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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

'Low functioning' and 'high functioning' - often used but what does it tell us?

Do you find the terminology 'low functioning' or 'high functioning' acceptable, or even useful when it is applied to your child? What do parents and teachers mean when we/they use it?

This post was not written about students with Down syndrome, nevertheless Mary Louise Betram's thoughts on the limitations of such terminology will resonate with many parents and teachers - she leaves us in no doubt that it is not useful. It's quite long and detailed, but well worth reading by both parents and teachers, to the very last paragraphs.

Low Functioning? High Functioning? What Are We Really Saying?
Mary Louise Betram, Guest post at Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs, 28th November 2014

... "Low functioning" tells me nothing and gives me no clues EXCEPT to tell me about the adults who work with the child ... Kids who are called "high functioning" are the ones who are the easier ones to problem solve. "High functioning" has nothing to do with them, it's all about us and how we see them and their needs.

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