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How to Stop Masking

Unmasking Tips for Autism: How to Stop Masking

Approximately 2% of U.S. adults live with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This means about 5.4 million people over 18 might hide their true selves to fit in. Learning autism how to stop masking means embracing who you are. It’s letting go of shame and improving your life.

Recognition of autism looks different across genders, races, and sexualities. Our criteria for autism often overlooks women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks. This leads to misdiagnosis and feelings of isolation for many. We need a change. We need to welcome diverse minds and unmask for real acceptance.

We’re heading towards better awareness. But hidden struggles like anxiety and depression still affect those who mask their autism. Autism self-advocacy can help. It shows us how to support and celebrate everyone’s unique mind. Our goal isn’t to cure but to welcome everyone as they are.

Understanding Autism Masking and Its Impact

About 5.4 million adults in the United States have Autism Spectrum Disorder. This makes understanding autism masking vital. Masking is when people with autism copy neurotypical behaviors to fit in. It’s hard to notice, but recognizing it can help create a better world for everyone.

Defining the Masking Phenomenon

Around 80% of adults with autism mask, as per Hull and others’ research in 2017. They might hide their autistic traits on purpose or without realizing it. They use various strategies to act more like neurotypical people, which can be tiring.

Recognizing the Signs of Masking in Autism

It’s crucial to see when someone is masking. Signs include worrying a lot about social situations and trying not to make mistakes. Certain groups, like women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks, might mask more. This shows why we need to help everyone in the autism community.

Consequences of Long-Term Masking

Masking for a long time can lead to big problems. It can make people feel very anxious or depressed. Some students who mask even think about suicide, as Cassidy’s 2019 study shows.

Raymaker’s 2020 study says 20% of adults with autism can get autistic burnout. This means they feel extremely tired, lose abilities, and can’t handle daily life. Keeping up this effort to fit in can also make social skills worse and increase sensory overload.

  • A staggering 75% of autistic adults use camouflaging as a coping mechanism (Cage & Troxell-Whitman, 2019).
  • Bullying affects 1 in 3 adolescents with autism, underscoring the urgent need for autism social skills support (Lung et al., 2019).
  • About 24% of autistic individuals report feeling dehumanized due to their experiences (Cage, Di Monaco & Newell, 2019).
  • Autism sensory overload is a significant concern, with 3 out of 5 individuals enduring sensory trauma (Fulton et al., 2020).

These facts show how important it is to support people with autism properly. Devon Price, a social psychologist, wants a world where everyone’s differences are valued. If we stop making autistic people hide who they are, we’ll make a big step towards a caring and inclusive society.

Autism How to Stop Masking

About 2% of adults in the U.S. have autism. This means 5.4 million people are working to blend their unique views into a world that often overlooks them. Understanding how to stop masking and finding the right support is key.

Assess Your Comfort Zone

Individuals from groups like women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks with autism may hide their autistic traits. This leads to more masking. Recognizing when and why you mask is the first step. Changing your surroundings to fit your needs can help you feel better.

Self-Reflect and Identify Authentic Behaviors

Autism is mostly diagnosed in white cisgender boys. This leaves others, like black boys or gender nonconforming individuals, behind. It’s important to know and accept your real self, beyond what society expects from someone with autism.

Challenge Internalized Ableism

Many autistic people feel shame about their condition. This can lead to problems like meltdowns or eating disorders. To become a better self-advocate, it’s crucial to fight against this shame. Start by loving yourself and ignoring the need to act “normal.”

Rediscover and Embrace Your Passions

Autistic kids are often told to hide their excitement. But it’s very important to find and love what makes you happy. Unmasking means more than just being honest. It means fully embracing your interests without holding back.

Seek Out Neurodivergent Communities

Finding a group of neurodivergent people can make you feel at home. In these communities, you can get and give support. You’ll also learn how to better stand up for yourself among people who understand.

Consider Professional Support and Resources

Finally, getting the right help and resources is crucial in learning to unmask. Places like NPR’s autism resources can show you how to live in a world that appreciates you. They stress the importance of clear communication and accepting different behaviors.


New research sheds light on the struggles of people with autism, especially when it comes to masking. A key study with 144 autistic people revealed the psychological impact of masking. It showed how it makes them feel disconnected from who they really are. This teaches us that learning autism how to stop masking is crucial for their well-being and true self-expression.

The harmful effects of masking, like sensory issues and severe emotional distress, call for immediate action. We need more autism support resources. These resources must meet the specific needs of those affected. Greater awareness leads to a society that fully accepts and celebrates neurological differences.

Supporting autistic individuals helps create a society that respects mental health and authenticity. Studies that look at personal stories help us understand their unique struggles. Connecting with helpful communities allows people with autism to proudly show their true selves. Let’s work towards a world full of empathy, support, and advocacy for a genuine future.


What is autism masking?

Autism masking is when people with autism hide their traits to blend in. They act like others and hide their real behaviors.

What are the signs of masking in autism?

Signs include using learned phrases in conversations, copying others, holding back repetitive actions, and hiding what bothers them or their intense interests.

What are the consequences of long-term masking?

Hiding one’s autism for a long time can hurt self-identity, esteem, and happiness. It can make someone very tired, feel alone, and have a hard time being themselves.

How can I assess my comfort zone?

To find your comfort zone, spot what situations and activities feel right for you. This helps you know what you like and need.

How do I self-reflect and identify authentic behaviors?

Self-reflecting means thinking deeply about your feelings and actions. It helps figure out when you’re masking and what is truly you.

How can I challenge internalized ableism?

To tackle internalized ableism, question the negative ideas about autism you’ve accepted. Learn to value autism’s unique aspects and strengths.

How do I rediscover and embrace my passions?

Finding your passions again means exploring what activities and hobbies excite you. Focus on these to live more authentically and with purpose.

Where can I seek support from neurodivergent communities?

Finding support from those who understand can be relieving. Look for online groups, social media, and local communities for connections.

What professional support and resources are available?

Many professional aids are out there for autism, including therapy, groups, and workshops. There are also books and websites for help with being open about autism.

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