Why labeling Autistic people is a problem.

Recently I have been struggling, because I have been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism, I am expected to do things right all the time. So what are labels? Labels are put onto Autistic people to describe their “functioning” levels. But, it is often not good for Autistic people.

So, if an Autistic person gets a diagnoses of “High Functioning Autism” then he/she might struggle with things and be expected to do things that neurotypicals do because they are “High Functioning”. But, this only makes the individual feel worse as he/she can struggle with different things.

There is also the diagnoses of “Low Functioning Autism” as in Nonverbal Autistic people, Autistic people who have trouble staying with others, etc. This is also not good because he/she might be capable of something really great, but he/she is not supported with that because people think that he/she is incapable.

I like to think of myself as simply “Autistic” and that I have different functioning levels. Each day is different, some days are really good and I am able to get through the day and feel happy. Then, there are the dark days, the days that I have meltdowns, cry, feel frustrated, worthless, confused, etc.

Sometimes if I am really anxious I cannot speak. Other’s have said to me “You are not severely Autistic, you should be able to speak.” This only makes me feel worse, as they don’t understand that I can’t ALWAYS speak all the time, and that I need support and understanding when this happens.

I think we need to look at Autism as a different way. Every Autistic person is different, and levels of functioning may vary. One day might be really good, and another day might be more difficult. Instead of labeling, people need to help us by supporting us and trying to find ways to help us such as sensory accommodations, earplugs, communication cards, other methods of communication, therapy, etc.

Just because I am “High functioning” today, doesn’t mean I will be tomorrow.





3 thoughts on “Why labeling Autistic people is a problem.

  1. I agree. Have you read Rebecca Sturgess’s article about the spectrum? If not, I highly recommend. I also shared my views on the Anonymously Autistic Blog. I can talk. I am capable of philosophy. My severe auditory processing must be something I can control, because I have (been given the label of) Asperger’s. If I cannot be in trigger situations, it must be because i am a spoiled, manipulative brat. Migraine days and PMS are 2 times my “functioning level” drops. On my best day, I need support.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like functioning labels either. I too find that functioning levels fluctuate based on stress. For this reason, I especially dislike functioning age labels (describing an adult as “functioning at the level of” (insert random age under 18). No one would describe a non autistic person having a bad day in such a demeaning manner. #EndFunctioningLabels #EndFunctioningAgeLabels

    Liked by 1 person

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