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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Organization Skills for Autistic Adults

"I have Aspergers (high functioning), depression and insomnia. I don't know where to start. My wife complains because I agree to do something [like a chore or task of some kind] but never follow through [which is true some of the time]. At work, my desk is covered with paper, and I put off the hard part until I get in trouble and have to find it and do it. I take Adderall 45mg, and Ativan to sleep. I am overwhelmed. Now I have to go do something before I leave work. Can you give me any tips on how to get organized?"

It’s a rare “Aspie” who doesn’t feel unorganized. Are you ready to get organized? Here are some of the best organization skills, edited for brevity and consistency:

1. Always have a back-up. People will pay $1,000 to hear speakers at a conference and only have one pen to take notes. It’s a great feeling when one thing breaks, gets lost, or runs out of power, and you have another one in reserve!

2. Clean as you go. This habit is effective because it's much easier to clean things as you work or as you move through your day than to let them pile up and do a big cleaning session later. For example, if you're cooking, try to wash your dishes as you use them, and wipe the counter, instead of leaving a huge mess. 

3. Delegate. Learn to trust people with critical tasks in all areas of your life. When you learn to effectively delegate tasks, you actually find that it is easier to keep the stuff you can't delegate better organized.

4. Divide materials into red, yellow, blue and green plastic file folders. For example, anything that has to be done today (e.g., bills to be mailed) goes in the red folder. Anything that needs to be done sometime before the week ends goes in the yellow folder ...and so on.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

5. Do one thing at a time.

6. Do the most important thing NOW!

7. Don't Put It Off! If you procrastinate, you'll only get stressed out when you think about that hateful "to do" item on your list. You'll blow it out of proportion in your mind and it will become almost impossible to accomplish. Make sure you tackle the largest or most disliked job first, dividing it up into manageable tasks. Then the other jobs will be a breeze!

8. Have a place for each item in your life. Where do your car keys go? You should have one place for them and you'll never lose them again. Where do your pens go? How about your magazines? 

9. Have only one inbox for home and one for work. Many people have many more than that -- paper comes to their desk and lands in a number of places. Phone messages get placed everywhere. Notes to self are posted all over the place. Instead, have one inbox, and put all incoming stuff in there. Then, once a day, process the inbox to empty. Take an item out of the inbox and decide what to do with it, right away: toss it, delegate it, file it, put it on your to-do list, or do it now. Do the same thing to the next item, until your inbox is empty. Don't defer these decisions for later.

10. Keep a “to-do” list that syncs with your mobile phone so you can add stuff as you remember it. And make sure every item has a due date.

11. Reduce before organizing. The mistake most people make when trying to organize their stuff, tasks or projects is that they have a whole mess of things to organize, and it's too complicated. If you have a closet crammed full of stuff, sure, you can buy a bunch of closet organizers, but in the end, you'll still have a closet crammed full of stuff. Same thing with time management: you can organize a packed schedule, but it'll still be crammed full of tasks. The solution: reduce, eliminate, simplify.

12. Schedule Fun Time! Make sure you include some personal time for YOU. Allot some time in your agenda. Make an appointment for yourself and keep it, even if it's only a leisurely 20 minute bubble bath or a 15 minute walk in the fresh spring air!

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

13. Set a time limit to each phone call and make sure you tell your caller. That way you save yourself the stress of trying to end the phone call -- and it also helps the caller to condense the information they want you to hear.

14. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

15. The single, simplest thing you can do to stay personally organized is to put whatever tool, item, clothing, bag, hairbrush etc., away immediately after using it. 

16. Too much time is wasted every day on searching for things. Find a system that works for you and your lifestyle and apply it. Use it religiously and you'll find new time slots you never thought you had!

17. Unapologetically take control of your time and priorities.

18. Use “waiting time” wisely (e.g., at the dentist, meeting with your boss, waiting for your roast to cook, etc.) to catch up on reading or planning, or use the time for tidying up, filing or other tasks.

19. Use the recycling bin/trash basket. Organizing unnecessary items is wasted energy. 

20. Write down and make mental notes of your top 3 tasks to get done for the day. Everything else will fall into place if you do that.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

How to Get and Keep a Job: 33 Tips for Adults on the Spectrum

Having trouble keeping a job? If so, then this article is for YOU...

Many adults with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are looking for work – and bosses are looking for good workers. A good employee is hard to find. Here is how to be that good employee (even if you have an autism spectrum disorder) who the boss will not ever want to let go of.

33 Tips for AS and HFA adults on how to get and keep a job: 

1. Accept responsibility and do not “pass the buck.”

2. Always finish an assignment, no matter how much you would rather be doing something else. It is always good to have something to show for the time you have spent.

