts are luxury items, and a regular component of the diet only for relatively wealthy people.

In the United States, by contrast, we often have too much food, and paradoxically, much of it is not healthy or nutritious. Adolescents complain about the food provided for them, and may refuse to eat, or don't eat well at prepared meals with their families, because they have a confusing array of other choices. They often do not view making daily decisions about what is and is not nutritious as their job, and they shouldn't; it is the job of the grown-ups in the community, whether at home or at school, to guide adolescents to eat wisely by providing nutritious food, and by limiting the supply of non-nutritious foods available.

At the same time, eating together is one of the most affirming and basic family-building activities possible; it also links us to other human beings in our own community and other communities; it is one activity that we all have in common, no matter what culture we are from. Our first job, therefore, is to return a sense of pleasure and even joy to family mealtimes, and to eating in general, if it isn't already there. Our second job is to plan for food that is appropriately nutritious, even planning some meals with our adolescents. And our third job is to prepare the food with a calm attitude and with thoughtful attention to the needs of our adolescents, whether it be for portable meals, late-night snacks, or a constant supply of pocket-sized nutritious energy-boosters.

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

Here are several ways to keep positive attitudes circulating in your home:
  1. Ask family members what their favorite dinners are, and either prepare those meals yourself or allow them to prepare those meals, once a week.
  2. Do not make meal times a time to criticize or moralize; try to open the conversation to everyone, and avoid topics that exclude some people, or are boring for kids or teenagers. In some households, family members are allowed to call out, "Not of general interest!" when inappropriate or boring dinnertime conversation topics are introduced.
  3. Get family members to take turns helping to set the table creatively with attractive, even unusual, centerpieces or decorations. Some of these may even help generate conversation with ordinarily quite adolescents.
  4. Offer only nutritious foods at mealtimes. Try to buy as many fresh foods as possible, and use color contrasts to make the meal appeal to the artist in your son or daughter.
  5. Start each meal together, at the table, and wait for everyone to be there. It helps to share a moment of silent appreciation, a chosen quote, or a prayer if you are so inclined. Let all family members take turns choosing the opening.
  6. Try music and candlelight for a change. Ask your AS or HFA teenager to choose some quiet music that he or she especially likes.

Planning and Preparation—

Turning your kitchen into a generator of good nutrition and better eating habits may feel like a monumental task, but it is entirely manageable if broken down into tasks that only take an hour or less:
  1. Based on your family's list of favorite meals, and the cook's preferences, create a new grocery list featuring fresh foods and non-sugar foods for the main meals.
  2. Go through the refrigerator and the pantry shelves and gradually reduce and eliminate unhealthy foods. These include those foods whose primary ingredient is sugar (i.e., the first ingredient on the label), and foods with artificial ingredients, including preservatives and artificial coloring. Get rid of all soft drinks. Extra salty or fatty foods should also be limited, but these are more problematic for adult health; adolescents can handle some salty, fatty foods because of their higher activity levels. Then don't buy unhealthy foods anymore. If anyone asks, you can tell them you can't afford them. Having to buy these foods themselves will immediately reduce your adolescents' need for them.
  3. Rotate cooking duties. Cooking is a practical skill and art form that all adolescents should master early in life. An adolescent with AS and HFA may especially appreciate feeling self-confident serving tasty food he or she has prepared to friends and family.
  4. Provide some snack foods, portable foods, and quick meals. These in-between food sources are often the culprits in poor nutrition and diet, however, so it is crucial to look closely at ingredients, and change the foods that are available whenever you determine that the current offerings are unhealthy. Make sure that you provide a continual supply of a variety of these meal alternatives, or your adolescent will resort to relying on vending machines and friends; neither source can be relied upon for solely healthy and nutritious food!
  5. See how many canned or already prepared foods you can replace with fresh foods. These foods are often a hidden source of unwanted sugars, preservatives, and other chemical additives that can actually damage your family's health. Try the local health food store for spaghetti sauce and other sauces and dressings free of chemistry experiments; farmer's markets often have homemade jams, hot sauces, pesto, flavored honey, herb vinegars and other specialties. Check the local bakeries for bread; often bakeries sell their day-old bread at a significant discount - and it is still a lot fresher than what you will find at the grocery store!
  6. Pay special attention to breakfast foods. You may have to woo your adolescent to the breakfast table, but it is worth the effort. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day for regulating energy levels, brain power, and moods.
  7. Preparing food should be a happy, not a harassed, activity. Have a rule in your house that the cook gets to choose the music or radio program while preparing meals, and others are in the kitchen at the same time only if they are contributing to a positive atmosphere.
  8. Whoever does the majority of the cooking in the family should consider what foods he or she enjoys the most, and should check out a few cookbooks featuring their favorite foods from the library. A happy and inspired cook makes good food; inspiring food makes better mealtimes and better nutrition possible.
 
Quick and Easy Snacks—

Simple examples of healthy snack foods include:
  • apples and peanut butter
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cheese and wholegrain crackers
  • cherry tomatoes and Ranch dressing
  • fruit/nut mixes (e.g., peanuts and raisins)
  • granola or homemade granola bars
  • quick breads and muffins made from scratch
  • whole yogurt with fresh fruit and honey
  • yogurt and fruit "smoothies" made in the blender

Portable foods need to be hard, or in a hard container, so that they are not squashed and unappetizing by the time your adolescent gets around to remembering to eat them. Apples and granola bars are a good start; sometimes try beef, elk, venison or bison jerky from friends who make their own jerky, and more farmers and ranchers are starting to offer these products for sale.

Find a healthy cookie recipe. Using whatever basic chocolate chip cookie recipe your family prefers, cut the sugar by one-quarter cup, and substitute one-half cup quick oats for one-half cup of the flour required. Add chopped nuts, and even coconut flakes, if you prefer. Use real butter rather than margarine. Making a variation of these cookies each week, and filling the cookie jar will provide a more nutritious treat than store-bought cookies.

Quick meals should be meals that AS and HFA adolescents can cook for themselves in the afternoon after school, or late at night when returning from an evening out, or if they are up late studying. Provide instruction in how to prepare basic pasta, and then make sure that a variety of interesting pasta shapes and sauces are readily available and that your adolescent knows how to find the necessary ingredients and pots and pans by him or herself. Egg-based meals are another example. Make sure that your adolescent knows how to prepare basic scrambled eggs, omelets, fried or poached eggs, hard-boiled eggs, and French toast. With just these two basic food sources in his or her cooking repertoire, your adolescent can create a dozen different healthy meals.

