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Featured Difference between "severity" of autism and "functioning" labels.

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Chrysanthemum, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Something that crossed my mind recently: while functioning labels when relating to autism are not official diagnostic labels, the term a person with "high-functioning" autism refers to a person with autism who has an IQ over 70 (source: https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/high-functioning-autism).

    I understand that since 2013 when the DSM-V was published Asperger's Syndrome is not an official diagnostic category according to the DSM-V, and by definition people with Asperger's Syndrome have no significant language delay, so whereas in the past I thought of people with high-functioning autism as having a language delay or language difficulties, now I guess the term people with "high-functioning autism" could include people with "Asperger's Syndrome".

    I imagine that it is possible to have severe language difficulties (even to the point of being nonverbal), severe difficulties with social interaction, and very frequent repetitive behaviours or very restricted interest while having an IQ over 70. I also think that it is possible that a person whose IQ is measured as below 70 (I am no expert, but I am not saying that I believe that IQ tests are always accurate either) or whose actual IQ is below 70 can have strong language skills and little to no difficulties with social interaction, or if the person with an IQ below 70 has autism, perhaps it is possible for the person to have little to no language delay in or little to no difficulties with language/verbal communication and relatively mild difficulties with social interaction?

    So if "high-functioning autism" simply refers to the presence of both autism and an IQ over 70, might it be possible for a person with high-functioning autism to actually have more difficulties with verbal and/or written communication and social interaction than a person with autism who has an IQ below 70 who has strong language abilities and mild difficulties with social interaction?

    If so, would it be possible for a person with "high-functioning" autism to have moderate to severe autism, and for a person with an IQ below 70 to have mild autism? In other words, is it possible for a person with "high-functioning" autism to actually be more severely affected by autism than a person with autism with an IQ below 70?
     
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I am not sure about the big picture, but did get to know an Aspie with quite good communication skills and social awareness (online) with an IQ in the 60s. They also had a social life so I presume there was no significant speaking difficulty. They seemed as savvy and interesting as any other HFAs I have interacted with.

    I get the feeling professional shrinks and such are constantly trying to place markers on the field, saying everyone past this point is 'level such and such' and all before it are 'medium sized whatsits'. But Aspies consistantly are straying all over the field and their category parameters busted. Poor medical professionals. :(

    ;)
     
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  3. Kyou Nukui

    Kyou Nukui music is amazing

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    I don't think there's anything to this idea of an autism scale.
    I am left handed and I am autistic. It's either I am or I'm not. You can see that I'm left handed and you can diagnose that I have an autistic mind.
    I think people are seeing comorbid conditions such as cognitive difficulties that happen to be more likely in autistic people, and they are thinking those comorbids are severety levels of autism on the autism scale.
    It probably provides the basis for the idea that "we're all a little bit on the autism scale"
     
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  4. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    To be honest, I'm not fond of the idea of IQ tests being a way of measuring one's intelligence. They focus on one type only and bypass/ignore everything not fitting the criteria. Additionally, the tests label people on a specific 'level' of specific intelligence type as if it was fixed which discourages any kind of effort from the labelled person - if they are intelligent then they don't need to learn, right? if they are stupid, then nothing will help, right?

    It's simply counterproductive and worse yet, misleading. It was created as a method of distinguishing between 'lazy' and 'retarded' children and may be initially informative if one takes them 'with a grain of salt' but nothing else. It needs to be recognised that a standard IQ test is fundamentally flawed. In fact, it was already debunked some time ago. If you're interested, check the study on 100,000 participants from 2012 (University of Western Ontario, Adrian Owen and Adam Hampshire) or work on IQ myth of stability (Schwartz & Elonen).

    If you look for them, you'll find many articles, theories and studies on the topic both old and new. Here just to name a few:

    Fractionating Human Intelligence - ScienceDirect
    Instability in longitudinal childhood IQ scores of Guatemalan high SES individuals born between 1941-1953
    Measuring Intelligence in Autism | Interactive Autism Network
    Measurement of Nonverbal IQ in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Scores in Young Adulthood compared to Early Childhood

    And I found this an interesting read in general:

    Human intelligence - The IQ test
    Revealing autism's hidden strengths

    But then, isn't it logical that we grow smarter and more knowledgeable with each new thing learnt? Our capacity for learning slows down with age but it doesn't mean that our intelligence cannot grow or lower through the whole life. We may have specific inborn capabilities coming from out genetic makeup but it doesn't mean that intelligence is constant and unchangeable. Then, the capability of growth - that's something else.

    Of course, don't take my word on it. I'm no professional, just an occasional hobbyist. If you know more and see an error in my thinking feel free to let me know.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  5. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Read "The Mismeasure of Man" by Stephen J Gould.
     
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  6. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

    I’m not a professional either, I’m just a college student who was diagnosed with autism or PDD-NOS (I got two different diagnoses) during childhood. I did have a language delay which was probably partly why I wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.
     
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  7. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    IQ is no longer a factor in diagnosis or severity. It's all about functioning levels.
     
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  8. Trophonius

    Trophonius Member

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    Like any science, psychology categorizes information about character traits, and each item has within itself many branches of its general character that make it as it is. But in a science like psychology, there will always be exceptions, making it a need to treat or consider every subject of study individually - still the general category is a well-defined starting point that finds many (usually most) of its sub-items as being part of the subject of study we consider to be part of such category.

    It is always possible. The question that would be of more interest to a psychologist is how likely it is. And I do not known how likely it is.

