Intro: #HighFunctioningMeans – and its siblings, #LowFunctioningMeans and #FunctioningLabelsMean are trending on Twitter right now. For insight into what neurodiverse people really think of functioning labels, I suggest you check those tags out. I participated in the hashtag, and in my usual verbose way, I realized that I’d completely flood it if I posted all that’s in my brain, but I’m perseverating on it so I decided to turn it into a post. 

Content note: There are some offensive views I’ve written about in a first-person sense for reasons of satire. Content note for ableism and abuse. 

Hello, and welcome. I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is that you’re disabled. It’s a developmental disability, not unusual that we didn’t catch it earlier. The good news is that we didn’t catch it earlier because you’re what we call “high functioning.”  Let me explain what that means.

High functioning means that you will always be disbelieved when you disclose. It means that you will be met with gasps of “But you look so normal!” and “But you don’t seem like a r*****!” It means that people will call you a fake if you’re having a good day, and also if you’re having a bad day. Because “real” disabled people are equally disabled all the time. Or, at least, that’s what people think.

High functioning means that you count for fear-mongering statistics but not when you want to share your experiences. It means that I almost think of you as a person when you’re agreeing with me, but not when you disagree. It means you will speak hesitantly and warily, bracing for the dismissal of “Oh, but you’re very high functioning, so of course you think that!” or of “You’re not like my child! My eight-year-old can’t do what you can as an adult, so what do you know?”

High functioning means that your struggles will be ignored and disbelieved, and when they’re admitted, they’ll be thought of as your fault for not trying hard enough. High functioning means endless lectures on the importance of effort and a good work ethic. It means being taught that if you just put in enough effort  – regardless of the cost to you – that you can become a real person.

High functioning means that your peers will be allowed to bully and abuse you with impunity because how else will you “learn” not to be so weird? It means living under the constant expectation that you will police your behavior perfectly, and getting yelled at for every fidget and twitch. It means people with loud voices and grips like thorn bushes wrapped in iron forcing you to do things you don’t want to do, things that hurt – but it’s not abuse, it’s therapy.

High functioning means you don’t have any of the problems that those low-functioning people do, and if you say you do, then obviously you’re lying. High functioning means you will hide and cover up those “low functioning” problems, lest I decide in my infinite wisdom that you’re not high functioning after all, and take away your independence and freedom. High functioning means you will always walk the tight rope between burnout and dehumanization. Don’t fall.

High functioning means that you will be taught that it’s your job to compensate for your deficits, even when accommodations are supposed to be made available. It means that you will have to fight and struggle to get any help at all, because you’re not really disabled. You’re high functioning, after all.

High functioning means that your triumphs prove you’re “not really disabled” while your challenges prove that people like you don’t belong here – at work, at school wherever. High functioning means that your success are fluke things that telling others about would give “false hope” to parents of autistic kids, but your failures reflect on all autistic people. High functioning means no matter the topic of discussion, you don’t count, unless it’s about how you and people like you are terrible things to be gotten rid of.

High functioning means that by expressing your frustration with the above, parents of people like you will derisively call you the “sunshine and rainbows brigade” and accuse you of trying to sugar-coat things when you talk about positives of being autistic – and accuse you of hating them when you talk about how other people have and continue to hurt you. High functioning means not ever being allowed boundaries as a child – saying “no” is rude, and rudeness is a behavior. High functioning means people asking you as an adult why you never stand up for yourself.

High functioning is an adult graduate student hiding a meltdown in a bathroom because their officemate has a squeaky chair. It’s a prolific writer who has trouble keeping an apartment because they forget to pay their bills. It’s a call centre worker who goes home and sleeps for 12 hours straight because dealing with people is so exhausting and they don’t know why.

High functioning means alternatively being the trick pony, the pity object, and the unwitting slapstick comic. It means condescension about all the things you “don’t understand” as someone who is not you tries to micromanage your life. It means pointing out the condescension is met with criticism for your lack of gratitude rather than reprimands for another’s interference.

High functioning means society hates you for existing and resents your very presence, but don’t you dare point that out. High functioning means you’re disabled enough to have real challenges, but not enough to get any help. High functioning means you don’t get a seat at any table – abled people say you’re not normal enough to be normal, but not disabled enough to be disabled. High functioning means being expected to view this calculated divide-and-conquer as a compliment.

