High and low functioning

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Anonymous #1
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What is the difference between high and low functioning autism
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honeybuns2k5
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(Original post by Anonymous)
What is the difference between high and low functioning autism
high means u can work, go to school etc. low means that u struggle too much and probs don't. it doesn't mean the autism, it means how well you can adapt to function because of it I guess
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by honeybuns2k5)
high means u can work, go to school etc. low means that u struggle too much and probs don't. it doesn't mean the autism, it means how well you can adapt to function because of it I guess
Yes it’s essentially an individuals ability to function in a “neurotypical” society, but their struggles are not necessarily any less or more difficult in either situation. For example, I have been diagnosed with high functioning autism and I attend school, however my communication and social skills are poor.
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StudentTSR101
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I’m high functioning, and can do basically everything neurotypical people can but I find it all a lot harder, though it’s the social stuff that’s harder, and what I really struggle with. Low functioning is more the non verbal, SEN school type kids and adults.
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15977emily
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I'd describe it as
Low-Functioning- Usually diagnosed rather early, more 'difficulties' and makes it a lot harder (not impossible) to lead a 'normal life'
High functioning- Usually diagnosed later in life as they can mask it (hide it) and makes it easier to lead a 'normal life'-although this isn't always true

2 things to remember:
1) Everyone's ASD is different.
2) Even though they might have Low functioning ASD they might be on the higher side or they might be on the lower side for High functioning.
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GremlinIAMH
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The terms really no longer have the meanings they were meant to have. For example, a person who can not speak would be labelled 'low-functioning' even if they can live completely independently and have no difficulties in day to day life. If someone can speak and is intelligent but can't go outside due to sensory issues by themself or hold down a job they would be labelled high functioning. The labels have also been used to discriminate. For example, someone labelled low functioning may be smart but may not be offered to do higher exams due to behavioural difficulties even if they could easily complete them while people labelled high functioning are often denied the help they need because of 'Oh your too high functioning for that'. Functioning labels also don't necessarily work as functioning levels vary from day-to-day. It isn't really used in the medical field anymore as the diagnosis of High Functioning Autism no longer is used and along with Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified and other autism profiles were practically abandoned in 2014 when the USA's DSM 5 abandoned for the term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and was completely abandoned in 2018 with the ICD-11.
Functioning labels were replaced with support labels instead of 'Requiring Support' , 'Requiring Substantial Support' and 'Requiring Very Substantial Support'. For the most part, the Autistic community were a lot happier with these terms as they were pretty explicit will all Autistic would benefit from support and that 'requiring very substantial support' doesn't sound as negative as 'low-functioning'. The level of support you need also doesn't fluctuate as much as 'functioning' and so is somewhat more suitable
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15977emily
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(Original post by GremlinIAMH)
The terms really no longer have the meanings they were meant to have. For example, a person who can not speak would be labelled 'low-functioning' even if they can live completely independently and have no difficulties in day to day life. If someone can speak and is intelligent but can't go outside due to sensory issues by themself or hold down a job they would be labelled high functioning. The labels have also been used to discriminate. For example, someone labelled low functioning may be smart but may not be offered to do higher exams due to behavioural difficulties even if they could easily complete them while people labelled high functioning are often denied the help they need because of 'Oh your too high functioning for that'. Functioning labels also don't necessarily work as functioning levels vary from day-to-day. It isn't really used in the medical field anymore as the diagnosis of High Functioning Autism no longer is used and along with Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified and other autism profiles were practically abandoned in 2014 when the USA's DSM 5 abandoned for the term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and was completely abandoned in 2018 with the ICD-11.
Functioning labels were replaced with support labels instead of 'Requiring Support' , 'Requiring Substantial Support' and 'Requiring Very Substantial Support'. For the most part, the Autistic community were a lot happier with these terms as they were pretty explicit will all Autistic would benefit from support and that 'requiring very substantial support' doesn't sound as negative as 'low-functioning'. The level of support you need also doesn't fluctuate as much as 'functioning' and so is somewhat more suitable
Do you live in the US?
In England, we still use High functioning and Low functioning.
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GremlinIAMH
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(Original post by 15977emily)
Do you live in the US?
In England, we still use High functioning and Low functioning.
Nope. I live in the UK, my doctors, particularly my paediatrician who was very well versed in neurodivergent and autistic advocacy, no longer use the term and it isn't very commonly accepted within autistic advocacy at all. While it may be used by people, I've never spoken to any Dr who is involved with the area who use it anymore and activists are heavily pushing for it to stop being used completely. However, it is a lot more heavily pushed in the USA along with identity-first language due to their abhorrent charity Autism Speaks.
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15977emily
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(Original post by GremlinIAMH)
Nope. I live in the UK, my doctors, particularly my paediatrician who was very well versed in neurodivergent and autistic advocacy, no longer use the term and it isn't very commonly accepted within autistic advocacy at all. While it may be used by people, I've never spoken to any Dr who is involved with the area who use it anymore and activists are heavily pushing for it to stop being used completely. However, it is a lot more heavily pushed in the USA along with identity-first language due to their abhorrent charity Autism Speaks.
I find that really interesting! I'm in the south west and everyone (Including my school and my specialists) call it High/Low functioning! Where in the UK do you live? (I.e. Wales, Scotland, NI, Ireland and then North/West/South/East of England)
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glassalice
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(Original post by Anonymous)
What is the difference between high and low functioning autism
They are defunct terms really.
High functioning traditionally is used to refer to someone who is verbal/ has an IQ within a normal range (or higher). Where as low functioning is used to refer to someone who isn't verbal and/ or has a low IQ.

