Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile...

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ASD [Level 1] and Associated (Comorbid) Conditions in Adults

“We’re in the process of having my husband assessed for ASD. We’ve had numerous problems in the past that have brought us to this point. The doctor said he believes my husband may have a few ‘comorbid’ conditions as well. What other conditions might there be?”

When someone has one or more conditions along with the main disorder, it is defined as comorbidity. High-Functioning Autism (previously called Asperger’s) is listed as an Autism Spectrum Disorder - and never travels alone! Nearly 100% of the time, the individual will have other issues that will need to be addressed.

Here are some of the common comorbid conditions associated with ASD [level 1]:

1.    Tourette’s syndrome is when an individual exhibits repetitive vocal or motor tics. Most people diagnosed with Tourette’s also have ASD.

2.    Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is common among those on the autism spectrum. In this case, the individual becomes overly-sensitive to various sensory stimulations (e.g., dislike of loud noises, easily irritated when dealing with unusual textures, avoids certain foods, etc.).

3.    Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a condition in which an individual displays an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and even hostile behavior toward others. The individual’s behavior can disrupt his normal daily activities within the family and at work.

4.    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is something that is found in most people on the autism spectrum. The person adheres to strict routines, and he likes to keep every particular object in one particular way - and when changed, he may get very distressed.

5.    Meltdowns are “tantrum-like” behaviors in many adults on the spectrum. Yelling, throwing things, or a complete shutdown (e.g., covering the face and becoming withdrawn) are common during a meltdown.

6.    Dyspraxia is when an individual is not able to coordinate or perform certain acts in spite of having the prior plan for it. This disorder is one reason why people with ASD have often been described as clumsy.

7.    Depression and anxiety are the two most common disorders found in an individual with ASD. Some have been known to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to deal with their negative emotions.

8.    ADHD and ADD are very common comorbid conditions. Here the individual is unable to concentrate - or can be hyper-focused for lengthy periods of time on his "special interest" - and becomes impulsive to a great degree!

 

More resources:

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Articles That May Explain Your Confusion About Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


  1. Men With Asperger's 
  2. How to Deal with Me
  3. Wife's Account of the Ups and Downs
  4. What I Do to Cope with Asperger's
  5. Understanding Your Asperger's Boyfriend
  6. Why Adults with Asperger's May Seem Inflexible
  7. Why Your Asperger's Husband or Partner Refuses to Change
  8. Positive Traits of Asperger’s Men
  9. Asperger's Traits That Contribute to Relationship Problems
  10. Lack of "Displays of Affection"
  11. Why Adults with Asperger’s Are Prone to "Meltdowns"
  12. Anger-Control Problems

Avoidant Personality: Why Your Spouse with ASD Can’t Handle Constructive Criticism

If your partner on the autism spectrum is offended whenever you wage a complaint or offer some advice, then he or she may have avoidant personality traits. Avoidant personality is characterized by a pattern of feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation. 
 
The individual is fearful of disapproval and social rejection. In many cases, this is the result of peer-rejection that occurred during childhood. Avoidant personality becomes a major component of this person’s overall character - and a central theme in how he or she relates to others.

ASD individuals with avoidant personality tend exhibit the following traits:

  • Avoids social situation and activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
  • Drinks before social situations in order to soothe nerves
  • Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
  • Has very low self-esteem due to a long history of making “social mistakes” (usually unintentionally)
  • Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing
  • Tends to be easily offended by even "neutral" comments from others (especially his/her spouse)
  • Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
  • Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
  • Stays quiet or hides in the background in order to escape notice and avoid chit chat
  • Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
  • Has intense worry before an upcoming social event (e.g., a large family gathering)


For people on the autism spectrum with avoidant personality, evaluating for the presence of psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, drug/alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders) is extremely important. Also, because “anxiety tendencies” are often found in other family members, a family psychiatric history is beneficial. 

 

A cycle for the individual with avoidant tendencies looks like this:

==> low social/emotional intelligence due to ASD ==> results in poor social skills ==> results in social mistakes/failures ==> results in teasing, rejection, ridicule by others ==> results in avoiding social situations as much as possible

 

Quick tips for people with ASD & Avoidant Personality—

•    Work on your communication skills. Good relationships depend on clear, emotionally-intelligent communication. If you find that you have trouble connecting to others, learning the basic skills of emotional competency can help.
 

•    Take a social skills class or an assertiveness training class. These classes may be offered at your nearest community college.
 

•    Learn how to control the physical symptoms of social anxiety through relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.
 

•    Get adequate sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more vulnerable to anxiety. Being well rested will help you stay calm in social situations.
 

•    Face the social situations you fear in a gradual, systematic way, rather than avoiding them.
 

•    Challenge negative, unhelpful thoughts that trigger and fuel social anxiety, replacing them with more balanced views.

