Week 1 23-29 July – What is masking? What it’s like to wear the mask.
Masking is trying to be less visibly autistic, trying to match our behavior to others around us, or trying to perform as society expects us to.
Masking requires constant monitoring, lots of cognitive processing power, and often results in the autistic person having to favor performance over substance.
Requiring an autistic person to make eye contact with you may result in them not hearing or processing what you’re saying. Thus negating the entire point of the conversation. It is also, most importantly, exhausting.
For our students with #autism, masking is all about fitting in. Either because they want to fit with their peers, or because they are being asked to try to better fit in by their parents or teachers (“Quiet hands,” “look at me,” etc.).
Teachers and support staff generally mean well, and it is definitely important to teach #autistic kids social skills and norms. But educators must also be sure to strike a healthy balance, and allow kids a safe space to drop the mask and stim at school, without judgment.
Actively trying to fit in with other students can be exhausting for #autistic kids. It’s important for educators to remember that it takes so much cognitive energy to mask, even when it looks effortless on the outside.
Imagine having to walk around on your tiptoes all day long, or having to walk around wearing a tight corset. That’s kind of how constant masking feels. #Autistic kids need time to breathe, to recuperate, and to prepare for the next social effort they’ll be asked to perform.
Join the #TakeTheMaskOff conversation on Twitter!
View the original thread on Twitter.