Autism masking is the practice of presenting oneself in a way that may be perceived as different from who one actually is. It affects women more than men because society has gender-based bias and autism manifests differently for each person, so it can create confusion about how to treat them appropriately.
Autism masking is the act of making an individual look like they are not autistic. This can be done by taking away their facial expressions, voice tone, and body language. Studies have shown that women are more likely to have autism masking than men.
Autism manifests itself in actual, tangible symptoms. If you’re on the autism spectrum, you’re familiar with these signs. You’ve probably noticed these indications if you have a loved one on the spectrum.
For many people with autism, hand flapping, avoiding eye contact, and having meltdowns as a result of routine alterations are all regular occurrences.
Autism masking is recognizing the signs and striving tirelessly to conceal them. It’s frequent among individuals who haven’t been diagnosed with autism, and it may prevent them from obtaining the treatment they need.
Autism masking is more common in women. The gap was recently identified by researchers, and their findings might be crucial for women in need of assistance.
What Is Autism Masking, and How Does It Work?
In our daily lives, we all wear some kind of mask. For example, we act professionally at work but have a lot of fun with our kids at home. Autism masking is a unique phenomenon.
According to experts, autism disguising requires a continuous and sophisticated effort. People put forth a lot of effort during the day to ensure that their actions are consistent with cultural standards. Every aberrant urge is controlled, and the ultimate aims are conformity and uniformity.
According to specialists, women are masters of autism disguising. Girls are expected to engage socially, whilst guys are free to create a loner character. The more time females spend with their neurotypical classmates, the more “micro-rejections” they may encounter, such as:
Looks perplexed. Girls who stim get a lot of dirty looks from their classmates.
Laughter. When you talk about a favorite subject for a long time, you may get mocking laughs.
Isolation. Different girls are not invited to parties or lunch dates.
Girls learn to temper their behavior as the insults mount up. They cease doing things that others criticize them for, and they may even seek for a role model to emulate. They spend the most of their school days studying how to blend in with their classmates while removing everything that sets them out.
These girls’ tendencies become ingrained as they mature into adults. They’re masters at imitating their colleagues and slipping under the radar.
Girls are so skilled at disguising their autistic symptoms that they even managed to conceal their symptoms from researchers. According to Autism Speaks, experts just recently discovered that women are on the spectrum. Researchers are discovering more and more about how women hide their autistic symptoms in order to avoid being detected.
Autism masking is not only ineffective, but it is also harmful to one’s mental health. Maskers may not get the assistance they need to comprehend their thoughts and convey them to others.
Experts in masking, particularly people who have numerous various masks they employ depending on the situation, are said to have poor mental health, according to researchers. People who don’t use any makeup have better mental health than those who do.
Masking is connected with the following conditions:
Autism masking may sometimes cause a delay in getting a proper diagnosis. Because there are no autism blood tests or brain scans, clinicians must rely on observation to identify possible cases. People who conceal their symptoms may get no care at all or be labeled with illnesses they don’t have. Masking may prevent individuals from being understood and supported in either case, according to researchers.
According to researchers, autism masking may seem to have a number of advantages, including:
Integration into society. People who conceal characteristics that make others uncomfortable are less likely to be shunned.
Employment. People who wear masks may seem to be more suited for professional settings. They may get employed more quickly than individuals who do not conceal their symptoms.
Independence. People may believe they are enjoying their best lives because of their work and friends.
However, proponents argue that disguising denies communities the chance to know and appreciate individuals for who they really are. People with autism do not have the right to conceal, deceive, or disguise their wants. They have earned the right to be welcomed for who they are. This is avoided by using masking.
Gender & Autism
For many years, scientists believed that women and girls could not get autism. We now know that isn’t the case. Women and girls, on the other hand, have difficulties in getting an appropriate diagnosis.
Autism survey instruments were designed with boys in mind, yet autism in girls may manifest itself in a variety of ways. Boys with autism, for example, are more likely to develop hyperactivity and behavioral issues, according to specialists. Girls, on the other hand, are more inclined to bottle up their emotions and suffer from despair and anxiety as a result.