High functioning means whatever we want it to mean. Good luck.

88 thoughts on “#HighFunctioningMeans

  1. Patricia says:

    Reblogged this on Spectrum Perspectives and commented:
    So much important info here – SO MUCH!

  2. […] have excellent posts on it this week.  In reading ischemgeek’s satirical but oh-so-true account of what it means to be called high functioning, one phrase really hit […]

  3. I don’t agree with everything said here, but I have had that moment where people have acted with surprise when they learn I’m on the spectrum. I remember someone was giving a presentation in class the other day–on accessibility, of all things–and the presenter said “None of us are disabled, but…”
    I interrupted, “Speak for yourself.” He looked embarrassed when I said that.

  4. mhat202 says:

    Reblogged this on mhat202.

  5. “stigma” is mostly from lack of understanding, lack of knowledge. It is through posts, such as this, that this wall can be torn down, brick by brick, twig by twig. To help others understand, so they do not “assume”.

    This really is a fantastic post! I hope it is very well read. I know it is very well written. They are strong walls to break down though. The stigma goes both ways, You have pointed out, so well, why this is so. How can you try to educate someone, when disbelief is the reaction.

    Keep trying to do this though please.

  6. ischemgeek says:

    Thank you everyone. Almost right after posting this I came down with a bad cold which together with my asthma is completely stealing all energy, so I will compose more individualized responses once I am able to reliably word coherently. But please know that I see the responses and am grateful that people are reading.

  7. where we are says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I am a special education teacher of students with learning disabilities who fall into a similar chasm of not being high functioning when compared to students with intellectual disabilities buy low functioning when compared to the majority of their peers. Their disabilities are usually not visible and oftentimes they are accused of just not trying hard enough. It’s a difficult place to be in. Your post shines a light on a lot of these critical issues that people with hidden disabilities face every day.

    • ischemgeek says:

      I apologize if my writing is less than coherent on this and/or comes off judgmental because that’s not my intention and I sincerely apologize if it does. I am going to infodump because I can’t figure out how to express this any other way, and I realize that infodumps often seem lecturing or condescending and please understand I don’t want to lecture or condescend I just can’t write it any other way right now.

      What you are saying is right and definitely a thing I experienced growing up.

      Please consider also that a lot of people who’ve been called “high functioning” find that the label is often used to erase our challenges entirely or discredit our experiences, and that the online community of people with developmental disabilities in general hold that functioning labels are a bad thing.

      By which I mean: we find that high-functioning/low-functioning labeling is so vague as to be worse than useless. Here’s a post I wrote a while back illustrating that point. Please also read the posts I link to in the intro paragraph as they were my inspiration for that post. Anyway, my point is that calling a person “high-functioning” says less about that person, who they are and what they need, and a lot more about how the person talking feels like portraying them in that moment. Frex, in school I had people call me “low functioning” when I wanted to do things they didn’t think I could do to undermine my confidence, but as an adult, the people who call me “high functioning” are those who want to dismiss my criticisms of how I was treated in therapy and in school growing up.

      It makes a lot more sense to me to talk about what the person actually needs rather than using a vague label that can almost mean whatever you want it to mean.

      So, using me as an example: I am a person who needs at least two hours of quiet recharge time in the day – more if I’m dealing with significant disruption to my routine. I can work during that time, if I am doing something quiet that does not involve human interaction – such as writing a report – but if I don’t have it, I will have a shut down or possibly a meltdown depending on how the day goes. When I am very stressed, I have times when I am nonverbal, and when I am sick, my speech and writing both tend to become stilted and highly stereotyped (my speech moreso than my writing). I need routine in order to successfully do self-care activities like showering and taking my medicines. I am a person who needs people to remind me to eat or else I will forget to, especially if I am absorbed in something. I need alarms and reminders to remember to do things at work. I am unable to talk or pay attention to you if I am making eye contact, and as a result, I avoid making eye contact with the vast majority of people.

      On the other hand, I am also a person who can navigate public transit alone and do activities of daily living without direct supervision, once my alarms and reminders have prompted me to do so. I successfully manage a complicated medication regime by making it part of my routine. As well, I thrive on routine and can handle very large workloads compared with others my age if it’s part of my routine.

