Tag Archives: out

Going out and about with my Parents as an Autistic Adult

I am twenty one years old now, and I know that most people my age tend to spend their time with people of the same age.  They might be away at university and living with their friends, or they might just be hanging around with them, and going on nights out. Most people in their teens, and early twenties don’t spend a lot of time doing things with their Mum and Dad, but I do – as do a lot of other autistic people I know.  So why is this?  And is there anything wrong with this?

Well first of all no, there is nothing wrong with spending time with whomever you like. But why is it that autistic people often spend more time with their parents than non-autistic people?   Firstly autistic people can find it hard to socialize, and therefore making friends in the first place can be hard.  Their parents will often know, and understand more about their autism than any friends might, and therefore be more willing to plan trips out instead of trying to do them on the spur of the moment.  For myself I know that I don’t have to make an effort to talk if I don’t want to.  If I go out then the fact of being somewhere noisy and busy might be overwhelming for me, and in order to enjoy it I might just need to not talk, or not talk a lot.  If I was out with friends this might be hard, but my parents understand and don’t try and force things.  I know that I don’t have to try and fit in the as the people I am out with understand me, and know why I act the way I do.

I never feel embarrassed to be out with my parents, but I know some people with autism might.  More so if they look around, and see other people their own age out with friends, or girlfriends.  But this is the thing, there is no reason really why it’s not OK to go out with your family.  If someone wanted to go out, but found it hard to do so on their own and was faced with the choice between not going out, and going out with their Mum or Dad then it seems odd to me that they would pick not going out. Also going out and spending time with your family does not mean you don’t have friends.  I do have friends, but I don’t want to see them all the time.  I do go out with them occasionally, but most of the time I go out with my Mum or Dad.  For me there is nothing wrong with this; like I say it is often easier to plan for, and to do than going out with other people who might not understand my autism as much.

I spend time with my family because I know that I can be myself around them, and because I know they understand about my autism.  But also because I can think logically, and I know there is nothing wrong with going out and about with your parents no matter what your age.  I could go out and make more friends, and go out with them more often, but I don’t want to. I feel happy in the way I do things now, and I don’t think that if you’re an autistic adult who spends a lot of time with their family, or goes out with them a lot rather than people your own age, you need to feel like this is a bad thing.  Do whatever you feel most at ease with, and whatever allows you to have the best time when you are out.

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Why I`ve decided to take a year out of university ….

I was due to start my second year doing film studies at university at the end of this month, but I have decided to take a year out.  There are two main ressens for this.  One is my work. I wanted more time to work on my writing, and autism talks than I would have got if I was going in to the second year of a university degree.  And the second reason is that the last five or so months have been so stressful, and full of difficult things that I need a break.  But underpinning all of that is why my autism affected my time at  university.

I have to say I got a lot of help when I first enrolled, and I can’t fault my university for the way they have helped with both my autism, and dyslexia since classes began.  But I think my conditions still made my time there harder than it would otherwise have been.  I don’t drive so to get from my house to my university I have to get two trams.  This is OK when I am traveling mid-morning to mid-afternoon, but when the lecture does not end until five, or starts at nine I ended up traveling right in the middle of rush hour.  As the year went on it became harder and harder to do both the traveling, and the lectures in the same day.  If I had a three hour class the last thing I wanted was to get straight on to a packed tram, and have to fight my way off only to get on to an even more packed tram.  And if I had got on the two busy trams in the morning I felt too overloaded to be able to pay close attention to my class.  I also found it hard to balance my university with my autism-related work.  My aim is to one day make a living from my writing so I feel that it is something I need to put a lot of time in to in order to make this happen.  But I found that even in my first year I was expected to do so much reading and work out side of the class room that it ate in to my time for writing, and planning talks. Now I do feel that if the traveling, and overload after class had not been an issue this might have been OK.  But once I had been to a class I found it hard to do anything else that day, and if I knew I had to go out to a class I found it hard to do anything in the time leading up to that.  This meant that three days of the week were spent doing nothing, but being in university. Add to that the fact that each class came with a group project that meant you had to come in on other days, and meet up with your group.   I felt I had hardly any time at all to do what I think of as my real work.

So in the end I decided to take a year out. I want to take some time to relax, and try and de- stress, but I also want to use this time to work, and write a few more books.  It took me a while to decide, but I feel now that I made the right decision.