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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Group for ASD Men Struggling in Their Relationship with an NT Spouse

Are you on the autism spectrum [ASD - Level 1] and struggle to meet your neurotypical (NT) partner's needs and expectations? Has separation or divorce crossed her mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? Does she constantly complain that she is getting NO emotional support or empathy from you? Then please watch this video:

A MESSAGE FOR ASD MEN (diagnosed or otherwise):


If you're interested in getting things back on track, 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 REGISTER NOW 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 GROUP:

*** ASD Men only *** 
 
==> REGISTER NOW <==
     
 
Date: Meets on Wednesdays and runs from 1/13/21 to 2/3/21 - 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

    Do you have anything to lose by getting an assessment for ASD-Level 1?



    More resources:

     

    ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

    Group for Neuro-diverse Couples Struggling in Their Relationship

    Mark Hutten, M.A. - Counseling Psychologist

    Are you experiencing marital problems with your spouse on the autism spectrum (ASD level 1)? Has separation or divorce crossed your mind? Are the two of you already in the process of breaking up? WAIT!

    If you can get your ASD spouse to join you in this group, it may just lower your marital conflict to a new level. I'm guessing you could use a "game-changer" about now!

    A MESSAGE FOR Neurotypical + ASD Couples:



     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 REGISTER NOW 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 GROUP:

    *** ASD/NT Couples only ***   
     
    ==> REGISTER NOW <==
     
    Date: Meets on Mondays and runs from 1/11/21 to 2/1/21 - OPEN   
    Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
    Members: Attend with or without 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.
     

    Got questions? Email: mbhutten@yahoo.com

    Group for NT Women Struggling in Their Relationship with an ASD Spouse

    Are you experiencing relationship difficulties with your partner or spouse who is on the autism spectrum? 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 get A LOT of questions answered that may help your situation. 
     
     

    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 REGISTER NOW 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 GROUP:

    *** NT Women only *** 
     
    ==> REGISTER NOW <==
      
    Date: Meets on Tuesdays and runs from 1/12/21 to 2/2/21 - OPEN 
     
    Time: 3 PM (Eastern Standard Time) 
     
    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
     
    Mark Hutten, M.A. 

    How Mind-Blindness in ASD Affects Communication

    “How does this so-called ‘Mindblindness’ affect how my spouse [with ASD] communicates with me [or does not communicate, as the case may be]?”

    Due to mind-blindness, the person on the autism spectrum often has an obsessive-compulsive approach to life that results in a narrow range of interests - and insistence on set routines. This usually starts as a cognitive (i.e., thinking) issue before it becomes a behavioral one.

    To understand communication breakdown, we must first look at cognition. Cognitive issues, such as the inability to take someone else's perspective (which is mind-blindness) and the lack of cognitive flexibility (which is black-and-white thinking), cause many of the unwanted reactions and behaviors you see in your ASD spouse.

    You will know when there is a cognitive element by looking at your spouse’s behaviors, because there will always be some anxiety or obsession manifested in every inappropriate response to your “message” (e.g., trying to talk to him/her about a relationship problem that you would like to address).

    Your ASD spouse’s cognitive difficulties lead to inaccurate interpretations and understanding of the social world. How someone interprets a situation determines how he or she will respond to it.

    Many times, the interpretation of an event is either not an accurate one, or not one that leads to positive or prosocial actions. If the event can be “re-interpreted” FOR him or her, it might lead to a more productive outcome. But in doing this, you must first try to understand how your ASD spouse interprets a situation. All of his/her behaviors are filtered through his/her perception of the way the social world works.

    Remember, details are extremely important in trying to understand what is happening - and what to do about it. Don’t try to intervene until you understand (at least to a small degree) what is happening with your ASD spouse. Changing thinking becomes a paramount issue, but one that is often neglected. However, successful changes in thinking will dramatically increase the success rate of any communication strategy you use.

    To help you determine the reasons why your ASD spouse thinks and acts the way he or she does, you should ask yourself the following questions:

    • Are they stuck on an idea and can't let it go? (They do not know how to let go and move on when there is a problem.)
    • Are they misunderstanding what is happening, and assuming something that isn't true? (Misinterpretation.)
    • Are they expecting perfection in themselves? (Black-and-white thinking.)
    • Are they exaggerating the importance of an event? There are no small events – everything that goes wrong is a catastrophe. (Black-and-white thinking.)
    • Are they blaming you for something that is beyond your control? (They feel that you must solve the problem for them, even when it involves issues you have no control over.)
    • Have they made a rule that can't be followed? (They see only one way to solve a problem. They can’t see alternatives.)
    • Do they see only two choices to a situation rather than many options? (Black-and-white thinking.)
    • Do they need to be taught a better way to deal with the problem in question? (They don’t understand the way the social world really works.)
    • Because a situation was one way the first time, do they feel it has to be that way always? (Being rule-bound.)

     
    By getting answers to some of these questions, the NT spouse will be in a much better position to effectively register her or his concerns about existing relationship difficulties.

