1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured High functioning

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Pats, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,652
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +9,507
    Does high functioning mean good at masking? Reading some of the articles about the behavioral therapy just makes me want to ask that question. It's like the general population thinks autism is a behavioral problem and if they can fix that, we're cured? Like the struggles we have internally is not important, only the behavior.
    Actually, I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist at a behavioral health place and his intent was to help me be able to do things I struggle with doing - and, to be honest - I just don't want to do. No one can change what's going on inside our head so I guess the only way to FIX us is to teach us to be someone else that doesn't match who we are inside. I spent over 50 years having no choice but to leave my comfort zone. Did it help me expand my comfort zone? No. It was never any easier. Every day I had to go to work, go to functions with the kids, talk to strangers (kids friends parents), etc, etc. Every day I had to leave my comfort zone and on the inside felt like a psycho about to explode and, to be honest, I wanted to be that person sitting in the corner in their own imaginary world, cutting out the outside world. Maybe that's why, as I walked through the hallways to get to my floor at the hospital every day I would imagine how good it would feel to just curl up into one of the corners and pretend the real world didn't exist. But I knew if I did, I'd be sitting in a hospital room and no one to take care of my kids.
    But my point is - it didn't get easier with practice. If 15 years of walking through those hallways didn't 'cure' me of not wanting to, then I can tell you it just don't work. Well, it doesn't make it easier. Just because I did it, doesn't mean I was fixed. I remember the doctor saying to work on leaving the comfort zone of my car. Each time, get a little further out of my comfort zone and I would learn it's safe and be able to extend that comfort zone. I was 59, for crying out loud. I spent 59 years already leaving my comfort zones and, no it never made me feel safer.
    So I guess high functioning is maybe harder to deal with because we know we can't get away with curling up into our own little world, as much as we might want to. It would have been easier for me but harder for those around me. So maybe high functioning means just the opposite of that - easier on those around me but harder on me. And then to make matters worse, because we can 'fake it' and we force ourselves to do things that are making our insides shatter, no one wants to believe we might even have a problem. You're not autistic, you've done all these things.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Winner Winner x 4
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
  2. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,182
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Karma:
    +4,168
    Even if you can't fake it, people assume that because you can talk well enough (even if only sometimes or about certain things) or score high on IQ tests that you must be able to do everything else that normal people who can talk well enough or score high on an IQ test can do, and that the experience and inner mechanics of things is the same for you.

    If they can't assume you have no problems they just assume you have other problems -- like a horrible personality and no work ethic, or mental illness.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 8
  3. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    5,867
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Karma:
    +12,517
    High functioning means at least an average IQ and an ability to mask, a measure of how well we appear (to them) to integrate into society and function. Yes, it's a vague and rather superficial term - they see our outward behaviour and judge us on that, they don't see what is going on inside our heads, they can't really understand it or relate to our feelings, reactions and experiences because they don't experience it themselves.
     
    • Agree Agree x 7
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    23,898
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +30,426

    Good question. Though no, IMO I think they can be mutually exclusive of one another. Just like so many other traits and behaviors we have or don't have, and at different amplitudes.

    In essence there's no reason to believe that we all uniformly have the same ability at masking. That it's just another behavior indicative of a spectrum where some excel at it, while others may not even be able to try.

    Who's the best at such masking? Maybe actress Daryl Hannah. She's someone on the spectrum who has made quite a living at being someone else entirely! :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    6,465
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Karma:
    +15,725
    Have not been 'fixed' and wouldn't want to be, I'm not broken. Adapted through all the jobs and interactions with people day to day. It seems like once your inside that world, adapting, it becomes all you know and understand and it seems usual.

    Yet on weekends and vacations, when I was away from that world I had a hard time returning to it after. Sometimes rashes would suddenly appear, or I would bolt into the washroom, or my anxiety would be so consuming that I would become obsessive in my personal life. Focusing on minute details for hours. I'm less like that now, as I rarely have to mask.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. Iamnotarabot

    Iamnotarabot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    748
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2018
    Karma:
    +840
    Hight functionning means the system doesnt want to support you.
     
