The Wrong Planet Guide to Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum

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Trojanofpeace
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29 Aug 2018, 9:59 am

'We like routines and familiarity'

Who doesn't? The point is the lower ability to deal with any cognitive stress associated with change by not being able to support anxiety reduction through identifying opportunity and soothing it through generalisation. Hence the inflexibility and adverse reaction to any changes to the routine.

Having your own space is a good idea if sharing a home with a partner or family, however beware the temptation to reside in that space 99% of the time and alienating your family and loved ones. If they are NT, I can assure you they will not like it.



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30 Aug 2018, 1:17 am

At 12 Years old, when I moved into a dorm, it was the worst year of my life.
I only lasted 1 year and was really hating my parents for that.

At 18 years old, for the university, that was a great time tough.



mdavidson83
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30 Aug 2018, 11:11 am

That is a great feeling being on your own. I currently live my wife and stepson but we are staying with her mom until I finish college. I also drive myself to work and school. It took me 32 years to finally move out of my parents home. Being autistic has it challenges but I can do a lot of things people thought I could not do



Dear_one
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30 Aug 2018, 3:42 pm

When I was 17, my dad got me a job in a factory where a friend was a manager (not in the one where he was a VP) and they arranged a room and board arrangement with two brothers who lived nearby and worked there, one married. He had also told me that he wouldn't support me through another year of high school if I hadn't passed my Gr.12. I got my report card, and didn't go home much after that. My mother always thought it had been my decision, until she asked why on her deathbed. She said he'd have changed his mind, but I had never seen either parent change on anything. It almost kills me to have to make an appeal. I got laid off before Christmas, leading to some very thin years, but I was only homeless for a few weeks total.



Stompgal
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31 Aug 2018, 3:22 pm

Very interesting post. Last year I wrote my own blog post about my experiences of living with family and housemates before living alone. I have been living alone for just over a year now and my own flat/apartment is the dwelling that I have been the happiest in.

Anyway here is my blog post: https://stompgal87blog.wordpress.com/20 ... ing-alone/



BeaArthur
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31 Aug 2018, 3:36 pm

My daughter was THRILLED to be able to get her own rent-assisted apartment so she was free of roommate issues.

But within a year, she was ready to move in with her boyfriend where she has been, happily, ever since.

I think this is typical. First move was to a dorm, then to a shared house on campus, then a series of shared apartments, finally qualifying for Section 8 assistance; each of these steps providing demands and opportunities for personal growth; and at last, able to share her life with a significant other. People who try to jump directly from living with parents, to their own independent apartment (which is usually out of sight financially anyway) may not really be prepared for the challenges of independent living.


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Dear_one
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31 Aug 2018, 5:13 pm

My mother was also Aspie and my father couldn't relate to either of us, so I wasn't learning anything about how to survive socially at home. Living with roommates and working for a while in direct sales gave me an opportunity to observe human behaviour in NT land. My favourite situation was in a rooming house with shared kitchens on each floor. There were public spaces, and a private one always at hand.



Arevelion
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31 Aug 2018, 6:12 pm

In a strange way I never really achieved independence. I lived with my father until he died, then I inherited his house. Now I make a living making veggie burgers but also from day trading his money.



GrownupAspie
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03 Sep 2018, 4:30 pm

As an Aspie born during the Johnson Administration, it amazes me and confounds me the differences between the generations. You younger folks had far more educational, parental and societal supports (my opinion only)than I did.
My parents insisted on two things when I was still at home; a college education (granted, they did pay for all four years)and that my brother and I never return to live with them, barring some unfortunate/unforeseen circumstance. Or, in other words: I had to learn to sink or swim on my own, and that just flat-out SUCKED.
Things semi-improved when I finally received my AS diagnosis in terms of my parents realizing why I'm the family weirdo, and I've been able to sustain independent living at the same address for five years now. But, what it takes to sustain that independent living is a whole 'nuther story!



shadowself
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12 Sep 2018, 11:57 am

This has been an agonizing struggle for me. I was never diagnosed with anything because my parents would not go to a psychologist or psychiatrist or take us to one willingly. Always people would tell me I am smart and have a negative attitude, don't try hard enough, need to listen. They, of course, didn't understand, and neither did I. I perceive, and prioritize, many things differently than seems to be the norm. Some time ago, maybe a whole decade or more, I basically gave up completely on the hope of independence and happiness in life. When I found Wrong Planet I thought suddenly that I might understand what has worked against me all this time... I am not sure how to move towards independence though, coming from a home where my idiocycracies are scorned and made fun of more often than understood.


