Can a moderate functioning autistic person live independentl

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sohil142003
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01 Aug 2022, 11:48 pm

I have been told I likely have autism at 16 by a therapist, and when I was no longer seeing him, my dad was told by him to get a therapist for a child with ASD. I have severe trouble functioning now and am turning 19 in two weeks. This could also be due to adhd, bipolar, ocd and severe drug abuse including methamphetamine. I am applied for SSI due to the other conditions but I sometimes wonder if I have moderate autism as opposed to mild, but I am
Not sure since wouldn’t moderate autism have been detected in childhood? Isn’t it only mild autism that can go undetected? Someone please offer insight thank you



firemonkey
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02 Aug 2022, 5:15 am

I am much older than you, and have ASD +schizophrenia/schizo-affecrive. I've lived independently sine 1983. I was with my wife from 1983-2005. She died. I consider myself moderate functioning. I get quite a lot of support to help me maintain my independence.



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02 Aug 2022, 5:40 am

I live alone and work, but with bills and taxes my family helps me. I wouldn't be able to function without their help. My therapist says i have "autistic traits only" but i suspect its because she doesn't want me to label myself and there is little to no help for people like me where i live.



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02 Aug 2022, 6:44 am

Moderate autism is generally detected early in childhood.

I feel like the drugs are the thing that’s probably caused most of your problems. I would concentrate on staying off drugs, more than anything else.

You won’t get SSI with autism alone, unless it is determined that you will NEVER be able to achieve independence.



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02 Aug 2022, 9:35 am

I'm sorta the same as firemonkey, and my HFA + Schizophrenia combo likely makes me akin to a moderately functioning autistic. I'll always be independent, albeit quite poor, but that's alright.

A disability pension keeps me fed and the bills paid. The roof, I lucked out on.



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02 Aug 2022, 3:03 pm

I was just diagnosed moderate/borderline severe last year. I've lived alone for the majority of my adult life. I pretty much just worked and went home. I managed okay by myself, all my bills were paid. The major things were taken care of. My asd affected more of my life skills, like not ever answering the door, creeping out at 2 am to grocery shop, things like that. But I was perfectly capable of working and supporting myself. Where I need help is things like- I don't drive, I don't own a phone. So things like getting places can be hard.



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02 Aug 2022, 3:19 pm

About 1 in 3 autistic people have associated intellectual disability which can seriously effect the ability to live independently.

Even with no ID having executive functioning problems can also prevent independent living

Life is so much more complex now than say 100 years ago. 100 years ago an autistic person could live in a small home, cook simple meals, with no electricity and work a simple job. Not sure how rent was paid in the 19th century but im sure it was a simple process.

Now days it requires a lot more brain power, budgeting, paying bills, simple jobs are few with employers preferring immigrants and teenagers due to the low wages, rents are very high. Even getting rather basic things like internet access requires a lot of organising.

Meanwhile if life wasn`t hard enough there are also lots of predators that prey on our weaknesses to steel our money.

Maybe in the future technology will be the answer but for now all this means its getting harder & harder for autistic people to live on our own.


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02 Aug 2022, 6:51 pm

It probably depends on exactly what things you struggle with and your definition of “living independently.” For this purpose, I’m not sure it really matters what’s due to what, I’d just try to identify what you can manage well enough yourself, what you have trouble with, and if/how you could try to improve on the latter. You can also try to find work-arounds for some things, different ways to approach things that might make them less of a problem for you. Finding “coping mechanisms” to reduce/manage things like stress, anxiety, and loneliness is also important. Even if it’s not possible now, you may be able to improve and manage at least some level of independence.

I was diagnosed before they had the “leveling” system, I would classify myself as moderately-functioning. I have my own apartment and manage everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning fine, but I rely heavily on my parents for pretty much everything outside the house. I’m at the awkward place where I’m not disabled enough to qualify for much in the way of outside support, but too disabled to make do without. I can’t manage a job, most require more social interaction than I’m reliably capable of and/or skills or abilities I do not have. I’m on SSI, but what I get would barely cover rent for a low-end apartment even before bills, groceries, etc. (the sort of place where you get roommates of the more-than-two-legged variety and are treated like a piece of gum the landlord stepped on and is trying to get off their shoe), I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where my parents are able and willing to provide enough money to make ends meet at a halfway decent but not pricy place. I can’t drive and there’s not much in the way of public transportation in my area, so I rely on my parents for transportation as well. Usually I go grocery shopping with my mom. It’s extremely hard for me to speak understandably over the phone (often I’m hard to understand even in person), so my parents manage things like making appointments. I live alone (except for my dog), but I’m still heavily dependent. But it still grants me more freedom than I had before, and personally, I actually do better with some level of isolation. I’ve long since gotten past the point where I actually desire much social interaction, and I’m not being constantly bombarded by everything indirectly telling me how worthless and pathetic I am. I wasn’t consciously aware of just how many things send that message every day until I was finally free of them. And it took me until age 28 to get this far. And it took me until age 28 to get this far.

