Getting Started: Adults

Adults come to an awareness of their Asperger profile and their varying needs for support at different ages and stages of their lives, which can influence the approaches they choose. Be creative in the combination of supports you use. Simplify your life.

Here are some general ideas to get you started in figuring out how to understand yourself, your needs, and the supports that may be available to you.

Interventions for Adults

Self Awareness

Know what an Asperger profile is in general and how it affects you specifically

  • Know your strengths
  • Know your areas of difficulty
  • Build on your strengths
  • Strengthen your areas of difficulty or mitigate their impact on you
  • Read about Asperger profiles from a variety of perspectives
  • Listen to trusted family or friends
  • “Explanations not excuses” - Blaming yourself or others is common and not helpful

Self Advocacy & Disclosure

  • Adults with Asperger profiles are pioneers in educating others in their families, workplaces, and communities
  • Disclose strategically – only share the information that is required for that time and place
  • Consult with a trusted person to determine what to disclose if unsure
  • Strategic disclosure can provide relief for an adult and promote greater understanding
  • Disclosure may correct misconceptions of the individual
  • Read more about disclosure

Environment

  • Physical and emotional comfort enable functioning
  • Heightened sensory sensitivities may make particular environments unpleasant or intolerable. (Change lighting, decrease noise, wear comfortable clothing, take breaks)
  • A slower-paced environment will likely be more tolerable and allow for a greater sense of comfort and competence
  • Advocate for environmental changes at work or home; if you are more comfortable, the people around you will be as well

Downtime

  • Sensory and social demands of daily life make more downtime essential
  • Communicate with those around you about your need for this, but do not use it as an excuse to completely avoid participation in family or other activities

Therapy

  • A variety of therapies can be helpful to adults with Asperger profiles, depending on the person
  • A therapist with an awareness of Asperger profiles or interest in learning about them with you is essential
  • Some adults with Asperger profiles prefer Cognitive-Behavioral or Mindfulness approaches
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy is generally less helpful
  • Learn more about Mental Health and Asperger Profiles 
  • Contact Adult Services to request referrals

Medication

  • Can be helpful in decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany Asperger profiles
  • There is no medication specifically for Asperger profiles

Life Coach (LifeMAP)

LifeMap Coaching services can assist with:

  • Concrete skills-building and goal direction
  • Independent living skills
  • Employment related skills
  • Social skills
  • Understanding one's own Asperger profile

Learn more about AANE’s LifeMAP coaching

Job Coach or Counselor

  • Contact the vocational rehabilitation agency in your state; with an official diagnosis you are entitled to service; if you are undiagnosed, the vocational rehabilitation agency will conduct an evaluation
  • Career One-Stop Centers (Federally funded centers designed to help people learn new, marketable skills, identify jobs and prepare for interviewing); several centers have Disability Resource Coordinators
  • Hire a WorkMAP coach. Read more on the LifeMAP services page

Hire people

Consider hiring people to do the things you find challenging, which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Money management
  • Housework
  • Organization and bookkeeping

Social Life

  • Social groups with other similar adults can decrease isolation and with practice, increase comfort with other people and may improve social skills
  • Interest based groups tend to be easier to make connections in and small talk is less essential
  • Support groups offer a place to meet others, listen to and support one another
  • Social skills or social pragmatics groups explicitly teach skills (often led by a speech language pathologist)
  • Check out AANE’s Support and Social Groups