There are several problems with this.

(A) Not all non verbal people have a low IQ. Some non-verbal people can actually understand body language and gestures better than a person labled as being 'high functioning'. It must be pretty tough going through life with everyone assuming your 'stupid'.
(B) There is no person with autism that has the same 'symptoms' or 'difficulties'. Everyone has strength, everyone has weaknesses. It is impossible to practically set up a hierarchy. Without (1) ignoring the individual abilities of a 'severely' autistic person AND (2) ignoring the the weaknesses of the 'high functioning person'
Last edited by glassalice; 5 months ago
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GremlinIAMH
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(Original post by 15977emily)
I find that really interesting! I'm in the south west and everyone (Including my school and my specialists) call it High/Low functioning! Where in the UK do you live? (I.e. Wales, Scotland, NI, Ireland and then North/West/South/East of England)
I live in the East of England. My teachers use it but then again my SENCO and the pastoral team are **** anyway. I don't see a specialist but see someone at CAMHS who has some form of understanding about it but it's never come up. Tbh I have never met anyone who seems to be as up to date with autism as my paediatrician was, I was honestly surprised after the **** I've heard from others about Dr's. Guess I got lucky. I do hope that it is going to be completely abandoned though cause as someone who is labelled 'high functioning' I do need a lot of support to go places I haven't been before and will need my friends or (hopefully) an assistance dog to help me through uni and I really don't want any uni disability team to turn around and say your too 'high functioning' . Oh the joys of masking
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15977emily
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(Original post by GremlinIAMH)
I live in the East of England. My teachers use it but then again my SENCO and the pastoral team are **** anyway. I don't see a specialist but see someone at CAMHS who has some form of understanding about it but it's never come up. Tbh I have never met anyone who seems to be as up to date with autism as my paediatrician was, I was honestly surprised after the **** I've heard from others about Dr's. Guess I got lucky. I do hope that it is going to be completely abandoned though cause as someone who is labelled 'high functioning' I do need a lot of support to go places I haven't been before and will need my friends or (hopefully) an assistance dog to help me through uni and I really don't want any uni disability team to turn around and say your too 'high functioning' . Oh the joys of masking
Slightly off topics but what is it like having an assistance dog? What does he/she do? How does he/she help?
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GremlinIAMH
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(Original post by 15977emily)
Slightly off topics but what is it like having an assistance dog? What does he/she do? How does he/she help?
I currently don't have one, hence the hopefully. Unfortunately, they cost 9.45k (with the org I'm going with. Unfortunately due to time restrictions I couldn't go with a cheaper/free one) so I have to fundraise for it. They would hopefully allow me to go in unfamiliar places by myself and be able to ground me in problematic situations.
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