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College Student Called Out For Refusing To Be Caregiver To Her Assigned Autistic Roommate

Woman in dorm room
Peathegee Inc / Getty Images

Everyone has different needs.

Finding and meeting them can be challenging but very rewarding.

What happens, though, when someone decides that you should be meeting all their needs for them?

Whether you want to or not.

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) fishnile when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

She asked,

“AITA for not wanting to look after my autistic roommate?”

First, an introduction.

“I’m a college student, Female 20.”

“I live in a dorm room with my roommate who we’ll name Sarah, she’s Female 20 as well.”

“Sarah is autistic so everyone gives her easy treatment, even our professors.”

OP explained the problem.

“It stresses me out because everyone is expectant of me to be her caregiver, which didn’t bother me at first but it became an issue later on.”

“She leaves her clothes on the floor and even on my bed, she always asks me to cook for her and clean after her. When I confront her about it, she uses her autism as an excuse.”

“Everyone I’ve vented to says that I should cut her some slack, saying stuff about how she doesn’t know better.”

She also explained her reasoning.

“Although, I KNOW she can take care of herself because she did things herself just fine before everyone started to baby her.”

“She cooked for herself, cleaned after herself, did all her chores herself.”

“Since I’m the only one who knows how capable she is, I stopped being a caregiver to her.”

“I’ve been getting backlash from her friends and family because of this but I don’t care anymore because it’s just getting out of hand.”

OP was left to wonder,

“AITA for not wanting to look after my autistic roommate?”

Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: NTA 

Some felt outside assistance was needed. 

“I would talk to resident housing to see if you could change rooms. Involve a therapist as well to show how it is impacting your mental health.” ~ Vegetable-Bee-7545


“Op, don’t let others push you into being her caretaker.”

“If you have any texts from the roommates’ family/friends etc take them with you to the Resident Housing Authority.”

“Plus, if your RA (who is acting in the capacity of the school) is pushing you to mind her, there can be the potential liability on the school as well.” ~ Kitsune_Scribe

“I would report her to housing and let them know this individual is not capable of caring for herself d/T her autism because I doubt they would let someone who requires a caregiver live in the dorms.”

“And it sounds like everyone is expecting you to be exactly that.” ~ nursepenguin36

“If Sarah persists, go to the RA and tell them that you think Sarah needs to live in the disability housing, as she’s clearly not able to take care of herself.”

“Show them photos of the mess she leaves behind, and explain that it would be in her best interest, since she’s SO unable to look after herself, to be moved to disability housing where they can take better care of her.”

“I reckon she’ll magically remember to pick up her stuff and cook for herself again if this is threatened.” ~ Melmoth_Milton

“Then I would complain.”

“OP is not the caregiver.”

“What if she has her own problems like depression?”

“And as someone with autism: I hate it to use this as an excuse.”

“Either you function alone or you don’t live on your own. Don’t expect others to do your stuff!”

“Or special treatment in college and work ‘but i can’t do this, i”m autistic!’. So why are you here?!” ~ EvilFinch

For others, this was about responsibility.

“NTA if she’s truly as bad as she acts then her parents should make arrangements with the school.”

“You are not her caregiver.”

“You need to bring this up with administration. She’s not your responsibility.” ~ spylican

“NTA- If people complain tell them the truth and say they can come do the work if they disagree” ~ blueavole

“You just say, ‘I’m glad you’re offering to do X task for roommate. I’ll be sure to let them know and pass them your information so you can arrange a time that works for everyone.”’

“If the roommate has been capable in the past, they’re taking advantage of OP by using their disability as a way to get out of doing things.”

“At this point, OP needs to go to their RA and head/dean of housing and lay it out for them:”

‘“I am not her caregiver and she is not self-sufficient to be living on her own.”’

“And make sure you break down what she’s asking you to do.”

“Even better if you have text proof of her asking you to do everything.”

‘“I cannot sustain living in the same dorm as her and I request to be moved.”’ ~ rtaisoaa

“NTA You are not her keeper.”

“Clearly her family felt she was capable of living on her own if they sent her away to college.”

“Learned helplessness will not benefit her.”

“Stick to it and allow her to care for herself. It doesn’t mean you can’t help her from time to time, like any other roommate, but she is not your responsibility.” ~ Head-Computer5350

Commenters felt there might be ulterior motives.


“She is taking advantage of you.”

“Her clothes shouldn’t be on your bed and she knows how to cook and clean.”

“I can see this backlash getting worse though so make plans to change your roommate/living situation as soon as possible.” ~ Neravariine

“NTA, you’re just her roommate, and you have things to do.”

“Playing the autism card to be a slob is really not ok because you know she’s just taking advantage of you and not actually needing help.”

“And also, people like her, crying wolf and exploiting the sense of decency of others, make people avoid helping those who actually need it or deserve it.” ~ Guarenita

Others indicated they’d ask for compensation.

“Next time she asks you to cook or clean for her, ask ‘How much will you pay? You are living here independently and are able to do these things.”‘

“‘If you are truly not able to do these tasks, you need to make arrangements to have someone help you.”‘

“If her friends and family are getting in your case for not helping her, let them know that they are welcome to come help her.”

“Alternatively, you could see about getting a different room.”

“NTA” ~ mdthomas


“Sorry but are you being paid to be her caregiver?”

“I doubt it. If she is living without her parents’ help then she can do things for herself. Tell all those people she can live with them if they are so worried.” ~ susanbarron33

Neurodivergence does not mean helplessness.

“NTA at all. Neurodivergent people are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and anyone who is telling her otherwise is doing her a massive disservice.”

“It’s honestly so disrespectful of them (to both of you) to act like it’s your job to take care of another person who is your age and not profoundly disabled.”

“Even if your roommate were profoundly disabled, it would not be your job to take care of her.”

“People get paid for that sh*t.” ~ Sunflakes2012

“NTA, she’s not your responsibility.”

“I’m autistic, and while I might appreciate some accommodation in regards to noises or lights, I’m perfectly capable of picking up after myself and getting my own meals.”

“She has learned to use it as an excuse.” ~ Beneficial_Step9088


“She knows better… she is capable of cooking and cleaning up after herself.”

“You are not related to this person, you are not her caregiver and should not be treated as such. Good for you for standing up for yourself.”

“If your roommate needs a caregiver then she should be paying for one.” ~ Algebralovr

“Coming from an autistic person NTA autism may be a disability but we aren’t incompetent 🤬” ~ AutisticMuffin97

“NTA, if she needs someone to cook, clean, and coddle her all the time, why the hell is she in college?”

“A non-functioning autistic person needs all this, not a college student who happens to have autism.”

“Autism has many degrees from totally capable to totally incapable. People need to get a grip. My grandson is on the spectrum and can do everything she wants you to do.”

“Also I call foul on the parents. She probably never did anything for herself before college and is expecting this for the rest of her life.” ~ Pleasant-Excuse-2530

I say it above but it bears repeating.

Neurodivergence does not mean helplessness.

It is important to remember that we all have needs and we can all use some help sometimes.

The difference is that help is requested, not demanded.

Be careful of those who decide that their mess is yours to clean up, or the mistakes they make are yours to fix.

Be kind, but remember your boundaries.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.