There are thousands of autistic adults in Victoria and across Australia. Every autistic person is different, with different abilities, characteristics and needs.
Many autistic adults were diagnosed as children or adolescents. Others learn of their autism as adults.
Some autistic adults need support throughout their lives, others live fairly independent lives. As with everyone, autistic individuals need a network of people to enrich their lives and to provide emotional support.
Autistic adults who need significant ongoing support may be eligible for funded support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). For further information, explore the NDIS section of this site or call 1300 308 699.
Here are some other forms of financial support that may be available to autistic adults:
Education for adults or lifelong learning is the process of gaining knowledge and learning new skills throughout your life. Many people continue their education for personal development and fulfillment, while for others it’s necessary for career advancement.
Learn Local is a Victorian Government initiative which has information on adult learning options and links to providers.
Being employed is an important part of life. It can allow individuals to use and develop their skills in their chosen area in exchange for pay.
In the workplace, there are some rules about how to work with your team, socialise with your colleagues and develop professional relationships.
Read Amaze’s information sheet, Social Skills in the Workplace and Employment page for more information.
If you’re interested in hearing the stories of other autistic Australians who are working, or would like to work, you can watch Spectrospective: Work for free now!
Mentor programs are one way for autistic people to get experience and advice on finding work.
Autistic individuals have a range of choices depending on their support needs and how they’d like to live.
Autistic adults who don’t need daily support may choose to live with family or independently. You can find out about housing from:
Autistic adults who do need daily support may choose to live with family or away from home in supported accommodation. There are different supported accommodation options:
Mental health is an important part of wellbeing. Studies show that autistic people are more likely to experience mental health issues than the general population. Read more about autism and mental health.
To speak with an Amaze Autism Advisor about mental health, call 1300 308 699, email [email protected] or use the webchat on this site. This service is open from 8am–7pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
Interacting with others in a social setting may cause anxiety for autistic adults. Difficulties with social communication, social skills or finding social interaction exhausting may mean autistic adults avoid social settings.
Making and maintaining friendships can be challenging for some autistic individuals, however learning these skills can bring great social and emotional benefits.
Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance. Autistic adults may have to learn and practice social skills and understand that there are ‘social rules’ they should try to follow in order to have successful social interactions and make friends.
For more information on improving your social skills you could:
All adults have different friendships throughout their life. Sometimes as an adult it can be harder to make friends outside the structure of school. If you’re not working or studying you can become socially isolated.
Due to social anxiety, difficulty with social communication and past negative experiences it can be even harder for autistic adults.
It’s important to understand the difference between people who are friendly towards you and actual friends – our information sheet, Friends vs friendly might be helpful.
When you have confidence in your social skills and want to practise them to make friends it can be hard to know where to start.
While there are some formal social groups, most friendships start from a common interest. Think about the things you like, then try and find opportunities for meeting others interested in that topic. For example if you like drawing you could see if there’s a local art group you could join or classes being offered by a neighbourhood house.
Here are some other ways to find other people with similar interests to you:
Here are some ways to find creative activities;
Volunteering is another way to meet people and learn new skills. Find out more from Volunteering Victoria.
All humans need companionship and intimacy. Challenges with social interaction can make it difficult for autistic individuals to find a partner and to have a romantic relationship – but it is possible.
Autistic individuals have some positive characteristics that are important assets in a relationship, such as loyalty, reliability, honesty, commitment and punctuality.
Apart from social difficulties, those characteristics that make romantic relationships difficult include sensory problems, understanding expected behaviour, understanding the other person’s reactions and intentions, controlling anxiety and being flexible.
Autistic individuals can improve their abilities in these areas by becoming aware of what is expected of them, although this may not come naturally.
The Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) promotes the ‘rights, interests and dignity of people with a disability’ providing guardianship and advocacy services. Call 1300 309 337 for advice on adult rights, powers of attorney, guardianship and more.
If you are an NDIS participant or aged over 65 and require significant daily support you may be eligible to transition to, or access, My Aged Care. This is the starting point to access Australian Government funded services. Call 1800 200 422 for more information.
Sometimes it can be difficult for an autistic individual to have their voice when navigating the system. There are many types of advocates that specialise in different fields, such as children, funding, legal and regional.
Please contact the Amaze Autism Connect advisors on 1300 308 699 or email [email protected] to find an advocate who can best support your needs.
Contact the Amaze Autism Connect advisors on 1300 308 699, email [email protected] or use the webchat on this site. This service is open from 8am–7pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
You might also find these resources helpful: