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Asperger's and independent living


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My best friend has Asperger's, and has some trouble with the tasks of daily living. He also has parents who helped him get his SSDI, but now think that he can obviously work full-time, while this would be very much near impossible for him due to his disabilities.

He is sick of life, very depressed, and doesn't know how he can live on his own.

Any suggestions?

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I agree with Elvis.

About work, working full-time might mess up his SSDI. Nothing wrong with working despite a disability, but when it bumps you off of programs, and you end up trying to pay for meds, doctors, etc... on your own, you often end up worse off than before you got the job.

Step 1...address the depression

Step 2...get a realistic assessment of his work options

Step 3...do the best he can

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I agree with Elvis.

About work, working full-time might mess up his SSDI. Nothing wrong with working despite a disability, but when it bumps you off of programs, and you end up trying to pay for meds, doctors, etc... on your own, you often end up worse off than before you got the job.

Step 1...address the depression

Step 2...get a realistic assessment of his work options

Step 3...do the best he can

Uh huh. Pretty much. However, this doesn't mean people shouldn't try to get themselves back to work and back into the real world (or into things like that in the first place if they never were to begin with) out of fear of things like that, just that they should explore all their options, educate themselves, and go into whatever they do with the proper support from family/friends/doctors/whatevers to have the best chance they can at success.

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He seems so sick of life and trying the job search process (he's very socially stunted) that he just fogs out on it. His mom pushes him with dozens of job opening ads a week, and he feels so terrible that he can't get jobs. He isn't getting the support he needs, from himself, medical staff, or his family.

He lived with me for a number of months and I really tried with him, but when it comes to handling MI, the choice is in all of us.

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  • 2 months later...

i agree with you, VE, and everyone. but i just can't get him to get out of that rut. it is our own choices, of couse, that decide what we do and don't do in life.

he's on prozac now and it is helping with internal issues with his GI as well as the depression. i'm trying to get him to consider risperdal but he's too paranoid about the side effects (benefit vs. risk analysis boy! to each his/her own- i love the stuff).

maybe living with me again? who knows. i do need the police around to keep me On The Straight And Narrow! lol

loon

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Step 2...get a realistic assessment of his work options

This caught my eye the most. It would be a good idea to see what he really can and can not do. if he wants to work that may be possible. If not yet, help him work up to that by smaller ideas. he may learn quickly what he can and can not do.

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  • 4 weeks later...

if he wants to work that may be possible. If not yet, help him work up to that by smaller ideas. he may learn quickly what he can and can not do.

Maybe minimal volunteer work, for starters? If he can get the transportation. Even a few hours every other work, for starters.

Of course, get a full-time job, lose the benefits, lose the access to medications, lose the job, and be "up the creek without a paddle". But if Prozac is the only med that he needs...

But what full-time job is he capable of working? 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year? Can he really handle that? And how long could he hold such a job? Maintain productivity standards? Concentration, persistence, or pace? Attendance requirements?

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he got a job at target and is going to do bagging and collecting carts. he's allowed to make $866 or something a month and keep all benefits, so he's going to try for that. he's really sick of his negative parents and wants to move out, but doesn't want to move away from his treatment team (has MI and GI issues)

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I have Asperger's, have gone through precisely exactly what you've described he's going through (though I'm sure his unique situation is far more complex than your description). I have many thoughts about what helped me (though I guess they come down to: finding genuinely concerned mentors, learning about what is wrong with me (which goes beyond Asperger's, being a more complex person than my description as well, and getting back, for now, on medication to reduce the neural overload.

Real transformation is possible, and as you say, we each need to seek within ourselves. Still, having understanding and compassionate people who have been in our shoes is, I think, essential in the long run.

I don't know if your friend knows you are seeking this advice, but if he wanted to, I'd be happy to talk/chat/write with him.

PS -- Asperger's and autism are not static. People can learn and change. I am no longer remotely trapped inside my own little world, and I've come to understand social conventions enough to help even my non-Aspie friends understand things sometimes. I still don't care much for social conventions, but I can use them when I need to. Career was hard to figure out, but I'm becoming quite happy as a carpenter, pursuing my various other passions/obsessions on my own time, and developing an ever-increasing network of freaks, geniuses, and the lost and disenfranchised. The key was just understanding how and why I was not of the same species as most humans, and since then, I've not felt so alone.

