Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Higher Functioning Versus Lower Functioning

When I attended a social event recently with some friends who are familiar with the work I do to raise autism awareness, someone brought up the topic of autism and mentioned at some point during the conversation that I "don't seem autistic."  I've been hearing that same phrase for years and I think it's because when many people think of autism, the first thing that comes to mind is classic autism.

This article brings up the point of high function autism and low functioning autism from a parent's perspective, stating that those with higher functioning autism face their own challenges as well.  The writer says this is because society has higher expectations for those with higher functioning autism.  Individuals on this end of the spectrum are expected to suppress any autistic behaviors that does not comply with expected behavior in society.  I'm not saying whether this is right or wrong.  What I'm saying is that those with higher functioning autism face challenges that are often understated, even by those who are familiar with autism.

I have seen high functioning autism advocates that receive negative feedback from parents or classically autistic children.  I have been told before that I don't really understand what autism is really like because I am high functioning.   Either autism is too broadly defined or people still don't understand the spectrum, I don't know.  When a group of people with varying symptoms are classified as autistic, there is going to be many differences in perspective.  Hopefully my words lead some people to think about this subject a little more.

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