      If you looked only at my deficits – my nonverbal periods, my difficulty with eye contact, my absolute need for routine and quiet time, my sensory difficulties, etc – you might call me low-functioning. If you look only at my strengths – my writing, my academic prowess, etc – you might argue I have no disability at all, or if I am disabled, I must be extremely high-functioning. Both views are incomplete. And both labels are wholly unhelpful and uninformative about what I actually need to succeed.

      Imagine if those people who called me low-functioning had been able to convince everyone around me they were right. Then everything I did would be seen through that lens: That I like chemistry wouldn’t be seen as me having a talent and a passion, it’d be a “fixation” on a “restricted interest” to be discouraged. That I need quiet wouldn’t be seen as a necessary accommodation, it’d be a sensory aversion to be treated with exposure (i.e., making me more stressed so that I melt down and shut down often). Meltdowns and shutdowns wouldn’t be signs that I’m overloaded, they’d be “behaviors” that need extinguishing (this last one actually did happen to me and was a big part of why I hit burnout and spent most of my teen years in a suicidal depression).

      On the other hand, being called high functioning through most of my early childhood and adulthood led to the frustrations I express in the post.

      I guess my point of this comment is that I don’t understand why “low functioning” and “high functioning” are used at all, when discussing who the person is and what they need would be so much more helpful and productive and less likely to set the person up for misery and failure. Can’t you meet me and people like me where I am and they are rather than choosing which of two ill-fitting boxes I and they best suit?

      • where we are says:

        You are right – and I agree with you on all counts. And I appreciate your honest and forthright reply. Labels typically don’t do much for helping you to understand each individual person – usually I’m the one ranting about not labeling people in other ways (by race, gender etc. – see my post on gender labels http://tryniakaufman.com/2015/01/18/little-boxes-little-boxes/ ). I can certainly see how it would be frustrating to be labeled as high functioning or low functioning since those terms don’t really describe you as a person. I appreciate how much detail you went into in describing your life and the areas that you know could be seen as “high” or “low” functioning.

        The truth is, though, we don’t know a whole lot about what is going on in the brains of people. I am eternally fascinated by how people’s brains work and why some people act or think one way or another. I studied psychology in my undergrad and then special education as a certificate after my degree. And I read about this stuff all the time and will eventually be going to grad school. But the problem with it all is that we don’t really have answers, especially when it comes to disabilities, and even more especially when it comes to people who are on the spectrum. Research is being done constantly and is much needed because there is so much we don’t know. So while you may understand “hey, I need some quiet time,” my guess is that you did not always know that that is what you needed – and the people around you didn’t know either. As a special ed teacher, I am challenged with figuring out what preceded and caused a meltdown or a “negative behavior” – and figuring that out is not always obvious or easy. There’s also that added complexity of figuring out if a student is being pushed too hard academically or if he/she is not being pushed hard enough. I mostly work with students with learning disabilities, so this is the world I live in – trying to figure out if a student can do general education classes or would it completely overload him/her and cause meltdowns or acting out behaviors? It is incredibly difficult to make these decisions and know if you’re making the right decision or not.

        Like you said, every person is different. The autism or “on the spectrum” label itself does very little to help teachers understand what a person needs since each person that is on the spectrum has their own unique characteristics and needs (just like everyone else, I might add). I think that sometimes teachers use other labels, like “high functioning” or “low functioning” in order to give other teachers more information about the student. Obviously this is not a clear description of anyone, but it does clarify a little bit more than “autistic.” I’ve never seen or heard these labels given to a student in any official sense – but I have heard them in conversation, and I’ll admit, I’ve said them before. I think you are right that it’s important to be more descriptive in terms of what a student is dealing with at that point in time and what they need but it’s hard when you’re still (constantly) trying to figure out what a student needs (which is also a moving target as students grow and mature just like their peers). I think that’s why we sometimes, for better or worse, we resort to language like high/low functioning.

        I definitely think that teachers could benefit a lot from hearing from you though. I’m very glad that you’re writing about this topic! I hope that you can see where the difficulties lie for teachers as well. Trying to meet each person’s needs in a school is a difficult and complex task.

  8. onegidigirl says:

    Wow. Just wow. Extremely enlightening post. It would make my job as a doctor easier by leaps and bounds if everyone understands these things!

  9. Reblogged this on Adventures of Auntie M and commented:
    Worth a read, especially if my Asperger’s post earlier in the week resonated for you.

