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
- 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
- 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 enough.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 welcome.
- Try to avoid situations in which the other person might feel
slightly 'cornered' either physically or verbally. Well at least
until you know them quite well.
- 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
Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger
Getting the best from this
Looking on the bright side
Distortions of the truth
Humour and conflict
Sexually related problems and points about
Finding the right friends
Keeping a clean slate
Living away from home
Jobs and interviews
A Personal in depth analysis of the