    But cognitive deficits can occur by many reasons, a person below IQ 70 can have mild autism or even no autism - the origin of his deficit likely will be linked to another category; thus a person with higher IQ can be affected by "more autism".
     
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  9. Isadoorian

    Isadoorian Well Known Chat Member, Welcomer of Newcomers V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the Forums! I hope you make new friends and enjoy your stay in the process! :)

    The only thing I know about Functioning Lables is those on the Spectrum tend to find them ableist.

    Also, for IQ, it's good for nothing other than those who want to try and brag about how smart one is ("oh look at me! i'm the next Einstein everyone!!"; "My little Tommy is gonna be the next Stephen Hawking with his current IQ, take that Bertha!"), which is funny because IQ doesn't necessarily equal to their actual level of Intelligence. I've never done a IQ test and don't care much to have one done either.
     
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  10. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    could you give me your reasoning for the connection between autism and intelligence quotient? ,From what I know of child studies a baby from birth to 6 months is the most intelligent it will ever be ,so somebody who is developmentally still about two years old doesn’t really prove they have a low IQ, I think psychologists are basing intelligence on what message they get from the person(what they perceive to be intelligence)not the persons actual intelligence .
     
  11. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    What does the capability of growth mean?
    Not how large or tall the body becomes, correct?
    I'm not trying to be funny. The meaning is a serious interest to me.
     
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  12. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Well, there are no studies with specific measurements done on it, so it's just a theory. It means that although everyone can grow, sooner or later (mostly later) you will hit a wall where your learning capabilities lower enough that you start to see little improvement. Simply a learning curve. Every new little thing becomes that much harder to learn and master. It's why we see stagnation occur, why for example it's so difficult to remember more than a specific number of people or words at one time or why sportsmen cannot run faster - physical limits in short. Because we are all individuals our capabilities for growth are different and we encounter the limits differently.

    So, if you imagine a straight line from point A to point B for each person where A is the beginning of growth in a specific field and B is the limit achieved after which learning drops significantly, for each person the line will be different. Some will start with some of the skills necessary already being there ending in their line becoming shorter. Some will move quickly through the distance while some will only start quickly and then slower down or start slow and then speed up. It all depend on a person and their efforts. The line itself also, of course, will never be truly straight but more jagged with bumps where errors in logic occur and additional lines coming out and sometimes meeting together again in the main one.

    The point is, everyone has a potential, a capability of growth, something that cannot be truly measured with simple tests like IQ if it can even be measured at all. The present intelligence of a person is so difficult to fully grasp and trying to predict its growth or stagnation is something completely else.
     
  13. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    @onlything thank you for the clarification.
    I agree IQ tests cannot measure that.
     
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  14. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Adding only one thing to those that wish to debunk the theory with saying that the learning curve itself is measured by IQ, if one checks the studies done on it they can see that it can also change over time, grow or lower depending on a person, differ between stages of one's life. Even better, you can check it on yourself through years. Doesn't it then show that IQ tests don't measure one's full intelligence or its growth capability but intelligence in a specific domain only, one that also can be taken from or built upon?

    I hope I didn't bore you too much with all the talking ;).
     
  15. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm not actually sure what you are saying there. But I think what makes the diagnosis process so flawed is that they still do not really know what autism is or what causes it. They have some statistical proof of increased risk factors, but can't point to some cell, organism or process and say this is what's happening.

    So essentially they are like doctors in the middle ages trying to characterize diseases by symptoms - not knowing about the existence of bacteria or viruses. And autism presents symptoms in a remarkably varied way. Almost asymmetrical at times.

    I am not saying they are stupid. They are doing the best they can with what they have to work with. But they do not yet have enough to work with.
     
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  16. Trophonius

    Trophonius Member

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    The causes and origin of autism is not one of main issues in diagnostics; if can be of greater importance in other fields, but not as much in a social science like psychology. I think the main problem is any trait can have many origins; some autistic traits overlap with traits on other innate syndromes, other can be acquired later in life due to personal experiences; and also, psychological traits themselves can be the origin of others (e.g does a person suffer from cognitive deficit caused by depression? or is the depression caused by their awareness of their cognitive deficit? maybe both have an independent origin.
    The diagnoses of autism follow specific criteria (whether we agree or disagree with it is a different matter), in a sense, that is our working definition of autism. Determining if those trait can be in fact used for a diagnosis (which is to say, they are innate) is complex.


    In regards of my former message, my point was that psychological categories are useful and general descriptions of mind-types. People are different, so no category is to be seen as a mathematical theorem and people will fit more or less with the categories (syndromes, disorders, etc.); if these wouldn't allow flexibility their use as a diagnostic tool would be nonexistent (they need to be "busted" often). Still, they are useful as a starting point, before trimming out the details.
     
  17. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    I don’t think IQ was a factor in a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder or PDD-NOS when I was diagnosed with Autistic Disorder (which was before 2013 when the DSM V was published) either; I would assume that it would probably have been a factor in a diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder because according to the DSM-IV for a person to be diagnosed with Asperger’s he or she has to have no significant delay in “cognitive development (source: Psychiatric News).

    However, even if IQ isn’t considered when a diagnosis of autism is given, it still might be considered when functioning labels (e.g. “high-functioning”, “low-functioning”) are used.

    I am aware that “Levels 1, 2 and 3” are now used in the DSM V to describe how much support a person with autism needs due to their autism.
     
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