Sharing: Functioning Labels 101: What’s The Big Deal?

This is a wonderful and much-needed post! In it, the lovely author takes us through what exactly is a “function” label as applied to the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, why they’re inaccurate at best and harmful at worst, and they also debunk the persistent myths, objections, and protests we often hear in defense of “function” labels. To be clear, this fantastic post explains why these labels are bad and should not be used. In fact, we shouldn’t even be thinking inside this box or along these lines; this type of thinking (and vocabulary) are quickly falling out of favor, as well it should. It’s becoming passé, and it belongs in the past. Excellent read! I recommend following this blog 🙂 ❤

Feminist Aspie

If you’ve seen the #HighFunctioningMeans and #FunctioningLabelsMean Twitter hashtags, or more generally read or listened to a discussion by autistic people about functioning labels, you’ll know that, well, a lot of us really don’t like them, so I thought I’d write a 101 post about why that is, and what the alternatives are.

Wait, what’s a functioning label?
Many autistic people find themselves at some point being described as having “high-functioning” or “low-functioning” autism. Which label is given to the person can depend on a number of arbitrary factors, but often involves verbal ability, ability to live independently, and (especially in children) academic ability. In other words, functioning labels are basically another way of saying whether or not you think a certain autistic person can pass for neurotypical.

What’s so bad about functioning labels?
Well for a start, “passing for neurotypical” should not be the goal. We’re not defectively neurotypical, we’re…

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  1. Thank you for this very informative post. I have had issues with “functioning age labels” (being labeled as “functioning at the level of (arbitrary age under 18)”, despite the fact that I identify as an adult who sometimes needs support. You are correct in that arbitrary “functioning levels” fluctuate based on stress. Both functioning labels, and functioning age level labels need to be permanently retired. #EndFunctioningAgeLabels

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hear hear!!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. I’m definitely with you 😊. Age is arbitrary anyway 😉❤️. I mean, there are physical phenomena linked with age and aging, and those are good to be aware of, but as for brain/cognition/etc, who’s to say? Even the developmental “milestones” are extremely arbitrary and decided upon by imperfect humans 💙

      I might be almost 40, but does that automatically mean that I should be putting my 30s away, cutting my hair short, and leaving alternative rock music behind? I don’t think so! 💜💙. You go, girl! #EndFunctioningAgabels indeed!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👍🏽

      Liked by 1 person

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