My son has reached the point where, at 27 years old, he wants to move out of our house – Asperger’s or not. Gratefully, the group Asperger’s Assn of New England (AANE) has a new program to assist adult Aspies with major life decisions. My son has met with a counselor of sorts on a mostly weekly basis to develop the skills he needs to live on his own and to learn the ins and outs of apartment hunting.
Looking for an apartment under the best of circumstances can be a daunting task. Add Asperger’s into the mix and you’ve got a whole new game. Since Aspies can be very, very literal, it’s often a matter of explaining what sometimes vague terms really mean. For example, includes everything generally applies to basics like heat and electricity. It doesn’t apply to any other basics, like food, furniture or gas for the car. You have to ask the rental agent or owner questions to get the information you need.
Finding an apartment he can afford is another problem. I really am grateful that he has a full time job unloading trucks for WalMart. It doesn’t pay a whole heck of a lot, though, so his housing allowance isn’t very big. Most of the apartments he’s found so far with his range are places you wouldn’t ask your dog to live or in locations you wouldn’t want your mother to visit. So the search continues.
He’s actually doing quite well with it when he gets going. Of course, as with many Aspies, getting him to do it on his own, without the mom-nagging push away from things like computer, DVD’s, etc, is still a bit of a challenge.
But we’ve actually seen changes in the Aspie behaviors since this project began. He’s talking more – conversations he initiates. He asks questions. He takes care of things around the house that need doing without being asked. That’s a big one! It does convince us that we made the right choice in letting him decide it was time to move out.
Still – I have told him that, since he’s 27, I know I can’t force him to stay in our house, if I didn’t think he was ready, he’d be tripping over me to try to get out. He laughed and reminded me that he has 10 inches on me, so it would probably be pretty easy.