3. Always practice good communication skills and professional telephone courtesy.

4. Always show consistent businesslike attitude with co-employees and superiors; treat internal customers with as much respect as external customers.

5. Always try to improve work by organizing materials, keeping work area clean, utilizing time efficiently, trying to work quickly yet accurately, being able to work well under pressure, and making sure assignments or projects are turned in on time.

6. Anticipate problems and needs of management. Your boss will be grateful, even if he doesn’t show it.

7. Avoid backstabbing, office gossip, and spreading rumors. Remember, what goes around comes around. Joining in the office gossip may seem like the easy thing to do, but almost everyone has much more respect - and trust - for people who do not spread stories around.

8. Avoid the impulse to criticize your boss or the company. It is easy to find things wrong with others. It is much harder, but more rewarding, to find constructive ways to deal with problems. Employees who are known for their good attitude and helpful suggestions are the ones most often remembered at performance evaluation and raise review time.

9. Be a team player. The employees who don't get along well with others, who gossip about other employees, or who aren't willing to pitch in to help, aren't going to be appreciated.

10. Flexibility is a key component of hanging on to your job. When the company needs someone to change shifts, work weekends, put in some overtime, or work a different schedule, think about volunteering if your personal schedule permits.

11. The employees who are late to work, take a long lunch hour, use a ton of sick time, and/or leave early every day aren't going to win any points with their boss. Be punctual and be there, instead of making excuses for why you can't be at work.

12. Negativity is contagious, but so is a positive attitude. The more you stay positive, even if you're in a tough situation, the better you'll be able to manage.

13. Call in if you know you will be tardy or absent. Most businesses treat absences or tardiness without notice much more seriously than simple absence or tardiness.

14. Pick out one or more things in your job to do better than anyone else. Become known as the "go-to" person for such things. That will help managers remember you favorably at times when you really need to be remembered.

15. Do not give orders to others unless possessing the authority to do so. Co-employees don’t appreciate a bossy attitude.

16. Don’t be a “clock watcher.”

17. Don’t be a “know-it-all;” respect the ideas of others, and acknowledge their merit. And always give a “thank you” to those who have helped out.

18. Nobody likes complainers, regardless of how legitimate the complaints are. If you don't like your job, there are plenty of other people who would jump at the chance to get it. When the job market is as upside down in the employer’s favor as it is now, be really careful about complaining.

19. Follow the rules. The rules are there to give the greatest number of people the best chance of working together well and getting the job done.

20. Get important things in writing – don’t rely on what other people have said.

21. Even if you hate your job, keep it to yourself and your family or close friends. Don't tell the world, because the wrong person is probably going to see what you posted. That, in and of itself, can cost you your job.

22. Learn to accept criticism and learn from mistakes. Don’t hold grudges. Be a good loser, and do not display a bad attitude when your ideas are not utilized.

23. Learn to listen without interruption, particularly if instructions are being given – and learn to follow instructions, but don’t be afraid to ask questions if something is not understood.

24. Make the job work for YOU. Is there anything you could be doing differently to make the job work? Could you ask for a transfer or a shift change? Is there anything that would make a difference and convince you to stay?

25. Offer to help. One of the best ways to get (or keep) job security is to volunteer for new initiatives, to offer to help with projects, and to take on more responsibility.

26. Pay attention to dress, hygiene, body language, and manners. 

27. Respect people for their good qualities, even though they may have faults.  Find the good in everyone. 

28. Never let yourself be heard uttering minority-related slurs or other derogatory terms in reference to yourself or to others. Use of such terms perpetuates undesirable stereotypes and inevitably disturbs others. It also tends to make others doubt your maturity and competence. The best way to get respect is to show respect toward yourself and others.

29. Tough it out. Maybe it's not your favorite job. Maybe you would rather be doing something else. However, it is a paycheck – and if you need the income, it can make sense to stay until you secure a new position.

30. Try to avoid ever saying "that’s not my job". Many, if not most, managers earned their positions by doing work turned down by co-employees who were in the habit of saying that, and they appreciate employees who help get the job done, whatever it is.

31. Try to save the company money by conserving materials and supplies.

32. Take a close look at people in your organization who are "moving up." Chances are they are the ones who have shown themselves in the past to be willing to do undesirable assignments or take on new duties.

33. Most bosses don't mind a little time spent on Facebook or texting, but do focus on your job and give your boss the time you're getting paid for. When it comes to making lay-off decisions, the most productive employees will get to keep the job.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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