Problems With High Functioning/Low Functioning Labels: In Honor of Autism Acceptance Month.

#AutismAcceptanceMonth

High Functioning/Low Functioning labels serve no purpose but to incorrectly categorize people based on assumptions and stereotypes of “functionality.” “High Functioning” to me is not a compliment. It means that people are making incorrect assumptions about my abilities, strengths and challenges based on stereotypes. “High Functioning” erases struggles and therefore conveniently dismisses inquiries for assistance.

Similarly, “Low Functioning” erases one’s strengths and highlights one’s struggles therefore dismissing a person’s contributions and gifts.

But one cannot critique the whole “High Functioning/Low Functioning” mess without critiquing constructions of “functionality.” What do we mean by “functioning?” anyway? Haven’t all of our ideas of “functioning” been constructed by narrow definitions of “work” and “contribution” put in place by a multiply oppressive capitalist society?

So lets throw out the “functioning” assumptions and questions.

People aren’t machines whose bodies/minds/spirits exist to “function” in some pre-mandated way. In the end, It’s about how we want to connect on a human level.

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