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AUTHOR: Devon Price
DATE: April 5, 2022
PAGES: 304

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity

by Devon Price, PhD

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.


Author Devon Price identifies as bisexual.

  • [coming soon]

“Everybody is a little bit Autistic,” is a common refrain that masked Autistic people hear when we come out to others. This remark can feel a bit grating to hear, because it feels like our experiences are being downplayed. It’s similar to when bisexual people get told that “everybody is a little bit bi.” When most people make remarks like these, they’re implying that because our difference is so universal, we can’t actually be oppressed for it, and should just shut up about it. However, I do think that when allistic people declare that everyone is a little Autistic, it means they are close to making an important breakthrough about how mental disorders are defined: why do we declare some people broken, and others perfectly normal, when they exhibit the exact same traits? Where do we draw the line, and why do we even bother doing so?”
– from Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price

“Others identify as having Asperger’s, though that disorder label no longer exists, and was rooted in Hans Asperger’s eugenicist research.[79] I recognize that people who had that term forced on them in the past may feel an attachment to it, or a desire to reclaim it. The word bisexual was once a mental illness label,[80] but we don’t tell bisexual people they can’t use it because of its offensive history.”
– from Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price

“Once Andrew decided to join the church, things began to change. Members kept him up on the phone late at night, asking intense questions about his family, from whom he was estranged. One of the church’s leaders interrogated him about his bisexuality, and how he could reconcile it with their faith’s teachings. Andrew stopped going on dates with men, because that stopped all the questions.”
– from Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price

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