Adults with autism have many options open to them depending on how they function. Many high functioning autistic adults or those who have Asperger's syndrome are able to function well when mainstreamed into society. They can hold jobs, live on their own and even have peer friendships. This does not mean it all runs smoothly and easily for them, just that they are able to do it. They will still have communication and social difficulties. They will still very much need the back up of family and their health care providers.
Even those who have their own apartments will still need some back up to help with some of the things they cannot do themselves. They may be able to hold a job, but not pay bills. They may be able to cook meals for themselves but not do a food shopping on their own. They may require help accessing those government services that they are entitled to as a disabled adult. Family members usually do this, but there are people from various government services that may take on these tasks if here are no family members who can help.
There is the option for the autistic adult to continue to live at home with their parents. This will be a good alternative to someone is able to have some independence but still is more comfortable in the structured life of living at home. Everything is familiar, the structure and routines continue uninterrupted and the parents are always there to keep things running smoothly. But, this only works until the parents become old or ill themselves. If this is the option chosen some alternatives must be set-up for the eventually of the death of the parents.
What of those adults with autism who are not as high functioning but still strive to have some independence? What can they do? If living independently is not possible there are group homes. These homes will provide basic care while continuing to teach the autistic adult some independence. They will teach meal preparation, how to do the laundry, how to keep their rooms tidy and take care of their own personal hygiene issues. The autistic adult can have a separate living space, his or her own bedroom, but share the rest of a house. They may even find work in a sheltered workshop.
Sometimes there are no even semi-independent alternatives based on an adult who is low functioning, with parents who are aging and unable to continue caring for them. Their abilities do not allow placement in a group home and so the only option left is an institution. This is usually the alternative of last resort.