Sunday, January 21, 2018

High Functioning vs Low Functioning

I might have said this before, but I seriously do not like the labeling that NT people do with regard to people with autism.

Basically, I think that Autism is this scary word/thing that people want to avoid connecting to their children at almost all costs - including completely ignoring the struggles their child experiences as being autistic at all.
In that effort, even in cases where the label/diagnosis is unavoidable, people naturally want to minimize the thing they are afraid of in order to make their situation seem like it's less than it is.

To be completely honest, there is a varied level of "severity" of sorts when it comes to the ability of a person with autism or autistic person's ability to live on their own. Yes, there is a range of difficulties parents experience raising their children, even under NT situations.

However, we should still be careful when assuming and labeling someone's ability to "function".

Here's another post on Labels

The thing is, when you meet one autistic person or person with autism, you've met ONE. Each of us still has our own likes and dislikes and has our own thoughts. I refuse to believe that any living human is a vegetable. Just because they cant verbally express what is in their brain doesn't mean there is nothing there. We assume there must be, and give them labels like "severe" or "low functioning", when we could be TOTALLY wrong about what's going on on the inside. Imagine your body just not working right, and hearing people talk about you in terms of your function when your brain is screaming out "I AM NOT I AM RIGHT HERE!"

In my opinion we need to be doing more to help these people communicate by giving them some sort of help, or device or whatever. But I do have to back off and say that I am not really aware of what is or isn't done now because neither I or aspiekid have that particular spectrum of autism.

At the same time, treating someone like they are just like everyone else, when inside their head they have significant struggles with social cues, eye contact, and the whole laundry list of something else, and holding them to the same standard as everyone else isn't really fair. With adults this can be less pronounced for two reasons: 1: An adult Aspie is more likely to have adapted and sort of learned different social tricks, especially, it seems, in females and 2: There is a different sort of pressure of adults than there is over children. We expect children to meet certain standards of what they can do at certain ages, and if they don't it is obvious. With adults, there is less measuring against some sort of developmental scale.

With children, as teachers, parents, relatives, whatever, we tend to automatically judge them based on their level of age or grade or whatever. We know that at around 1 year old, babies usually learn to walk. So when they don't, we panic that something might be wrong (though less parents panic about that because sometimes you don't really want your 1 year old walking! LOL). 

The thing is, when you expect a kid with autism to answer your question RIGHTNOW, or if you expect them to be able to hear you in a crowd or while a show is on, or if you expect them to be able to follow steps consistently to go through a routine with little to no help... these are things that autistic kids might have a little more trouble with than NT kids. I mean, kids will be kids, but the expectation that just because they are a certain age and they SHOULD be able to do something doesn't mean they can actually do it. If a kid is "high functioning", as a kid they are likely undiagnosed, which means that they get into more trouble for not being able to do things that people think they should be able to do.

I hope I'm making sense. There's an expectation if someone can verbally function and appears to everyone to be able to manage their responsibilities, then we expect them to at all times. There is no allowance for times of stress or anxiety or overwhelm that makes them unable to do things. I can imagine (because I've both lived it and seen it in my aspiekid) that the kid is thinking "well, that would be nice to please you by doing ____, but right now my brain has been hyjacked by this crippling anxiety of ______ and I just can't and I'm even MORE overwhelmed by your expectation that I should be able to".

Anyway, that's my post on function labels. I think other people do a much better job of it than I just did, but I had to get some words out. Today I'm feeling as if I'm not really able to get my message across very clearly, as I am very distracted. But I hope this helps a little on this topic.

No comments:

Post a Comment