How do you feel about the "war on ASD functioning level"

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LadyLucifer
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14 Aug 2018, 2:17 pm

I've seen a lot of ASD/AS patients complain that they hate the terms "high" or "low' functioning, but honestly as a HFAS person myself I don't mind these terms. Let me explain...

We (at least users in the US) live in a society where ASD is slowly being recognized but still isn't quite sure what it is. Its not like a skin color we can easily define and its not like a religon that can be easily defined either. Its a behavior, physical and cognitive development disorder. When you tell someone "hi, I'm autistic" the ignorant NT brain automatically goes to "Rainman." Even though you are nothing like the character in real life. (I never even heard of this movie until yesterday, but I've seen constant comparisons to real life ASD)

Why we have "functioning" in our vocabulary is so society can distinguish the clear difference that this disorder isn't at all black and white. And wether you like it or not, functioning is a real problem in the aspie community. There are some self sufficient, intelligent and insightful aspies but there are also some that can't live on their own because they aren't as fortunate.

I'd also like to bring up something I've noticed common within both high and low functioning and seems to be extremely taboo in all aspie communities, entitlement. All aspies have a form of entitlement, wether they know it or not. Even myself at times. This isn't much of a problem, unless the aspie's behavior is destructive and can harm other people.

A good example of entitlement is a behavior that could benefit others. For example, even if I'm 22, I don't want a summer part time job where I live right now because I know the people's behavior there can be extremely rude and critical. If I were to get a job, I'm at risk harming myself and others. I'm still being financially supported by my family and I am grateful for that and I'm not looking for extra cash. I go to school in a more urban setting where ASD sufferers actually have more support out there compared to my suburban hometown. I'd prefer to get a job out in the urban area, as I know I am more capable of thriving.

A bad example of entitlement is a rude or destructive behavior. This person wants to change all rules of society so they can specifically benefit him or her. I won't mention any names for this example, as this is an actual person I knew from long ago. But back when I was going to speacil needs school in high school, I had a HFAS classmate who also had a lot of physical aggression. This was as chool tailored for any speacil need student between first to tweleth grade. And this classmate of mine (who was seventeen at the time) assaulted a elementary student who went to our school. He was then arrested but pleaded innocent becuase he thought he was ASD he could do whatever the hell he wants. He believed he was immune to punishment of law enforcement.

Of course the bad example of entitlement dosen't have to be violent either. But it could be inapproprite. It could be avoiding a science class because "anatomy makes me feel weird" or telling a woman "she shouldn't dress sexy becuase I get horny looking at her." It could be the man child who never leaves the house to play video games, when he is clearly has the physical and cognitive abilities to get a job or at least help his parents around the house.

AS or ASD dosen't make you god. It dosen't make you speacil. You may be different, but thats it. We are trying to make society understand to us. We are just like every other minority group fighting for equality. However, those who fight for superiority gives the rest of us a bad name. It dosen't help our cuase. It only makes society want to distance away from us.


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Joe90
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14 Aug 2018, 2:49 pm

I'm not against functioning labels. The autism spectrum is such a diverse spectrum, that having a one-size-fits-all description of it isn't going to work. It's best to have the level 1, 2 and 3, or whatever.

There are no specific symptoms that HFA, MFA or LFA lack or have more, it's more a matter of how each symptom affects the individual as a whole and it's up to a trained professional to work out where that person lies on the spectrum and what sort of level they are and go from there.

Usually people that have a mixture of functioning levels for different symptoms fall in the MFA (moderate functioning) category.

Some things in life are challenging for me, but I still prefer to be called "high-functioning". I do have ASD mildly. But what the public need to understand is that if you're on the spectrum it means you do still have a disorder and that you still may require support, no matter how high-functioning you are.

Everything has "functioning levels". Even physical conditions can. The wider the spectrum of something, the more there will be different levels of functioning.


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14 Aug 2018, 2:56 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I'm not against functioning labels. The autism spectrum is such a diverse spectrum, that having a one-size-fits-all description of it isn't going to work. It's best to have the level 1, 2 and 3, or whatever.