  10. #HighFunctioningMeans sneaking out of your apartment every night without waking your roommate because she doesn’t undestand that you sometimes need an hour of darkness and silence to prevent overload. #HighFunctioningMeans answering every question literally and sometimes moving in a “weird” fashion.
    I don’t see myself as disabled. But I claim the right to be a little different, which is a right everyone should have, no matter where they are on the spectrum.

  11. Oh i definitly feel so intune with most of ur beautiful rant. Do u think….maybe we are aliens….or androids….or neanderthals reemerging? Idk…..but watever it schwas im not playing their “improve myself relentlessly until im god” game anymore

    • ischemgeek says:

      No, I think we’re people within the spectrum of human variation. I used to think I was an alien, but I realize now that was wrong. But the alienation of being autistic is very real and hard to deal with, I get you.

  12. ustabe says:

    These observations aren’t exclusive to autism. They’re certainly true about people like me, suffering from complex-PTSD. Any time you “perform”, you’re only proving that you’re not trying hard during the times you aren’t. And when you don’t “perform”, you’re seen as less than a person. Quite maddening.

    Thank you for this post. Following now.

    • Nicole says:

      I can really relate to this, I have PTSD as well as high functioning ADHD. Everyone seems to think that you should have to prove your illness or injury (whatever you want to call it) for them to believe you, particularly if you are having a good day. The absolute last thing I want to be doing on a good day is going into the depths of some of the worst days of my life and dredging up a compelling story just to satisfy someone else’s skepticism. Same goes for people classified as “high functioning”. You don’t want to spent your good day talking about your bad days and shouldn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

    • ischemgeek says:

      There is definitely a lot of overlap on ableism issues. Definitely. I do know a few people with c-PTSD and can see how your issues parallel mine. Sympathies. I hope the people around you right now are good people and that you have at least a few safe people you don’t have to perform around.

      • ustabe says:

        Yeah, well … I’m basically alone. That’s why I’m heading out on the road with my dog. Hopefully by only staying in one place fora couple of weeks at a time, I’ll avoid having to deal with some of the stuff I’ve had to deal with for all of my adult life.

  13. You’ve put into words a lot of the things I’ve thought about over the years! We have a lot of the same challenges as “low functioning” people. On one hand, we are resented by many of the neurotypical people around us because of the challenges we do have, and we are expected to just work harder, quit making excuses, and try to blend in. On the other hand, the caregivers and family members of “low functioning” people resent us when we try to point out the similarities between ourselves and their children. Meanwhile, it is hard to get any services we might need, because we are too “high functioning” to really need it!

    • ischemgeek says:

      Also parents of “low functioning” kids tend to forget that we’re adults with 20+ years more life experience than their kids… I definitely was a lot less able to perform/pass as a kid than I am now.

  14. winfred says:

    I bet am I just got enlightened

  15. I have a close friend who is undoubtedly on the spectrum. I’m sure he’ll never seek help or even a diagnosis because he views that kind of disability as a personal shortcoming. Any mention of psychological disability is treated as grossly offensive.

    Meanwhile, his life has been falling apart.

    So… high-functioning can mean that a person develops an identity of “not disabled” and cannot cope with the potential trauma of having that identity shattered.

    • ischemgeek says:

      That is very sad. I feel sorry for your friend. I used to feel the same way as him, being brought up in a medical family that tended to look down on those with developmental disabilities. Around age 15, I met some autistic people and noticed how they were, well, people, and realized that their experiences and mine matched up a lot. From there I slowly began to accept the idea that I might be autistic, too. But it really had to be a thing I came to accept on my own – I think when I was 14, especially since my parents and psych were so dead-set against “labels” in general, if you had told me I was autistic, I would have been livid.

  16. residanna says:

    Reblogged this on InspiredThings and commented:
    This is put so well

  17. Seth says:

    Reblogged this on Our Online hacker space and commented:
    It is life. The life we have to live in because no one can see that “normal is just a setting on the driver. “

  18. Chibimoekko says:

    I’m glad I found this post. I’ve been thinking a lot about the discrimination I’ve faced as a visible-minority female in the field of academia and what you’ve written surprisingly resonated to my experiences, given that all of my past and current professors/supervisors are WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic). How do you propose to reduce the discrimination you have faced as a high-functioning individual?

    • ischemgeek says:

      I’m sorry, I’m still feeling under the weather so my receptive language stuff isn’t as good as it should be and I’m not sure I understand the question. Can you try to rephrase?

