As many of you know, I have recently moved house. I always knew that it was going to be difficult, but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for just how difficult it was going to be. As I write this blog, I have been in the new place for just over 2 weeks, and I wanted to reflect on my experiences of moving house and just how inaccessible the whole process is for autistic people.
This is based purely on my own experiences, and I know this will be different for every autistic person. However, I wanted to share this as I felt it was important for more awareness around this area to be raised. So here are the main areas that I feel need to be improved.
Awareness within Estate Agents: I didn’t personally have much contact with the estate agents during the move but the interactions I did have were not positive. On one occasion, an estate agent showed up at my house, without me being aware, and told me to just leave the keys with them and I would go out. I had to explain multiple times that I didn’t know about this and shared that I was autistic. The responses I received was that they didn’t I know I was autistic (a note had been made when the house went up for sale) and they only get told about the severely autistic ones. This shows a complete lack of understanding and the comments made were offensive. This was raised but never properly resolved.
Unclear communication: As well as the example from above there were many instances where the communication received was unclear which only caused confusion. There was information coming from so many different people which meant that there were mixed messages and discrepancies in the information we were being given. The information we were given about our new property was also completely inaccessible to read but no alternative or support was made available.
Lack of communication: In the final days before moving there was also a complete lack of communication. We weren’t told anything about what we needed to do with our keys, we weren’t given any details about what to expect on the day and we had people trying to chase us up for information that we hadn’t been provided with.
Uncertainty: My house originally went up for sale in October 2021 and we finally moved in December 2022. In that time there were many times where we were told the move was progressing then it stalled, then progressing again, then held up, then being accelerated due to an unwritten deadline, then held up again. In the end we were given several different moving dates, with the first one being in July 2022. This created so much uncertainty when it could have been avoided if they hadn’t started talking about actual dates until everything was actually ready.
These are the areas where things could have been improved but there were still many things since the move which have been extremely difficult. These include:
- The huge change,
- The many teething problems that we have experienced,
- Getting used a completely new routine,
- Getting used to a new sensory environment,
- Making the new place feel like home.
Moving house has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done and I’m sure it will take me a while to adjust. This has been a really inaccessible experience and has highlighted yet another area where access for autistic people really needs to improve.