 

More resources:

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Adults on the Autism Spectrum and Problems with Impulsivity

“My husband with ASD is very impulsive. It is one of the main areas we struggle with. Is this part of the disorder? He will jump into something rather than thinking things through, blurt out thoughts without tempering them, forget important events, get distracted when I’m trying to talk to him, and neglect to follow through with promises.”


ASD is often characterized by a lack of impulse control. People on the autism spectrum are sometimes  labeled unmanageable or aggressive because of their impulsivity (e.g., they may act on a whim, display behavior characterized by little - or no - forethought/reflection/consideration of the consequences).

Even though adults on the spectrum can be caring and sensitive, their good qualities are often overshadowed by their lack of impulse control (i.e., their ability to "self-regulate" is compromised).

The inability to self-regulate is often a contributing factor to relationship problems. For example:

  • the ASD partner will often focus on things that interest him, but not on you (the NT wife)
  • he may not follow through on what he agrees to do
  • he may often act like a child instead of an adult
  • you may nag him, and start to dislike the person you’ve become as a result
  • the two of you either fight or clam up 
  • you may be stressed about being stuck with the household tasks while he gets to have all the “down-time”
  • the ASD partner may feel that his NT spouse has become a “nagging monster”
  • he may view you (the NT) as a control freak, trying to manage all the details of his life
  • he may think that no matter how hard he tries, he can’t meet your expectations
  • he may think that the easiest way to deal with you is to leave you alone


==> Click here for more information on how the ASD brain is wired

Weak Central Coherence in Autism Spectrum Disorder

“How can my spouse [with ASD] give me the impression that he’s listening to me, yet after the conversation, it’s clear to me that he didn’t understand what I was saying, because he doesn’t follow through with what I had asked him to do - and doesn’t even remember what I asked?”

Answer:

One of reasons this “lack of understanding” occurs has to do with “weak central coherence.” People on the autism spectrum have difficulty seeing the “big picture” – and this causes a problem when the listener is trying to process ALL of the information, in this case from you, his NT wife. NT wives often verbalize more information than the ASD husband can absorb in one sitting.

An inability to see the bigger picture refers to the detailed-focused processing style that is characteristic of the autistic brain. For example, when your husband on the spectrum is trying to recall information that you gave him in a conversation, he may not recall the gist of something (e.g., how are your thoughts are tied to your feelings, which then influence your behavior).

It’s very common for people on the autism spectrum to become fixated and overly-focused on a particular detail to the exclusion of most other details. This often impacts their understanding of the actual meaning of a situation or context (i.e., the individual gets stuck on a minute detail rather than pulling together different sources of information and grasping the entire situation).

When someone who can see the bigger picture looks at an endless row of trees, that person would see “the forest.” But an individual with weak central coherence can only see a lot of individual trees (or he may hyper-focus on the soil that the trees are planted in).

Traits of weak central coherence include:

  • dislike for disruption to an established routine
  • strong need for structure
  • ability to hyper-focus on one activity for lengthy periods of time
  • attention to parts of objects
  • difficulty with sudden change
  • insistence on sameness
  • uneven cognitive profile (including savant skills)


On a positive note, the ability to focus on details can also be a strength, as evidenced by individuals with ASD who show remarkable ability in subjects such as mathematics, computer science and engineering.

 

More resources:

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Online Group Therapy for Couples & Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mark Hutten, M.A. - Counseling Psychologist

Are you experiencing relationship difficulties with your partner or spouse who is on the autism spectrum (ASD)? Are you on the autism spectrum and struggle to meet your neurotypical (NT) partner's needs and expectations? Has separation or divorce crossed your mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? If so, then this is your opportunity to receive group therapy via Skype with me, Mark Hutten, M.A.


A MESSAGE FOR Neurotypical + ASD Couples:



A MESSAGE FOR THE ASD MEN (diagnosed or otherwise):



A MESSAGE FOR THE NEUROTYPICAL (NT) WOMEN:



If you're interested, please read the following:
  1. Create a Skype account, if you haven't done so already - it's free!
  2. Cost: $99.00 for the 4-week class (1 hour per week). Click on the "register now" link below to receive your group access link, or simply send $99. using PayPal to mbhutten@yahoo.com   (How to Send Money with Your PayPal Account)
  3. Email me (mbhutten@yahoo.com) after purchase and tell me which group you're registering for so I can send you the access link to that group. (Note: Please give me up to 24 hrs. to send you the link).
  4. Bonus: Get my $19.00 eBook (see below) for FREE! When you register for the class, I'll email you the link to the eBook along with your access link.

OUR NEXT SCHEDULED GROUPS:

*** ASD/NT Couples only ***   
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
 
Date: Meets on Mondays and runs from 2/22/21 to 3/15/21 - OPEN  
 
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
 
Members: Attend with your ASD partner
 
NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
 
Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [mbhutten@yahoo.com] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and need the link to each one sent to you via email.
 
------------------------------------------------------------

*** NT Women only *** 
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
  
Date: Meets on Tuesdays and runs from 2/23/21 to 3/16/21 - OPEN  
 
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
 
Members: No ASD participants
 
NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
 
Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [mbhutten@yahoo.com] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and need the link to each one sent to you via email.

