The struggles of women who mask their autism
To evaluate some of these methods, Mandy, Lai, and their colleagues in the United Kingdom surveyed 55 women, 30 men, and seven individuals who are either transgender or “other” gendered, all diagnosed with autism. They asked what motivates these individuals to mask their autism traits and what techniques they use to achieve their goal.
Some of the participants reported that they camouflage in order to connect with friends, find a good job, or meet a romantic partner. “Camouflaging well can land you a lucrative job,” Jennifer says. “It helps you get through social interaction without there being a spotlight on your behavior or a giant letter A on your chest.” Others said they camouflage to avoid punishment, to protect themselves from being shunned or attacked, or simply to be seen as “normal.”
“I actually got told by a couple of my teachers that I needed to have ‘quiet hands,’” says Katherine Lawrence, a 33-year-old woman with autism in the United Kingdom.