     

    ==> To learn some very specific and concrete communication strategies for dealing with spouses on the autism spectrum,  register for one of my online workshops. Dates and times are located here...

    Anxiety and Associated Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors in People on the Autism Spectrum

     


    “Can anxiety and/or OCD be the cause for my (ASD) husband's shutdowns?" 

     

    Obsessive-compulsive issues (e.g., rituals, rigidity, perseverations, creating rules, black-and-white thinking, etc.) originate in the ASD person’s difficulty understanding the social world. This creates anxiety, which is the underlying cause for obsessive-compulsive behaviors. You, the NT wife, will see anxiety in many different ways depending on how your husband manifests it. 

     

    Some people on the autism spectrum will show anxiety in obvious ways (e.g., frustration, anger, isolation). Others show it by trying to control the situation and bossing people around. Some may throw an adult temper tantrum. No matter how your husband displays his anxiety, you need to recognize that it’s there and not assume it’s due to some other cause (e.g., insensitivity, narcissism, not caring about the relationship, etc.).

     

    Anxiety can occur for the smallest reason. Don't judge anxiety-producing situations by your own reaction to an event. Your husband may be much more sensitive to situations than you will be, and you may often have the thought that “there is no logical reason for his anxiety.” On the other hand, something that you would be highly anxious about may cause no anxiety in your husband. 

     

    Your husband's first reaction to marital conflict is to try to reduce - or eliminate - his anxiety. He MUST do something, and one of the most effective means is to take all changes, uncertainty, and variability out of the equation. This can be accomplished by obsessions. 

     

    If everything is done a certain way, if there is a definite and unbreakable rule for every event, and if everyone does as he wishes – everything will be fine. Anxiety is then diminished or reduced, and no meltdowns or shutdowns occur. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to do this in the real world.  

     

    Behavioral manifestations of anxiety in your spouse may include the following:

     

    • Wanting things to go his way, when he wants them to - no matter what anyone else may want.
    • Tending to conserve energy and put forth the least effort he can (except with highly-preferred activities).
    • Remaining in his “fantasy world” a good deal of the time - and appearing unaware of events around him.
    • Reacting poorly to new events, transitions, or changes.
    • Preferring to do the same things over and over.
    • Lecturing others or engaging in a monologue rather than having a reciprocal conversation.
    • Intensely disliking loud noises and crowds.
    • Insisting on having things and events occur in a certain way.
    • Having trouble socializing - or avoiding socializing altogether. 
    • Having a narrow range of interests, and becoming fixated on certain topics or routines.
    • Eating a narrow range of foods.
    • Displaying some odd behaviors because he is anxious or does not know what to do in a particular situation.
    • Demonstrating unusual fears, and showing resistance to directions from others.
    • Demanding unrealistic perfection in himself – and others.
    • Creating his own set of rules for doing something.
    • Becoming easily overwhelmed and having difficulty calming down.


      
     
     
    ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples [eBook and Audio]

    Why Neurotypicals Can’t Get Their Spouse to “Cooperate”: Preferred and Nonpreferred Activities in ASD


    For most people on the autism spectrum, life tends to be divided into two categories – preferred and nonpreferred activities. Preferred activities are those things they engage in frequently and with great intensity. They seek them out without any external motivation.

    Any activity that is not a “special interest” can be considered nonpreferred. They are less desirable - and many are avoided. The lower they are on the list of desirability, the more people on the spectrum will resist or avoid doing them.

    Preferred and nonpreferred activities are often problem areas in the marriage. For example, your ASD spouse will always want to engage in preferred activities even when you, the NT, have something more important for him to do (e.g., a particular chore, watching the kids, etc.). He does not want to end a preferred activity, and your attempt to have him end it may result in resistance - and an argument.

    Trying to get your ASD spouse to do nonpreferred activities (e.g., interacting socially) can be difficult, and if several nonpreferred activities are combined together, the problem can become a nightmare (e.g., a nonpreferred family vacation).

    People with ASD rarely have activities they just “like.” They tend to either love - or hate - an activity. The middle ground is usually missing. They already have a (small) list of preferred interests, and will rarely see the need for anything new (e.g., engaging in a new hobby that the two of you can do together).

    It’s important to note that “special interests” are highly important and meaningful to people on the spectrum. Sometimes these interests are lifelong. In other cases, one is phased out to make room for another. These individuals can display remarkable focus and dedication when interacting with their interests. These traits often lead them to become highly successful in the workforce - if they can find a job relating to their field of interest, which many do.

    People with ASD and the Misunderstanding of How the Social-World Works

    "Why is it that my husband [with ASD] never considers my point of view? He's always right - and I'm always irrational and overly-emotional [according to him]."

    The individual with ASD has a neuro-cognitive disorder that affects many areas of functioning. This includes difficulty with the basic understanding of rules of society, especially if they are not obvious. Life has many of these “hidden” rules. Some are written, some are spoken, and some are learned through observation and intuition.

