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Can a person with autism spectrum disorder live an independent adult life?

The simple answer to this question is yes, a person with autism spectrum disorder can live independently as an adult. However, not all individuals achieve the same level of independence. The focus of intervention services is to help the individual achieve their highest possible level of independence, and that won’t look the same for everyone.

Because ASD is variable (symptoms are different in each person), treatment plans should be individualized and focused on each person’s passions, interests, and skillsets. With the scientifically-validated Applied Behavior Analysis treatments available at Therapeutic Pathways, your family member with ASD will develop skills that will help them tremendously in navigating everyday life and meeting goals.

There are various degrees and stages of independence. Depending on how early your family member was diagnosed and began treatment, you should treat the journey to independence as just that – a journey. It won’t happen overnight; it will take patience and perseverance to help your family member become more independent.

Different Degrees of Independence

First, it’s important to understand that a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder does not mean that your child or family member will not be able to date, make friends, attend college, get married, become a parent, or have a satisfying career. People with ASD do these things and more every day. 

What an ASD diagnosis does mean is that your child or family member will progress differently than people without ASD.

At Therapeutic Pathways, our team of therapists and behavior technicians work to help those diagnosed with ASD reach their full potential. This means reaching different stages of independence over time. 

Again, it’s not possible to provide a concrete answer of how long it will take your child or family member to develop certain independent living skills. Our staff meets each client where they are and works closely with them to develop skills to keep your child safe and happy.

Some of the autism independent living skills that we encourage and develop at Therapeutic Pathways include:

Self-help and determination skills. 

Here we refer to self-help and determination as the ability of individuals with ASD to be aware of themselves emotionally, physically, and cognitively to create and attain their goals.

At Therapeutic Pathways, individuals receive a new understanding of their personal strengths and weaknesses, which is integral to their development and ability to live independently.

Functional communication. 

For a person to live independently, they must be able to express desires, feelings, and concerns to those they live or interact with. Therapeutic Pathways provides the skills and tools that people with ASD can use their whole lives in building meaningful relationships. 

These include strong, lasting friendships, satisfying and supportive romantic relationships, and effective communication with employers or employees.

Reduction of problems. 

It can be extremely difficult for individuals with behavior problems to live independently. They need skills to acknowledge and manage their emotions safely and consistently. Part of this can be achieved through communication, but it is also necessary to teach coping skills. 

Through data-driven and science-backed Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques, Therapeutic Pathways helps individuals with ASD control and move beyond disruptive and aggressive behaviors. We help individuals struggling with self-injurious actions, distress, and emotional regulation so they can enjoy a higher quality of life.

Domestic and personal care. 

One of the major factors in determining if an individual with ASD will be able to live independently is their ability to perform personal and home-related tasks such as:

  • Dressing and undressing
  • Choosing clothes for weather and event
  • Personal hygiene practices, including brushing hair, shaving, applying makeup, showering, menstrual care, etc.
  • Washing clothes
  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Housekeeping
  • Yard care

Because limited personal care practices can lead to job exclusion or the feeling of being unaccepted by peers, it’s imperative that individuals with ASD receive tools they can use to perform these daily tasks. Therapeutic Pathways provides resources for people with ASD to complete these tasks and function within their home environment.

Indiana University’s Adolescent Autonomy Checklist is a useful resource for making progress with domestic and personal care responsibilities.

Career path and employment. 

Through Therapeutic Pathway’s home, center, and community-based treatment, individuals with ASD will learn skills that help them find and keep a job. In identifying their strengths, our therapists will help your child or family member achieve their goal of having a job and being able to financially support themselves. 

We also develop the communication abilities, self-care practices, and emotional regulation techniques that will help the individual with ASD succeed in their chosen career field.

Money management. 

To achieve security and independence in finances, individuals with ASD must learn how to manage a bank account, use credit and debit cards, and balance a checkbook.

Before your child or family member moves away from home, sit down with them and make a list of expenses they’ll have: rent, groceries, medicine, personal items, and other expenses. You can highlight or visually distinguish the items that they’ll need to pay regularly.

Independent Living for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Our behavior analysts and therapists at Therapeutic Pathways will help your child or family member develop the skills they’ll need to make decisions and take care of themselves, their space, and belongings, as well as interact with others at home or work.

Our focused intervention and structured groups meet the needs of every individual with ASD. We are dedicated to providing your child with the highest level of care. With Therapeutic Pathways, your child or family member is one step closer to meeting their goals with the assistance of our evidence-based autism treatment. To learn more about our programs and centers, call us at (209) 422-3280 or contact us here.

1. How old is your child or dependent?

2. What are your goals for your child?

3. Has your child been given a formal diagnosis of autism?

4. What types of behavior is your child demonstrating?





Please select a value.

Readiness

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Readiness program. This individualized, evidence-based program teaches young children skills they need to accelerate their learning and gain independence. Using imitation and naturalistic learning techniques, your child will develop useful skills in the areas of speech and language, cognition, and self-awareness. A program for children ages 0-3. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Foundations

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Foundations program. This program gives preschool and school-age children the structure to achieve important social, emotional, and intellectual milestones, helping them test within their peers’ range. With 25+ hours of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy per week, your child will develop social skills and better self-awareness for school and home. A program for children ages 4-7. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Breakthroughs program. Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, this program removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships. A program for children ages 8-11.

Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Interactions program. Through guided social skills groups twice a week, this program helps improve social functioning in children ages 5 to 16. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.