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When you say "Functioning!", we say "How high?"


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Ok, so I'm not writing this to piss anyone off, it's more of a "can we discuss this?" thing. Like, if people don't think it's true, that's cool. If people do, cool. If people think farts are funny, that's cool too. Uh, if people want to discuss... neat.

I don't really agree with the way "high functioning" is used a lot of the time. This might be mostly daily life, though it could possibly be clinically as well in some situations and academically.

It is applied in terms of IQ/intelligence but is taken to mean by a lot of people who don't understand the diagnoses of ASDs that you are much more functional than you actually are, much of the time. There are things that are difficult even if you have an IQ of 85 or over [which I *believe* is the current cut off, please some one correct me if I am wrong]. You can be completely disabled if you are not socially functional, if you aren't able to deal with personal hygeine, if you can't understand how to take initiative without explicit instruction. There are various aspects to being a functional human being but all of this is often swept under the rug when someone is said to have High Functioning Autism.

Argh. There was more that I wanted to write.

I don't remember it now though.

I'm going to get more Dr. Pepper.

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"...we say "How High" " or even "...at what?"

Bits of me function superbly. Far better than the average "normal", (whatever that is: put that to one side for a bit) in some particulars.

Other bits, a very different story.

And that uneven "spikiness" is classic to all parts of the autistic spectrum. And the particular good or bad spikes vary considerably from individual to individual.

Starting from there, the problem of grouping or subdividing autism is instantly apparent. Any one person's most marked skills and difficulties are likely to fall outside the "basic reckoning".

This, in reasonable circumstances, will be recognised, understood and allowed for by professionals, family and friends who know each individual as an individual, but it is asking for trouble at one or two removes: with medical or employment bureaucracies, or more passing social interactions.

While too many sub-categories leads to confusion and mis-placing individuals...

...too much squeezing together is hardly helpful either.

And even the idea of a "spectrum" with its definite plusses carries its own potential for misconstruing, since it seems smooth:

bits of me are at very different places on the spectrum; it might be smooth, but I'm not.

On which datum is my place on the spectrum to be specified?

(or on an "average"? A man with his head in the oven and his feet in the deep freeze may be, on average, at a comfortable temperature.)

The scientific and even bureaucratic uses of "mild" or "high-functioning" autism might just settle down after a while, even if Asperger's is merged into this in 2012

But the daily public and social understanding is something else.

Do most members of the public have any real understanding at all?

Not really, and many form-fillers and service gate-keepers are little better as they want to be able to tick their neat tidy boxes.

No tidy answers: I'll add more, perhaps, if this thread takes off in any particular direction.

Chris.

Asperger's and therefore "mild", but many people much less "high functioning " than me have done far better at finding partners and friends

and avoiding crippling depression. Even if I can do hygiene and had a professional-level career for thirty years.

A relevant article and a blog comment on it, below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/health/03asperger.html?_r=2&hpw

http://www.psychotherapybrownbag.com/psychotherapy_brown_bag_a/2009/11/reshaping-autism-spectrum-diagnoses-in-dsmv.html

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It is applied in terms of IQ/intelligence but is taken to mean by a lot of people who don't understand the diagnoses of ASDs that you are much more functional than you actually are, much of the time. There are things that are difficult even if you have an IQ of 85 or over [which I *believe* is the current cut off, please some one correct me if I am wrong]. You can be completely disabled if you are not socially functional, if you aren't able to deal with personal hygeine, if you can't understand how to take initiative without explicit instruction. There are various aspects to being a functional human being but all of this is often swept under the rug when someone is said to have High Functioning Autism.

What you wrote.

I have good days but sometimes communication is just.not.happening.

A lot of the time it feels like I have a bucket of words and once I empty it, that's it. I'm done for the day.

Niece and I still do a lot of "point and grunt" communication. Or one word interaction or animal sounds for niece. We both hate being told to "use your words" by Dad.

We also require a lot of what I call "quiet time" otherwise we just get explodey. (esp. when we have to be outside our safe space.)

I guess I'm trying to write that I agree with you.

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