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Kathy Marshack News

Unexpected Feedback on My New Book – Going Over the Edge?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I set out to write my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, with the hope that it would help those in Asperger relationships. I’ve already received feedback from readers around the world who are benefiting from the lessons I share. However, I recently heard from one of my clients, who read my book, and I was touched to hear how it impacted his life in an unexpected way.

My client is a father to an Asperger child and decided to read the book to better understand his child. He has a strong desire to help his child as he continues to grow and form relationships as an adult. Although he did find information helpful to his Aspie child, what he was surprised to discover was the changes he personally needed to make.

This parent realized that there are areas in his own personal life that need improving. He learned that he needs to take back his life too and live a life that is more true to his spirit. He recognized that he was isolating himself and stewing in depression rather than putting his talent into the world. The actions he needed to take are in his behalf but will ultimately help his child as well. I never quite thought that my book might be meant for those not struggling with an adult AS relationship. However, the messages in this book are universal. All of us need to take stock and decide if it is time to take back our lives. I truly appreciate my clients heartfelt comments. If there are others who have comments on my book, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send me an email at info@kmarshack.com.

An Asperger Relationship Success Story

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Communicating, connecting, and loving is an integral part to any relationship. What happens, though, to the relationship if one member suffers from Asperger Syndrome? If the person with AS cannot comprehend the interior life of their Neuro-typical partner, then connection is very difficult. Especially since the interior life of an NT consists of how he or she views him or herself in relationship to another. An individual with Asperger Syndrome has a much more difficult time knowing him or herself in relationship to another. Thus the Aspie partner does not realize that a loving relationship requires more than just facts. It requires connecting to the interior life of their loved one and sharing their interior life too. This is what is meant by a reciprocal relationship. An Aspie/Neuro-typical (NT) couple are often described as like two insulated wires wrapped around each other, touching but not connecting. Is that it then? Does the relationship have to end based on the fact that the connection will be extremely difficult? The answer is NO. I recently read a fantastic article entitled, Modern Love - Somewhere Inside - a Path to Empathy, that gives hope to anyone in an AS/NT relationship. The article is written by David Finch, a marketing engineer for a semiconductor manufacturer. David has Asperger Syndrome. David went undiagnosed until his wife, Kristen, made the discovery. Kristen is a speech pathologist who works with autistic children. Through her work, she became more familiar with the milder forms of autism and began to recognize that David has the symptoms. She chose the right time and administered an online Asperger questionnaire to David and the answer was immediately clear to them both. David writes about their struggles and learning to cope with their newfound discovery. In the midst of trials, they have found one another and have reached a gigantic milestone. Not to say that their relationship is perfect now, but it is a work in progress. In my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, I seek to help NT individuals learn how to arrive at a new understanding of themselves and their significant other. It is my hope that many more will reach out and educate themselves, like David and Kristen, and take the steps to repair a relationship hurt by Asperger Syndrome. It would be a joy to read more success stories like this one.

Whether You Have Asperger Syndrome or Not – Trust Your Instincts When Finding a Therapist

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Why are some Aspies so hostile to psychologists and psychotherapy?  Among those adults with Asperger Syndrome, there is a growing movement toward acceptance instead of diagnosis.  These folks say they don’t want to be “fixed” but accepted for the unique human beings they are.  The problem is there are times when they could really benefit from professional help for anxiety or severe depression that comes from struggling with interpersonal problems, but they resist treatment. Is there an underlying reason for this resistance? Yes, unfortunately too many mental health professionals are woefully unprepared to treat the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome. I should know since I sought professional guidance for my daughter.  I went from professional to professional for years seeking help for my daughter’s suicidal depression and severe anxiety.  It was a school psychologist who finally turned me in the right direction and I will be forever grateful for her help.  As a result of my trials and tribulations, I was able to write my book on the subject, “Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE? The majority of therapists are well-intentioned; they’re not the biggest part of this problem. At least they are open to learning.  You can hand them a book and ask them to consider another possibility, and they will learn.  It is the clueless and narcissistic ones that do the most damage.  Unfortunately I was annihilated by one of these clueless and self-righteous therapists not long ago and I’m still recovering from her unkind and ignorant words. Karin is an interior decorator, turned psychotherapist, without much in the way of credentials, but a gift for marketing.  She is attractive and personable, but absolutely clueless about Asperger Syndrome.  One day she witnessed one of my daughter’s meltdowns and was stunned.  Later she criticized me for not handling the situation well. Furthermore, she told me that she would never have the problems I do because she is so much more balanced when it comes to handling these situations. Coming from a therapist, these words hurt. But I needed to consider the source. Karin has never parented any children of her own, much less a child with special needs. How on Earth could I possibly consider her opinion seriously, when she is clueless?  When someone with Asperger Syndrome (or their family)  is seeking professional help, they are apt to run into a therapist or two or three like Karin.  No wonder they’re angry or depressed by the therapy experience. So how does one choose a therapist when the odds are great that you will run into more than one Karin?  Whether you have Asperger Syndrome or want help with any other of the myriad problems that plague humanity, always trust your instinct.  Never give up but do trust your instinct.  Don’t waste your time and your heart with a therapist you cannot trust.  I love this quote from Buddha, because he sums up the situation in that inscrutable way that only the Buddha can. “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason, and your own common sense.”

