What is the difference between high functioning and low functioning autism?

High versus low functioning autism is probably the most common misconception related to autism spectrum condition. Unfortunately, the word spectrum gives credence to the low versus high concept. The spectrum really means that autistic people are as different to each other as they are to allistic or neurotypical people. We don’t consider red to be more functioning than violet; it is just on a different part of a diverse spectrum.

Many autistic children and adults are also diagnosed with other comorbid conditions such as Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), digestive disorders, anxiety, bipolar, depression, epilepsy, Intellectual disability, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, developmental coordination disorder and many others. When a child is considered to be low functioning, they often have other conditions that may or may not have been diagnosed. Unfortunately, many people will see the autism diagnosis and assume that is the cause of other more severe symptoms; low functioning autism has become a lazy catch-all for comorbid conditions.

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