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Dear_one
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12 Sep 2018, 12:14 pm

shadowself wrote:
... I am not sure how to move towards independence though, coming from a home where my idiocycracies are scorned and made fun of more often than understood.


First, I rented a room with kitchen privileges. That let me observe the other tenants in safety. Then, I spent more time with the people I met through them who didn't scorn me. In general, artists value eccentricity.



pete413
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13 Sep 2018, 6:56 am

That's a pretty standard "normal" life you have going on there Alex. Really hard to identify. Are you sure you are even autistic?
college...dating....lucky job breaks, mr golden boy. pfft.
A lot of other folks on this site are not so lucky.



CockneyRebel
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16 Sep 2018, 11:12 am

I moved out on my own at the age of 32. The only reason it took me so long is because I was very guarded about my money and I was afraid to take chances with it. I finally got over my money hangup and I've been living on my own in my subsidized apartment for 12 years.


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LaetiBlabla
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16 Sep 2018, 11:40 am

BeaArthur wrote:
Thanks for posting that article, Alex.

I see independence as one of the biggest challenges for autistic adults. You were fortunate that your parents eased you into that with only your best interests in mind.


I don't know what Alex's parents had in mind. For my part, my parents eased my independence by being awful parents. The desire to escape them and escape my whole family has been a real motor to overcome difficulties and reach independence.



LaetiBlabla
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16 Sep 2018, 12:07 pm

My routine is the result of a thoroughly calculated process. My routine is very important because it insures my mental and physical health balance.

Life is full of changes and each change can be a terrific disruption in my routine. So I need to constantly adapt my routine to new places, to the weather, to other people, context, work or holiday time, etc.

Most people adapt automatically because they are constantly conscious of themselves, of their own feelings, of their own needs. This is not the case for autistic people who have to consciously make the effort (at least once a day) to actively watch out how they feel and what they need, evaluate the effect of the environment on them, adapt and make plans.

It is however good to note that some NTs are also sometimes (less easily) overwhelmed by changes. In this case, they also have to re-adjust their "habits" (if not "routine") because they suddenly notice that they have worked too much and they are doing a burnout, or they realise that they eat bad and this has bad effects on their health, etc.

When I left my family, I have first lived with a boyfriend. I find it much easier to live alone as you can easier install your own routine which will not be disrupted by anybody. Also, while leaving alone, I have time and space alone at my place to recover from sometimes exhausting social contacts at work and this is nice. Only sometimes, I would need a supportive friend (if not a family member) to share my day stress because it is hard to be completely alone in tough moments.



Last edited by LaetiBlabla on 16 Sep 2018, 12:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

BeaArthur
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16 Sep 2018, 12:13 pm

pete413 wrote:
That's a pretty standard "normal" life you have going on there Alex. Really hard to identify. Are you sure you are even autistic?
college...dating....lucky job breaks, mr golden boy. pfft.
A lot of other folks on this site are not so lucky.

"Lucky" being the operative word.

I don't think Alex is setting himself up as a paragon. He's kind of a best-case scenario. If parents of autistic children are ideal ... (not perfect, but as good as can be hoped for) ... they will help their children fledge, with a minimum of angst. Other parents may want to study what such parents did right. Similarly, if autistic young adults take certain steps, such as facing up to challenges, they may benefit by greater self-confidence and life experience.

Abuse, manipulation, ham-stringing, gaslighting, and similar family dynamics, though fairly common, do everything to interfere with development in those who are already developmentally vulnerable.

It doesn't seem controversial to me.


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