Autistic Living

* Less than half of autistic adults live independently

* 78.3% of autistic adults are unemployed

The reasons behind these facts are complicated but it is true that for many single autistic people such as me, true independence is hard.

I am lucky that I have always managed to find a job. Now, the market is in my favour, there are jobs everywhere. I work in the hospitality industry, and it feels like every hotel, every resort, every restaurant, everybody is hiring. Getting the job is easy. It’s keeping the job that is harder.

Routine is important and unexpected changes are difficult to deal with, workplaces can be full of these. Autistic people are not always great at teamwork but can often be brilliant researchers with an eye for details that others often miss.

Living in the hotel means a lot of white bed sheets are available…

However, my struggle is housing. I realised a long time ago that I don’t think I will ever be able to get my own house. Even if I won the lottery, the process of finding a place, doing the legal paperwork, arranging utilities, dealing with any building work and sourcing furniture is too much for me. The idea of all that turns me cold. I can understand why so many autistic people stay with family forever or end up in some kind of assisted living, it’s just easier.

My solution is different, I live at work. One of the great things about working in hotels is that there is often staff accommodation. Furnished rooms with utilities included and an on-site maintenance team to deal with problems, it really is a great situation for me. Often, I get free food from the restaurant too – but does this count as independent living? Probably not…

So, what happens when you loose your job? The home goes too… This happened to me a few years ago (during the start of the covid crisis) when I was given three days notice that both my job and my flat were being taken away from me. It took me a long time to get over that. In fact, for more than two years afterwards, I carried on checking my work emails, it was still part of my routine.

Then late last year, I got a job in the posh hotel with a lovely room to stay in. Things were going well until mid-summer 2022 when it was announced the hotel was closing and I received a letter of redundancy.

To be continued…

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