The autistic community (talking about #actuallyautistic people) are pretty sick of functioning labels. The labels are divisive and dismissive. Would YOU want to be called “low functioning” ? No? Then how dare we call others that. Not to mention, an autistic’s ability to do something can vary from day to day and circumstance to circumstance. Some “low functioning” people can do things that “high functioning” people can’t. It’s not cut and dried.
So let’s cut to the heart of the matter and call it what it really is: “Obvious” and “Less Obvious.” Is it obvious to a non-autistic person that autistic is on the spectrum or not?
Lady Bug is turning 5 soon. She’s gotten too tall to be mistaken for a very big 3 year old any more. When strangers encounter her in public, it’s obvious to them that she’s autistic.
Early Bird and Builder Boy are less obvious. With them you have to get to know them and engage them beyond passing by them at the store. And some people even deny that they’re autistic, precisely because it’s less obvious than their little sister.
This idea was conceived by an autistic adult named Harold Jordan, shared and expanded on with permission. Please help spread this around so we can replace the hated functioning labels with something that actually makes sense and is what people really want to know.
Edited to add: