Something that happens to me all the time when I talk about what my students can do is people assume I only accept the “high functioning” kids. They ask questions about how what I am teaching is "advanced" and their students would not be able to do it. It infuriates me!
Well folks my students couldn't do it before either! My students didn’t have these skills. I taught them. Now they do. That is how teaching works.
I take any student who shows up. The only child I actually turned down for my home school academy I turned down because we would not have been challenging enough. I have never, ever turned down a child because I didn't think they could learn! When we say "presume potential" this is what it means. No matter where you perceive a child to be "functioning" you KNOW that they are capable of learning, of progressing. And as a teacher you do EVERYTHING possible to both meet them where they are AND raise the bar gradually. If you are setting the bar so low they could trip over it I am not even sure you can call yourself a teacher!
The truth is I am a last resort. If a kid is “easy” or “high functioning” they aren’t going to end up working with me because the school/hospital/etc will be fine for them. It's the kids who are deemed "hard", "challenging", "difficult" and (the one label I hate the most) "low" who end up with a private provider like me, usually after years of educational neglect. And that educational neglect comes from low expectations and assumptions of inability to learn. This oldie, but goodie graphic from Practical AAC holds true. Change your perceptions of the individual and you change everything!