Living on Your Own With Asperger's Syndrome
Living on your own is hard enough without the added difficulty of dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome . According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, Asperger’s Syndrome is “an Autism Spectrum Disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to function in society”. Estimates suggest that two out of every 10,000 children suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome, with the distribution being three boys for every girl.
Several different symptoms are present in those with Asperger’s Syndrome — or aspies, as they call themselves. The most common is difficulty in social interaction. This causes an already challenging task — living on your own — to become even more difficult. Despite the challenge, many aspies have learned to live — and even flourish — once they have their own place.
One of the keys to living an adult life is having the ability to hold down a steady job and pay the rent. For aspies, there is an added challenge caused by their difficulty understanding social interactions. This means that the best jobs for a young adult with Asperger’s Syndrome are those that are highly structured, do not involve deadlines, but do require attention to detail. Aspies need to focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
Many adults have found placement agencies that specialize in those with mental disabilities to be extremely helpful. These agencies will take in an individual, help figure out their strengths and weaknesses and point out what type of employment they’ll be suitable for. When consulting these agencies, check to see what their track record is like. Be sure to check whether the agency is government funded or privately funded, as you may have to pay out of pocket for the services provided. Family may be required to assist the individual with Asperger’s Syndrome with transportation to and from their job.
A common symptom of Asperger’s Syndrome is a feeling of social isolation. This is partially caused by the individual’s inability to understand what’s appropriate in a social situation, which in turn leads to a difficult time connecting with other people. This feeling can become even more pronounced when an aspie is alone in a new place.
One solution is to live with a roommate. However, it can be difficult to find the right person who understands and can deal with an aspie. The right roommate will be patient and understand some of the quirks caused by Asperger Syndrome, such as the literal interpretation of dialog that may be intended as sarcasm. If roommates aren’t the answer, another solution is for the family to remain in contact, setting aside a scheduled social time to visit the individual. There are also a variety of social agencies and visiting nurses that have experience in dealing with aspies.
Living on your own can be overwhelming — even more so to an aspie. Many will respond poorly to the sudden transition and general lack of structure that living on your own entails. In dire cases, an aspie will turn inwards to one particular interest and forget about the rest of the world, making it easy for them to brush off things like bills and rent.
It’s important for family to take on an active role in the aspie’s new life style in order to ease the transition. A family member should be around to help acclimatize the young adult to their new life, even if it means living with them for the first few weeks. Ideally, you want to set up a routine that the aspie can follow — any kind of structure will only help.
Despite the additional difficulties that aspies face, there is hope — those with Asperger’s Syndrome can have an incredible knowledge of a niche, making them capable of tremendous accomplishment. Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Beethoven are some of the many world changing people who’ve suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome.
There are no statistics on how many aspies currently live alone, but it is possible. With the right set-up and a supportive family, there’s no reason that an aspie can’t lead a normal, adult life.
If all this seems to much and you need help, Pasadena Villa has people in place waiting to help. Please feel free to contact us for your mental health questions, treatment for dual diagnosis, schizophrenia schizoaffective, asperger syndrome in adults and adult residential treatment. For more information, click here.
Aspergers.ca, the Asperger’s Society of Ontarioninds.nih.gov, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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