    • Agree Agree x 7
    • Like Like x 2
    • Funny Funny x 2
  7. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    23,898
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +30,426
    Indeed.

    "But you don't look autistic! You don't sound autistic! You don't act autistic either. So you're NOT autistic." :rolleyes:

    Unfortunately people can't get into our heads to discover how differently we may think and react to things others take for granted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 11
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. No Strings Attached

    No Strings Attached Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2018
    Karma:
    +43
    God, yes. There’s this huge expectation always on my back to “keep it together” and keep the mask on when I’m with other people, regardless of my state of mind or anything else, which has sometimes led to a breakdown... Usually I just take it and feel like crap for the rest of the week. If I make any effort to be myself and stop adapting to everyone else at the time, the people around act negatively, which makes me feel worse... In short, this topic is a bit too close to home for comfort.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    426
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,122
    What, exactly, is high functioning? Or low functioning? I am called high functioning; science degree, technical career, given some of the most difficult assignments. Yet, socially, my functioning is abysmal. So, am I high functioning, or low functioning? Yes. It all depends on which functions are being addressed. I suspect most of us here are like this, high functioning in some ares and low functioning in other areas.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Theta.G

    Theta.G Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    943
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,169
    The term is misleading

    take a person with 8 broken bones in legs and arms.
    compare that person to some with 8 broken bones in hands and feet.
    Since there are only 2 comparative measures... one must be
    "high functioning" the other "low functioning"
    Yet in many cases it's still a far cry from function-al.

    As robo said:
    Word play makes it socially acceptable to dismiss us.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Creative Creative x 1
  11. AloneNotLonely

    AloneNotLonely Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    678
    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    Karma:
    +735
    You think all the NT's like going to work?

    Come on.

    So work was annoying, it is to most people. Everyone has annoying co-workers and clients they don't want to talk to but they have to mask so they don't get fired. The vast majority of people are miserable. Being Autistic adds a little extra daily annoyance but it can be overcome by planning your life well.

    High functioning means high IQ. High IQ means your Neocortex can do a good job of mimicking the part of the brain that doesn't work well or at all. It takes high IQ (130+) to do an acceptable level of mimicry and any lower and cracks start to show quickly. It also takes a lot of practice. It took me until 30 to be a good enough mime to fool adults.

    Low functioning Autistics aren't all of a sudden robots. They have the same feelings as others, they just can't express those feelings and make a connection because they have a combination of low IQ and the part of the brain that deals with social interaction being fried. Other than that they are the same, except they can't mimic and attempt to convey their thoughts and emotions to another. They can't make anyone understand, other than perhaps screaming, kicking or having a meltdown. Which isn't exactly suitable for conveying complex emotions and thoughts.

    At least you can tell others when things are difficult. So no, you don't have it harder than those that are low functioning.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  12. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Enjoying life and glad to be alive! V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,429
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2018
    Karma:
    +4,390
    I don’t think autism adds a little extra daily annoyance, not for me.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,652
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +9,507
    High functioning autism has nothing to do with IQ - the IQ's are usually pretty average (I think one of the differences they used to make between HFA and aspergers).
    I didn't say all Nt's anywhere, but most people I know do enjoy going to work and make comments about going nuts until they can get back to work. Also most people I know enjoy social things and don't have a problem leaving comfort zones. But, again, I never say all because there is always a variance.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  14. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,182
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Karma:
    +4,168
    HFA in research contexts is technically only about IQ (but assumptions are made that go beyond the numbers); HFA = ASD + IQ of at least 70-85 (cut-offs vary), LFA = ASD + IQ lower than 70-85.

    In clinical practice and everyday speech it can be about a number of different things....depends on the clinician/person using the term.

