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Tuesday, 10 November 2015 15:27

‘High’- and ‘low’-functioning shouldn’t be used to describe those with autism

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Nov. 1 was Autistic Speaking Day, a special day that started in 2012 for us people on the Autistic Spectrum to express ourselves.
There are a lot of us on the spectrum these days. Some who look like we are autistic and some who don’t.
There are those of us who appear to be “high-functioning.”
A lot of self-advocates don’t like the terms “high-functioning” and “low-functioning.”
I am blunt about it and think functioning levels should be left to describe tools such as can openers and not people.
My son, who some people think is lower-functioning than myself, puts it a better way. He says people on the spectrum are high-verbal and low-verbal. High-verbal people can put out information easily, but can’t take in. Low-verbal people can take information in, but can’t put out information.
This has been my experience. I am high-verbal, but at the same time, I have trouble taking information in.
It is hard to know what is going on with people until they learn how to communicate with the world around them at the level which is most comfortable for them. This does not always happen because our society is always built for what is comfortable for the majority of people.
Diane MacNaughton, Redcliff, Alta.

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