As for diagnosis, I think with moderate ASD, it’s usually apparent early on that something is “different” or “off,” but isn’t necessarily identified early. That really depends on how self-aware you are, the mindset of the people around you (whether they’re willing to believe there’s a legitimate reason you are truly incapable of meeting NT expectations, or if they’re convinced it’s only because you’re not trying hard enough, simply don’t want to do things, etc.), and most importantly, how much you, those around you, and any sort of person who might give a diagnosis actually know about autism. ASD is very diverse even among people with the same diagnosis, and even professionals are not always well-educated about it. Misdiagnosis and/or missed diagnosis can still happen. And for me, it became much more apparent with changing life situations. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in fourth grade, but I fell further and further behind at every sort of transition (elementary school to middle school, high school to college, college to trying to find a job, etc.). And I still got the “No, you just don’t want to/don’t care” mindset from my parents even after diagnosis because they thought that it really only meant that I’m shy, smart, and don’t like loud noises (fortunately they later learned, but I grew up having such shouted at me (even in those words) every time I didn’t meet their expectations). I did fine in school largely because I had the stereotypical Aspie memory up until some point in high school, where I lost it, and I tend more toward shutdowns than meltdowns, but I couldn’t meet expectations besides getting good grades as they piled up. Whether the effects of my autism have gotten worse with age or simply became more apparent, I expect that if I was re-assessed today, I would be diagnosed with ASD level 2.


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sohil142003
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02 Aug 2022, 10:50 pm

dragonsanddemons wrote:
It probably depends on exactly what things you struggle with and your definition of “living independently.” For this purpose, I’m not sure it really matters what’s due to what, I’d just try to identify what you can manage well enough yourself, what you have trouble with, and if/how you could try to improve on the latter. You can also try to find work-arounds for some things, different ways to approach things that might make them less of a problem for you. Finding “coping mechanisms” to reduce/manage things like stress, anxiety, and loneliness is also important. Even if it’s not possible now, you may be able to improve and manage at least some level of independence.

I was diagnosed before they had the “leveling” system, I would classify myself as moderately-functioning. I have my own apartment and manage everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning fine, but I rely heavily on my parents for pretty much everything outside the house. I’m at the awkward place where I’m not disabled enough to qualify for much in the way of outside support, but too disabled to make do without. I can’t manage a job, most require more social interaction than I’m reliably capable of and/or skills or abilities I do not have. I’m on SSI, but what I get would barely cover rent for a low-end apartment even before bills, groceries, etc. (the sort of place where you get roommates of the more-than-two-legged variety and are treated like a piece of gum the landlord stepped on and is trying to get off their shoe), I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where my parents are able and willing to provide enough money to make ends meet at a halfway decent but not pricy place. I can’t drive and there’s not much in the way of public transportation in my area, so I rely on my parents for transportation as well. Usually I go grocery shopping with my mom. It’s extremely hard for me to speak understandably over the phone (often I’m hard to understand even in person), so my parents manage things like making appointments. I live alone (except for my dog), but I’m still heavily dependent. But it still grants me more freedom than I had before, and personally, I actually do better with some level of isolation. I’ve long since gotten past the point where I actually desire much social interaction, and I’m not being constantly bombarded by everything indirectly telling me how worthless and pathetic I am. I wasn’t consciously aware of just how many things send that message every day until I was finally free of them. And it took me until age 28 to get this far. And it took me until age 28 to get this far.

As for diagnosis, I think with moderate ASD, it’s usually apparent early on that something is “different” or “off,” but isn’t necessarily identified early. That really depends on how self-aware you are, the mindset of the people around you (whether they’re willing to believe there’s a legitimate reason you are truly incapable of meeting NT expectations, or if they’re convinced it’s only because you’re not trying hard enough, simply don’t want to do things, etc.), and most importantly, how much you, those around you, and any sort of person who might give a diagnosis actually know about autism. ASD is very diverse even among people with the same diagnosis, and even professionals are not always well-educated about it. Misdiagnosis and/or missed diagnosis can still happen. And for me, it became much more apparent with changing life situations. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in fourth grade, but I fell further and further behind at every sort of transition (elementary school to middle school, high school to college, college to trying to find a job, etc.). And I still got the “No, you just don’t want to/don’t care” mindset from my parents even after diagnosis because they thought that it really only meant that I’m shy, smart, and don’t like loud noises (fortunately they later learned, but I grew up having such shouted at me (even in those words) every time I didn’t meet their expectations). I did fine in school largely because I had the stereotypical Aspie memory up until some point in high school, where I lost it, and I tend more toward shutdowns than meltdowns, but I couldn’t meet expectations besides getting good grades as they piled up. Whether the effects of my autism have gotten worse with age or simply became more apparent, I expect that if I was re-assessed today, I would be diagnosed with ASD level 2.