Rather than using direct praise for positive changes in your adolescent's eating habits (which may feel too intrusive or excessive for what he or she will rightly regard as a very basic part of life), ask your adolescent to cook for the family (e.g., "You’re really a good cook; can I get you to cook for everyone one night this week?"). This question will make your adolescent feel both self-confident, and needed. For an adolescent with AS or HFA, these are the marks of growing into adulthood and family membership as the contributing person that he or she wants to be deep down.


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PARENTS' COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Wow. This is great info. Keep sharing people. This sounds like my 12yr old son. It's so hard changing his behavioral issues:(
•    Anonymous said... That's not just your opinion. That IS the worst kind of diet. But I don't understand this sort of "problem" when I see it. My son has Asperger's and would prefer to eat cookies and pancakes (or anything with syrup!) 24/7. My solution? I don't let him. Don't BUY potato chips and soda. Set an example as the parent and don't eat/drink that garbage either. Explain the importance of eating well. He is high-functioning so he can grasp that. Slowly introduce new foods. Find what he likes and buy more and more of it and find different, healthier way to prepare it. Example: my son loved/loves McDonald's chicken nuggets. I told him they're garbage and okay for a "treat" but not all the time. Started buying frozen chicken nuggets at home. Then evolved to making them fresh. Then started preparing different chicken dishes breading the chicken and baking it. Find what he likes, spin off that. SLOWLY incorporate new things and make sure you're eating them - and enthusiastically - too.
•    Anonymous said... My daughter is 10 and has always had severe food issues since she was a toddler. Most of it is texture related. The absolute hardest thing about her eating issues is that no matter how much we teach her about how good food is and she understands what is good for the body and what is not, she refuses to eat at all lately. So the heartless and flippant and totally typical "advice" that kids will eat when they are hungry enough doesn't work so well when you have a child with mental/social issues such as this. The food issues are SERIOUS in many kids with Autism, and for parents who ae trying so hard and unable to convince their kids to eat right it is heart breaking. I have tried the vitamin route but I know she isn't getting enough nutrition. She battles frequent and severe constipation. Going glucose free hasn't helped much. She will eat crackers, raw broccoli florets (rarely), carrots, a few select types of nuts, apple juice, and that's about it. I used to be able to get her to eat cheese, apples, strawberries, yogurt, those horrible chicken nuggets (the only meat i've ever gotten her to willingly eat), and macaroni. I know we will have to have some psychiatric help or my child will starve herself. But there are only a precious few child psychiatrists in my state that will accept the insurance plan we have. Our appts are 6 months apart. TELL ME HOW THE HELL I AM SUPPOSED TO GET HELP FOR MY CHILD WHO WON'T EAT?! If you haven't experienced this problem with your own kid, then you just don't have a clue what it is like.
•    Anonymous said... my 5 yr old son w/Asperger & SPD just finished 6 weeks of therapy for feeding. In the beginning, he only ate crackers, cookies, dry cereal, french fries & he drank chocolate milk, juice & Pedia Sure. After therapy, he now eats just about everything!! Spaghetti, Soup, Roast beef, squash, broccoli, greens, okra, etc.!! His therapist explained her method as:: Use a "social story". Read before each meal or every bite. Use a divider plate (3-5) separate compartments. Only put 2-5 small (baby spoon) bites in each compartment. The food consists of 1 favorite, 1 sort of likes & 1-2 new foods. He chooses which food to start with, but he has to take a bite of each food. Also, my son did better in the beginning when we ate alone!! Other family members at the table were distracting & our efforts failed!!! After 4 weeks of eating alone or w/me, now he eats w/all of us!! The short social story is:: It's time to eat, so I can grow!! The foods on my plate will help me grow tall and be strong. I may see foods I have not eaten before. This is ok. I won't know what it tastes like unless I take a bite and try it. After I take a bite, then I will know if it is yummy or not. After I take a bite, and if I don't like it, it will be ok to say "No Thank You, I don't like it". But I have to take a bite to know for sure. I'm ready to grow taller & be strong! Then begin! FYI: don't start out with strong smelling foods (cabbage, greens, etc), this may stall your efforts. We began w/ (new) chicken & dumplings-2 bites, (loves)yogurt- 2 bites & (sort of likes) green beans-2 bites. He realized he loves the dumplings & wanted more than 2 bites!! Some foods were not as sucessful, but many are!!! Even though therapy has ended, we will continue using the social story therapy @ home until he is more comfortable without it!! I don't want any set-backs!! Good luck to you all!!
•    Anonymous said... If you don't buy it he can't eat it. Someone has to be the parent. All kids would live on junk food if they had the option, Aspergers or not! I have sat with my son and made a list with him of the vegetables that he can tolerate and also how he prefers them cooked (baked, mashed, stif-fry), and that is what i serve him. He is happy with that because he is not served the ones he really hates. It is also easy to hide vegies in things like meatloaf, rissoles, soups, spag bol. Grate or even blend once cooked. You may find that removing junk food from their diet will help with behavioural issues too.
•    Anonymous said... I totally understand. We have stopped trying to make our son eat vegies and just started making sure he takes a multi-vitamin everyday. Its so much easier. You have to pick your battles and this is one we have decided not to fight.
•    Anonymous said... I told my son about the dangers of aspartame and he cut it totally out of his diet once he realised it was bad for his brain, his moods have improved and he''s developed a sort of obsession with apples, he'll eat 10 in one go if they're there (because once he starts with the eating he doesn't seem able to stop) I found forbidding or persuading just didn't work, so I decided to inform him (a knowledge of neuroscience has helped) he seems keen to take more control of his eating, and I find empowering him makes everyones life easier x
•    Anonymous said... I feel for you. Not everyone's situation is the same. If it were so easy for all of us JUST to prohibit it, I am sure you would have by now. It doesn't always have to do with having "sense" either. The advise that someone will eat when they get hungry enough is pretty scary too. I think the best suggestions are the ones that are cautious and respectful. That is what we are supposed to be modeling. Empowering with knowledge is fantastic! Don't forget to surround yourself with understanding/supportive people. It is really hard to accomplish better eating habits when you don't have positive support.
•    Anonymous said... Good to see other people have some sense. I read the question and thought "well, stop buying poisonous garbage. problem solved."
•    Anonymous said... Don't keep the soda & chips in the house. He can't eat what he doesn't have access to & he will eventually get hungry enough to eat what's in the house.
•    Anonymous said... I can speak from experience... My son is 1 month GFCF and he's a totally different kid. He's 14 and has always had bowel issues. This has completely gone away. His skin has cleared up. He's less stinky and greasy. He is sleeping much better!! I think there's something to it for sure! Also, I've noticed his anxiety has lessened... And he's about to start his first year of high school!
•    Anonymous said... I don't buy those things or keep them in the house. At that age you can't prevent him from getting them. All your can do is explain that those things aren't foods and will harm his body and then lead by example and hope for the best. My twelve year is the same way in that he will choose the least healthy food he has access to. frown emoticon
•    Anonymous said... My 15 year old son is the same way. He would eat pop tarts, and rolls with cream cheese all day everyday if I allowed it. He is very limited in what he eats. He will eat chicken cutlet if it's breaded or a burger. But he won't go near a vegetable or fruit. He doesn't eat in school either, even if he skips breakfast. He would sooner go hungry . I have tried refusing to let him have those things but... I have seen him make himself sick rather then eat. At that point we talked to dr and now just try to change what he eats and use vitamins but reality of it is. I'm in the same boat as you with me son.. I use a little trick though... I hide veggies in things I can bake like if I make chocolate chip muffin. He will eat those ..
•    Anonymous said... My son is same way. Junk food all the time. We found out awhile back, he also has RAD (reactive attachment disorder), in which the patient's symptoms is of craving sugar/sugary products....
•    Anonymous said... Our 16 year old would live on Raman and diet coke if we let her
•    Anonymous said... This is normal.our sons just like this.we try to get him to eat different things but its effortless.he will go all day at school and be hungry and not eat all day if its not his foods.his passion to not eat things is greater than the hunger.we have to limit his chips and we make him drink water but he would live like that forever we get tired of fighting but keep trying.
•    Anonymous said... We discovered dairy sent our son hyperactive, much calmer without it.
 

