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Young Aspergers Adults and Independent Living

This post is written to help young Aspergers (high functioning autism) adults make the most of their abilities and increase their self-reliance and self-confidence.

Yes, you can take control of your life and live independently while fulfilling your dreams and enjoying each day, one day at a time.

1. Always look for the bright spot in everything. But be careful though, because staying positive isn’t the same as settling for whatever comes your way and not aspiring for more. Your happiness and optimism can be both a blessing and a curse. Although you can remain happy despite most of your problems, sometimes you may adapt too much! Adapting as a form of “giving up” is NOT a good thing.

2. Be dependable and punctual. Dependability and punctuality are skills that are learned through trial and error. Aspies who learn to be dependable make their employers happy and get raises and promotions.

3. Be open to new experiences and opportunities. While living alone, you may find yourself complaining that you come face-to-face with major life-changing decisions too frequently (e.g., where to go to school, how to find a better job, when to ask that special person out for a date, etc.). But you won’t accomplish all that you are able to if you are closed to all these experiences. You may have many “firsts” (e.g., first time living alone, your first bank account, your first time spending your birthday away from home, etc.), but all of these experiences are helping you to develop emotional muscles that you would never develop otherwise. And with stronger emotional muscles, confidence and an enjoyment for life begin to grow.

4. Be respectful to others. This is a tough skill for some Aspies to learn. Often they feel that those who deserve respect are those people they like - and no one else. They need to learn that although you may not like someone, that someone deserves your respectful attitude just for the sake of their being and the place that someone has in your life. When you learn to have a respectful attitude towards all others, it becomes easier for you when you work with those who may have different values.

5. Have a positive attitude. It is not possible to truly remain positive all of the time. But if one learns to look for the positive when faced with adversity, instead of wallowing in the negative, one is more likely to find a way to be as positive as possible. You can learn to look for - and strive to achieve - positive outcomes. Then you can use this skill to help you find and keep a job you enjoy.

6. Have a solid work ethic. Working is just that, getting a task completed. When you learn to see a job through until it is done - and done well - you build more confidence and are better able to handle the next task given to you. This skill leads to positive outcomes in the workplace and at home.

7. Keep your faith. When life knocks you down to your knees, remember you’re in the perfect position to pray! During difficult times, you will become more attune to your relationship with God. Every day, wake up and thank Him that you are still alive and doing well. When everything else seems bleak, your faith will keep you strong.

8. Keep yourself busy! Loneliness will get to you, eventually. Coping with loneliness is a very important skill on your list of needed independent living skills, because every Aspie I've ever known has needed it. Aspies who know how to recognize loneliness as the temporary feeling it is (a) use their support system, (b) work through their loneliness, and (c) do just fine in the long run.

9. Know how to problem-solve. When faced with a problem, there are people who ignore them, people who fall apart, and then there are people who look for and find solutions. An Aspie who learns to be the type who looks for solutions will be happier with their chosen career and place of employment.

10. Learn to deal and get along with all kinds of people. Living alone can get you in all different kinds of situations, and in those adventures, you will encounter people from all walks of life. Be interested in them – and learn from them

11. Make yourself happy by doing what you love. If your personal life is messed up, and so is your family life, you might as well try to salvage it by having a good professional working life. At least this one, you have some sort of control over. Money is definitely a necessity, but find the time to do whatever makes you happy during weekends, holidays or after work!

12. Recognize that being alone does not equal being lonely. Being comfortable with being by yourself is part of having a healthy attitude. Have some positive “alone-time” activities. Reading, drawing, journaling, crafting and listening to music are activities that you can enjoy by yourself without feeling lonely.

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