For my fourth discussion, I wanted to talk about the issue independent living, which is an important issue for autistic people. This will involve, preparing to and living independently as an autistic person. As with last week’s discussion, do consider a few things: 1) this forum is not to demean or belittle any individual participating in it, 2) that through this discussion, I hope to learn what sort of struggles and challenges are experienced by people on the spectrum, so we can design better behavioral and educational interventions for autistic people later in life, and to know what autistic people as a whole, do not need help with, and what therapies and interventions are doing right. If not, we hope you as the readers gain valuable insights into your love life or that of those close to you, but let them all speak for themselves, as their impression may be entirely different from yours, 3) if you not to feel comfortable sharing your name, that is fine, and if you do not want your personal information to be shared without a need-to-know basis (should that be an issue) please mention that at the beginning of your comment. If sharing your name could create negative consequences or trouble in the life of you or others do not share it, and 4) that bashful and abusive comments are not welcomed and any will be deleted. Also do not share any information that is too personal (e.g. sex life) using you’re the names or identifying information of yourself or others involved. 5) Remember that everyone may have different views and on all these forums we are not looking for right answers, but to know what you as an autistic person and their loved ones think, 6) If the question is not relevant, feel free to leave it blank; these questions are merely to help each person format their comments. With that said, here are my questions:
1. What is your age? How long have you been living independently?
2. Are you employed? How does your job help you live independently? How do you support yourself?
3. Are you a student? How are you able to go to school and still live on our own?
4. Have you lived on your own before e.g., in college? How has that affected your ability to live at home now?
5. How long have you been living on your own? If you’ve moved from one location (where you live on your own) to another, how long have you lived in each place?
6. What kind of living space do you live in (apartment, two bedroom house, condominium)?
7. Where do you live? Are there supports and facilities for people with autism there? How can you obtain them?
8. Have you ever received any services provided for autistic adults to live independently? How have you gone about doing that?
9. What sort of lifestyles and careers have your parents/guardians had?
10. Do you feel that you are socially involved? How do you get out and how often?
11. What reasons motivate you to get out of your home and socialize with the larger world?
12. What sort of diet do you often have for your meals? Where do they come from (store, restaurant)?
13. What do you do to relax? List anything that is relevant to you (read, drink, video games).
14. Where or who would you go to for help with life, whether independent living, work, school, or relationships? Have you gone there before? How often? Is it helpful?
15. How do you feel autism impacts your ability to live independently?
16. Do you have any other neurological or physical conditions besides autism? What supports have you received for those now and in the past?
17. What other factors in your life have influenced your ability to live on your own?
18. What is the easiest or most enjoyable part of living on your own?
19. What is the hardest or least enjoyable part of living on your own?
20. Do you wish to change anything about your lifestyle right now? Are you confident that it will be achieved? Is it just a desire you have?