There are no specific symptoms that HFA, MFA or LFA lack or have more, it's more a matter of how each symptom affects the individual as a whole and it's up to a trained professional to work out where that person lies on the spectrum and what sort of level they are and go from there.

Usually people that have a mixture of functioning levels for different symptoms fall in the MFA (moderate functioning) category.

Some things in life are challenging for me, but I still prefer to be called "high-functioning". I do have ASD mildly. But what the public need to understand is that if you're on the spectrum it means you do still have a disorder and that you still may require support, no matter how high-functioning you are.

Everything has "functioning levels". Even physical conditions can. The wider the spectrum of something, the more there will be different levels of functioning.


I would agree with this. I’d also like to mention that a lot of us with ASD have comorbids that can impede a person’s functioning. It probably can further complicate the functioning label given to a person with ASD. Is it the ASD, depression, or any other comorbid that’s limiting a person’s functioning? Sometimes it’s hard to say what is doing what.



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14 Aug 2018, 3:22 pm

The problem is that people tend to think there's a neat dichotomy between high and low functioning, which can lead to believing that those who "can't live on their own" or have problems with verbal communication can't be "intelligent and insightful", or that those who are intelligent and insightful can't have problems with independent living. I also agree with Twilightprincess that comorbid conditions can further affect functioning ability, and thus how a person is classified. And some high-functioning people look down on those with more support needs and try to distance themselves from them, believing that they are fine the way they are but low-functioning people need to be fixed. I don't think it's right to think of ourselves as superior, but functioning labels can promote a sense of superiority as well.



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14 Aug 2018, 3:35 pm

TheAP wrote:
The problem is that people tend to think there's a neat dichotomy between high and low functioning, which can lead to believing that those who "can't live on their own" or have problems with verbal communication can't be "intelligent and insightful", or that those who are intelligent and insightful can't have problems with independent living. I also agree with Twilightprincess that comorbid conditions can further affect functioning ability, and thus how a person is classified. And some high-functioning people look down on those with more support needs and try to distance themselves from them, believing that they are fine the way they are but low-functioning people need to be fixed. I don't think it's right to think of ourselves as superior, but functioning labels can promote a sense of superiority as well.


That’s true! It bothers me as well when “Aspies” look down on people who are lower functioning.



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14 Aug 2018, 3:39 pm

Given that ASD is a "spectrum" it's factual that there are those that have extreme difficulty with activities of daily living, can't live on their own, etc and those that can live independently and even thrive in the world.

One thing on your topic and something that I've thought for a long time. If I were to grade the psych/medical community, disability activist communities, autism friendly communities, media, academia, etc. The world would get an "F" in the horrible job in raising awareness on autism. Rather than "autism = bad. Let's "cure" it.", at the present day, there is almost nothing in the collective consciousness about accepting neurodiversity and being perfectly OK with it.

Imagine how sad and shameful it would be if there were still no such thing as handicap accessible buildings. Granted, there is a lot more to do on that front, but imagine if there was nothing or nearly nothing done in that regard.

I feel that's still how it is with the overall lack of ND awareness. The almost immediate judgement most people make on an ND person that they seem "weird" and therefore right them off is hugely the loss to NTs and society in general.

There was a man who would come into my work once per month to pay a bill. I would bet a large amount of money he's ASD. He would never look at me and was largely non-verbal unless I asked him questions. He was similar in how he carried himself to the Rain Man character. There were a few times when one of my questions touched on something he was interested in where he was a bit more verbal than the typical one word answers. My point...........I didn't care one bit that he didn't look at me! I was communicating with him.......verbally and he was answering me.......verbally. What more was needed? I was enriched by our monthly interaction. I hate eye contact too so it was refreshing to talk with someone who clearly didn't care that I wasn't making a lot of eye contact with him.

Sorry for the rant.....


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14 Aug 2018, 3:45 pm

I think I'll just label NTs with "non-functioning jerkism". :twisted:



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14 Aug 2018, 3:48 pm

I have ADHD + anxiety, which can bring out my ASD worse than what it is (though I'm still high-functioning), but I believe that if you took away the ADHD and the anxiety disorder, I will probably be borderline ASD, or BAP, PDD-NOS or whatever you call it.