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How to Explain High-Functioning Autism to Your Child and the Siblings

“We recently got a diagnosis. How should I explain high functioning autism to my affected son and his ‘typical’ siblings?"

Kids with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (AS) are very intelligent and inquisitive. Their struggles are obvious to them, but they may not be able to actually pinpoint the areas of weakness.

If asked, young people with HFA will tell you that they are different from their friends and siblings. Their friends and siblings also notice the differences. It can be difficult to live with and understand a youngster with HFA. It can be tough for all involved.

You should be completely honest with all your kids about HFA. The youngster who has this disorder needs to understand the condition in age-appropriate context. Your “neurotyical” kids need to know about HFA so that they will be able to support their brother as much as possible.

Educate yourself about HFA so you can share the details with everyone involved with your child (e.g., teachers, pastors, youth workers, etc.). Contact your local Autism society chapter and ask for information on the disorder and also about the events in your area that they sponsor. Ask about support group sessions and educational events for the affected child’s brothers and sisters.

Speak with the special education staff at your son’s school about resources that can assist in explaining HFA to your youngster and his siblings, as well as information that will help you discuss HFA with your extended family.

You can find a lot of information on the Internet. The Autism Society and other Autism support organizations have websites chock-full of information and materials for families affected by HFA. Other websites offer testimonials and products produced by people with HFA, families affected by HFA, and professionals trained to treat the challenges associated with HFA.

Your kids will be more comfortable when they know exactly what having HFA means. They will see that while there are challenges to overcome, there are also numerous strengths associated with this disorder.

For more in-depth information about how to explain HFA and AS to “neurotypical” siblings, go to this post: Explaining Aspergers To Your Neurotypical Children


Resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
 
 
 
More articles for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
 
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…

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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...

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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…

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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."

Click here to read the full article…

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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.

Click here
to read the full article...

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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.

Click here for the full article...


 PARENTS' COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Google the Arthur tv episode
•    Anonymous said... I agree and do the same with my daughter Kristin... I pray every day ... She's my heart and soul ..
•    Anonymous said... I treat my son no different than anyone else, and expose him to as much as he can, to experience life, and not hold him back. He's expected to pull his own weight at home and has certain responsibilities.
•    Anonymous said... We talk about how our brains work differently, so my daughters might think my son is saying or doing something that is unusual to them. I point out that he feels the same way about them sometimes too and we all need to accept we are different. It doesn't make anyone wrong, just not the same. They all know that he has to work at understanding society's rules but doesn't get it right all the time and that's ok. Good luck with it all
•    Anonymous said... What I tell people is that my son struggles with social skills, just like Jimmy may struggle in math or Lucy struggles in English. Everybody has a hard time with something, and ---- has a hard time with social skills. The parents in our neighborhood asked how to explain it to their kids, and this seems to work. My son is really good at scholastics, so I would point that out and then say that he has to practice social skills just like Jimmy has to practice his math skills. I hope this helps. Good luck to you.

*   Anonymous said... We had a great experience reading "Can I Tell You About Asperger Syndrome?" with our 8-year-old Aspie. We've talked a lot over the years about differences people have in learning, in strengths and weaknesses, in friendship and emotional control. We got the diagnosis shortly before his 7th birthday and have recently felt ready to give him a name for it. This book was great, and I wrote out "Asperger Syndrome" "AS" "Aspie" and "Aspergian" for him on a piece of paper. He's asked us to use "Aspie."

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COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for September, October and November - 2018]

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==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

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Hello Mark, I just wanted to take the time to tell you how much your short, yet precise and to the point, your YouTube videos have helped me to get others to understand my 11 year old son. He has HFA and OCD and is basically a loner. It hurts my soul that he has never experienced a sleep over, invites to parties or having any friends in general. I believe that his (and countless others) complete oblivion as to how the world truly operates is both a curse and a gift. Anyway, I think you are an amazing person and I wanted to make certain that you are aware of how your videos help people to understand the misunderstood. May God bless you for your time here on earth and beyond!

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My son is a second child. He gave us some trouble growing up, like failed all his classes at once in 8th grade and 10th grade, stole money once to buy an airgun, was addicted to gaming and pornography. We worked very hard to keep him on the right track, using anything we could think of.

We thought he is over that as he started college. We had two uneventful years, except in second year he  placed swastika on someone's door and got on probation. He started getting really good grades, got to a professional athlete level in Karate and trained with the national team, with his father as his coach.

