Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Syndrome
Living Away from Home
- You may start living a way from home for a number of reasons, whether it
is so that you can be independent or whether you are going away to university
or even just staying in a youth hostel for a week or two to meet people.
- You will start off with a clean slate. To keep it this way see relevant
- You might have to become quite flexible in your routine if you want to
take the opportunities of going out. Also, you might have to wait your turn to
use the kitchen when there are too many people, or have to compromise your
favourite TV program now and then when people want to watch something on the
other side (if there is only one TV).
- Your routine might be quite complicated and hard to manage if you are
doing a course or a stressful job, in which case it can be extremely useful to
plan each week in advance (which may take about 20 minutes each Sunday night
but will save you much more time in the long term). Use a diary.
- It is equally important to have everything you need gathered up the night
before work, so that you are not in a frantic rush trying to get organised in
the morning before you have to rush off.
- Always knock on the door and await a reply before walking
into someone else's room or office, otherwise you will probably be told off.
- Always let your flatmate know if you are going away for
more than 24 hours or they WILL worry, even if they aren't the nicest people
to live with. If you were unable to do this for some reason, phone them.
- People might expect you to do the washing up or some house cleaning every
now and then. This is called pulling your weight and is
supposed to be equally fair on everyone and be a team effort to keep the place
clean and tidy. Some people don't mind mess as long as it's hygienic mess but
some people dislike mess and think that everyone should pull their weight and
tidy up regularly. If you are lucky you will be living with other people who
share the same attitude as yourself. Also, people who dislike mess are more
likely to comment if they feel that you don't take a bath or shower often
- You might have a whole array of different kitchen tactics to that of
everyone else. In the eyes of some people this is all right as long as your
tactics don't leave any unnecessary mess behind and your table manners are all
right but some people might make comments about it and ask you to do things
the same way as they do. It is your choice whether you decide to remain
original or conform, but give some thought to both options.
- By making mental notes about the ways in which other people do their
cooking, washing up, house cleaning or shopping you might be able to learn
faster, more efficient ways of doing these things yourself. You may be taking
short-cuts which do in fact make extra work for you afterwards.
- If you have a bit of free time on your hands, you might be able to nip out
to the shops, buy the ingredients you need and cook yourself a really good
meal. If you have access to a recipe or a set of instructions on the side of a
jar, try to make use of it rather than rebelling against it. Also, it is
somewhat cheaper to plan in advance what ingredients you need and get them
along with the rest of your shopping at the supermarket rather than the corner
- Non-autistic people are quite good at remembering which plates, cups,
saucepans or cupboards belong to which people. Things like this allow them to
do detective work and notice things.
- If people in your flat smoke cannabis or do other illegal substances, keep
quiet about it when outside your flat (see nights
out for further information).
- If you follow the rules given in the chapter Body
language it might make you a slightly easier person to live with.
Remember also that there might be a 'pecking order' in the flat which everyone
is fairly aware of but no-one ever talks about.
- You might be living in a flat where everyone is being nasty towards you,
in which case it might be a good idea to move out and live somewhere else,
starting again with new people and a clean slate.
- If you are able to, get the 'contract' checked out professionally before
signing it and moving into a new place.
Using the Phone
- Always answer the phone in a clear polite but relaxed voice.
- When speaking on the phone, it can be quite a relief to know that body
language and eye contact are no longer important but tone of voice and clarity
of speech become more important.
- If someone asks to talk to someone else, ask politely 'who is it?' to get
their name and then say 'ok I'll just go and look for them. This will give the
other person the opportunity to ask 'who is it' and perhaps to say 'tell them
I'm not in' in the event that it's someone they would rather not speak to.
- If that person is not in you may be asked to take a message in which case
if you think you might not be able to remember to pass it on you MUST write it
down and leave it somewhere near the phone.
- When phoning other people you don't want to phone too early in the day or
too late at night. This might mean having to be very patient. If you wish to
phone someone you have met on a night out who you fancy, it is important not
to phone them too soon after meeting them. It is best to leave it at least a
day so they don't think you're coming on too strong.
- When you have a friend round or when you go to visit someone else through
invitation, or even if you are living with a friend there are a number of
points which are useful to know.
- It is usually the responsibility of the host to offer the guest a drink.
The guest shouldn't have to ask.
- Sometimes you have to put a little bit of effort into making a guest feel
- Try to avoid situations in which the other person might feel slightly
'cornered' either physically or verbally. Well at least until you know them
- Try to avoid situations in which you unexpectedly leave a friend or a
guest on their own.
- Knowing when to say goodbye is a difficult process which can sometimes
involve people dropping gentle hints or jokes about chucking the other person
out. If you don't pick up on the message early enough then it can sometimes
create tension. However, a laugh and a smile can often make the goodbye
process much more graceful.
Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Syndrome
the best from this book
the bright side
of the truth
related problems and points about going out
the right friends
Living away from home
Personal in depth analysis of the problem