    A person on the autism spectrum has difficulty understanding social cues, implied directions, and how to "read between the lines.” Instead, he learns facts. He does not "take in" all of what is happening around him that involves the rest of the world, only what directly impacts him.

    Your ASD husband has probably had many conversations that have generally been about knowledge and facts, BUT NOT about feelings and interactions. As a result, he does not really know how the social-world works and what one is supposed to do in various “socially tricky” situations.

    This can apply to even the smallest situations that you, his NT wife, may take for granted. Not knowing the unspoken rules of situations causes anxiety, which leads to many of the behavioral problems you witness as your husband tries to impose his own sense of order on a world he doesn't fully understand.

    The ASD individual creates his own set of rules for everyday functioning to keep things from changing - and thereby minimize his anxiety. Sometimes, he just makes up the rules when it is convenient. Other times, he attempts to make them up by looking for patterns, rules, or the logic of a situation to make it less chaotic for him and more predictable and understandable.

    If there are no rules for an event or situation, the ASD individual will create them from his own experiences based on what he has read, seen, or heard. He will often have a great deal of information to use in reaching his conclusions and forming his opinions. As a result, some of his conclusions are correct - and some are wrong.

    Your husband will rarely consider your point of view if he does not consider you to be knowledgeable of the topic in question. If you can’t [or don’t] provide “facts” and evidence that back-up your opinion, your opinion will mean nothing to him. Therefore, he will argue with you about your opinions if different from his own. He thinks that his opinion is more logical, so he chooses his (this represents rigid thinking).

    The person on the spectrum finds it difficult to be flexible and consider alternate views, especially if he has already reached a conclusion. New ideas can be difficult to accept ("I'd rather do it the way I've always done it"). Being forced to think differently can cause a lot of anxiety.

    So, you must never over-estimate your husband’s understanding of a situation because of his high intellectual ability or his other strengths. He’s someone who has not fully figured out how the social-world works – and he could use a road map and the set of instructions (one example at a time) from YOU, his compassionate coach and wife.


    More resources:

     

    ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

    Why People with ASD Can Be Very STUBBORN!

    “Why is my boyfriend [with ASD] so stubborn and closed-minded?”

    Realizing that your boyfriend on the autism spectrum will not be a good observer of his own behavior is your first step in understanding him. ASD-like behavior is often a result of anxiety that accompanies mind-blindness.

    On way for the person on the spectrum to reduce anxiety is to have rules, strict routines, and lots of structure in his life. This often appears to others as very rigid behavior. This rigidity is the most common reason for relationships problems.

    Reasons for rigidity include the following:

    • anxiety about a current or upcoming event, no matter how trivial it might appear to you 
    • any violation of a rule or ritual (changing something from the way it is “supposed” to be)
    • immediate gratification of a need
    • misunderstanding or misinterpretation of other's actions
    • OCD
    • perfectionism 
    • sensory sensitivities
    • the need to avoid or escape from a non-preferred activity (e.g., chit chat)
    • need to control a situation
    • need to engage in or continue a preferred activity, usually an obsessive action or fantasy
    • transitioning from one activity to another (this is usually a problem because it may mean ending an activity before he is finished with it)


    Understanding your boyfriend involves knowing the traits of the disorder - and how they manifest themselves in everyday behaviors. How does he view the world, think about things, and react to what is going on in his environment? 


    ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

    ==> Online Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's

    People with Autism Spectrum Disorder Have More Strengths Than Weaknesses?

    “Mark, I hear so many negatives about people with autism spectrum disorder [level 1]. You say there are many more strengths than weaknesses! What are they?”

    Even though there are a number of deficits associated with ASD, there are numerous positives as well. For example, most people of the autism spectrum have the following strengths:


    1.    are independent and unique thinkers
     

    2.    are internally motivated (as opposed to being motivated by praise, money, acceptance, etc.)
     

    3.    have the ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision or incentive
     
    4.    are more logical than emotional, spending a lot of time “computing” in their minds
     

    5.    are often passionately devoted to -and eager to expound on- topics of particular interest to them
     

    6.    are visual, 3-dimensional thinkers, which lends itself to countless creative applications
     

    7.    have a higher “fluid intelligence” than “typical” people (i.e., the ability to find meaning in confusion, solve new problems, and draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge)
     

    8.    have strong rote skills
     

    9.    have terrific memories and are able to memorize large amounts of information
     

    10.    pay attention to detail, sometimes with painstaking perfection
     

    11.    are not restricted to any social expectations that they have to meet
     

    12.    are not as concerned about their external appearance in comparison to “typical” people
     

    13.    rarely judge other people based on who is smarter, richer or faster
     

    14.    usually have a higher than average general IQ
     

    15.    are often precocious in speaking and reading and tend to use sophisticated or formal language

    …and this is my short list!

    Mark Hutten, M.A.


    More resources:

     

    ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

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