What is High Functioning Autism?

High Functioning Autism Explained

I’ll never forget the look on her face when I told her my older son was autistic. She was completely dumbfounded, and stood speechless for a moment. Immediately following an epic public meltdown, this lady had reprimanded me for having such an unruly child. After she regained her composure, all she could blurt out was, “But he’s so high functioning!” With that, she scurried off. I don’t know who gave her the right to label him as such, but what is high functioning autism anyway?

Levels of autism

In everyday conversation, people typically throw out the terms “low functioning” and “high functioning,” when referring to one’s presentation of autism. “Low functioning” generally means non-verbal, and possibly cognitively delayed. If someone speaks, they are usually considered “high functioning.”

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