About autisticaplanet

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Welcome to a blog written by an autistic adult woman in her late 30's using words and images to advocate acceptance as well as awareness of those with life-limiting sensory processing disorder and resulting social and behavioral challenges.Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Autism and independence: It's individual

Concept: What works for some doesn't work for all. Red square peg can't fit in round hole.

Maybe it's just me, but I am greatly concerned about the motivation(s) behind the NT movement to get autistic people employed and living independently.
 It is every parent's hope to see their kids grow to be safe and content long after they are deceased.
The government would love to see more disabled people paying taxes instead of relying on "handouts".
For those autistic people requiring minor support who can cope with the MANY aspects of living in the everyday world, with its noise and confusion, speed and growing cultural apathy who can do a job, it is important and it matters they receive and have access to those supports.
I am in no way against the personal betterment of each and every autistic individual to attain the best life possible- for them.
I am concerned that those who cannot ever support themselves given their autism, those like me, could lose supports and be expected to do things their autistic peers do. 
My fear is based on the gross misconceptions surrounding autism, some I have witnessed firsthand.
Sure I can work. I'm smart. I'm just being lazy and immature. I can work at Hobby Lobby because I'm creative. I'm just screaming when a sound is too loud or I'm overstimulated to get attention. I either do what is expected of me, or I get punished via needle or discharge (depending on if I'm in a hospital or working with a social service agency.
 I've had this crap hurled at me since my early twenties by psychiatric hospital staff and social service programs. I've decided not to get re-involved with state-run services for my own protection and well-being.
My former caseworker was candid with me about how the organization she worked for runs. It and others like it are designed to get clients working and living on their own.
I am an example of an autistic adult who can't do that. It has nothing to do with my IQ and mostly everything to do with my sensory processing and co-morbids.
Clients work in noisy, sheltered workshops or in retail. The motivation is to get people out on their own unless they have a medical reason they cannot do so, and Asperger Syndrome (the terminology is still used even though the DSM 5 editors omitted it) in itself isn't viewed that way.
Having a case manager work as a companion isn't how things work, but they did allow it until I lost Medicaid. 
Left on my own with an ongoing major depressive episode that began in January of 2016, I slept most of the time away. I found out that my TSH (Thyroid) level was dangerously low. My medication has been adjusted. 
Situationally, I remain in limbo. I think of the few things I enjoy doing, photography and making beaded stretch bracelets, and I wonder how, if I could work from my predictable, "autisticaplanet friendly" home, how I could earn money probably; not enough to live independently- doing so entails much more than money but to engage and utilize the skills I do have.
Some skills I have:
1. I have an eye for detail-I have been told I see what someone else might miss or the person says they never thought of something the way I made it.
2. I enjoy repetition. With stretch beading, once I have a pattern down, I work quickly. 
3. I am highly organized and always have been. 
4. I learn visually, so a training video on YouTube would work well for me. YouTube is free so it would cost an employer nothing to train me.
5. I communicate best via e-mail and/or text messaging. I put into detail what I cannot when distracted by another person in real time.
6. ICYMI, I can type 😃
7. I can work flexibly from home. I did it when I actually was employed for a year back in my early 20's. With a custom arrangement with the same service agency my case worker was employed with, I assembled small pieces like bike bottle lids and caps. I could be out one day with a migraine or in a shutdown for two and feel rested enough to finish my work. I generally had 5 boxes of 500 lids. The job ended when the work companies sent out to the sheltered workshop lessened. They told me they had to keep the work for the actual workshop employees, the ones that physically came there.
I felt satisfaction and a sense of contribution. I actually was delighted at the part of my paycheck that showed the deduction for social security.
I might not be able to live or work independently, or pay taxes. That really shouldn't be the point.
The salient points should be in my having responsibility and structure- on a level I can handle as well as being content.
A sense of community and continuity of care are also vitally important.
I do have disabilities, I am not just different.
I am an individual, what services I receive and what I can contribute should reflect me, not a majority or stereotype.