The opposite of high

The opposite of “high” is “low,” correct?

So when a parent says their child is “high-functioning,” they’re saying other children are “low-functioning.” Even if they don’t think that’s what they’re saying, that’s precisely what they’re saying.

But what even determines high-functioning vs. low? Having a savant-like skill? Verbal acuity? Passing as “normal”?

My sense is that it’s that last one, that the term “high-functioning” is used by parents who feel their kids are close to “normal.” Their kids can pass. Maybe it gives these parents some comfort to use that label. I guess so, since I see it used out of context all the time. For example, some parents sign their emails, “Parent to Billy, high-functioning autism.” Ugh.

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What I’ve been reading — March 2015

Here are some things I’ve read this past month that I found helpful, informative, or inspiring. If you like this and find it helpful, please share with others. Thanks!

Opinions and insights

Respectfully Connected: Don’t Say Rainbows. Fantastic. “There are few misconceptions about autism acceptance and neurodiversity that consistently get repeated by parents of autistic children, to the point that people take them as fact. What follows are some myths I’ve been trying to deconstruct in the recent past…” Read more

My Speech at the Profectum Conference “The autism I have is not a language processing problem or a lack of understanding anything. I want this point crystal clear. My mind is fully, totally intact. In fact, my experience is that most nonverbal autistic people have intact minds too…Here is your challenge. Stop looking at our weird movements, blank faces, lack of speech, trouble handwriting, poor self control, and on and on, as proof of intellectual delay.” Read more

Autism Discussion: building self-acceptance for spectrum teens “… I asked a few autistic adults what helped or would have helped them navigate those notoriously challenging teen years. I also requested input from parents who write frequently about radical self-acceptance for their spectrum children. Here are their responses.” Read more

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What I’ve been reading — February 2015

Here are some things I’ve read this past month that I found helpful, informative, or inspiring. If you like this and find it helpful, please share with others. Thanks!

Opinions, insights and news

We aren’t your scapegoats. End of story. One of the very best pieces I’ve read against those who use autism as a scare tactic in their war against vaccines. “Which to me was actually far more offensive on its face than the persistence of fear that vaccines have anything to do with autism. Because that’s not just an irrational fear; that statement expresses a conviction that it’s okay to choose a group of people and use our existence as a scare tactic for your own ends. That if a group of people is presumed sufficiently voiceless, you can strip them of agency and the right to self-representation and use them to promulgate a falsehood that’s convenient to your own beliefs just because it’s easy.” Read more

We Are Like Your Child: Do You Believe In Your Children? “If you think I am not like your child, I ask you: do you believe in your child? Do you leave the possibilities open? Do you nurture your child so that he feels safe to grow into the adult he is germinating inside himself?” Read more

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Autism Speaks. An excellent rundown of how AutismSpeaks can do things differently — and better — in 2015. Read more

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