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PS -- Asperger's and autism are not static. People can learn and change. I am no longer remotely trapped inside my own little world, and I've come to understand social conventions enough to help even my non-Aspie friends understand things sometimes. I still don't care much for social conventions, but I can use them when I need to. Career was hard to figure out, but I'm becoming quite happy as a carpenter, pursuing my various other passions/obsessions on my own time, and developing an ever-increasing network of freaks, geniuses, and the lost and disenfranchised. The key was just understanding how and why I was not of the same species as most humans, and since then, I've not felt so alone.

geez. i've had so many people tell me that since NOW i am able to cope more with social situations and hold down a job, i must have NEVER been autistic in the first place. i'm glad people here recognize that growth is possible.

but i have to agree - my understanding how and why i am not human greatly eased my difficulties dealing with humans. i now view them as a sociological project.

anyway, best of luck to your friend. living with negative people is horrible and it would be great if he were able to get himself out of there.

abifae

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no, he doesn't know i'm asking for advice on how to help him, because he'd probably be offended. but maybe not. it is hard to read him sometimes.

i think he's made a lot of progress, and can make more on his own. he wants to rent a room and work at target. so far he's waiting to hear from them on whether or not he's going to have the job (i thought he did already but he says he isn't 100% sure- it is probably a done deal and he's just over-cautious), and i sent him money (me sending anyone money, that's a lark) to sign up on roomster.com to try and find a place to live.

his passion is with computers and technology. he graduated from college with a computer science major and is getting certificates in the field, but has a hard time getting work (read=doesn't get work) because he doesn't know how to act around people (the social conventions thing).

he's a lot better than when i first met him and he wouldn't even look at my face. he's not so shy anymore.

i see improvement and setbacks too. i think he does understand that he's different, but is mad at the world for not giving him a chance due to being different. it is the social conventions thing. he hasn't figured out the career stuff yet. i'll help the best i can. thanks all for chiming in, your continued advice is welcome, especially if you have anything to add about career. he goes to interviews and freaks out, and can't take a benzo for it because then he can't drive.

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Hmm. Yeah, I did computer software work, and grew a lot during that time but hit a wall that was definitely about not getting my employers at all. COuldn't seek work (I still hate this) for a long time, ended up doing carpentry, which is a profession oddly filled with very spiritual, healing types, often willing to take in stray dogs.

What I regret about computer work is that it offered a way out of the real hard work, which was figuring out how to get along with people. I now am trying to learn this all the time, and refuse to enter work that demands so much of my time that I can't focus on the personal journey. That, and I write, play guitar, draw, build models, research psychology, neuroscience, consciousness, nutrition, and healing practices, as well as practice Buddhism, hike, bike, etc, etc. Back when I was just a computer geek, all I did was my job, study for my job, and spend a lot of time alone masturbating or playing video games or whatever. It made all the difference to decide to stop trying to play others' games. We Aspie's have one thing going for us, which is that we're way smarter than NTs. Hahahaha. The geeks shall inherit the Earth.

;)

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he's going to be (probably) bagging and rounding up carts at target. i should suggest a physical job so he has time to do his own journey, but i don't know if he'd go for it. he's got those GI issues and is rather physically frail, though maybe some physical work would help him in that regard.

i think you nailed it- that's about what his life is right now i think. i'd love to see it be more fulfilling. i also think he's smarter than most people.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's my very first time on this site. I don't know if this is a British or US site. I'm 22 female in the Uk and feel exactly the same as your friend with the depression and stuff. I am supposed to have AS. I tried 'independent living' over 3 years ago and lived there for 2 years it was pretty much a disaster but maybe your friend could move somewhere where there are staff around?

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What medication is he on and what dose?? I think he shouldn't jump in at the deep end and start working ful time LOL that could be the beginning of the end and the medication he's on one of the side effects could be drowsiness which would affect his ability to work.... it depends how bad his AS is.. if he's quite severe I think he'd be better sticking to voulntary work or a few hours of work.

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It's my very first time on this site. I don't know if this is a British or US site.

Pretty much Anglophonic (there are some very fluent non-native correspondents), so mostly but not exclusively US/CA/UK/AUS.

For what it's worth, I think that High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's are by definition not too severe. It might

take more work and more time to build a working interface between onesself and the outside world, but it's not impossible.

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