    It was never an official distinction between HFA and Asperger's, though. In the DSM-IV, Autistic Disorder (classic autism) could be diagnosed in a person with any IQ. An Asperger's diagnosis required that a person have an IQ score in the average range or higher, however (meaning 70 or higher).
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 2
  15. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,182
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Karma:
    +4,168
    I don't think this thread is about annoyance at work....I think you've missed the point (either you have or I have...or both of us, I suppose), and/or are assuming too much about both NTs and other autistics.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. AloneNotLonely

    AloneNotLonely Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    678
    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    Karma:
    +735
    Only distinction between HFA and LFA is IQ. There is no "HFA" and "LFA" diagnosis. It's just Autism with varying degrees of IQ, divided into Type 1, 2 and 3.

    Going nuts until being able to go back to work means you are doing the right type of work. Or that you have a really easy time getting bored without something to do. Either way those people are in the minority, at least where I live. Most had big dreams about big jobs but end up doing cubicle work at best.

    Enjoying social things is easy when you don't have to wreck the thinking part of your brain to get along without being weird, but there are plenty of high IQ NT's that are shy and not very comfortable with social situations.

    Leaving comfort zones is something nobody is good at. Most people function in an extremely small world where anything outside of that world is avoided. Just because they are in an area you consider dangerous does not mean they experience it that way. To me hamburgers, snacks and junk food are outside of my comfort zone. For the vast majority of people it's the other way around. It just depends on your habits and what you've spent most of your life doing.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • Creative Creative x 1
  17. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,652
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +9,507
    I guess that's what I was kind of saying - I think.
    Here -
    Difference between autism and Asperger's
    There are three main differences between Asperger’s, as it is viewed, and autism. Compared with classic autism, people with Asperger’s have IQs that fall in the normal or even superior range. Those with autism typically have lower intelligence, as measured by standardized assessment measures. Speech is the second difference.
    What Is The Difference Between Asperger's Syndrome And Autism ...
    www.kennethrobersonphd.com/difference-aspergers-syndrome-autism/
    And the speech thing is that with autism you tend to speak late and with aspergers, possibly early. That's why I was diagnosed with HFA instead of aspergers - speaking late. But now they are both just on the spectrum.
    But I was under the impression that functioning levels were according to how much help you needed from others for daily activities, like getting dressed, cooking, etc.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,652
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +9,507
    [​IMG]
     
    • Informative Informative x 4
    • Like Like x 2
  19. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,182
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Karma:
    +4,168
    Right, but the IQ difference is/was a population trend (caused by the Asperger's criteria) rather than a diagnostic marker to be used in differential diagnosis -- it was never a diagnostic marker/part of the differential diagnosis for individuals, not by itself.

    I thought you were saying it was a diagnostic marker/part of the differntial diagnosis for individuals.

    Right. Most autistics diagnosed with HFA/classic autism had/have either a speech delay, a language delay, or both. The communication criteria for Autistic Disorder were such that you could have no speech/language delay and still meet criteria for Autistic Disorder rather than Asperger's, though. A person could meet criteria for both and if that happened they were supposed to be diagnosed with Autistic Disorder rather than Asperger's, but a lot of clinicians didn't follow that rule (so I have read)....

    The old diagnostic system was a mess in many ways. Too much subjective judgement was used and clinicians often used their own critera rather than strictly adhering to what was written in the DSM.

    The actual differences in diagnostic criteria between Autistic Disorder and Asperger's was a bit more complicated than it's made out to be. It was never a simple "has speech delay versus doesn't" or "has certain IQ versus doesn't" sort of situation.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,652
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2018
    Karma:
    +9,507
    I posted that 3 levels of autism because that's what I found and have always found similar when ever I'ved looked up autism levels. I'm not trying to make this a discussion about how to measure autism, but rather that because we require less support and not as obvious, we don't get the understanding or compassion from others, often not even believed that we Are on the spectrum. And what I posted originally is about myself and how I feel and not trying to cover the entire autistic population. I'm not trying to get anyone mad.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1