'Adulting' as Someone on the Autism Spectrum

When I was 16 years old  only a year after I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum — I asked to get my driver’s permit. My parents were worried I wouldn’t be able to handle driving. They made me wait another year before they finally decided to allow me to try. It took what seemed like over a hundred laps around the local corporate center for me to even try to venture into traffic. But over time, I learned the main skills I needed. I passed my driver’s test on the first try.

When I graduated high school, I wasn’t ready for college. So instead, I focused on learning some more life skills while volunteering in the community. It took some time and hard work. But after working on this for a few years, I finally moved out of my parents’ house.

I still needed to pay the bills.

I didn’t settle on a perfect job right away. It took some time to find a good fit. Yet, after many practice (and real) interviews, I landed a part-time position that I have the ability to do well in.

And when I was finally ready, I decided to try going back to school. Yes, I’m only taking one class at a time. But I’m getting good grades, and I’m currently signed up for my third class!

I may be on the autism spectrum. But that does not mean I’m incapable of things. It may mean I do things a bit more slowly. It could be that I do things in a different way. But I’m still capable.

I can’t speak for others on the autism spectrum or predict the future in any way. I would like to remind parents of one thing, though. I want to tell parents to please, never give up hope. I needed a gentle push here and there, and it took some extra time. But I’m so glad my parents gave me a chance.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Photo of Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin Answers Your Questions About Autism

Dr. Temple Grandin is one of the greatest autism advocates of our time. A six-time author with a Ph.D. in animal studies, Grandin is a living example of the potential of the autism community. We asked you, our autism community, what you would ask Dr. Grandin if given the chance. We took questions from autistic individuals and their parents, and asked Dr. Grandin [...]
Hillary Clinton holding a microphone

Why I'm Voting for Hillary Clinton as the Mom of an Autistic Son

This election is personal. Like everyone else, I’m concerned about the economy, climate change, ISIS and national security. But what keeps me up nights most is family security. Specifically, the security of my autistic young adult son. Which candidate will best protect his interests and help him achieve a meaningful place in society? Not Donald [...]
close up of a womans hands writing on a sheet of paper at a desk

A Letter to My Son on the Autism Spectrum

Dear son, You were diagnosed with autism when you were 4 years old. I didn’t know what this meant for you, for us. I was terrified, relieved and hopeful, all at once. At least now we knew why you were having the difficulties you were having and could give you the support you needed. The [...]
a young girl standing with her service dog

When Another Parent Misunderstood My Daughter on the Spectrum

We were at my daughter’s first kindergarten birthday party. It was at a bowling alley. She was super excited. She’s been to a ton of birthday parties, mind you. That in itself is not new. She is a veteran party-goer. She loves a good party. But this was the first birthday party she was invited [...]