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14 Aug 2018, 3:53 pm

People need to understand what the definition of a developmental disability is. It means that your brain did not develop evenly across the board. It means that different parts of the brain developed at different rates, independently of each other and also that they capped at different levels of development independently of each other as well. So because ASD is a developmental disability, by definition, we will all have areas in which our brains developed highly and capped high and areas where our brains are underdeveloped and capped low. Nts, on the other hand, have brains that have developed evenly so all of the different areas of their brains kind of developed at rates that are close to each other and have capped at levels that are all relative to each other. Ours did not. That is the fundamental difference between a developmental disability and a normal brain.


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14 Aug 2018, 7:22 pm

A valid reason to specify functioning levels is to prescribe degree and type of intervention that might be helpful. There is also a triage aspect - the very high functioning autistic might not need much help at all and it would be a shame to waste resources that a lower functioning autistic sorely needs. In research programs, selecting or specifying functioning levels may reduce the error variance so that any group differences found are more likely to be properly attributed to variables of interest.

It isn't meant to be a moral judgment. If you are offended by your functioning level, just ignore it and live your life as you please.


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kraftiekortie
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14 Aug 2018, 7:27 pm

A considerable body of autism research does not take into account "functioning level." They seem to believe that autistic people are "one size fits all." This skews any research finding relating to autism.



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14 Aug 2018, 7:45 pm

Professionals define high and low functioning based on whether the autistic has an intellectual disability, not the literal ability to function in society.

Using the literal ability to function in society definition of functioning labels as is being used in this thread it is still often a misleading label. The ability to function in society has as much to with the culture of society as is does with "how autistic" a person is. A person with the same level of Autism will be a lot less functional in a society that emphasizes group work and multitasking then in a society that doesn't. As mentioned earlier autistic people often have very uneven skills, as good or better then NT's in one area and clueless in others. This leads to people assuming the low functioning has less ability then they do. The High function designation often leads people to overestimate the abilities of these people and underestimate the struggle to "pass as normal", or more likely not even recognize the high functioning person is trying to "pass".


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14 Aug 2018, 10:43 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Professionals define high and low functioning based on whether the autistic has an intellectual disability, not the literal ability to function in society.

I was referring to the ASD-Level 1, 2 and 3 labels.


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Earthbound_Alien
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14 Aug 2018, 10:49 pm

Yet another human war against those considered to be um 'different' because the human race lacks the capability to live together peacefully and accept difference. We all have to be the same right? Or there is something wrong with you?

There is no natural law anywhere saying what a human should be personality wise, end of story.

When you say normal you mean common, average, the majority. Anything beyond that, at this time, will be labelled as um wrong. After all you are not part of the majority and the majority cant understand you so you must be disordered yes?

Um no.

You are just not part of the majority.

This society is majorly screwed up! As were many before it. Look at human history, the torture, the war, the aggression.

They are a barbaric species which suffers from excessive sadism combined with a lack of understanding, compassion and empathy. Not a good thing!

A species that can't live peacefully or amicably. A species so tied to their 'beliefs' that they are willing to torture and harm and kill and still convince themselves they are 'good people' in the name of them. A messed up delusional species that torture and mutilate and murder in the name of imaginary gods that most likely don't exist (for example).

You really care what such a mad species thinks? I wouldn't. They are too busy with their egos to do anything decent or productive or useful or beneficial to life. They cannot contribute to anyting decent, they can only destroy. And the only life they think is imporant is theirs...other species it seems don't matter.

Shame.

Humans are egocentric, and there is nothing in this world outside of themselves. It's all about how special you are...nothing else matters...

Welcome to the millenium!



Last edited by Earthbound_Alien on 14 Aug 2018, 11:34 pm, edited 7 times in total.

Earthbound_Alien
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14 Aug 2018, 10:50 pm

And oh yeah, stop trying to identify yourself with labels.

You are not label and never will be.