I’ve been seeing many posts on Instagram on Autistic support needs, and it got me wondering if the culture/environment you live in could have an impact on your level of support needs.
I’ve always assumed that I have low support needs, even though I…
- Live with my parents
- Don’t drive
- Am unable to speak “normally” (I’m semi-speaking and speak in a barely audible, whispering voice)
It’s super common for adults in Singapore to live with their parents if they’re unmarried. It’s a cultural norm in Asia, plus Singapore is a tiny country and housing is expensive AF. So I’ve always had help with household chores, cooking, errands and more.
I’ve never felt the need to learn to drive because public transportation here is super convenient and easy to navigate.
Since I live with my parents, my mom handles phone calls for me. She also usually accompanies me to medical appointments and speaks on my behalf. When I’m shopping or ordering food on my own, I can usually get away with pointing at what I want (or nodding/shaking my head) without having to speak much.
Since living with your parents as an adult is so normalised and socially acceptable here, the supports that I get from that situation don’t appear very obvious, as neurotypical adults who live with their parents have access to those supports too.
If I had lived in a country where I had to drive and live on my own, would I be considered to have medium support needs instead? While I wouldn’t know for sure since I’ve never learnt to drive or lived on my own, I think it’s probable that I would.
Because of my experiences, I can see some truth in the social model of disability. While I don’t think all the challenges of being disabled would be 100% erased in a perfectly accommodating society, your level of support needs, at the very least, may seem lower than they otherwise would.