However, he fell in love for the first time last fall with the sister of his best friend, and wanted more freedom than we were willing to give due to his past misbehaviors, like going out all the time, staying out all night, etc. To fight us, with her support and guidance, he started creating the narrative of a victim, the imprisoned man with overbearing insufferable parents. When we saw him slipping in grades and behavior, we tried to redirect him, to argue, to reason, to isolate. Nothing worked.

He run away on 2/6/2018 taking many valuable items with him. His girlfriend took him to her church where he claimed we would kill him if he is not hidden or protected. He invented a story where he was an abused, starved child whose parents stole his identity and opened credit accounts in his name, including mortgage accounts. He accused us of abusing our minor children as well. He spread his victim story to anyone who would listen, including police and banks where he had his accounts. We were devastated.

He refused any contact with any member of the family or our friends, except his older sister until she refused to listen to his victim story calling him on his lies. Then he cut her off too. He found a graveyard shift job but quit within weeks. He sold all the items he took from home and blasted all of his money on hydroponic gardening toys. The church and his friends are paying for his bills and he has taken no financial responsibility for himself.

In July, after a lot of emotional messages sent to him from his mother, he agreed to talk to his sister and us, but only if we pay his bills. We agreed that we would, as long as he would communicate to us. He agreed to visit his sister. However, this lasted for only a week or two. Very quickly, his messages to us turned hateful, containing the same accusations that he spread to others. He lied, bullied, exaggerated and exonerated himself. He refused counseling of any sort. After a month of that, we gave up and stopped paying the bills. He stopped communicating to anyone again.

That is where we are now. I recognize that I should have been using your strategies much much earlier. Is all hope lost for this child now?

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Hi.  SO my 14 year old daughter has anxiety, low self esteem and now her therapist thinks she has ODD.  I've only met with her once on this so I know there is a ton to learn. I'm reading just about everything I can but have a question about homework, specifically. I do not want to post this on the FB page because of who can see it.

How do you help them with their attitude/effort towards school and homework?  As in, they think everything is stupid, they really don't read/work/study but just do what it takes to finish the homework without actually LEARNING.  Does that make sense? Like she refuses to actually READ the material and just skims it looking for main words to help answer questions over the material.

Although her grades are As and Bs it's not a pretty sight and as a whole, I feel like she's getting dumber each school year. Like although she's doing the works she's not being reached.

Thank you so much for reading this email.  I'm sure you get tons of questions so I absolutely understand if you can't respond.

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Hi Mark -
My name is Lynette Papp and I subscribed to your "My Asperger's Child," this year. I  found it extremely helpful particularly for my step-grandson who struggles with Asperger's.

I just wanted to let you know that Balboa Press (Australian Division of Hay House) has published my first book entitled "Being with Asperger's."  I have made reference to you and your website in a couple of places and I thought you might be interested in checking the book out. 

My long-term partner Walter, who died four years ago, had Asperger's syndrome and struggled to find a balance for many years until he discovered what the problem was.  The book began its incarnation three years ago and gradually came to fruition in early August this year.

The book is written in the form of a posthumous conversation interacting with cartoons, doodles and writing found in a diary which my partner called "Walter's Secret Diary." It was discovered amongst his papers in a wooden box in our attic.  Walter's cartoons are quirky and quite brilliant and some of the anecdotes are both humorous and sad.  The memoir represents a glimpse into Walter's Asperger's mind.  It also provides insights into how life was for me as his partner of thirty-four years and ways that we dealt with Walter's issues.

I hope you might read it.  At present, I am awaiting my author's bulk order but the book is already available both in paperback, kindle and e-Book on many websites including Amazon, Google and Balboa.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm interested in purchasing your ebook, however, I do know that more than likely it will be only me that would read it.  My partner, although he is aware he's on the spectrum, probably will not.  My question would be, would this book be of any benefit just to me as the NT partner?

I realize each person on the spectrum is different and I'm more than sure that whatever someone has experienced in childhood or in early years, helps form how they are now. My partner is in his early 50's and had a rough childhood.  There are many times he's fine, but he is prone to meltdowns along with unreasonable outbursts that I'm never prepared for.  He always says he ponders things a long time before acting. 

The 90% that he's enjoyable to be around is worth my staying, but the other 10% I have huge difficulty living with.  I've been trying to read all that I possibly can on the subject, for it helps my sanity. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Mark,

My name is Heidi and I'm the parent of Carson. An 11 year old with Asperger's. To give you some background, Carson has had several learning development issues. He was diagnosed with severe dyslexia, dysgraphia, fine motor skill delay of 4-5 years, gross motor delays of 4-5 years, and ADD. He has never been a child with any sort of ticks or obsessive compulsions (although recently he has started mouthing inaudible words after he finishes what he is saying. He has started doing this when he is upset). Rather he is very quiet and generally my child who was the happiest and never acted out (until recently). He was born 5 1/2 weeks premature but never spent a night in the NICU.

We did not realize Carson was on the autism spectrum until quite recently although last year the developmental MD he sees mentioned she suspected Asperger's. I've always known Carson was really smart, but saw an issue in the start of K5 (Carson was 6) when I was trying to play a game using letter sounds with he and his younger brother. When I brought it to the school's attention is when we were instructed to seek a specialist to diagnose Carson. That is when we learned of all of the issues with the learning delays, etc. We immediately sought therapy for all of the above. And, literally we were seeing a therapist every day for different conditions. At the beginning of first grade, his teacher stated that she couldn't teach Carson and that he should be in special ed.

This was at a very expensive private school. And, knowing how bright Carson was. I immediately withdrew both of my children. I started Oliver (Carson's younger brother) at a different private school who had an Orton Gillingham reading program (he was in K5), and I home schooled Carson during first grade and taught him to read, etc. I also had him see one on one a dyslexia therapist every day for an hour. We continued with fine/gross motor school therapy and ended up getting on prescriptions for ADD. The next year Carson could read considerably better than most of his peers. He has always been excellent in Math so that was not an issue.

I needed to get back to full time work (my husband and I own a small company). The new private school wanted Carson to repeat first grade. They were concerned with all of the other issues that he would feel more successful in first than second where the peer group was much more mature than they felt Carson was. We agreed knowing that it would later be difficult for Carson since that would be put he and Oliver in the same grade (not the same class). But, both boys would be in 1st grade. It was then that Shawn and I started noticing issues with social skills. He never had an interest as a young child to do what the other kids where doing. He played with other children as we had lots of play dates sometimes 2-3 times a week (at the time I was not working). But, he was always very passive and typically this with the same group of kids (mostly girls which he definitely prefers).