Researchers claim that because of issues like these, clinicians may overlook females with autism, even if they have similar degrees of autistic features. If a female is diagnosed, it is more likely that she will get the designation later in life than a guy.
There isn’t much that parents can do to make up for the disparity. For treatment to be reimbursed by insurance and for schools to offer it, doctors must make the diagnosis. Parents are unable to diagnose or treat their daughters, but they may advocate on their behalf. You can do the following:
Make a list of traits. Make a list of all the behaviors you’ve seen. Include the dates and times of key episodes, such as weeping spells, tantrums, and the events that led up to them.
Make use of video. At home, your daughter may be herself, but at school she wears her mask completely. To show your doctor what’s going on at home, tape episodes.
Inquire about recommendations. Look for a physician who specializes in autism if your doctor won’t listen to your recommendations or provide reliable testing. That individual may see something that your doctor does not.
Speak with your youngster. Remind your daughter that she is important to you. Encourage her to be herself throughout her visits, and let her know that honest responses will not let you or her doctor down.
Other illnesses that resemble autism but are caused by something different may affect girls. Anxiety disorders, for example, may cause comparable symptoms. Assist your daughter in finding someone who can recognize the symptoms and deliver an appropriate diagnosis.
What Happens When You Get a Diagnosis?
Autism masking entails concealing one’s true identity from the outside world. You could feel like an impostor in your own flesh, and you might believe that no one would love you for who you really are.
An autism diagnosis reveals important details about who you are and how your mind functions. You’ll understand you’re not weird, weirdo, or alone. You’re a member of a group of individuals who believe and behave similarly to you.
A diagnosis might also assist you in getting started with treatment. The purpose of autism treatment is to assist you in learning new skills that will help you strengthen your connections in a genuine way. Therapy may be used to:
Improve your communication abilities. Learn how to communicate with people about your autism so that they may understand who you are and what you need.
Handle basic responsibilities. Completing complicated activities might be challenging for those with autism. You may repeat the processes in treatment until they are ingrained in your muscle memory.
Soothe the pain. You can learn to recognize indicators of distress, and your therapist can teach you how to manage rather than conceal your emotions.
Increase the depth of your connections. Your family may be invited to participate in certain treatment sessions and assist you in developing skills. It’s possible that your relationship with these significant persons in your life may deepen.
It’s difficult to receive this type of aid without a thorough diagnosis. You can go on and live your best life after receiving a diagnosis.
While women are more likely to disguise their autistic symptoms, males may also do so.
If you’ve been disguising signs of autism because of your gender, know that you don’t have to anymore. A physician can create a comfortable environment in which you may open up about the symptoms you’ve been suffering with for the most of your life.
If you were never diagnosed with autism as a kid, you may be able to gain an appropriate diagnosis as an adult. Because autism does not manifest itself in maturity, your doctor will inquire about symptoms that began in infancy. To acquire a more complete picture of your symptoms and background, they may wish to speak with your parents, teachers, or other significant individuals in your life.
You may assist a loved one who you suspect is disguising the signs of autism. Connect them with a professional who can examine and, if necessary, diagnose their symptoms.
A diagnosis is the first step toward treatment that may help you or a loved one overcome the challenges of autism and live a richer, more fulfilling life.
Autism masking in males. Autism is a condition that affects the way an individual communicates, socializes and interacts with others. Masking is when someone has autism but doesn’t show it or doesn’t want to be seen as having it. It can be hard for people who have autism to find a job because they may not know how to interact with co-workers or clients. Reference: autism masking in males.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you tell if someone is masking autism?
A: There are many ways to tell if someone is masking autism. One way is by looking at the persons eye movements and other motor skills. Some people with Autism may have difficulty with their eyes, making them tired or unable to hold up for long periods of time when theyre checking objects in a distance like you would see on an episode of America Ninja Warrior. Another way some might be able to tell that someone has autism is through his or her reactions and responses to certain stimuli such as the therapy dog mentioned earlier in this article who had been trained specifically for children diagnosed with ASD
What are examples of masking?
A: You can use masking to isolate certain areas in order to make them sound better. This is typically done by using a low pass filter on the low frequencies and high pass filters on the highs, which allows you to see whats going on underneath everything else.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.