Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.
Proper preparation and a leap of faith are needed in any big change. Moving out is a big change for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving into an apartment or a house with roommates, or living by yourself, moving is hard work. I was lucky enough to have family and friends who had moved to teach me about the moving process.
What surprised me was that it took more time, money, supplies, and skills than what I planned for during the years I dreamed of living on my own. It should be easy to find a place, right? Boy, was I wrong about that. I had to look for a place in my price range that was in a good safe neighborhood, close to the services I needed, and the housing itself was in good shape. You should also make sure the landlord or management has a good reputation, if you’re renting. This all took time and effort for me to know what I needed and wanted, and I had a lot of help with the process.
For me, it took a few years to save the money for first month’s rent, security deposit, and the initial utility costs. On top of that, the actual cost of moving plus basic furniture (such as a table, chairs, and bed), have to be budgeted for. Keep in mind, I had been saving and had a pretty good idea of what it should cost me to move but often there are “forgotten” costs to moving and living on your own. Some of the unexpected costs were cleaning supplies, a tool kit, dish soap, Band-Aids, cough medicine, and the like. I had to be prudent to get what I needed a little at a time since money was tight the first few months. Extras “luxuries” such as decorations, video games and systems, and huge flat screen televisions have to wait for the future of course. Also, it’s very important to remember that you need to have an “emergency fund” saved up prior to moving. This should equal at least one month of expenses.
Here is one thing I learned from moving: try things yourself first, then ask for help if you need it. It is okay to need help and to ask for it. I can do a lot for myself but there are many things I need help with on a weekly basis. I was amazed how many people were willing to help me when I asked for help, including friends, family, and support staff. I’m able to live on my own because of the support of family members and community support professionals. I don’t have to do it completely alone; I can be interdependent.
One thing I didn’t know prior to moving was how much emotional self-care and problem solving I would have to do on a daily basis. I missed having other people around who know me and love me and helped take care of me. There is a new roommate that I gained, however “Anxiety” doesn’t help pay the bills unfortunately! (Just kidding, but it is true that you may have some initial anxiety as anyone would in a brand new life-changing situation.) For me, it was all worth it and the hard work and preparation I did paid off. I love the freedom and self-responsibility that I’ve gained over the past few years. I continue to develop as an individual who is on the Autism Spectrum. You too, with time, preparation, money, knowledge, and the proper supports, can be successful in your moving endeavors. Good luck!