by Miriam Ronzoni on November 8, 2022

I have been researching around ADHD fairly actively for family reasons in the last year or so, and the Youtube algorithm has hence decided that I must be interested in neurodivergence more broadly. So, thanks to it, I have recently discovered two excellent channels on autism with lots of instructive and nuanced videos – Autism From the Inside by Paul Micallef and Yo Samdy Sam by Samantha Stein (I know, here we go again: isn’t it adorable how it’s 2022 and I have just discovered Youtube content creators?). That, and two insightful conversations I have recently had, got me thinking about the concept of autistic masking.

Paul Micalleff and Samantha Stein (both got an autism diagnosis in their 30s) are broadly sympathetic to the idea that autistic masking is an unfair burden imposed on autistic people, and therefore broadly support the #TakeTheMaskOff campaign, yet they also both advocate a gradual, paced process (they also made a joint live stream about it). Stein suggests taking unmasking one step at a time, experimenting with it, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and starting off by taking corners of the mask off when in the company of trusted people first. Micallef makes very similar points in a number of different videos. However, whilst he advocates the same gradual approach in practice, he seems to have a very stark principled view, according to which there is a sharp separation between proper masking and the normal process of filtering what you reveal about yourself. The latter is essential to communication – everybody does it, unavoidably, all the time, and it can be fully authentic even if partial and selective (see here for instance, but there are more examples). Micallef says, for instance, something to the effect of “I don’t make and upload videos when I cry or have just had a huge meltdown, not least because I am not a good communicator when in that state of mind; but that doesn’t mean that I am faking it in my videos and I am masking all the way through them.” The former, in his view, is something quite different: it is a relentless, self-censoring long-term process, which involves being inauthentic out of fear that one will not be accepted otherwise. Hence, even if the approach to unmasking he advocates is gradual and nuanced out of strategic reasons, the overall verdict on masking itself seems to be quite unreservedly damning (although – see below – it also seems to be quite  a narrow definition, which would not identify as masking proper a lot of things which many autistic people regularly do and call such).

Now to the two insightful conversations I have recently had. One was with the parent of an autistic child, who is quite skeptical about sharply separating different forms of neurodivergence. They think calling different ideal-types of presentation with different names is a useful label for now, but may well be one which we’ll abandon in the future as we come to know more. For instance, they suggest, their child can be very witty, quite capable of appreciating irony, subtle nuances and indirect messages given by others, and in general attuned to emotional and social cues – when in a comfortable environment (such as with close family members). This, they say, is not masking, but a genuine capacity that however requires favourable conditions. Now, this sounds a lot like the hypersensitivity and impulsivity of people with ADHD – which can lead them to misinterpret social cues and feel easily attacked on many occasions, but can co-exist with moments where these issues are not present at all, if the person enjoys the right background conditions (no stress or anxiety; emotional security, etc). Of course, autism and ADHD co-occur quite significantly, buy my recent acquaintance insists this is a feature of their child’s neurodivergence more broadly, rather than something which can be easily put in the ADHD box as opposed to in the autism box.

The other conversation was also with someone I recently met socially, but they have autism themselves. They were telling me about how the removal of certain nurturing conditions (disruption to an important and established routine; being away from home for a long time; etc.) affects their functioning, and they then zoomed in on how one crucial way in which this pans out is that it makes their capacity to “mask” more difficult. They kept using air quotes when using the words “mask” and “masking,” so I asked them why. The answer was broadly like this: “Well, what I have in mind is stuff that I find quite difficult, I had to learn it, and it doesn’t come naturally to me at all; but I wouldn’t say I am faking in any meaningful way when I put some of these “masking” mechanisms in place – on the contrary, quite often they are what enables me to have meaningful human exchanges.”

So, is one of these insights right and the others wrong? After all, they seem to pull in quite different directions. Or is a common narrative possible, if a more complicated one? Well, the short answer, of course, is that I have no clue – and there probably is a huge debate on the topic of which I have only just starting scratching the surface. The long answer is also that I have no clue, but that I had an idea about something that might help make sense, comparatively, of these seemingly different experiences. So I am just going to put it out there for people who know more to tell me whether I am on the right track or not. