Tuesday, April 1, 2014

When Does Different Become Dysfunctional?

originally posted at snagglebox.com



The behaviours that define autism are all atypical in some way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re dysfunctional.

So what’s the difference, how do you spot it and why should we care?




What does it all mean?

Let's do a quick rundown of the words that we use to describe behaviour...

Normal or typical
These are behaviours that are common, either for an individual or amongst a group of people. There’s no standard set of normal behaviours, because it’s a relative term which varies according to the person and context. Behaviours that are considered to be normal in one population may not be common at all in another (e.g. swearing), and those that are typical amongst a whole group of people may be uncommon for any one individual within that group (e.g. crime).

Abnormal or atypical
These are behaviours that are uncommon and not representative of either a population or a person’s usual state of being. By definition they’re not necessarily wrong or problematic, just different.

Nonfunctional
This literally means behaviour without a function... but since all behaviour has a function, in practicality it probably means ‘behaviour that has an unknown function’. It doesn’t include any reference to how common the behaviour is or whether it’s a problem.

Dysfunctional
These behaviours involve an impaired ability to function which causes a problem for somebody (either for the person themselves or those around them). Dysfunctional behaviours can be either typical or atypical for a person or population.


Want some examples? It’s handy dandy graphic time!



The behaviours that define autism are all atypical in some way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re dysfunctional.

So what’s the difference, how do you spot it and why should we care?




What does it all mean?

Let's do a quick rundown of the words that we use to describe behaviour...

Normal or typical
These are behaviours that are common, either for an individual or amongst a group of people. There’s no standard set of normal behaviours, because it’s a relative term which varies according to the person and context. Behaviours that are considered to be normal in one population may not be common at all in another (e.g. swearing), and those that are typical amongst a whole group of people may be uncommon for any one individual within that group (e.g. crime).

Abnormal or atypical
These are behaviours that are uncommon and not representative of either a population or a person’s usual state of being. By definition they’re not necessarily wrong or problematic, just different.

Nonfunctional
This literally means behaviour without a function... but since all behaviour has a function, in practicality it probably means ‘behaviour that has an unknown function’. It doesn’t include any reference to how common the behaviour is or whether it’s a problem.

Dysfunctional
These behaviours involve an impaired ability to function which causes a problem for somebody (either for the person themselves or those around them). Dysfunctional behaviours can be either typical or atypical for a person or population.


Want some examples? It’s handy dandy graphic time!

To keep reading, click here...

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