Do you never wonder what will happen when family is no longer around? Like how you will manage and all that?



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02 Aug 2022, 11:32 pm

sohil142003 wrote:
Do you never wonder what will happen when family is no longer around? Like how you will manage and all that?


Yeah, I have no idea on that. I’ve looked into assisted living stuff before, and really anything suitable I could find either expects everyone to be receiving additional supplemental income I don’t qualify for and charges accordingly, or is exclusively for the elderly. That wouldn’t be ideal, but I don’t really know what other options I might have.


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When you assume, it makes an a** out of u and me.


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03 Aug 2022, 3:51 am

dragonsanddemons wrote:
And for me, it became much more apparent with changing life situations. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in fourth grade, but I fell further and further behind at every sort of transition (elementary school to middle school, high school to college, college to trying to find a job, etc.)..


That was very much the case with me in going from a day school in Bangkok, to a prep school in Sussex, and finally a public school in Essex. Nowadays it would be far more likely to be picked up on , but back then,in the early 1960s to mid 1970s, there was very little recognition,help and support for people like me.

For all of my adult life I've been a psychiatric patient/service user. Generally speaking it's scored about 1/10 in recognising the difficulties and needs that I have . As a result support has been very poor. The default thinking among many MH pros is that if you're good at x you should then be good at y. Fail to live up to that and it's seen as a 'character weakness' , signs of a disordered personality,something you must be criticised for at every possible opportunity.

Thanks to my (s) daughter's actions, prior to my moving to live near her, that uncalled for criticism and negativity has been nipped in the bud. That's great. However too much water has passed under the bridge re damage done, and neglect,for a great stride forward to be made.

When you mention some things and ask for more help but get told you don't qualify and are then regarded as awkward and demanding - that results in a reluctance to be open about things.
Hence I've always always been far more open about the bullying on forums such as this than when talking to a MH pro. In fact before the recent visit of my CC I'd never mentioned it.

I don't remember quite how it happened but I mentioned my reluctance to pursue bricks and mortar further education due to being bullied, and my ongoing problems with self confidence/esteem/ worth . Also there is an immense fear of failure. On a surface, temporary, level I can be seen as bragging quite a lot , but it's fuelled by false bravado and intense fear.When the bragging dies down 'imposter syndrome takes centre stage.' Without any prompting the CC mentioned trauma. I've never regarded it as such because I've always seen trauma as being due to intense emotional/physical/sexual abuse. What I can say is that it has had an immensely negative effect on my ability to function well as an adult.

i think I'll always need some degree of help and support to maintain an acceptable and safe level of independence. However that would have been smaller with appropriate and timely help and support.



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12 Aug 2022, 8:23 pm

Moderate autism Is what I have from the information I've gathered you're given this when you have learning disabilities or other related or unrelated disabilities on top of your autism. A large part of moderate autism is you're not entirely independent. You can live alone but you may never have certain skills required to do things like pay your bills or sign papers. For example, I may be able to live on my own get ready for the mornings and make my own meals communicate decently enough to meet my needs and be capable of making my own life choices. But, if someone was to leave me to my own devices without support the best case someone would get involved to help me continue living alone. The worst case I'd end up in a home with other disabled people or on the streets without a clue on how to support myself or the next steps to take heck, I'd probably be panicking and unable to function. The direct answer is Yes, you can make your own choices and live alone but you need support in place to help you accomplish these things. I hope you have a supportive family, if you don't you should work on getting something arrange for your future speak to your doctor and say "I think I have autism I'd like to see a specialist who can give me a diagnosis" They should help. If you have moderate autism It can still be picked up in your adult hood without the history of ASD but you'll have to show some serious learning disabilities and other factors for them to say moderate. It is most common with people who had it noticed young but that's because when you're not walking at 3 people sorta know. That isn't to say some family's couldn't miss the signs they can.



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15 Aug 2022, 4:34 am

It seems as though we all have different opinions on what is considered independent living.