Since 1st grade, Carson is now in 4th. Carson has yet to develop a friend. He plays with other kids when they come over for Oliver, but he would rather be playing Fort Nite. Not realizing Carson had Asperger's or even what that was we've tended to be very hard on Carson for not wanting to socialize with other kids. This summer and past few months has been really bad for that. I do not let my kids have electronics during the week. We reserve it for only the weekend. But, if allowed Carson would play Fort Nite from the time he wakes up till the time he goes to sleep (I obviously don't allow this). But, lately getting him to do anything else is cause for a screaming match (way out of character for him).

He lies or exaggerates any interactions with other kids his age. For instance, at a recent luncheon with other kids in his class where they had board games. Oliver and a group of 2 other boys went into a corner to play a board game. Carson came back to my table where I was sitting with adults and asked for me to play Yahtzee with him. I explained that he needed to go into the corner and play with Oliver as they needed a fourth player. With tears in his eyes, he said no they are being mean to me. They don't want me over there. They hate me. Angry, I said Carson you haven't even tried. Go over there and try to play what they are playing. He walked over and stayed maybe 2 minutes came back and said that Oliver called him stupid. Again, starting to cry he refused to go back over. I played Yahtzee with him and later, spoke with Oliver. He honestly didn't know what Carson was even talking about.

Basically, I think he has given up on any friends at school. He will speak with boys about Fort Nite and they'll call for a couple of days over the weekend to play Fort Nite. But, for the most part, he's never had a real friend.

This school year has become especially stressful. Just getting him to do his homework is now a struggle (he's a straight A student). He just wants to watch TV from the moment he walks in the door. I've really tried to be hesitant about taking away Fort Nite during the couple of hours over the weekend since I realize it's the only thing he seems to enjoy. But, if this was Oliver screaming at me about homework the loss of Fort Nite would have been an immediate consequence. Of course, Oliver loves other things like fishing, bike riding, swimming, etc. Losing Fort Nite is not something he's thrilled about, but it's certainly not the end of the world. With Carson, it is.

During the week, the boys generally go to either karate or swim (this has been our schedule since Carson was 4). We mix in other activities that the boys "want" to do. For instance, Oliver also plays soccer and football. Carson wanted to play tag football so we signed him up. Every practice, every game is a constant battle. He doesn't want to run. He doesn't want to play. Basically, he sulks the entire game. It hasn't helped that they put Oliver on the same team as Carson this year. Carson definitely has set himself for failure when he tries to compare himself to Oliver.

Oliver his younger brother is pretty much better than Carson at everything! Swimming, soccer, making friends, and even school work. But, Carson has always been the "good" child. Never screaming, always coming home and doing his school work. Getting dressed in the morning, etc. I could always count on very little push back from Carson. He knew our routine and definitely thrived on it. He absolutely hates to do be punished or have me upset in any way. Oliver my other son who is always punished for one reason or the next because he's yelled/screamed at one of us or, maybe he pushed his baby sister (Pippa is 3). But lately or since school started back for us, Carson has been coming home from school extremely sad/depressed or angry. He explodes screaming at me with the just the slightest questions like 'hey please don't turn on the tv until you've completed your homework'.

Yesterday, it was. Get dressed we've got to get ready for your football game. He didn't yell about the football game, but rather he cried. Dad is going to scream at me because I"m not going to do anything good. This is not true at all. His Dad has a very passive personality and does yell at him (but, not for football). When he got home, I said well how did you do. And, he said I don't know just ask Dad he knows. Shawn later told me he didn't put ANY effort in the game at all. He walked down the field while the other kids ran.

Last night, he asked me if he could be home schooled again.  I asked specifically if he felt left out at school? Are any kids being mean? Do you like your teacher (he said yes to this one)? Is it stressful for you being in a large group when you've been in a small group last year? Do you find the school work overwhelming? Is it stressful having a new teacher when last year you already knew Ms. Tori? The answer to all of those questions were just no or some variation. He sees a therapist at his school, but I think it's only a few minutes per week. This was her comments to me when I emailed her last night:

"I have been seeing Carson each week. I did not see him Monday because I believe he was tardy.  (I called for him, and he wasn't here yet.).  I have not seen a change with Carson as far as his interactions with me and his affect.  However, as we have talked before it is really a challenge to get Carson to express his thoughts and feelings.  He often responds with one word answers, and says what he thinks I want to hear or what he thinks he should say.  He has a lot of trouble considering other people's feelings or perspectives.  We continue to work on this, but it is definitely a struggle. Because he has a hard time expressing himself, you may be getting the "explosion" when he gets home.  Sometimes kids hold it together and regulate themselves all day, but then once they get home they lose it.  When he said he wanted to be homeschooled, could he tell you why?  I might revisit this, and see if he can give you any explanation."

My understanding is that there are no real resources for kids like Carson in Jackson, Mississippi as far as social groups, etc. Most of them focus on kids who have extreme behavior issues like head banging or slamming things, etc. Most people don't have a clue that Carson is Asperger's and think I'm actually making this up. He is really high functioning.

I need help! I've called his developmental MD to see if she has a counseling recommendation, but right now, Shawn and I are at a loss on how to help Carson succeed. My worst fear is that he becomes seriously depressed. Carson was the happiest child in the world. Always in his own world, but really really happy. If I need to take him out of school then we will. We are willing to do anything to help Carson. I just don't know how.

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I’ve been hearing your audios in the web and I wonder if you can give some advise on my particular situation. I’m currently in a relationship with a woman that I believe is facing AS, that deduction arises from her behavior (Lack of emotions; obsessions with her work, order of things and cleaning; routines; sensory issues, extremely self interest; very extreme difficulties to express her emotions). In addition her son who is 24 years old and living in same house, was AS or autism diagnosed.

After my believing that she is as well in the spectrum, I already invite her to consult a specialist, however her reaction was to deny a possible consultation by saying that she already went to one specialist many years ago and any mind disorder or disfunction was diagnosed, nevertheless observing her daily behavior she seems to meet the particular conditions of AS.

I kindly request your advise on how to proceed with her and lead her to be aware that she is probably facing the appearing of AS common issues, so I might convince her to see a specialist.

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After having separated from my husband after 30 yrs, including 4 years of his newly found sobriety , my daughter whom is an educator hinted that I should read up and research this topic. A year ago, I informed my husband to discuss this with his " anger management" therapist who by the way believes my husband is on the spectrum, but has told my husband he will not let him use the disorder as an excuse, which will him help. I am committed to using your information to help open dialouge with my husband so that we can salvage some relationship for the sake of our daughters 28 & 23 years old. I have also been helping my older daughter deal with her emotions and have always challenged my daughters to find respectable outlets for any anger issues.