    • Chibimoekko says:

      Hope you’ll feel better soon~
      Actually, what I would like to know is how would you really like to be treated. So far, you’ve list all the things you do NOT want/discriminations you’ve faced for carrying around a “high-functioning label”, so I’m curious about your list of affirmatives on what you want (as I don’t think it’s as simple as people just stop associating you negatively with your diagnosis 🙂

      • ischemgeek says:

        I think it depends a lot person-to-person because needs can vary widely person-to-person even within the same diagnostic category. A big thing that’s important to me is taking time to understand where a person is and then meeting them where they are. “Presume competence” is a phrase thrown around a lot in DD circles but a lot of people seem to misunderstand what it means – it doesn’t mean “throw the kids deemed ‘high-functioning’ to the wolves because you should be presuming they can handle it,” it means “presume that the person is capable of learning and growing, and give them the tools they need to effect that learning and growing.”

        So, rather than insisting a kid with dysgraphia write everything (mistakenly “presuming competence” by treating them as if they don’t have it), presume they’re competent to master schoolwork and let them type, thus giving them the tool they need to succeed.

        As well, presume that DD/LD people are competent to know our own strengths and weaknesses. If I say, “I can’t hand write that, but I could type it for you if you want” believe me. Don’t tell me that I’m being ridiculous or that typing is no easier than handwriting – for someone with sensory-motor dysgraphia like me, typing is much easier than handwriting. I’m a 27-year-old who still can’t write my name in cursive, but my typing speed is 107 words per minute. Presume that I know my strengths and weaknesses and that I’m being honest about them.

        If I seem to be struggling, presume that something about the situation is inaccessible to me and look to resolve the accessibility issue. Some situations just can’t be resolved – a kid with dyscalculia is going to to struggle through math class to master arithmetic, a kid with dyslexia is probably going to struggle with learning to read, I will always flounder at a party or similar unstructured social function, but a lot can. The kid with dyslexia can be given audiobooks and dictation software so their dyslexia doesn’t impact their coursework in other subjects, the kid with dyscalculia can be taught algorithms that deal with the pattern-recognition aspects of math for them, that sort of thing (if humans can program a computer to do math, we can write an algorithm for someone with dyscalculia to memorize & use – I know because I’ve written them for people with dyscalculia and my algorithms are why they were able to pass university-level first-year calculus).

        Often people without disabilities don’t think about the ways in which a situation can be or is inaccessible – when was the last time you checked out whether or not the floor where you work has raised patterns to aide navigation for Blind people who use canes? Does the school in your neighbourhood have a method of alerting Deaf students to fire alarms? If they do, does it consist of a strobe light that flashes at seizuregenic frequencies, thus endangering students with photosensitive epilepsy? I’d like everyone to take on the burden of thinking about and resolving accessibility issues – right now, it falls almost solely on people with disabilities, who face a big fight whenever we need to ask for anything. And it’s too big of a problem for any one person to solve completely, but everyone can do their part: I can complain to the safety committee at my work place when the fire escapes are inadequately cleared so someone with a mobility impairment or a balance issue can’t get by. You can suggest an alternative fire alarm system, a grade 9 English teacher can ask a student’s IEP committee what the hell they’re thinking by holding the child’s English education hostage to her handwriting and why they don’t just let her type everything (that happened to me, and if it weren’t for that teacher, I still wouldn’t know basic sentence structure like what is a noun), and so on.

        Above all: Don’t do the above because you pity people like us. Do it because you’re a nice person who wants everyone to truly have equal shot at success, and because it’s unfair to judge a fish by it’s flying ability. People with disabilities aren’t saying, “hand us success on a silver platter, we don’t want to work for it,” we’re saying, “The world is already set up very well for you to succeed. Can you set it up a bit better for me? I’ll travel on my own, but I’ll get a lot father if I have a road to walk on like you do, rather than being expected to break my own path through dense forest.”

