Simply functioning

Simply functioning

I remember when Poss was first diagnosed and I kept repeating to myself; high functioning. High. Functioning. As if those two little words, if I just gripped them hard enough, would somehow keep us from floating away into the sea of Autism.

Yet, I’m still not even really sure what they mean. Which of the symptoms of Autism need to be displayed, and which ones need to hidden away for those words to be applied? And what if it changes every day?

The more anxious Poss is, the lower functioning she seems to become. Her world tilts sideways and everything becomes amplified. The more out of control her world, the more she seeks to control, to feel safe.

Things that she would cope with at other times, suddenly seem insurmountable. We batten down the hatches and try to cotton wool her world; protecting and supporting her, until she’s ready to venture back out into it again.

At those moments, during those days, in those weeks, low functioning is a word that, if we were keeping track, would probably start to replace any small grips that we had on high functioning.

In those moments, it’s easy to think that this is all there is. That all the leaps and bounds that she’s made over the years will be stripped away, as we watch her regress, clouds gather and she closes in on herself.

But then there are other days, other weeks, when I watch her cautiously from the corner of my eye, as she explores her world, stepping out into the sunshine. Engaging with smiles and eye contact, conversations become two way and thoughts pour unselfconsciously from her mind.

She tries new things, is excited by adventures and the fear that tugs at the edges of her world is pushed back, allowing her to take tiny nibbles on the things that interest her. And as she blossoms, we wonder where that child, the low functioning one, has gone.

I’m starting (and I know, I’m slow) to understand that is the nature of Autism; the word Spectrum is used for a reason, and not just because Autism changes person to person, but also because it changes within each individual, day to day.

And just like a colour Spectrum; some days are brighter, some days are darker. Most days are just days. They all make up the colours that we need for a rainbow.

So I’ll be sticking with that for now on. Low functioning, high functioning. Whatever. Just happy to be functioning. Simply functioning.

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  1. It’s not helpful if I tell you that parenting any kind of kid is like this, is it?
    Maxabella recently posted..How to break a bad habit | DoneMy Profile

  2. Shoana Maidment says:

    Hi, my name is Shoana & I live in the UK with my husband & son. Max is 3 years old & possibly has Aspergers or high functioning autism. I say possibly as he is awaiting assessment. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this post. After a bad day yesterday, reading it helped me feel a bit better knowing that someone out there is going through the same thing. You described the cycle of good days & bad days to a tee. We have just come through a phase of a good few weeks, which if I think about it followed a few bad weeks, & are now in a period of regression again. And you know it’s going to happen but it still knocks you every time & you find it hard to enjoy the good times because you know what will follow. Regardless, we just put one foot in front of the other & take it one day at a time. I just wanted to say thank you & I wanted you to know that your words helped me. Please keep doing what you are doing because it is the words of brave women like you that make a difference to women like me. Thank you again. Regards, Shoana

    • Thank you so much Shona for taking the time and reaching out to me. I’m thrilled that my words – however insignificant – are able to offer you some comfort. It’s a scary time during this waiting time for you… Hold tight and don’t hesitate to reach out if you’ve got questions or anything I might be able to help with. Cheers – Renee

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