From one who is also in the field of education and social service and in co dependent recoveryI applaud you for writing so well.

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Hello Mr Hutten,
A counselor recommended your my-out-of-control-teen to me and I have found this very helpful.
I hope you would be able to help me on the below issues.

Short history
I have a 14 year old daughter [adopted from a traumatized country at 4yrs 10 months].
Extremely hyperactive and excitable since childhood. But also compassionate towards her orphanage kids; sick people, the homeless and helps out at our local gospel mission and animal shelter with good commendations. Has been subject to physical and verbal bullying in Grades 2,3 and 7 needing school changes.

About 2 years back there was a chain of events including changes in grandma's health; change in neighbors from a christian family to a 'live life full' family, and severe problems at a friends older sister.
My daughter responded with anger; distress; suicidal ideation [at being made to stay away from troubled home] followed by acting out in school in Grade 8 [i was told depressed teens act out].
She did make good friends at her new Grade 8 school, active in sports [Volleyball and then Track], music, math honors, volunteering and goes to a church youth group.
In the latter half of Grade 8- she was diagnosed with ADHD [with lack of impulse control] by her pediatrician and did well on Concerta. Behaviour settled.

I am a physician and have spoken to her both from a spiritual standpoint; from responsibility to less fortunate kids and from the scientific standpoint on the negative effects of Etoh/ cannabis [which is going to be legalized soon in our province]/ vaping/drugs/ early immature sexual activity.

After Grade 9- there is an automatic change to high school [Grade 10-12].
At this summer time her pediatrician requested a holding off on Concerta -  to give her a break and see how she does. The plan was to restart in the new school year.
While she did well in sports and volunteering over summer- towards the last weeks, it came to my attention that she was indulging in unwanted teen behaviour.
because of this- she lost several privileges [both at sports] and at home- cell phone and vacation travel. [cell phone will be earned back early October if good behaviour continues]

I do hope that she realizes the consequences.
She continues with some of her old good friends, Track, music, youth club at church and attends school [started Sept 4th] regularly and gets ready in time.
I do have wifi-control at home now beyond 9:30 pm or 11 pm [depending on day]

I do feel that once she gets her cell phone back [we will discuss guidelines before this] that she will start stretching her hang-outs and activities.

My Concerns and questions
How do I have her stay away from negative peer groups [she seeks endless friendships with all types]and negative social media stuff?
How do I prevent further suicidal approaches by her?
How do I respond if at further events should she be suicidal?
How can I get her to take her Vitamins and Concerta [she has stopped these since having her cell phone taken away.]
How can I help her get her school grades up again ?
[she has always been an A to C student; upgraded to A and B mostly- in Grade 9] [ now did well in short math quizzes scoring over 100%- but in full class math honors test - got an F;] [in socials which is her least fave- got good scores in small quizzes but just a Pass in class test]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Mark,

I am guilty of not trying to know more about Aspergers the stressors, triggers and her emotional being at all those times. It was also so stressful for me as well as overwhelming because I did not know how to manage my daughter or even help her. I had my family members asking me why was she so defiant in certain situations and that I did not discipline my daughter accordingly. Coming from an overbearing Asian family that is very free with so-called advice is tough.  Being a first-time mom who was trying to do right, many times I had failed my daughter by not wanting to find out more about her diagnosis.

Only last year when she was bullied and I noticed stark changes in my daughter's behavior that I realized that this was something bigger what I had previously understood. Thus, I was really blessed when I came across an experienced clinical psychologist that had experience with Aspie girls back in the USA. I owe her my sanity and my daughter's path to managing her anxiety and all her challenges. I have attached my daughter's Mind Map, an exercise that was done by Dr. Julia Goolsby, her therapist.  This was done by Asie in her first class. Truth be told it was very depressing to me to think my daughter thought of herself. I also recognize some of the words used was words that her grandma has used on her. Since Dr. Julia managed to teach Asie breathing exercises to calm herself down as well as many other concepts like empathy, the concept of taking turns, sharing, how to play in a group, personal space and types of different touch by other people. I am hoping that this current therapist will be able to teach her about puberty and more about her body and eventually the reproductive system, sex and how to protect herself. Malaysian schools do not do this properly. 

Asie totally loved the Disney movie Inside Out. In that cartoon movie, the concept of trying and attempting at least once was something that was discussed in the show and because she loved this movie. I use the concept in the movie, her love of Pokemon and now she is fixating on a particular type of Japanese dog breed (Shiba Inu). She has let me know that she wants to learn Japanese and want to visit Japan soon. She knows that the creator of Pokemon has Aspergers as well and she sort of connects with this. She refuses to wear dresses unless she really has to for some traditional and cultural occasions even then she tries as much as possible to try and get away from doing so. She does not want to be known as a girly girl. Goes for a class where she is thought woodwork and engineering and is the only girl in the class, opted for Drum lessons instead of Piano, hates pink but loves art and clay work and is pretty good and artistic as well. I am going to try and follow the steps that you have suggested and let you know how it goes.

Until my next issue, which definitely will be how I tell her about her father and when.  My story is rather complicated.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please pardon me for taking the audacity to write to you.  I'm a 64-year-old female who suddenly had an epiphany after my employer noticed my lack of social skill after repeated complaints from others at my workplace.  Previous to this, I remember receiving a report from 23andme about 4-5 years ago showing a graph of autism spectrum disorder, and my autism category was located on the far left corner of the graph under Aspergers.  At the time I didn't know what aspergers was and thought I was just slightly autistic.  I've contacted 23andme to send me again the graph, but now it looks like they've purged their files due to some restrictions from the government.  Is there someone you know here in the Bay Area who might be able to help me whether I'm autistic, or is the genetic report sufficient for me to accept that I am an aspie? Thank you so much for your help.  I've read your articles and find them very helpful in giving me insight into myself.

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Dear M.A. Mark Hutten,

I am an Aspie. I realize that coexisting with me can be a real challenge (I already went through a divorce) and now, as I am in a new relationship, the complaints regarding my behavior are being repeated. I signed up for the social skills training but I am afraid that it does not concern some key issues that make our relationship hard for my partner. Can you tell me if your book could help me in this situation, or is it only a solution for my partner? Is there some other source that you could recommend for me?

