The Problem with a Spectrum Disorder

Spectrum4websiteEval“The difference between ‘high functioning’ and ‘low functioning’:high functioning may mean your child’s deficits are ignored and low functioning may mean that your child’s assets may be ignored.  It is our job to educate and make the community aware of our child’s strengths.  Inspire others to do the same.”

Picked this up on facebook (someone point out the original attribute if you know).  These “functioning” classifications have always irked me a bit, but in spite of that, part of me says, “Hell, yes!  This is the truth!”  And I suppose it is for many on the spectrum who are clearly “high functioning” and many who are clearly “low functioning.”  It’s a paradox for kids (and adults) who “pass” for neurotypical – People see no tangible issues and have expectations that can be unreasonably high, as well as for kids (and adults) who clearly have issues, and as a result people have expectations that are unreasonably low.

The other part of me says, “And the kids who are in between are the most misunderstood,” because that is The Boy, and he is misunderstood.  He’s bright and clever, and with proper supports, is very capable of A level work in school.  But he needs the supports, and is a good bit away from “passing” for neurotypical.  People see his issues, and have no idea what to expect.

Here’re my two cents: While it is important to enlighten the community about typical behaviors, commonly used strategies, and the like, we must also hammer home that every child has different strengths and “areas of opportunity” – nothing is as it seems.  No child on the spectrum is what you expect, and only by getting to know each individual will you begin to understand them, their struggles, their triumphs, and their potential.

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5 thoughts on “The Problem with a Spectrum Disorder

  1. Well said. The high and low functioning labels irk me, too, as it somehow insinuates that “low functioning” means the person is less than human. And, it is labels for people that don’t live with Autism on a day-to-day basis.

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