Monday, 1 December 2014

Sheltered living, Christmas and reflection

On the 20th of december I'll be signing the contract for my own living place. This will be a type of temporary sheltered living for people with autism, where I'll be learning how to live on my own.
The place is an old primary school, which has been made into a type of sheltered living. Classrooms are divided in half, to provide training rooms. Every participant has his/her own training room. There is a bathroom and kitchen area in there, officially making it a proper house with our own address. As for the rest of the room, we can put anything we like in there, since it's our own house. There will also be a shared living room and washing area (for clothes). During the day there'll be coaches nearby, ready when we need them.
There are also a few classrooms that haven't been divided. Those are studios. Bigger living spaces for people who feel they're ready to live on their own, but aren't sure yet. They can live as independently as possible in these studios, but still have coaches nearby just in case.

I'm very excited to be starting this training! I'm also very scared. People keep telling me it's normal to be scared when you go and live on your own for the first time. They tell me everyone has this when they first move out. I don't think they have nightly panick attacks, though, do they? Or am I wrong?
Luckily I got coaches, parents, siblings and friends to help me. Even though I have these panick attacks, I am still 100% behind this idea. I want to do this!

Lately I've been reading a lot about how other people with autism experience Christmas. I've actually always loved Christmas! I love the songs (not too loud though...), the little Christmas light, all the Christmas decorations, the calm feeling that comes with it... I love it!
After reading some stories from other people and thinking about it a lot, I've come to realise that my family has a lot to do with that. They've been so very supportive all my life!

I read a story of how someone's kids wanted to crawl under the table every time, because of their autism, but that the family didn't like that. I've done this too at my grandma and grandpa's when I was little, but I remember them simply handing me my plate under the table and putting down some bowls of snacks under the table. Sometimes other kids would even join me and play board games with me under the table, because it seemed so cosy under there suddenly.

Now that I've grown up, I find it easier to just sit at the table, but I'm also chronically fatigued now and it all costs a lot of energy because of my autism too. This means that somewhere halfway the Christmas dinner with my family I sometimes get very tired and need to lay down. My family knows this and is usually very supportive about it. They show me the way to a nice bed to lay down on to and they'll go back to the family, while I nap for about an hour.

I realise how lucky I am with such a supportive family and through this post I'd like to thank them for that. I've never had to miss a family Christmas dinner because of my autism or chronic fatigue, because of that support. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Now you can decorate your own place with christmas lights and blankets and candles for the winter <3

    And a friend of mine had panic attacks as well when he went to live on his own. So the first few nights he had a friend stay over, so it was less scary and he could get used to the house first. Ofcourse the friend still went about his business and to work so during the day he was left to his own most of the time, but having someone there during the first nights helped him getting more used to the idea.
    I don't know how much of an option that is for you, but maybe something to look into?