Daily interactions with people really exhaust me. Additionally dealing with the same complains that I cannot even fully understand is very hard. I would be grateful for any help.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We have a 26 year old son who, although living in a self contained suite above our garage and paying rent, is not finding his way to employment and self sufficency.

He was raised as a NT and only was DX 2 years ago.   He moved out when he was 20 and went through hell (and told us NOTHING)  After the second home invasion where he got beat up, we brought him home.

We have worked hard to help him feel safe, get out of defense mode and calm down.  That  has been somewhat successful.

However he has had some bad service providers who have not taken the time to know him and headed him down dead end paths as far as employment is concerned.  So he is still trying to work with a (new) service provider to find employment.

He plays video game and smokes pot to cope with the anxiety and boredom.

Dad and I are retired , we have some financial resources but not alot. 

Dad started a garden this year just to get him out of the house and into doing something, which is having some positive effect, when there isn't tension or a blow up between him and his dad.  Dad also is ASD.

Son is so frustrated with the 'system' that promises to help and doesn't.   He has behaviors that affect his sociability (loud, opinionated)  We are working on getting him to be easier to be around.   He is coming along very slowly.

He also has ADHD, developmental delayed and a possible hypoxia brain injury from birth.

He is capable of working and wants to work but the world is not a friendly or even safe place for him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Mark,

I just read your article "Parents with Aspergers Syndrome" on the Neurotypical site, and wanted to say thank you for writing that.

I completed a Bachelor of Psychology (2014), and have since studied a few counselling subjects, as well as Mindfulness and Hypnosis.

Part of my journey has been to try and find out what is wrong with me. I'm 58 years and have had a lifetime of low self-esteem, and am very sensitive to rejection. 

In the past month my research has taken me to Aspergers and how it is a condition that has been missed in women. After reading about it I am certain this is what my mother suffered from, and gives me an explanation for why I never felt loved by her. Also, why her comments at times were incredibly hurtful, and how she could be totally oblivious to the hurt I felt. If I could describe my childhood it would be where I had to walk on eggshells to avoid creating a anger outburst from her, where my feelings were never considered, and where I was not encouraged in anyway by my mother. She was in the era of the state at home mother, so some of that lack of encourage was cultural I would think. My adult life with her has mainly been one where she has abused me, but mostly she has chosen not to speak to me or other members of her family. She is 80 now, and I have considered getting back in touch with her to check that she has what she needs. Having a better understanding of what her condition is tells me that should I get in touch with her not expect any warmth.

I am a mother myself of a beautiful 15 year old girl. Having had a mother like mine presents me with parenting challenges, in that I did not have the modelling. I try my best. Hopefully, my daughter will feel the love that I didn't, and will know she is valuable.

In the meantime, I am still trying to find ways to increase my self-esteem, and wonder if having not received that attunement growing up whether it is possible. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My 14 year old son has been put in the middle of a custody battle that his 
father has started. He and his father have more in common so he tends to 
gravitate more towards him. However, he has begun to be defiant, rude, 
argumentative, belligerent, etc. towards me.  If he does not get what he 
wants he starts to argue with me and winds up embellishing/exaggerating the 
facts. Unfortunately, his father has told my son that I am a liar and has 
put him in the position of making a choice, which I believe is destructive 
(we have joint custody and have had that arrangement for 5 years). My son 
sees a therapist weekly and I meet with him as well.  My son's behavior is 
getting worse and I don't know how to deal with it.  Everything you 
mentioned above (walking on eggshells, etc.) I have experienced.  The sweet 
loving little boy that I raised has become someone else (cold, distant, 
nasty, hurtful), and I am heartbroken.  I don't know how much is Aspergers 
and how much is him being a typical teenager.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

thank you mark.  I was actually on page 33 of 69 of your ebook when this email came through. I am reading it all first and then plan to go back and start the process from the beginning.   You are correct (in your video in session #1) , I am at the helpless hopeless stage.  We have a 16 yr old son with Aspergers' and he is doing his schooling online with the Centre for Distance Learning (www.cdli.ca) here in Newfoundland, Canada.  In fact,  I am a math teacher with CDLI. My son has no motivation to do anything and the start to this school year has been very difficult.  My son is totally isolated from any peers and its so painful to witness.  We have a psychiatrist  for my son who has said she can do nothing for us.  My wife and I are at odds now and and  things in general are not well.  I am hoping this will give us a framework.  But we are at the end of our rope.  But we intend to invest in your approach.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m looking to see if you have a quick tip guide to help me right the track of my relationship, that seems to be finding its way to a breakup, while I read the book. The love for one another in this relationship is extremely strong however it’s the day to day challenges that separate us the most.

I want this relationship to work, I know deep down she does too. She recently gave me a book called Understand Asperger’s- I’ll be reading it as well.

Back story:
My gf, Kayla, has Asperger’s, we moved in with each other around 1 1/2 month ago and as of right now we have many symptoms of what you spoke of in the tutorial. We went to the same high school growing up, she took me to my senior prom, to be honest it was a magical night. In all reality, our relationship didn’t blossom there as I was a senior and graduating. I didn’t pursue the relationship due to an agreement I had with my parents regarding No GF, we’ll buy you a car. Away from that we started talking early 2018 again, something fierce was building. In July, we saw one another for the first time in 15 years, It was love at first sight for me and I could almost say it was for her as well, but I’m not going to put those words in her mouth. We started dating and the universe seemed to align everything for me to relocate and be with Kayla. August 31st 2018, I moved in with Kayla. My whole life came with me, my dogs and several items from my previous house. I was so excited and happy that I really never paid attention to the impact that all these changes had on Kayla and have impacted our relationship. As of this moment, we struggle with the day to day communication and personal space that Kayla needs. We also might have a surprise pregnancy that has added to the struggles of our day. It pains me to know that she doesn’t want to have this child, if in fact we are pregnant, with me due to the short comings of not understanding Asperger’s or Kayla to a full extent. It’s easy to say we rushed into this relationship, we were engaged after a beautiful drunken night of guitar hero and my beautiful gf. As of right now, our struggles have pushed Kayla to request that I move to my own place, I can’t confirm if our relationship will continue or not. I want to fix and work on being a better partner for Kayla, hoping that I do not have to move out and that we can make progress, grow, and have a healthy relationship. I would love to be a father, and at one point in our relationship we wanted to have 2 boys.

