How to Live Independently as an Autistic individual

How to Live Independently as an Autistic individual

In truth, compared to other neurotypical people, individuals with autism experience several challenges that can make day-to-day living stressful and overwhelming.

However, despite these challenges, there are certain steps to take and skills you can learn to live independently as an autistic individual.

For one, you must develop your social skills.

Many autistic individuals have social deficits and difficulty communicating verbally, making it difficult to interact with people.

Nonetheless, social skills are essential to forming meaningful relationships (which may translate to job opportunities and social connections), thriving in social situations, and living an independent lifestyle.

Also, visiting a therapist can help you improve yourself and cope better with living independently.

You can engage in therapy for autism that can help you address fundamental problems, express yourself and cope with life challenges.

In addition, to successfully live independently, you must learn essential money management skills.

You must have a base knowledge of budgeting, saving, credit, and so on, as money is a crucial tool for a comfortable independent lifestyle.

Read on to learn essential steps you can take to live independently as an autistic individual:

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Amber Chambless, LPC

Amber Chambless, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Noah Suess, MA, LPC

Noah Suess, MA, LPC

Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Annalise Saylor, LPCC

Annalise Saylor, LPCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Lauren Day, SWC

Lauren Day, SWC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jasleen Karir, SWC

Jasleen Karir, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121

Develop Daily Living Skills

Daily living skills entail all personal self-care activities that must be performed regularly to maintain good health and safety.

Thus, an effective way to live independently as an autistic individual is to learn the core daily living skills needed to care for yourself and function independently.

An example of daily living activity is personal hygiene and grooming.

Personal hygiene is essential to everyday living, especially for autistic adults who want to live alone.

It would help if you cultivated the habit of caring for your body, attending to its needs, and ensuring your environment is tidy and well-maintained.

Also, it is vital to learn how to make nutritious meals, handle yourself in the kitchen and shop for groceries.

The human body needs food to survive, and you'll do well on your own and save yourself from spending a lot on takeaways if you learn to cook.

In addition, whether you choose to work remotely or commute to work daily, learning how to move to and fro is an essential daily living skill you must learn to live independently.

You'll need good navigation, communication, and decision-making skills to hone your ability to go out safely by yourself. 

Develop Good Social Skills

One way you can live independently as an autistic person and have a smooth transition into adulthood is to develop your social skills.

The benefits of forming good relationships and life-long friendships cannot be overlooked, even as an independent adult.

Friends are a great source of joy, inspiration, support, and love; every independent adult needs a solid one or two.

To develop your social skills, start by learning all there is to know about the norms and expectations of social interactions.

For autistic adults, this might mean learning to understand body language, facial expressions, non-verbal cues, social behaviors, boundaries, and communicating with people.

Also, it would be best to learn how to interact with others in social situations.

Develop your conversational skills and learn how to start conversations, lead conversations, and bond with people at any social event you find yourself in.

While it's possible to live an introverted or withdrawn lifestyle by choice, as an adult, you must understand certain aspects of communication to thrive in social gatherings and protect yourself in social environments. 

Know How to Handle Money 

Another important skill you will need to live independently as an autistic person is money management skills.

Knowing how to manage money well can increase your financial independence as an autistic adult and pave the way for a successful future.

To manage your money successfully, you must first learn how to work out a budget and strictly follow it.

Budgeting will help you track your expenses, avoid bank overdrafts, differentiate your wants from needs, deal with debts, and make wise financial decisions.

Also, you must understand the concept of credit, debit, and store cards.

As an autistic adult seeking independence, you must learn how to build a good credit score for easy access to apartments, insurance, and jobs.

There are many resources and workbooks that are excellent for educating yourself on money management, problem-solving, budgeting, and other financial topics for adults with autism.

Likewise, you can find apps on the internet that can help you budget your money, track expenses and save. 

Learn Coping Skills

Living independently as an autistic adult can be difficult if you lack knowledge on regulating your emotions healthily and dealing with problem behaviors by yourself.

Hence, you will need to learn healthy coping skills to handle autism-related challenges, overwhelming situations, distress, setbacks, your emotions and live independently as an autistic individual.

Emotional regulation is key to understanding your emotions, adapting healthy responses, and developing emotional resilience.

You must learn how to cope with intense emotions, self-regulate and express your emotions healthily.

Also, it would help if you learned calming strategies to self-regulate when you feel anxious or overloaded in challenging situations.

Try self-calming strategies, including meditation techniques, sensory baskets, simple routines, yoga, physical exercises, or even adopting a pet, and pick which suits you best.

To successfully live independently despite having autism, you have to be your own advocate.

Educate yourself on your needs, recognize things that make you happy, develop your coping skills, make your health your top priority, eat well, and prioritize your stress management.

See a Therapist 

Many autistic individuals deal with social isolation, job difficulties, anxiety, or relationship problems as they transition into adulthood.

Therapy is an excellent way to seek support for yourself if you want to live independently as an autistic adult.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective therapy that can help you regulate emotions and cope with negative feelings and behaviors.

During your CBT sessions, your therapist will help you manage mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and addictive behaviors.

Also, occupational therapy will help you handle living independently better.

This type of therapy focuses on teaching adults essential skills needed for daily living and working, including self-care skills, motor skills, and other independent living skills.

Similarly, speech therapy is a great therapy you can benefit from as an autistic adult.

This therapy will help you develop your verbal skills, improve your communication skills and help you interact with others in social situations.

Conclusion

At an older stage in life, it is normal to seek independence.

However, for autistic people, independence doesn't often come easy.

Nonetheless, by learning essential skills, developing valuable habits, and receiving the right support for autism, you can live independently as an autistic individual.

Pave your pathway for an independent lifestyle by developing daily living skills, learning coping skills, knowing how to handle money, developing good social skills, and visiting a therapist. 

Resources 

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July 18th, 2024

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