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K_Kelly
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08 Jul 2014, 6:54 pm

I have a minor paranoia that I can one day not fend for myself and end up homeless and without a job and partner/friends. This I feel goes back to my background. I may have been too late to realize the importance of social skills in the real world.
I am 22 now. The good news is that I began services for my state's autism program (the only state in the US to have such a program) and it will be good for achieving my goals. I just wanted to ensure one day I don't need assistance with everyday living things.

I'm actually a little scared if I were to live in an apartment by myself right now. I speculate that my quality of living will be lower, even for high-functioning autistic guys. I actually am high-functioning, I'm not very severe.

Yesterday one of my workers, who is on the high-end of the spectrum too, we did mock shopping for groceries at the store and I was totally ignorant of skills such as reading labels, safety and where everything was located. This applies to a lot of my adult skill level. Outside of the intervention of the program, how do I become more educated on these skills?

I always avoided people too and I need a way I can learn on my own without having to interact for now. I eventually plan to come out of my shell, but for now I need a quick solution.



Magnanimous
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08 Jul 2014, 7:16 pm

Trial and error.

And just hope you're not unemployable.
If the program you're with can find you a job that you're capable of holding, with reasonably understanding people... then you should be fine on that front and not have to worry overmuch about suddenly being homeless.
IF, on the other hand, you can't hold a job (like someone else I was competing with for the job I have now)... then you could be in quite a bit of trouble.



But so far as stuff like shopping for groceries or using public transport or suchlike goes...
... trial and error.
Really.
Trial and error.

Sometimes you're going to screw things up. You're going to get things wrong.
BUT as long as you've still got all your limbs and don't get a criminal record or something... you're probably just dandy, and will learn from the experience.


O'course your comfort-zone will have to be sacrificed in the process.
The outside world is freaking horrible... but you really don't have much choice.



LostInSpace
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08 Jul 2014, 8:21 pm

K_Kelly wrote:
Yesterday one of my workers, who is on the high-end of the spectrum too, we did mock shopping for groceries at the store and I was totally ignorant of skills such as reading labels, safety and where everything was located. This applies to a lot of my adult skill level. Outside of the intervention of the program, how do I become more educated on these skills?


Magnanimous is right about the shopping. It really is just a skill you learn as you go along. If you haven't gone shopping by yourself before, of course you won't know where things are. Just make guesses based on how the aisles are labeled. And then wander the aisles randomly when your guess turns out completely wrong :-) Seriously though, expect to spend a lot of time wandering around lost in any unfamiliar store. If you go to the same store all the time though, eventually you will learn where your staples are located. And honestly most people don't know enough to read labels (I think a lot of people would be horrified if they read the ingredient lists for the "food" going in their carts). So you are not as far behind as you think. Just go out and practice! And maybe go shopping during odd hours if you can. Supermarkets can be super-overwhelming even when they are not crowded. They tend to be less crowded during the workday, and busiest on the weekend and on weekday evenings. Also, take a list of things you need. That will help you to stay focused while you shop.


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questor
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08 Jul 2014, 9:06 pm

There are books out there for high school and college kids who are going to be on their own. These books tell how to handle everyday stuff in the adult world. You can look them up in the local library and on the I-net. I suggest buying at least one of them. It will be a big help. Make sure you either get one that covers dealing with money, checks, personal banking, and keeping records of your income and outgo, or buy a second book specifically dealing with personal finances.

I have always liked to read, and my parents have often read content labels in the store. Since I was usually with them, that made it a normal thing for me, so I had no problem with that once I was doing my own buying. It took decades before I was on my own, but I did buy my own stuff from job money even while living with relatives. I would also like to suggest going to stores in the "off" hours.--That is, very early in the morning, or during the early part of the week. If you can drive at night you can go to all-night stores late at night, or very, very early in the morning to avoid having to deal with a lot of people.

When dealing with people out in the world, some will be nice and some won't. And remember, there is no law that anyone has to like anyone else, so sometimes people won't like you, and sometimes you won't like them. The best thing to do is to be civil and polite with strangers, at least until they give you a reason not to be, and even then, just walk away, unless they get physically violent. You have the right to defend yourself from a violent attack, but don't be the one to start things.

Good luck on your entry into the adult world.



nikaTheJellyfish
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08 Jul 2014, 11:05 pm

Find someone you trust you can ask weird questions too as well. I have a few people I can go to when I encounter a situation I don't know what to do with. These people help me navigate it without something bad happening.



Ettina
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09 Jul 2014, 9:43 am

Talk to your support workers about teaching you independent living skills.



CuddleHug
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09 Jul 2014, 10:36 am

You?re not too late? you?re younger than me. It?s a natural fear to have and when you do live independently it?ll just go away except for the fear of loosing your job I?m not sure about that one.

