LIVING AWAY FROM HOME
From Survival Guide for People living with Asperger's Syndrome
by Marc Segar
You may start living away 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 chapter on clean
You might have to be 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 favorite 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).
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 organized in the morning before having
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 flatmates know if you are going
away for more that 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
living in a complete mess. 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
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 instruction 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 shop.
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
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 the
to proceed to the next chapter.
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