Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: High-Functioning =/= Easy/Convenient

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

High-Functioning =/= Easy/Convenient

Note: Personal reflections and opinions ahead. You are welcome to disagree with me, but any profane, hateful, irrelevant, an/or otherwise inappropriate comments will be removed promptly.

Warning: Text-heavy and long post

Don't assume that so-called "high-functioning" people have it easy. We have specific, out-of-the-ordinary needs too--and some people refuse to accommodate them because we seem so normal. High-functioning people are often labeled as spoiled, undisciplined, stuck-up, lazy, inconsiderate, impostors, or other negative things because their disabilities are not as apparent. I have personally experienced this, but not to the extent others have. The same can apply to someone with invisible disabilities because people are conditioned to think that outward normality is an indicator of inward normality. To alter a quote from "Flowers for Algernon", a well-known short story from Daniel Keyes, "How strange is it that people of honest feelings and sensibility, who would not take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyes--how such people think nothing of abusing a man with [insert disability here]."   No matter the severity or manifestation of a disability, it is not any more or less real.

I replied to a comment on the Love that Max post "People who get it, People who so don't". I told a commenter about my accommodations, honors classes, and how I needed them and, as expected, someone lashed out at me. They said I used my services to prop up my GPA, don't need it more than anyone else, that I was using resources that could help students who were barely making an average grade and did not have a disability. I replied with this comment: (Name omitted for reasons)

Accommodating a high-performing student in a school or elsewhere, especially if said student already performs well beyond passing standards without extra help, is a foreign concept to many people. Fortunately, I have a resource teacher that gets it and helps me to achieve what I can by helping to alleviate the anxiety that causes me to hold myself back. It is the law to provide needed accommodations and services despite a student's grades. However, some disregard this law and say that it is not fair to accommodate an intelligent student, like they're trying to create a Harrison Bergeron-esque school system.

This extends outside of the academic world as well. I have multiple food aversions ranging from common to almost unheard of. To name a few, I do not like beef or pork, avoid garlic and onions, think most sauces are vomit-inducing, do not bother with fish unless it's the 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000 chance that I will try a small flake of the mildest whitefish in existence, reject most seafood, find nearly all cheese revolting, only like buttered toast if the butter is applied before toasting, will never try durian, and have actually used a strainer to determine whether pulp-free Tropicana orange juice was pulp free (Pulp clogged the strainer within seconds.). Because of this, I am afraid of offending someone by refusing their food. They will be more apt to think I'm spoiled and it's all in my head because it's not an allergy, sensitivity, for religious reasons, or a predictable diet like paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or an elimination diet.

This post was not intended to be a means to acquire pity from others or express the desire to be cured. It was intended to draw others from the trap that high-functioning=easy. Being able to perform, but still needing services, leaves the high-functioning prone to more antagonism and false accusation of faking a disability. Keep this in mind if someone without any adaptive devices/outward indicators of a disability is parked in a handicapped spot, inconveniences you/your child waiting to use the accessible stall, or leaves the class to take a test in an alternative location. It is an awkward gap to bridge, but I wouldn't be anywhere else for the world.


  1. I don't have autism but I am a smart teen w/ a 504 plan that gets extended time/separate location for tests. People don't get it. "But your smart." Yes but I have documented disabilities(anxiety disorder, hearing loss) and I have taken tests that prove I need extra time. So I get you. :)

  2. Amen Sister. I'm so sorry you were attacked. It makes me so mad when I see crap like that. As a bright (in honors and AP classes, close to a 4.0 GPA in High school) student with an IEP I so get what you're talking about. When I was a Junior, the powers that be decided that I needed to be assessed again, because they didn't think I needed my services anymore. Um, hello? Ever thought that the *reason* I was doing so well was expressly *because* I had been supported for years. Gah!

    1. As an AP English student with a 504 I so get you. Ugh I hope you continued to receive the needed services.

  3. I believe that I still have a lot to learn about aspergers, but there is no way that the aspergers that my son has could be described as 'mild', at least not in the way that it now affects his life.

    1. "Mild" is subjective and relative. I might function on a more "severe" or "mild" end depending on my environment. Autistic girls also tend to mimic social guises and be chameleon-like, thus making their disorder seem less severe.


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