New Support Group in Portland Focuses on Helping Partners and Spouses of Adults with Asperger Syndrome

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I'm excited to announce that I'm launching a new support group, "Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD," in Portland, Oregon. This is not a therapy group, rather a place for people to learn from others and to share their story about the often frustrating and isolating life of loving an adult with Asperger Syndrome Disorder (ASD). I was motivated to start the support group after posting the first chapter of my new book on my website. I was completely overwhelmed by the huge response from people around the world looking for guidance and support on how to navigate a relationship with a partner with Asperger Syndrome. In addition to providing a safe, supportive place to share their experiences, I see this group as a forum to learn more, through books, films and guest speakers. For example, films such as "Mozart and the Whale" will stimulate important discussions about life as a partner of an ASD adult. I'll also invite experts in the field of Asperger Syndrome to speak, thereby creating a counterpoint to personal experience. The group is being organized through Meetup.com. Those interested in joining the group in Portland, Oregon can go to www.meetup.com/Asperger-Syndrome-Partners-Family-of-Adults-with-ASD/. There is no charge for participating in this group. This group is exclusively for Neuro-typicals, for those who love and care for adults with Asperger Syndrome. The first meeting will be held on Saturday, May 23rd at 1:00 p.m. The location is found at the group web page. We will be discussing my new book, "Going over the Edge?" Please sign up at www.meetup.com/Asperger-Syndrome-Partners-Family-of-Adults-with-ASD/. I look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories.

Why do women with Asperger Syndrome go undiagnosed?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Like so many other examples of the double standard, research on the health issues of women lags behind the health discoveries for men.  Autism Spectrum Disorders are no different.  Many more boys are diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, than are girls.  Does this mean the disorder is more prevalent in males?  Or is it once again an example of the typical research error so common in university labs. For example, not long ago women unnecessarily suffered fatal heart attacks because physicians did not recognize the medical symptoms of heart disease in women.  They studied male symptomatology in medical school, not how heart disease affects women.  As a result more men are diagnosed sooner, and often survive their first heart attack as a result, while women go undiagnosed.  When women have their "first" heart attack it is frequently a killer since no one noticed early enough  the unique way that heart disease is expressed in women. Research is tricky with human subjects so universities typically don't address gender issues at first.  It is a "confounding" variable.  Instead they study a group of males and post their conclusions after the study. Physicians then take this research and apply it to women, often with disastrous results.  If you want to know more about how one woman has dealt with her undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome, read her story at http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/04/soaking-in-normalcy-fetishism-or.html Luckily she found a therapist who diagnosed her as having Asperger Syndrome when she was in her early forties, but that was years after a heartbreaking struggle to do a life.  The fact that this one blog post garnered 173 responses from NTs and Aspies alike, demonstrates how important is the subject  of Women and Asperger Syndrome. Since the release of my book Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE? - Practical Steps to Saving You and Your Relationship, I have received emails from mothers and husbands asking for help with their daughters and wives.  I have addressed the issue of AS in girls in women in my book, but it is only a cursory look.  Clearly we desperately need more research and services for women and girls with AS.

Recommended Books on Asperger Syndrome

Friday, April 03, 2009


With autism on the rise, more and more information is being written for those with autism – including Asperger Syndrome – and their loved ones. I have been doing a lot of reading on autism and have come across some excellent books on the subject.

Here are a few that I highly recommend picking up:

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's
- John Elder Robison Intense, funny, inspiring autobiography of a young man coming of age with Asperger's Syndrome. You can't possibly understand what goes on in the mind of someone with Asperger's Syndrome, if you are neuro-typical. The normal rules do not apply. But Robison describes the inner workings of his mind in a way that shows the incredible structure of an "Aspergian" mind. This is an excellent book for anyone trying to love and understand a loved one with Asperger's Syndrome.

Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism
- Dawn Prince-Hughes A most beautiful and painful look at the struggle the author has lived with as she comes to terms with her Asperger's Syndrome. What is so important about this book is that it is a woman's story. So much is written by parents about raising a child with Asperger's Syndrome. More recently we have learned some about grown men with this developmental disorder. Time Magazine even referred to them as Geeks. But what about women with this disorder? Dawn Prince-Hughes paints a most inspiring story of her rebirth from a disturbed girl and teen into a woman who is a leader in her field, a supportive partner and a loving mother.

