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Spectrum Functioning Levels and Labels

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Steve A, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Steve A

    Steve A Active Member

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    I don't mean to be rude by asking this, but I'm just looking for some insight on this controversial topic:

    I noticed that some people, on the spectrum, take offense whenever they're diagnosed as high or low functioning, even though there are different types of spectrum disorders that differ from person to person.

    Furthermore, I see why it may be offensive to diagnose someone as either high or low functioning, but I was diagnosed as high functioning, while my younger brother was diagnosed differently from me.
     
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  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    To my reckoning, "High Functioning" seems to be an informal and ambiguous way of describing what would in most instances be called by the DSM-5 "Level One Autism Spectrum Disorder".

    Though when you consider the various difficulties of individuals with Level One ASD, at times and circumstances terms like "high functioning" may not be as appropriate as we'd like or wish it to be.

    Like so many terms, society often gravitates towards using those which have broad recognition, even in the event they may not be precise given any number of considerations. And yes, the broad use of any number of such terms may at times offend some people.

    I have a cousin who is offended by the term "Neurotypical". Yeah...o_O

    An example, for better or worse: Autism Spectrum Disorder DSM 5
     
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  3. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    Actually the terms high and low functioning have been removed from the diagnosis all together since many years .

    ( Quote) People with autism are often described as being "high-functioning" or "low-functioning," but there are no such official diagnoses. While there are now three levels of autism described in the DSM-5 (Levels 1, 2, and 3), many people still use the terms high- and low-functioning, as they're less clinical. (Quote )

    And with my grade of ASD and added ID and lower then average IQ i would have been under Low functioning . But it dont bother me it it is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  4. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I do not find that term offensive at all, because I recognise what it means. Basically, I was told when I was diagnosed that I do not have autism, but on the spectrum ie aspergers, which now is called: either asd or high functioning, meaning that with classic autism one cannot do a lot of things on their own, but being on the spectrum, we can do many things that neurotypicals do.

    I received a level 2 to 3. So, mild to severe.
     
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  5. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    I see it more as a colloquialism adopted and used by the general public, whether it's an accurate medical term based on individual circumstances or not.

    Though it doesn't help when medical professionals choose to use such a term either. That may be the one circumstance that continually confuses everyone for good reason.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  6. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    In my own case, I find it increasingly difficult to accurately use such a term to describe myself. Yes, I have lived life independently as an adult for decades. Without any financial subsidies or benefits relative to my neurology.

    Yet when I consider my failed relationships, and particularly my comorbidities (OCD, social anxiety and clinical depression) suddenly the term "high functioning" may not at times describe me very well at all. :oops:

    Most of the time when everyone uses this term I get what they mean by it. Though I just don't know for certain just how accurate or not it may really be. Maybe what it really means is that some of us are just able to "put on a good act" more than others. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  7. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    Judge if you look at my levels of my main diagnosis & my Gazilion co morbids . And YET im able to come in here and have perfectly normal conversations/ help others etc.... I live alone i have made it to the top of my work dream before i sadly had to step down again BUT i did it against ALL odds . (it was actually written in my file when i got my ID diagnose that " i am NOT expected to suceed in the work life" ) . And YET i did for a long time. (and trust me when i say with my diagnosis the odds of having my former job is not high (low level job nothing fancy but you need higher levels in youre driving licences and certificates )

    What you and everyone else in here needs to again remember its ALL highly individual in this NP diagnosis + Its also difrent between male and females.

    Some of us actually manage to learn and adapt to our diagnosis and manage to overcome the worst things . Sadly fail on others .
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  8. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    How true.
     
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  9. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

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    I would have to recheck my facts here, but "high functioning" can mean a few things. It could mean that you have an average IQ above 70 and you are verbal. To some, that may seem like a "low bar", considering it is not uncommon for autistics to have specific IQs well above average (105).
    When very intelligent autistics get labeled with "high functioning" they may feel like their daily struggles (sensory issues, communication issues, anxiety, and other psychological issues) are being minimized and disregarded by others. For example, someone says to you, "Oh wow! I would have never guessed you were autistic. You must be one of those high functioning ones." You might be thinking, "Ok, I know you probably thought that was going to come out like a compliment,...but it didn't."
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  10. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have asked my diagnostic therapist the same question.
    What am I now that the word Asperger's is gone? Level 1 or 2?

    She has replied twice I am High Functioning, hedging the level diagnosis.
    I asked her, "high functioning in what?"
    Her reply also was as @Neonatal RRT suggested. My IQ is too high and I'm too verbal to be anything
    but a level 1.

    And yet I was never able to live alone, away from home, like an adult.
    Never could drive alone due to the anxiety it created until I was forced to in my fifties when
    I lost my parents. I still will not drive beyond my safety zone of only a few miles, on freeways,
    go across bridges and the anxiety never has left when driving.
    I had many different odd jobs and one career in pharmaceuticals, but, only for about 5 years
    before having a total break down that ended with SSD.
    Still can't live alone. Have difficulty with everyday life like shopping, cooking, etc.

    So, again, high functioning in what? Just because I have a high IQ I'm not high functioning in
    life in general. I've heard if I were level 2 or 3 I could get more much needed help
    for assisted living.

    And I've gotten the same reaction from what few people I've told about being on the spectrum:
    " Oh, you must be one of those genius types that have no common sense."
     
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  11. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    Susan

    (quote ) High-functioning autism (HFA) is an autism classification where the patient exhibits no intellectual disability, but exhibit deficits in communication, emotion recognition and expression, and social interaction. HFA is not included in either the American Psychological Association's DSM-5 or the World Health Organization's ICD-10, neither of which subdivides autism based on intellectual capabilities. (quote )

    So i would get another assessment as she seems to not know what she`s talking about .

    ( Quote ) Characterization
    High-functioning autism is characterized by features similar to those of Asperger syndrome. The defining characteristic recognized by psychologists is a significant delay in the development of early speech and language skills, before the age of three years. The diagnostic criteria of Asperger syndrome exclude a general language delay.

    Further differences in features between people with high-functioning autism and those with Asperger syndrome include the following:

    People with HFA have a lower verbal reasoning ability
    Better visual/spatial skills (higher performance IQ) than people with Asperger syndrome
    Less deviating locomotion (e.g. clumsiness) than people with Asperger syndrome
    People with HFA more often have problems functioning independently
    Curiosity and interest for many different things, in contrast to people with Asperger syndrome
    People with Asperger syndrome are better at empathizing with another
    The male to female ratio of 4:1 for HFA is much smaller than that of Asperger syndrome ( Quote )

    Link High-functioning autism - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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