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Independent living skills aren't everything

Updated: Apr 23

Is independence "adulting"?

Many people have the idea that the true mark of a well-functioning adult (AKA adulting) is the ability to be independent--that you can take care of yourself and address your needs. That's why independent living skills are often presented as the ultimate goal for autism supports.

But this is not how humans evolved to work. We were meant to live in close-knit communities that share tasks and responsibilities.

That sense of community support tends to get lost in individualistic, fast-paced cultures like America. A strict focus on independent living skills disregards the natural inter-connectedness of human beings.

We at Autism Personal Coach embrace two other concepts that we find enable people more than the myth of independence--autonomy and interdependence.


Autonomy is a word that many are familiar with--especially with conversations about bodily autonomy circling in the news cycle. It means that a person is able to make choices for themselves and decides what to do with their life, time, money, and body.

Autonomy deals with freedom of choices, but it doesn't mean that you have limitless options.

Sometimes, autonomy is limited by a lack of resources, like not having enough money to travel to Bora Bora to go snorkeling with whale sharks.

More often, autonomy means that your choices are not coerced or punished by people, culture, or society.

You should have the autonomy to do certain things like get a tattoo (if you're 18+), access medical care, and to change jobs if the one you're at is not a constructive environment for you.


Interdependence is a concept that values autonomy over independence. What we mean is that a person is supported by a community of people and social support systems that do not control the person's decisions, but provide guidance and resources when requested.

We at Autism Personal Coach know that total independence is frequently not achievable, but it is also not how humans were meant to function. It is not constructive for our well-being.

Interdependence embraces healthy support, mutual aid, and autonomy.

Our Coaches support autonomy

Each of our Coaching Plans includes built-in connections through group coaching calls and a private Facebook group.

Our Coaches can help you identify healthy, mature relationships and grow a community.

If you or someone you know wants to embrace interdependence, grow their support network, and claim their autonomy, reach out to us!

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