Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"What Is High Functioning?" Tumblr

Someone (I think it was Amanda Forest Vivian, but I'm not sure) started a Tumblr for the purpose of providing highly specific answers to that question --- what is "high functioning"?

People are encouraged to submit anecdotes about people with developmental disabilities being labeled "high functioning," and what specific thing they think led the person to label them that way.

Some specific examples of things that get people sorted into the "high-functioning" category:

(There are also some less-concrete examples of "high-functioning" stuff like being able to speak fluently, carry on a conversation, not having a "routine" and being "independent.")

Anyone can submit a post; they just have to click the "Submit" link in the sidebar and type in the text of their post, a title, and their name and email address.

I love the idea around this Tumblr blog --- to have one place where people can share all the different things "high-functioning" has been used to mean --- and would submit an anecdote or two of my own if my autobiographical memory weren't only slightly better than Wolverine's. (I know that I've been called "high-functioning" fairly often --- at least once in the context of, "isn't she too high-functioning to be here (at a camp for autistic children)?" --- but cannot remember the details of any of these instances. So I don't think there's anything I could contribute that would be of value to this project, which is too bad).

1 comment:

Leah Jane said...

Thanks for informing me about this. I find the word "high functioning" extremely problematic, and I'm glad to see it being de-constructed in this manner.
When "high functioning" was used to apply to me, it was often in reference to the fact that I had a "fertile imagination" and read fiction for pleasure. Which I found confusing, because fertile imaginations and creativity are not limited to literature and poetry. It takes a lot of imagination to be in math and science, but I do not excel in those fields.