I’ve lived on my own for two decades so I would be classed as someone who can successfully live independently, at least it appears so on a superficial level. I have developed many bad habits over the years which means that I’m extremely set in my ways, and because I’ve never managed find a therapist who understands Autism, and therefore me, I’ve been left on the scrap heap. I’ve suffered with depression and social anxiety since adolescence, but because I present differently to neurotypicals, therapists don’t know what to do with me. NHS Mental health professionals here in the UK have a check list that they use to determine whether or not the patient/client can access their services, and if you don’t fit a particular profile, they send you on your way. I know that resources are scarce but you can be turned down for the most ridiculous of reasons but I won’t go into it because that’s not the question.

I was diagnosed in my late 30s because growing up in the 80s and 90s, my Autism wasn’t detected, and I was just seen as an oddity or outsider. At school, even though I was well behaved and polite, teachers would reprimand me a lot because I was always misinterpreting what they said, especially if they used nebulous language. Even when you’re young, you are expected to automatically understand the hidden meanings and decipher them in real time. I’ve always had problems with executive functioning and would often take too long to complete tasks, not be able to finish exams and projects and get things jumbled up because I needed more guidance and help with planning. Again, you are expected to just know what to do, and I was considered lazy and stupid. If I’d have been diagnosed as a child and either privately educated or homeschooled, I think I could have excelled in quite a few things, instead of having most of my time taken up worrying and trying [and failing] to fit in.

I’d consider myself to be moderate to high functioning in a general sense, meaning that I’m able to keep my home clean and tidy, cook and prepare nice meals from scratch, do shopping, maintain good personal hygiene and, if I have reminders, pay my bills on time. Even though I can do these things, I might take a bit longer than most people as I’m easily distracted and have severe executive functioning deficits. Sure, I can cool a healthy and tasty meal with lots of prep, but I’ll often do it in the early hours of the morning when I should be asleep.

As long as things go smoothly and I keep interactions with people I don’t know to a minimum, I’m Ok. If there’s an unexpected change to my routine or something goes wrong, that’s when I’ll struggle. But life isn’t perfect and constantly stress free, it can be unpredictable and it’s incredibly important to be able to deal with hurdles, big or small, without having meltdowns or shutdowns.

I’m low functioning in the fact that I’ve never been able to have a social life and therefore don’t have any friends, can’t work or even complete a college course and can’t answer my phone or door unless I know who it is. I live in a rented property and tenants have to have regular gas safety checks which means having to deal with work men. Even though there’s very little interaction, I always put off the visit until the last minute and get myself worked up beforehand. It’s the same when I need a repair - I currently need a new window in my kitchen, my bathroom light doesn’t work and my buzzer hasn’t worked for a few years, so if I’ve got a parcel coming I’ve got to sit in my kitchen and keep looking to see when it arrives. My kitchen sink blocked up once and I left it for a year! I’d just take my washing up into the bathroom and empty the water down my toilet. I eventually had to report it because it messed up my boiler. Everything turned out fine but I’d worked myself us so much that I couldn’t deal with it. Who does that? It’s not normal behaviour that’s for sure. It definitely means that I’m not as high functioning as I think I am.

On the rare occasions I’m out in public, I do mask a bit, but I hate small talk so if someone [usually taxi drivers or shop assistants] talks to me I’ll be polite but just give them one word answers and give nothing away. I dread open ended questions because they require too much thought and I don’t like to chat with strangers, even though most of them are just being friendly. I feel it’s getting more and more difficult to mask the older I get.



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15 Aug 2022, 7:59 am

Mild here, I only got diagnosed because of a situation I was in when I was 12. I still have days where I think my diagnosis isn't real and my autism.


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15 Aug 2022, 8:03 am

There was no doubt in the psychologist's mind that I had autism when I was 3 years old.

He recommended that I be "put away" in an institution because he thought I was a "vegetable."



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24 Aug 2022, 12:37 pm

sohil142003 wrote:
I have been told I likely have autism at 16 by a therapist, and when I was no longer seeing him, my dad was told by him to get a therapist for a child with ASD. I have severe trouble functioning now and am turning 19 in two weeks. This could also be due to adhd, bipolar, ocd and severe drug abuse including methamphetamine. I am applied for SSI due to the other conditions but I sometimes wonder if I have moderate autism as opposed to mild, but I am
Not sure since wouldn’t moderate autism have been detected in childhood? Isn’t it only mild autism that can go undetected? Someone please offer insight thank you


Autism isn't linear, so it isn't a question of 1 2 3 or mild medium severe. People can do well in some areas and less well in others. What matters is the individual in question. How well do they perform the tasks of daily living? Can they mange money, or failing that figure out how to set up automatic payments? A person may do very well living independently in one environment, need little help in another, or not be capable in another. There's no definite answer to the question.