I have never heard either of these labels [high-functioning and low-functioning] deployed to mean anything but “still not quite, you know…one of us.”
That’s what “____-functioning” means. “Not one of us.”
In addition to being ableist and grading against a neurotypical standard (which is its own, major issue), functioning levels attempt to reduce all the complex information about a persons abilities and needs over time and across a variety of contexts down to one dimension. That’s always going to be inappropriate dimensionality reduction, simplifying what we know to the point that it’s useless. Talking about low, medium, or high support needs isn’t going to fix this problem. Neither will talking about low vs. high masking as if either of those means a single thing. Those still use a single dimension, and you can’t shove enough information about what those support needs actually are, or what the specific effects of masking are into a single dimension for it to ever work.
For many of us, engaging with an amorphous diagnostic group-think entity is the first step towards getting a solid conceptual foothold in who we are […] It’s also a first step towards securing a place in society. Especially societies which have low tolerance for divergence […]
It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? […] You want it, pursue it, and then can be used against you. But if you don’t have it, you run the risk of getting stamped on. […]
Ultimately, it’s really up to each of us, how we engage with our identities, how we understand ourselves. How we navigate our social worlds.
autistics are outsiders by definition.
Because autism, basically, is defined by divergence.
Based on two articles by Caroline Narby
Just because it’s not information you need, that doesn’t mean it’s a useless word.
Labels are Tools – They can be used for good or bad things
When labels become boxes, that’s bad. But sometimes labels are road maps. Guidebooks. They show you how to find the information you’ve needed but never knew how to find or even if it existed.
Calling disabilities by their right names isn’t about labeling, it’s about breaking isolation and making important things speakable.
[T]hey think the problem was that they treated their child like they were intellectually disabled, and they weren’t.
But that’s not the problem.
The problem is that they thought their child was intellectually disabled, and so they didn’t treat them like a person.
It would be great if labels like autism weren’t necessary.
It would be great if ableism didn’t exist, but that’s one hell of a hypothetical.
Ableism is an extreme and far-reaching problem that can’t be solved without labeling the specific disabilities of the people being harmed.
In a world where most people speak with their mouths and assume everyone else does too, I need the autism label to explain why typing is better. In a world of sensory assault, where “I don’t want to” is not a sufficient excuse, I need the autism label to justify my self-protection.
Yes, labels may bring prejudice and ignorance, but they can also bring understanding and much needed support.