How I Felt Before My Autism Diagnosis

Recently we came across an article by Thomas Hassell, a contributor to The Mighty, titled “How I Felt Before My Autism Diagnosis”. Thomas shared how he is different now, verses when he was younger. That got us thinking about Arc participants who are transitioning to living independently, many of whom are between the ages of 18 and 30. What does it mean to live independently? How do you start that transition? Where do you seek support?

What Does it Mean to Live “Independently”?

All of us require supports from different resources to live lives that are healthy, safe, and fun. You might rely on sharing different household chores with someone you live with or pay someone to mow your grass. You might plan your meals in writing or use an app like My Fitness Plan to eat a balanced diet. Sometimes we share our resources, like taking care of your neighbor’s dog if they give you a ride to the grocery store. Living independently means that you have the capability to be healthy and safe with the resources that are available to you.

Support Towards Independence

Currently, Independent Supported Living Assistance (ISLA) is funded in St. Louis County through the Productive Living Board. This funding pays for up to 50 hours per month of paid support to assist with different aspects of community living. Here at the St. Louis Arc, we are trying to expand supports beyond the paid funding. CONNECT communities support individuals by building peer supports, community networks, and access to technology, so that more people can live the lives they want in their community. CONNECT also provides classes to help individuals learn the skills needed to be successful on their own. As Thomas states in his article “I did not know how to do this when I was younger”. CONNECT is here to help you learn.

If you’d like to know more about the CONNECT communities, contact Beth Moeller or Sharon Spurlock. The next CONNECT class offered is “How to Make Conversation” and begins March 9. Click here to download the CONNECT brochure and sign up for the class.

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