Pretending to Be Normal: Living With Asperger's Syndrome
- Liane Holliday Willey I love this title! Pretending to be normal is the exact description of the lives of many with Asperger's Syndrome. Pretending to be normal and never really being true to themselves. This book offers a better way to live one's life. Not just for those suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, this book helps their loved ones better understand the complexities of their Asperger's loved ones.

Click here to learn about my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome:  GOING OVER THE EDGE?

Autism Asperger Publishing Company (AAPC) founder speaks at Cal U Autism Conference

Friday, April 03, 2009


Brenda Myles, founder of Autism Asperger Publishing Company and award winning author on autism, recently spoke at California University's 2nd Annual P.E.P Rally and Autism Conference. She spoke to an audience of parents, educators, and providers who are dealing with autism. The conference focused on teaching young ones with autism how to overcome the challenges of interpreting communication and understanding others. Myles spoke about the how autism hinders the ability to read non-verbal language and how those with autism think on a literal level. She also discussed the fact that children with autism need help with the "hidden curriculum" or unwritten rules of society that don’t come naturally. I appreciated Myles realistic encouragement to this community. She said, "Teaching children with autism spectrum disorders about all of the unwritten rules of society seems an overwhelming task. I like to use the one-a-day method. If education professionals would teach one thing a day to a child with autism, they would cover 180 items a year. Other students will also benefit from the reminders. If parents of children with autism spectrum disorders would teach one thing each day, they would cover 365 items each year. Remember to grab the teachable moments because there are excellent ways to make sure they understand the hidden curriculum. These kids see the world so differently. Academic standards are only one piece of the puzzle. We can't predict where anyone is going to be but we need to teach them ways to be successful in life. The potential is there." I am pleased that Autism Asperger Publishing Company (AAPC) is publishing my new book Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome:  GOING OVER THE EDGE?. AAPC provides a variety of books, research, and conferences. Their mission to provide practical solutions to all things related to autism based off the latest research available.

Is love possible for those with Asperger Syndrome?

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Love is a natural desire for all human beings. This statement also rings true for those with Asperger Syndrome. They may struggle with showing and understanding emotions and even more so with showing love, but this does not mean that they don't long for it and desire it. Is it possible for someone with Asperger Syndrome to have a loving relationship? Dr. Tony Attwood, an authority on Asperger's Syndrome, recently wrote a fascinating article, OPPOSING VIEWS:  The Romantic Lives of Young Adults with Asperger's Syndrome, which gives a very insightful look at AS relationships. Tony recommends that a child with Asperger's Syndrome be given proper guidance to develop relationship skills throughout the course of their life. Starting at a young age, the child’s parents need to focus on the necessity of developing healthy friendships which will also promote stronger self-esteem. Once they have reached adolescence, there’s an ongoing need to teach an accurate portrayal of attraction, dating, and sexuality. I also appreciated Tony’s thoughts on having a trusted friend or family member meet possible dates. They can give insight and perspective on whether that person will be a good choice before the dating process begins. Unfortunately, most adults with AS were not diagnosed as children since AS has only recently been widely recognized as a diagnosis. Many adults with AS have lived in ignorance and suffered the consequences. Yes, those with Asperger's Syndrome can love, but the quality of the relationship will be different. My new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome:  GOING OVER THE EDGE?, highlights a realistic view of loving those with Asperger's Syndrome. At times these relationships can be full of heartache, but my passion is to teach ones how to do it better! I encourage you to continue to learn and educate yourself about AS. For more information, read my Frequently Asked Questions.

Siblings of Autistic Children Are Being Affected

Sunday, March 22, 2009


When a child is diagnosed with autism, most people automatically think of how the parents will be affected. But what about the siblings of children of autism? How severely are they impacted? Studies are now showing that these children will be affected in one way or another. One of the more obvious problems is that it will be more difficult for them to form a normal and healthy bond with their autistic sibling. It may also increase a tendency towards behavioral problems, depression and speech disabilities. Researchers recommend that siblings of autistic children can benefit from speech and language therapy. Obviously, every child is different and their reaction to a sibling with autism will be varied. The point is that it is important to be aware of the possibilities and to take the necessary steps to ensure that each and every child, regardless of disabilities, has the proper care and guidance they need. More research on this subject is available in the article OPINION: How Do Siblings Affect Autistic Kids? by Teresa J. Foden from the Interactive Autism Network. My new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE, discusses the fact that a relationship with a loved one with Asperger Syndrome is difficult. I use stories to share some of the struggles I’ve personally observed in families between siblings, mates, parents and children. My hope is to help teach these loved ones how to have successful relationships and to take control of their lives. If you are interested in ordering your own copy of the book, please sign-up for my newsletter so I can contact as soon as the book becomes available. Continue to read my blog for more updates!


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