I’m sorry for the bunny trail story, I’m tearfully writing this because this is me wanting to save the relationship that God and the Universe put on our plate, it’s so fierce and has so much love, it’s absolutely beautiful.

Kayla is tagged on this email as well, I’d love for her to see and understand how important she is to me and how much I’m willing to work at understanding her.

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Hi Mark,

I'm seeking some help, possibly parent management training and therapy for my son and I.  Here's the situation: my 9-year old son was diagnosed several years ago as having Asperger's Syndrome/being high functioning on the mild side of Autism Spectrum disorders (ASD), with ADHD (hyperactivity and inattention) and ODD as co-morbidities.

Developmentally, he hit all of his early year milestones early or on schedule (crawling, walking, talking, learning to read, etc.). He's also been tested as having a higher IQ (around 125 - 136 on the standard Wexler scale), and doesn't appear to have learning disabilities. He can be extremely sensitive to sound (sensory issues), at times, he gets migraines, and has some fine motor coordination issues (especially around writing, and he has not yet learned to tie shoe laces).

He has had a lot of difficulty with organization, breaking down steps to complete a task (executive function), appropriate behavior and understanding social context, social cues and others' social intentions.

He sometimes has had difficulty with asking for basic needs as well, such as asking for a drink of water when he's thirsty, or following basic rules such as remembering to raise his hand and ask for permission to leave the classroom to use the restroom at school. As well as some hygiene issues, especially related to toileting.

Rarely, my child has also had difficulties with his vision, such as temporary, random changes in color vision where greens and yellows suddenly appear brown and vice versa, but only for a short period of time.

He also sometimes has issues with short term memory loss, when for example, he has an aggressive rage outburst (that currently people think are ASD melt-downs/tantrums), where he doesn't remember any of the incident afterwards. He has also remembered things that didn't happen according to other people that were there and directly observed the same incidents, including myself and school staff, though this false memory situation has only occurred twice to my knowledge throughout his entire lifetime.

I should also mention that his birth process was long and complicated, so I'm also looking into exploring the possibility of imaging his brain to ensure there is no brain damage related to birth trauma, or anything else that we may have missed.

Oh and I've also observed him having years of issues with vivid nightmares when he was younger, and sudden intense fear for no apparent reason, which I think may be anxiety? Thus, I'm starting to become concerned that more so than just ASD/ADHD/ODD, these other issues I mentioned above may be related to some other issues, which I understand children with ASD can be prone to.

Please let me know what, if any other information you may require so we could discuss therapeutic options. Please provide me with a list of pricing for online parent management training, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy for my son, and any other options you may provide that you think would be helpful as well.

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Hi Mark,

I read your "Parents with Asperger's, The Asperger's compressive handbook" and appreciate your insight and concern for child welfare with a HFA parent.

I am in a horrible situation with my ex and we have a 2 year old child. I was able to get out of our abusive relationship(have protection order) and recieved custody of our child, yet he has visitation. We have attorneys involved and my ex is court ordered to do 1 year Domestic Violence program and we just recieved his mental evualation stating he has HFA level 1, anxiety disorder, and ADD. The evaluator stated his diagonosis should not effect his ability to parent and should not effect his visitation. I know and have experienced the effects of his HFA, abuse, rage, and manupliation and need help advocating for my child in court and wonder if you can help or know anyone who can?

All of the points you touched on in your handbook are concerns I have and I fear for my childs safety not only physical, but emotional and mental. Do you have any material, studies, research, or a letter that I could present to the court to educate them about the reality of the developmental effects an HFA parent has on a 2 year old.

Thanks for your time! I do not know where to turn, locally there seems to be little understanding, resources, and support for court relating to HFA parent/Child relationship.

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Hello Mark

I have a question about my 9 year old with Aspergers.
His school told me that since the beginning of the school year in September he runs off the playground when really upset and tries to run into the school or off of school property.  It is hard for him to go out for recess anyways because playing with other kids is really hard and he’d rather be by himself.  Teachers and his aide try to help him play with kids outside- sometimes this a successful but other times not especially when the teacher or an aide is not available.  I know he wants friends and has a couple ok relationships but often at recess they are engaging in activities he doesn’t want to do.  Like sports for instance.
He attends a progressive, private school so there are no consequences in place so to speak of for this behavior.  The school is turning to me for answers as this behavior is a safety risk.

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Good morning, I am considering purchasing your program because both my husband and I are at our wits’ ends of how to handle our 13 year old.  We are in the “depression” stage.  Last year our son won the respect reward at school and made straight A’s.  This year, he had a fall out with a girl, sunk into a deep depression, and had to be committed to the hospital for a week for suicide ideology.  Since then (and showing signs before the fall out with the girl) he has been rebellious, reckless, defiant, apathetic about school, and mean.  We are afraid to set too many boundaries or push him because we know that a lot of this stems from depression and anxiety and we fear for his life.  Yet now he walks all over us! Would your tactics help an out of control teen with the suicidal thoughts?  Thank you for your consideration.

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Hi Mark,
Hope you don't mind me writing to you. I found your myaspergersteen page 
after researching some (lack of empathy) trates that my daughter has been 
showing. She's 13 now and has recently been exhibiting increasingly 
difficult behavior. She has very little empathy for my wife and I and her 
younger sister. At school she has always done really well, been ultra 
independent but has recently started to act very disinterested and just do 
the bare minimum. Her general behavior when out of the house is usually 
good although she can be very socially awkward when with us. During 
arguments or rages she f's and blinds at us and has punched me in the face. 
Even when fairly calm she tells us she doesn't like us and she wants to 
live somewhere else. Yet all her primary school teachers described her as a 
model pupil. She has shown some anxious traits when growing up and had a 
period around the age of 7 or 8 where she'd pull out all her eyebrows and 
some patches of hair on her head. Do you think we are dealing with a 
hormonal teenager or do you think she could be showing some signs of being 
HFA. Thanks for your time.

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My son is 13,  5'10, 190 pds and aggressive.  He has impulse control issues, inappropriate touching of me and his sister. I'm afraid I'll hurt him or wind up sending him away because if he doesn't stop and continues to hit,  poke or grab,  I cannot handle him.  He's a gifted,  smart,  kind,  considerate,  compassionate child sometimes,  but with the ADHD,  he's driving me crazy.  I'm trying to get him into ABA therapy e.t.c but it's expensive and I'm exhausted from filling out grants and scholarships to get assistance so he can get the help he needs.  What advice do you have for me?

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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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to read the full article...

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.

Click here for the full article...