A deep dive into the spectrum of Autistic experience and the phenomenon of masked Autism, giving individuals the tools to safely uncover their true selves while broadening society’s narrow understanding of neurodiversity
“A remarkable work that will stand at the forefront of the neurodiversity movement.”—Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP, author of Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism
For every visibly Autistic person you meet, there are countless “masked” Autistic people who pass as neurotypical. Masking is a common coping mechanism in which Autistic people hide their identifiably Autistic traits in order to fit in with societal norms, adopting a superficial personality at the expense of their mental health. This can include suppressing harmless stims, papering over communication challenges by presenting as unassuming and mild-mannered, and forcing themselves into situations that cause severe anxiety, all so they aren’t seen as needy or “odd.”
In Unmasking Autism, Dr. Devon Price shares his personal experience with masking and blends history, social science research, prescriptions, and personal profiles to tell a story of neurodivergence that has thus far been dominated by those on the outside looking in. For Dr. Price and many others, Autism is a deep source of uniqueness and beauty. Unfortunately, living in a neurotypical world means it can also be a source of incredible alienation and pain. Most masked Autistic individuals struggle for decades before discovering who they truly are. They are also more likely to be marginalized in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and other factors, which contributes to their suffering and invisibility. Dr. Price lays the groundwork for unmasking and offers exercises that encourage self-expression, including:
• Celebrating special interests
• Cultivating Autistic relationships
• Reframing Autistic stereotypes
• And rediscovering your values
It’s time to honor the needs, diversity, and unique strengths of Autistic people so that they no longer have to mask—and it’s time for greater public acceptance and accommodation of difference. In embracing neurodiversity, we can all reap the rewards of nonconformity and learn to live authentically, Autistic and neurotypical people alike.
Informative and insightful
i looove this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was diagnosed as autistic back in 2019, and was quite confused. as a child, i was very "naughty" and "energetic". i often got detention, and was bullied. i stimmed a lot in class, making me an easy target. i only had one friend throughout elementary school, which made it rough for me. when i got to middle school, i began to mask more.. stopped stimming, ignored the fact that i was having a sensory overload at a party and said i was fine... ect...
i feel lucky that i got diagnosed, as i'm hispanic and a woman. but i think i should say less about me and more about the book...
this book is written by an autistic person, so this is no "gluten-free diet autism solution" book. the author writes about a wide variety of people, not just white boys who like trains. one of my favorite experiences shared in the book is timotheus's story. he shares a lot about being an autistic black man, and his life in high school, which i find very interesting. i love how many queer people are talked about as well!!!!! another thing i enjoyed reading was alcoholism, drug use, and masked autism. once, my dad told me that what if many homeless drug addicts and such are actually undiagnosed autistic. i think he has a good point with this one.
i also like how special interests are seen as something fun, and to be celebrated. i want to pursue the things i like, such as japanese fashion and geography (i really like romania), but i often feel like i would get criticized for it. this book has taught me that if you attempt to mask your special interests, you'll wind up very burnt out. this is because your special interest brings joy.
thank you, for writing this book. i really enjoyed it