High/Low Functioning: to label or not to label

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Yes or Now
Yes 39%  39%  [ 9 ]
No 61%  61%  [ 14 ]
Total votes : 23

lliam420
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28 Apr 2020, 7:55 am

my cousin describes his autism moderate to severe, which goes with his diagnosis. i just say he's very autistic



Callafiriel
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28 Apr 2020, 8:29 am

I think levels could be very useful if they weren't just used to decribe one's autism as a whole. I'm sure a lot of us are higher functioning in some aspect and lower functioning in others. Just giving an average is totally misleading.



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28 Apr 2020, 8:43 am

Callafiriel wrote:
I think levels could be very useful if they weren't just used to decribe one's autism as a whole. I'm sure a lot of us are higher functioning in some aspect and lower functioning in others. Just giving an average is totally misleading.
Agreed.

A common problem is people will define "High" and "Low" based on fictional stereotypes portrayed by non-autistic actors, and not on any realistic definitions.

• High-Functioning: Dr. Gregory House, M.D.; Sheldon Lee Cooper, Ph.D., Sc.D.

• Low-Functioning: Raymond "Rainman" Babbit; Forrest Gump*

*I know, the Forrest Gump character was intellectually impaired, and not autistic; but people have used him as an example of "typical" Low-Functioning autism.


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kraftiekortie
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28 Apr 2020, 9:28 am

Raymond Babbitt is considered an example of a person with “savant syndrome.” He was considered “high functioning” in 1988. Any autism expert would not consider him “low-functioning,” even today.

He would be considered a person with mixed high and low-functioning features, and would, overall, be considered “medium functioning,” in my opinion. He spoke. He took care of his personal needs. He read and retained information, though he didnt have strong critical thinking skills. He was a slave to routine.

There is no question that Forrest Gump would be considered “intellectually disabled” in some aspects, but not in others. There is no autism in him. If he were autistic, I believe he would be considered “high-functioning.”

He had considerable “common sense” which enabled him to save all those folks in Vietnam. He was able to manage money. He was able to be a good father to his son. There is very little which is “low-functioning” about him.

A good example of a “low-functioning” autistic person is found in the YouTube channel “Fathering Autism.”



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28 Apr 2020, 9:53 am

^Yes, you know all that, and I know all that, but those ignorant people who would laugh at their own "Ass-Burger" jokes see only the stereotypes, which they believe are valid and representational of all people on the spectrum.  Those people would likely use "autistic" as an insult to describe every person, place, or object they don't like -- "autistic" is the new "gay", which replaced "communist" as the generic expression of contempt.


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firemonkey
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28 Apr 2020, 10:32 am

Callafiriel wrote:
I think levels could be very useful if they weren't just used to decribe one's autism as a whole. I'm sure a lot of us are higher functioning in some aspect and lower functioning in others. Just giving an average is totally misleading.


A very good comment , which I totally agree with . I think focussing on support needed is the way to go , but needs to be disentangled from deciding the support needed based on how intelligent the person is reckoned to be .


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warrier120
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28 Apr 2020, 11:08 am

To be honest, I don't really get why people get so triggered by functioning labels. I think they're perfectly acceptable.


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firemonkey
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28 Apr 2020, 11:28 am

warrier120 wrote:
To be honest, I don't really get why people get so triggered by functioning labels. I think they're perfectly acceptable.


I'm not sure it's so much a case of being triggered , as much as the rather simple minded way that a person's functioning is assessed and then labelled .


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28 Apr 2020, 1:24 pm

the biggest problem i have with the "high functioning" label, is that it tends to set a certain standard in NTs minds.
they tend to believe that by being "high functioning" or appearing outwardly normal in a conversation or general setting, that you are therefor not much different than an NT and can be expected to act the same and react the same to situations as an NT without any problems or need of support.
They throw all these things at you that they're "sure you can handle" bc you're "high functioning" (or mask well) and then are shocked and appalled when they see you engaging in anything that seems autistic to them because "i thought you were more normal"
because of this, i feel like a lot of 'high functioning' autistic children don't get the level of support and care they need--especially when it comes to school and such--because the label makes it seem like they dont struggle or need as much help as a 'low functioning' child. when in fact, some "high functioning" children have areas that are very low, and they need that extra support


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28 Apr 2020, 1:33 pm

Studies show "higher functioning" = higher stress, in most cases.

These people are often masking at full capacity, and there is the added pressure of people disbelieving / discrediting their challenge. People who might be deemed as "lower functioning" often have social understanding or support, and they are less concerned with masking to fit in because that hasn't been expected of them.

I don't believe in labels because we all fluctuate depending on what element of society is disabling us.

Support levels might be recommended in our assessments, but even those should be anecdotal and individualised for each person, because our needs vary even when we are considered the same level as someone else. Comorbid conditions such as mutism, ADHD, PTSD etc., can play a huge part in how we function, as well as our sensory tolerance.



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28 Apr 2020, 1:43 pm

How much I need help and support has only been properly seen since moving near my stepdaughter . That's because she has been proactive in explaining how things are .


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28 Apr 2020, 5:08 pm

Personally I don't like the label.

It has negative connotations - reminds me of when I first worked in institutions for people with intellectual disabilities in the 70's where they were catagorised as low, medium and high grade in accordance with their IQ's

If I need to talk about my diagnoses I either say that I am ASD or Asperger's - more often the former.


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funeralxempire
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28 Apr 2020, 7:04 pm

I find the concept of high functioning vs. low functioning to be an absurd oversimplification, but at the same time it's sometimes easier to use that sort of language than to be more precise with three times as many words.



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29 Apr 2020, 4:35 pm

In Poland we have three levels of disability: mild, moderate, severe. Mild may be more close to normal functioning in life, moderate closed rather to severe than to full health and severe means that someone is incapable of independent existence. I was diagnosed with moderate level. I can buy many products (like food and drinks) on my own, without help of others, go to the doctor on my own without support, but I am very poor at job market and have no close relationships. I am also significantly poor in caring about household, in large part because of "obsessions" and fears about infection. I was very good in school. I am moderate-functioning, not high-functioning. I could name myself as "smart idiot" (but I, of course, do not want or try to name anyone "idiot") - this phrase (in Polish "sprytny idiota") was once used by my father to describe me. "Idiotism" is an old name of really serious (most serious) form of intellectual developent disorder. I am "like small child" in some areas. I am very severely bizarre in terms of my thought content.

I think that not only ASD may be described as "high, moderate or low functioning", but also other mental disorders, especially those which for me are different sorts of autism and PDD, like "social" NVLD or SCD. I think that people with social inadequacy and peculiarity have to be grouped in one subcategory of developmental disabilities which would include Kanner's syndrome, SCD, NVLD with social problems, some cases of schizo disorders etc.



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29 Apr 2020, 7:10 pm

Some problems with functioning labels for Autistics are that
1. Literal ability to function often has as much or more to do with the people, institutions and society the autistic has to deal with then how pronounced a person's autistic traits are.
2. Autistic are often very skilled in one area and clueless in other or even related areas making any general functioning label more hurtful than helpful.
IMHO the other labels I have seen proposed as replacements for functioning labels are often less bad but not good.


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30 Apr 2020, 8:44 am

^ 3. Autistics are people, not the labels placed upon them.


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