On “Functioning levels” and labels of functioning

Well my struggle with writer’s block is over and so is the long absence from my blog . one of the things i’ve been trying write about is how ambiguous “functioning labels” are because it’s rather vague. As an example an autistic may be considered “high functioning” as far as academic ability and homework but have great difficulty in doing laundry or cooking for themselves. A lot of times this has to do with what is called “executive function” or the ability to follow a series of steps in sequential order to complete a task. i have a few autistic friends in my life that this could easily apply to. One of them has trouble remembering what he did 5 minutes ago but can remember how to take apart and put back together his bike with little to no trouble. Another needs help with cutting food and organizing her cd collection to make it easier for her to find music to listen to. An example from my own life is getting the ingredients together for a meal becauase it’s tricky for me to get the proportions of each ingredient right. These so called “levels of functioning” are just there to make it easier to diagnose someone for the clinicians that do the assessments. i sometimes get REALLY irritated that my “level of functioning” is too high to receive even as much as the bare minimum of accommodations for “high functioning” people because i don’t appear as stereotypical as some of my autistic friends and i’m able to do some things they can’t. I find it ridiculous that we’re being judged on supposed “levels of functioning” just because we may fit one stereotype or another in a “normal” person’s mind and that has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the actual reality of autism. A lot of the the terms used to describe autistic people have to do with other people’s perceptions of our difficulties and strengths. People also seem to overlook our difficulties because they are blinded by our strengths and abilities. i hope this post wasn’t a boring read I’m NOT trying to be vague on purpose it’s just one of those things that i have trouble with due to being autistic but i”m NOT blaming it SOLEY on autism itself. to make a long story short i hope that you come away from reading this knowing that “functioning levels” are NOT for autistics or anyone else outside of the medical profession and that we’re a bit like the Transformers; there’s more than meets the eye!


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