You don’t really know what you’re doing to me when you ask me if I’m just very high-functioning. You don’t know what that does to entire communities of Autistics, all of whom suffer from these arbitrary, hurtful labels of low and high functioning, and none of whom they even come close to accurately describing. Because they only describe ideas that don’t exist in reality, that don’t exist outside laboratories without windows or thesis papers without people. They don’t even describe precise or definite ideas. How can you take these words, then, and try to use them to describe real, breathing human beings? It reeks of ableism; it reeks of paternalism; it reeks of laziness and resorting to the language of convenience rather than searching for and using the language that affirms the value in being Autistic, empowers us despite our marginalization, and describes us respectfully and meaningfully.
"Oh, but you’re so high-functioning. You must not really understand those less able than you, those who don’t function at your level. You really shouldn’t try to speak for them."
Ruuh fi siteyn alf dahiya, ya hameer.
You don’t know me. You don’t know the life that I live day in and day out. You see me for a few minutes, maybe a few hours. Maybe a few hours on a regular basis. You know nothing about my life except what I tell you in little increments, heavily edited increments. The things I choose to let you know. The things that aren’t as consequential as the things that actually affect me. You don’t know me, and you can’t call me “high-functioning.”"
— AutisticHoya, So High-Functioning (sarcasm)