      • Chibimoekko says:

        I’m so glad to hear your affirmative voice 🙂 I also think you’ve just written your next post: Tell the world exactly what you want to happen is the first step to effecting change~ There are people who are just waiting to meet you halfway if you help them help you by communicating your needs clearly. Like you said, people without disabilities do not usually think about how the world is inaccessible to others, but they can learn and appreciate this if they become aware of it. You understand that everyone is different, and rather than treat everyone how you would like to be treated, give them how THEY would like YOU to treat them and vice versa, but to achieve that you first need to be clear about your needs and wants 🙂
        Cheers ^o^

  19. rjmockerman says:

    Im right there, this is actually quite accurate. It kills me inside a little to know that there will be times that I’m simply never going to be good enough, or smart enough, or whatever enough to be normal; especially when I simply dont understand, and dont know how to explain my confusion in a way that they will understand.

    • ischemgeek says:

      I think you can either be a first-rate autistic person (or Aspergian, if that’s how you identify), or a second-rate emulation of a “normal” person. And I know which makes me happier of the two. I think normal is given too much importance in our society, and I think that it’s unfair to those who are not normal to expect us to carve off our corners so we can fit round holes. The problem with that approach isn’t that it takes work to force the square peg through the round hole – it’s that it destroys the square peg.

      I hope this comment made as much sense as it does in my head – I am sick and when I’m sick I have a very hard time expressing myself clearly.

      • rjmockerman says:

        Yeah, it makes complete sense. I have been diagnosed by my family doctor with having Asperger’s Syndrome, though I prefer to say that I’m Ascertain or an Aspiring rather than “having” something.

      • rjmockerman says:

        Being an Aspie can actually be awesome in some cases; It makes me worried, however, when I read about some kind murdering his friend and blaming it on the fact that he’s aspergian. It’s a wiring difference, not a mental disease. Which makes it hard when the majority of US population is Nypical (Neuro-typical) and doesn’t want to try to understand anything that’s different.

      • rjmockerman says:

        Sorry about the rant, it’s hitting me hard now as a Homeschool Senior that after 17 years, my Mom loses her patience really quickly when it comes to understanding my logic.

      • ischemgeek says:

        It’s okay. I’m about 10 years older than you and my best advice to you is this: Accept yourself for who you are, where you are, and try to make autistic/aspergian friends and mentors. They will tell you what really works and doesn’t for accommodation and suchlike (realsocialskills on Tumblr is a good resource on the social front, for example).

        It is something that, to me, got a lot easier once I got out on my own. I do have challenges with living alone, but I am so very much happier now than I ever was living with my family – it makes a huge difference when you’re able to autistify your habitat and set things up the way you need them set up. Not to say that it’s all smooth sailing and roses and puppy dogs once you are on your own, but just that it makes a big difference when you’re the one calling the shots for once (even if it is kind of terrifying some of the time for the first five years or so).

      • ischemgeek says:

        Also: Nothing about being autistic/aspergian means that you are violent or will hurt someone or are a monster. It’s just plain not true. Being autistic/aspergian does not mean you’re destined to be a violent killer (neither, for that matter, does having a diagnosed mental illness – did you know that statistically, mentally ill people are much less likely to commit violence than those who aren’t mentally ill?).

        People blame autism for violence when a killer is autistic (and sometimes even when they’re not) because they’re afraid. They don’t want to admit that the potential for violence and terrible things lies within people like them, so they try to look for something, anything to blame. “He must have been crazy.” “She must be autistic or something.” that sort of thing. That doesn’t mean they’re right.

        Reality is that potential for violence and terrible acts lies in everyone. We all could do terrible things, we all are capable of it. But that we’re capable of being horrible people doesn’t mean we are and it certainly doesn’t mean we have to be.

        So if you see someone blame autism for a killing, understand that they’re wrong. They’re looking for something to blame so they don’t have to admit that someone like them could do something so bad. It doesn’t reflect on you or anyone else who is autistic or aspergian. It is just a scared person trying to make sense of something awful. They’re wrong, and you’re not a monster unless you choose to be.

  20. rogpickler says:

    Thank you for helping me to understand my son better. God bless

  21. […] it means to be “high functioning [insert disability here]” – something I haven’t really thought about and I really appreciate this brave and […]

  22. newbiehealer says:

    Thank you for helping me take a closer look at this and how I could be affected by this information. Very eye-opening indeed…

  23. angelpawsmd says:

    I thought this was interesting and you are obviously very passionate about this topic. There is a lot of stigma and misinformation about disabilities but I found it also rings true with people that have anxiety / panic attacks. Maybe I just read my own story in to what you wrote tho. Thank you for sharing.