Educated on life skills? Well you can ask here if you have a specific skill in mind. The internet is a great resource as well it?s free, fast, and best of all safe as I get to stay home I google any skill I need. As for shopping specifically there are a variety of ways to do it. You could get a recipe book and then pick one to make and then buy the stuff for it. For myself I?ve just fallen into a repetitive cycle I buy the same things and when they get low I go buy the same things again. I always ensure I have a nice stockpile I have to have a spare of everything because I can?t deal with it if I run out mainly because I can?t seem to spontaneously go to the store it has to be preplanned for a while.

The nice thing about living on your own is that you are in control of your quality of life so for me it improved because I have complete control now. I don?t come home to find anything changed it?s all exactly the way I left it. So a change will not be made unless I?m ready for it, a person will never be here unless I?m ready for them to be no new smells or anything will be added to the environment unless I want them and there are no sounds or sights I can close the curtains and I?m in my own private little world so long as I use ear plugs otherwise the fridge drives me crazy. I hate that fan.



Alita
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11 Jul 2014, 9:55 am

K_Kelly wrote:
I'm actually a little scared if I were to live in an apartment by myself right now. I speculate that my quality of living will be lower, even for high-functioning autistic guys. I actually am high-functioning, I'm not very severe.


You need a plan. Try something like this:

- Put reminder lists up for paying rent & bills, buying groceries & remembering important dates.
- Draw up a diet calendar for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat a different breakfast every 3 days, then repeat. Make a different lunch every 5 days, then repeat. Cook a different meal each night for 2 weeks, then repeat. Make it so that you can use left-overs from dinner in your breakfast and/or lunch the following day(s). E.g. If you make a lettuce salad for dinner, use leftover lettuce in a sandwich for lunch the next day. If there's still some left, use it in your dinner the next night or lunch the following day. You can work all this into your diet plan.
- Have a set time to check your mail and e-mail.
- Have a set day to clean the house: collect trash, dust, bathroom, mop, vacuum. And one to do laundry. If you're pretty clean, one day per fortnight will suffice.
- Give the house a spring clean at the start of each new season: chuck out useless items & junk mail, scrub the shower, check the house for mould, damage or cobwebs, clean the mailbox (if outside), clean out gutters & wash furniture covers & drapes.
- Have a place to put unpaid bills, paid bills, important letters, personal letters.
- Have a place to put your keys.
- Set up a schedule to change your bedclothes (if you shower before bed, you don't need to do this as often!)
- Have a policy for answering the door and phone.
- Check your car's tyres, water & oil once a week, if you have one.
- Change your toothbrush every second month.
- Schedule at least one dental visit, medical check-up and haircut each year.
- Set 3 days per week aside for a one hour walk, ride, swim or other aerobic activity. Or 6 days of half an hour.
- Put at least one tenth of your income aside for a rainy day.
- Set aside one day per fortnight just for visiting with friends & family.

If you set up a system or plan like this one, it will make your life much easier and make you feel more in control of your life. Then your anxious thoughts won't occur as often.

Remember, for us Aspies we often have to put a lot more thought and practice into what others may find comes naturally. But it doesn't mean that we can't excel in these areas and even become examples to all for what's possible! Take the bull by the horns and unleash your potential ... you DESERVE to be living where you're living. Repeat that to yourself! I WILL NOT BE HOMELESS. I WILL NOT BE HOMELESS BECAUSE I AM TOO VALUABLE, INTELLIGENT, RESOURCEFUL AND VERSATILE!! ! I am the master of my domain and a damn good one at that!! ! There is nothing I can't handle! Just f***ing try me!! ! :D That's you! :wink:


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Alita
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11 Jul 2014, 10:06 am

K_Kelly wrote:
I was totally ignorant of skills such as reading labels, safety and where everything was located. This applies to a lot of my adult skill level. Outside of the intervention of the program, how do I become more educated on these skills?


I read this, apparently, all the foods with the long labels are the unhealthiest for you. As a general guide, the supermarket puts all the healthy foods on the perimeter: bread section, meats, milk & dairy, and fruit & vegetables. The middle aisles are where all the 'crap' is to be found: candy, chips, biscuits, condiments laden with preservatives etc. I would steer clear of anything that has more than 3 lines of ingredients on the label because it's probably got heaps of chemicals and other crap in it.

What I did is go to the supermarket first thing in the morning when hardly anyone else was there. The check-out chicks are usually fresher at that time too and more helpful. You could try that, or otherwise go before they close: less people again, and the personnel are ready to knock off so may be in a better mood.

Be patient with yourself. It will take time. But soon it will become second nature if you keep at it. :)


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"There once was a little molecule who dreamed of being part of the crest of a high wave..."
(From the story 'The Little Molecule' - Amazon Kindle, 2013)