Research has shown that adults on the autism spectrum are far more likely than their neuro-typical peers to live at home with their parents. Cleveland clients Ruth and Valerie have been working with Autism Personal Coach to build Valerie’s skills so that she can beat this statistic and live independently. In today’s blog post, we talk to Ruth about her work with APC to learn more about how we approach this type of goal for our clients.
One part of APC’s coaching has been helping the family shift responsibilities a bit. As many parents of an autistic child can relate, Ruth had gotten into a habit of having to be in charge of…everything. For years, Ruth had to coordinate therapies, manage phone calls from school, attend IEP meetings… it can be very challenging to step back from that role and allow an autistic young adult to find her legs and stand.
Ruth says, “It helped our family a lot when I realized that my relationship to my child was not growing into a health adult relationship. I had gotten used to being the one who fixes everything. Valerie’s coach Stephanie helped us realize that is not sustainable and it will not help me or my daughter.”
After this shift in perspective, Stephanie helped Valerie be successful at work. When necessary, Stephanie helped Valerie complete her job search and prepare for interviews. When Valerie found a job, Stephanie was on hand to help Valerie herself be proactive or respond appropriately if there was a concern at work.
The next step toward living independently was helping Valerie learn to manage finances. “Stephanie would go over a budget and come up with inventive ideas to hold Valerie accountable if Valerie went over-budget,” says Ruth.
Stephanie was also working with Valerie on goals like healthier diet and finding a place to live on her own. Ruth says, “My daughter is moving out this week and I am so glad Stephanie will continue to see her. I feel confident my daughter will convey to Stephanie when she needs things and that Stephanie will notice things that my daughter will forget.”
Ruth is thrilled that APC helped her take a step back and also let Valerie grow to become more independent. She says, “We all had to learn that nothing will work until somebody is willing and ready to do it. Valerie was old enough to make the decision that she wanted to change something about themselves, and realized she could not do it on her own.” Ruth and Valerie can rest assured that APC is here to support them every step of the way.
Valerie moved out on her own in June and is working with Stephanie to apply independent living skills like paying bills on time, budgeting money, and keeping up a chore schedule. She and her roommate are getting along well and they are slowly unpacking their apartment!