  24. aiharun says:

    Thank you for your post. My son was only diagnosed with ASD at the age of 12, due to his “high-functioning”. Even some doctors refused to accept he had difficulties. We don’t want to label him, but we want to understand and help him make friends.

  25. aiharun says:

    Reblogged this on Fragrance in My Garden and commented:
    I have a son diagnosed with ASD. When he was small, we simply thought he was a genius because he could read at the age of 2. He was also very good at spelling. There were little things I noticed like he didn’t know how to zip up his jacket at the age of 4, the way he pulled his teacher’s hand and pointed at me when I arrived at his nursery school to fetch him.

    When he started primary school, he didn’t make friends and just sat alone by himself during recess. He didn’t finish copying notes from the board because he wrote too slow. I then discovered the term “Asperger”. We took him to the specialists. The doctors said there was nothing wrong with him. It was just language barrier they said since we had just moved back from abroad.

    We gave up on getting him diagnosed until I discovered that he was getting bullied at school. We went to see another doctor who finally diagnosed him to have Autism Spectrum disorders. With the diagnose, we inform his teachers about the bullying. The boys in his class were informed about this. Alhamdulillah the bullying stopped.

    It’s been 2 years now. He is in secondary school now and he has no good friends at school, only classmates.

    Labels can be positive or negative depending on how we want to take it.

  26. Violet says:

    YES! I am not autistic (or at least not diagnosed) but I am bi-polar, a recovering alcoholic and dyslexic . This post resonates so much with how I feel in the world. At my workplace, they just hired someone with physical disabilities, and make every accommodation for her. In fact as a former job coach, imho, underestimate her abilities. Yet when I asked for little accommodations when I began the job a year ago, such as the ability to reconsile the cash register before cleaning, because it lessened my mistakes and frustration, I was told no. Sorry for the rant. I just want to print this post and pin it to my jacket before I leave the house, like a kindergartener on their first day of school

  27. Thanks so much for this. My 26 year old son has Asperger’s Syndrome and would be considered to be high functioning. This is a timely reminder of what he goes through on a daily basis. I am sharing it with my friends and colleagues.

    • ischemgeek says:

      At the risk of sounding judgmental or as if I’m jumping to conclusions: Is your son “out” as an autistic person? If not, could you be sure to avoid mentioning your son’s Asperger’s in connection with the post? As I’m sure you know, prejudice against those with disabilities is a real issue, and just like with those with marginalized sexualities, it should be up to those with the invisible disabilities to choose when and to whom they disclose.

  28. High functioning deems you by many to be an Autistic fraud. High functioning gives you a label in which you triumphs are due to your spectrum status not a feat of character or an unwavering work ethic. Your meltdowns are met with, “I thought she was high function? “

  29. vaiby966 says:

    Reblogged this on .

  30. guttercrow says:

    yep. I cry in the bathroom at work a lot. I’m high functioning, except when I’m not 😮


  31. twistrn says:

    Reblogged this on TwistRN's Blog and commented:
    This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on Asperger’s Syndrome/ High Functioning Autism! My 12 year old son was diagnosed about age 8, along with ADHD, OCD, ODD. As a Mom with 2 older neurotypical adult children, it’s been a struggle to say the least – we’re on a huge learning curve as a family. I’m so thankful there’s more and more information and education available as a whole on this subject. I see the discrimination and frustration of those around us, family and friends, when we “coddle” our son. They really don’t understand, even when they try, what it’s like wanting your child to understand, to behave, to not have a meltdown for no apparent reason. It’s a daily sometimes hourly stretching of MYSELF. Hope and faith keep us going as a family. Until the next time…

  32. habibilamour says:

    This is high functioning autism??? Then why does my mother still think my brother has it? (as opposed to just simply developing more slowly in some areas but “getting there” in the end?)

  33. […] Im folgenden verlinke ich noch ein paar weitere Tweets zum Thema ‘highfunctioning’. Viele sprechen mir aus der Seele und zeigen deutlich die Probleme auf, mit denen sich viele hochfunktionale Autisten immer wieder konfrontiert sehen. #highfunctioningmeans – ein sehr bewegender Blogpost: ischemgeek.wordpress.com […]

  34. Dana says:

    It’s so tough for my little big guy. Thank you on his behalf!

  35. hl says:

    This was very interesting. I have a blog in norwegian about asperger syndrom.

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