I have said for a long time that not only is the idea of a unified functioning level misleading, but that perceived ‘functioning level’ is not as far as I have seen related to whether a person wishes to become non-autistic or not.
But I was talking to another autistic person the other day, and I noticed something that runs the opposite of conventional wisdom on this matter: The people I have seen who detest their autism the most, are often (not always of course) people who can almost fake normalcy, but not quite. People who can appear almost as if they are not autistic, almost make it in the non-autistic world, almost ‘succeed’ in life.
And I think of my own life. I refuse to identify with a particular ‘functioning level’, I have been classified as low and high for reasons that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the ones doing the classifying. I am told though that even when I attempted to look normal, I was not succeeding. I am far removed from the life that most people see as a ‘normal life’. I am easily recognizable as out of the ordinary by others (in the offline world).
While I have had struggles with self-hatred, I have had to come to terms rapidly with the reality that there is no possibility of reaching non-autistic normalcy, as a matter of survival. This seems true of many autistic people who share my views.
This is not the only factor in the cure/anti-cure debate, but I find it very interesting that one aspect seems to go opposite to how most people predict: That people closer to the outward appearance of non-autistic norms are in some respects more likely to wish to be non-autistic (even if it is just as impossible for them to do so as it is for me to do so). I doubt I am articulating this properly, but I hope my meaning will be clear.