About that “High-Functioning” Thing…. 

TW: Use of “functioning” labels as assigned by NT parents

Stop. Don’t leave yet. I’m not going to throw a bunch of junk at you on how I’m supposedly better than those who are lower functioning or whatever. So, I can pass for neurotypical in some circles. I guess that’s an asset for someone like me. But is that supposed to make me “better” than anyone? I must confess: I have recently struggled with this question: If I was lower functioning, would I still be loved?

It haunts the mind of the autistic, no matter where they are on the “functioning” scale. Many people dubbed “lower-functioning” are often thrown into group homes where they are not treated with basic medical care, let alone human decency. Often, love for the autistic, no matter how they fit on this “functioning” scale, is denied.

My mother just said to me, “I love you for who you are. I will always love you for who you are.” That is very comforting to me, because I have struggled with my worth as of late. I don’t know why I do, except maybe I do know why I do. I am told that the autistic is unfit for society in many ways – even more so since I am a woman, and can pass for neurotypical.

So what? I do not think I am better than the “lower-functioning” autistics. Far from it. Perhaps they are much smarter in this autism thing than me, perhaps not. I do not say I speak for them, either.

Autism’s “functioning level” does not conclude a person’s worth.


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Autistic woman in her 40s, bringing attention to issues that affect her and her kind.

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