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Your opinion doesn't count because you're high functioning [Sep. 16th, 2013|09:58 pm]


I like to read articles on the Huffington Post website. One such article I read recently was on "Things not to say to a child-free woman." The comments to the article turned into a debate, with some people wondering why on earth anyone could possibly choose to not have children.

One commenter said that one reason to not have children is the fact that you have a 1 in 88 chance of having a child with autism. I replied to that by saying, "I'm autistic. Are you saying I should not have been born?"

The commenter replied (note: this is not verbatim) "I'm assuming from the fact that you are reading and commenting here that you are Asperger's or otherwise high-functioning on the ASD spectrum. Therefore you don't know what it's like to be severely autistic and unable to care for yourself."

This happens to me a lot when I participate in discussions about autism. "You're high functioning, so you don't know what it's like for my child." "My child will never be like you, so you can't participate in this conversation."

First of all, you have absolutely no idea how "functioning" I am. Autistic people of all abilities are able to type, including those who are classified as "low" functioning and those who do not live independently. Second, I am autistic, regardless of how well I do or do not "function." Third, you have no idea what your child will grow up to be like. Many children who are classified as "low-functioning" or "severely autistic" grow up to be very successful adults. There is at least one autistic kid whose mother was told he should be institutionalized who is now considered to be more intelligent than Einstein and is a university student at age 14.

[User Picture]From: classical_wolf
2013-09-17 10:20 am (UTC)
Ugh :(
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[User Picture]From: lordhellebore
2013-09-17 10:28 am (UTC)
I've heard the same, and it's maddening.
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[User Picture]From: lilacsigil
2013-09-17 11:20 am (UTC)
Honestly, I wouldn't want that commenter to be caring for an autistic person either!
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[User Picture]From: sammason
2013-09-17 11:39 am (UTC)
What is this 'functioning' anyway? Of course autistic people vary. So do people in general. This is why I'm wary of the phrase 'autistic spectrum'. It seems to say that you have to be somewhere between 'high functioning' and 'low functioning', like a machine or something.

I don't know that lady in the Huffington Post comments, but right now, I think her manners are low-functioning.
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[User Picture]From: floette
2013-09-17 11:44 am (UTC)
Wow they'd love me. I can go from 'high functioning' to 'low functioning' according to my pain levels in a day or less.
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[User Picture]From: wolfteaparty
2013-09-17 07:51 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I can't stand the attitude that supposed high-functioning people have no right to speak for the rest of the spectrum and what a nightmare it supposedly is. Functioning levels just aren't as cut and dried as people think.
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[User Picture]From: teal_cuttlefish
2013-09-18 05:01 am (UTC)
By her logic, she can't speak for her child either, because she isn't autistic. What she sees does not at all compare to what her child sees. Perhaps she sees them as trapped and they see the world as fascinating. Perhaps, despite her gloomy predictions, they will learn to communicate (or not) and have a fulfilling life with meaning for themself. If she cannot accept or respect the view of a person with autism, how can we trust that she knows or cares what her child's view even is?
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[User Picture]From: choirlass
2013-09-22 05:39 pm (UTC)
So... did they eliminate the comments from anyone who isn't autistic? Seriously, if you are not "autistic enough" to comment, and by their definition anyone who can type a coherent sentence is not, then why enable comments at all?
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[User Picture]From: katisconfused
2013-11-15 09:33 am (UTC)
Ulgh. I honestly kind of support anyone advertizing that statement because anyone who believes it should not have children and I hope that they convince all the people who think that to not have children too.
I feel so bad for their kid. That has to be a toxic environment if they are openly acting like their kid is some sort of curse. ULGH. Parents of disabled kids can be so gross.

Also I don't think I have ever been able to tell anyone was "low functioning" by an internet conversation unless that conversation consisted of talking about autism. Exactly what is that supposed to look like? Like I legit do not even know how you are supposed to determine that.
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[User Picture]From: fuyuhimi
2014-06-01 09:40 am (UTC)
Word to all of this.

I've experienced severe decline in skills some years, I've experienced pretty much 'prodigy' way of them in others, all depending on my complex living situation. There really isn't a way for neurotypical (or even allistic) people to judge how well 'functioning' one is, especially with how fluctulating that can be through life of autistic people.
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