New Jersey Kids and So-Called “High-Functioning” Struggles

TW: Talk of Functioning Labels and Their Fallacies 

I’ve got two special things to talk about: New Jersey autism rates and the struggles of autistic adults.  

Let’s get into the autism rates of New Jersey. I hear they’re the highest in the nation. Other high autism states are Oregon, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, in that order. Google the rest. So, what are we, the autistic people, supposed to do with this information? I don’t know, maybe offer our practical and empirical help to the parents and medical community there? It would be their fault if they don’t take the help.  

There is also the so-called surprising data finding that the autistic adult labeled “high-functioning” struggles as an adult. Why is it so much of a surprise? I don’t know. Have you asked the autistic adults themselves? I don’t think so. Then it would not have been so much of a surprise! The fallacy of the labels such as “high functioning” lies in this fact: Autism is the only condition whose affects are decided by people who are NOT affected by it! How wrong is that?  

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

One thought on “New Jersey Kids and So-Called “High-Functioning” Struggles”

  1. I’d argue having trouble with adulting (and with the cognitive and executive function challenges involved, particularly as ageing takes its toll) is probably a pretty good diagnostic sign of any kind of “high-functioning” neurodivergence. Basically, as a kid we’re in a pretty structured environment (school) and it’s therefore easier to cope with things – once you know the rules, you can spare more brainpower to the challenges of trying to figure out the really difficult stuff, like social interaction (and even there, you’re working on a lower difficulty level, because kids are necessarily not as complex as adults). As we get into high school, we start struggling, because there’s more need for self-regulation, more need for an understanding of complex social behaviours, and so on; when we get out of the school environment entirely, we’re likely to be swamped, because, and here’s the kicker: the adult world is nowhere near as structured as the school environment.

    “Functioning” levels are contextual. This should not be news to anyone.

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