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18 y/o with High Functioning Autism - I feel locked in a cage.

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  • 18 y/o with High Functioning Autism - I feel locked in a cage.

    Hello there.

    I just turned 18 years old. I have Autism (sub-classified as High Functioning, i.e, if you look at me in public you probably wont be able to tell I have Autism). I have some difficult situations going on in my life I would like some outside input on as to what my potential options would be.

    My Autism, as stated above is High-Functioning. I can do most things just like anyone else. My main sensitivities from my Autism are to crowds, loud noises, and to an extent, water. I am currently a Senior in High School. Due to life circumstances, my education has never been the best in terms of my execution of it. I have been homeschooled since 5th grade with one exception being the first half of 11th grade which fell under. Almost for as long as I can remember, my execution at the beginning has been fine, but towards the end of the year I fall off, and end up having to complete around 2 or 3 months of work in about 1 month. This can be due to a variety of factors, including unscheduled happenings, or me simply being lazy. My parents are always saying about how I need to get on the ball and just finish so I can be done with it and threaten to take all of my stress-relievers (video games, girlfriend, etc.) away if I don't do it. My parents also always criticize me for "not doing my chores" even though the majority of the time they do it themselves. I have asked them "Do you want me to do it?", and the answer I get is usually along the lines of "No, I've already started." or "No, it won't get done right." I honestly want out of this situation, and I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep my sanity in this situation.

    But there is a catch. One, my parents do in fact love me. They have never abused me. I love my parents as well. They have stood up for me when no one else will. Two, my mother has a genetic disease that will slowly degenerate her entire body, mainly within her connective tissue. This will, inevitably, render her unable to take care of herself as no known cure for this disease has been found. My father is just recovering from a heart attack, which just happened last week unexpectedly while visiting family.
    Even if I were to leave, I'd still have them in the back of my head. I feel somewhat responsible for them. A guilt if you will. Guilty that I get to do the things that they won't, that I'll get to live the life that they may never get the chance to experience. I know that in a matter of a few years, I may end up being the only one taking care of my mother, and God forbid my father. I truly love my parents, and I want to take care of them, but I can't do it if I'm not stable, not sane. Can a car move people if it's engine doesn't function, or if it's wheels or out? Of course not.

    Based on the information I have given above, I would like some information as well as if possible, some advice.

    Firstly: I cannot drive, so no drivers license. But I do have a passport, as well as a Medical Alert bracelet. Am I safe in the event I need to provide identification?
    Secondly: If I were to leave and be located, would my parents be able to forcibly get me (i.e, would the police be able to execute a warrant of some sort).
    Thirdly: As I have Autism, are there any extra legal complications that you are aware of that would apply. If you are not directly aware, would you be able to point me to someone or something that has the answer to this question?

    I would also, if someone on this forum is willing, to receive just some general advice on the situation. Contact information is available, privately, upon request.

    Thank you, and have a good rest of your day!

  • #2
    Thank you for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline to talk about what has been going on. It sounds like your current living situation is very frustrating to be in. It can be difficult to determine what choice is best for you when there are other individuals you care about in your life that you are taking into consideration.

    We aren’t legal experts, but we do know that if you are in the age of minority for your state (meaning that you are not considered a legal adult yet) and you choose to leave home, your parents have the option to file a runaway report. This means that if the police find where you are living, they could bring you back to your parents. You can check to see what this age is for your state at by clicking on “Sex in the States” under the “Action Center” tab. Legal requirements across states can vary regarding identification, as well as any laws relating to Autism. We would be happy to refer you to legal resources in your area that can help you answer these questions if you give us a call at our hotline or message us through our live chat feature.

    Since you are 18 you are more than likely considered a legal adult which means that you can move out if you want to and you won’t be considered a runaway. As a legal adult, you have a right to make your own decisions about where you live.  We can help you make a plan for how to deal with your situation and help you find resources to land on your feet. Having a plan for where you will live and how you will survive once you move out can be very helpful. Moving can be a huge step, and you don’t have to be alone. Some steps you can take towards independence might be to find employment if you don’t have an income, or to save up money for moving expenses. It can also be helpful to research rents in your area, find a roommate, or make a budget. Another thing you might want to consider is what kinds of things you depend on your parents for currently such as tuition expenses for school, or health insurance, and whether they would continue to provide those things after you leave. There may be social service agencies in your area that can help meet some of these needs, such as Transitional Living Programs, a kind of shelter where young adults can live and get services to help them transition to independent living.

    Another option that you have in terms of what has been going on at home is to speak with your parents about how you have been feeling. Sometimes it can be difficult to have those types of conversations. At NRS, we offer conference calls between parents and youth during which you would be able to talk to your parents about how you have been feeling while a trained NRS counselor is on the line to help guide the conversation. If you are interested, feel free to call into our hotline.

    It can be hard to reach out for help when you are feeling stuck, so you are strong for doing so. Feel free to contact us 24/7 for more support through our hotline at 1-800-786-2929 or our online chat. Stay safe!
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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