------------------------------------------------------------

*** ASD Men only *** 
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
     
 
Date: Meets on Wednesdays and runs from 2/24/21 to 3/17/21 - OPEN  
 
Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
 
Members: No NT participants
 
 *** You do not have to have a formal diagnosis to attend. ***
 
NOTE: If this date/time doesn't work for you, no worries. I record these sessions and will send you the link to each one within 24 hours [includes all 4 sessions]. You can view the sessions at your convenience, and can view them multiple times! 
 
Simply register via the PayPal button above, then email me [mbhutten@yahoo.com] to let me know that you will NOT be attending the sessions live, and need the link to each one sent to you via email.


Got questions? Email: mbhutten@yahoo.com
Crucial information to get you started with healing your relationship:







More audio clips from Mark's workshops:






 _________________________

Not ready to do group therapy yet? Try my program first then:

==> Living with an Aspergers Partner ...is a downloadable eBook designed to help couples who are experiencing relationship difficulties related to Aspergers (high-functioning autism).

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!


_________________________

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Brief biography:

Educational-
  • Bachelors Degree; Psychology - Anderson University, Anderson, IN
  • Masters Degree; Counseling Psychology - Vermont College of Norwich University, Montpelier, VT

Employment history-
  • Madison County Juvenile Probation: SHOCAP Program
  • Madison County Community Justice Center
  • Madison County Correctional Complex
  • Sowers of Seeds Counseling
  • Indiana Juvenile Justice Task Force
  • The Anderson Center 
  • The Center for Mental Health

I'm a retired Family Therapist who performed home-based counseling/supervision for families experiencing difficulty with their children's emotional and behavioral problems, and conducted the following group therapies:
  • Parent-Education Training
  • Anger-Management Groups
  • Relapse Prevention Groups
  • Drug/Alcohol Workshops
  • Sex Offender Groups

I'm currently a practicing Counseling Psychologist and parent-coach with more than 25+ years of experience. I have worked with hundreds of children and teens with Autism and Asperger's. I have also worked with hundreds of couples (married or otherwise) affected by autism spectrum disorders. I present workshops and run training courses for parents and professionals who deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and am a prolific author of articles, Blogs, and Ebooks on the subject.

Why Your NT Wife Is So Unhappy: Message to Men on the Autism Spectrum

Your neurotypical (NT) wife is no doubt highly intelligent in the social and emotional sense. This, by default, means that she has a lot of social and emotional “needs.” You, the husband with ASD, are comparatively low in social and emotional intelligence, which in turn means that your social and emotional needs are low.

Because your wife’s social needs are high, she enjoys social contact and the sharing of emotions with those who are important to her. Because your social and emotional needs are low, you tend to prefer activities that do not involve feelings or socializing; you are highly task-oriented, and you favor things, projects, objects, and other non-social pursuits.

One of the main ways your wife gets her social and emotional needs met (or hopes to get met) involves her “significant other” – YOU, her soulmate and partner in life. When you are emotionally unavailable due to spending most of your time with your special interest or career, you are getting your task-oriented needs met. But your NT wife is not getting her relationship needs met, because you were busy doing things outside of the relationship.

It is often the case that the NT wife tries very hard to get her husband with ASD to be a “team player” in the relationship – that is, to express feelings, to make her feel important, to validate her, listen to her, show affection, and to be deeply intimate in as many ways as can be expressed. But when she doesn’t accomplish these important goals, she is (of course) going to be very discouraged and disappointed, and possibly harbor feelings of resentment that her emotional requirements are not getting fulfilled.

So, as the two of you grow further apart emotionally, you can continue to get YOUR task-oriented needs met, because they don’t involve feelings or socializing necessarily. But at the same time, she is getting less and less of her needs met (i.e., intimacy, sharing, togetherness).

This is why, in most cases, the NT wife is not only unhappy, but often depressed due to “emotional deprivation.” And, this is also why the ASD husband does not seem to be as negatively affected by the “distancing” that is occurring in the relationship, because he can continue to engage in his non-social activities regardless of how much the reciprocity and warmth that occurred in the early part of the marriage disappears.

Do you want to imagine how your NT wife might feel?

Imagine that you are a computer geek who loves computer-programming and doodling with digital devices, in general. But one day (for whatever reason), you get banished to a tropical island with NO ELECTRICITY!!!

So, now you are stuck there with no computer, iPhone or iPad – you have virtually lost ALL of your special interests. And to make matters worse, let’s assume you HATE idle chitchat, but there are other people on that island always talking about mundane, boring topics that disinterest you SO MUCH - that it’s painful to even listen to.

In this scenario, you’re not suffering from emotional deprivation, rather you’re suffering from “favorite-task deprivation.” Make sense?

 

More resources:

 


==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's
==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples [eBook and Audio]
==> Videos to help you understand your partner on the autism spectrum...

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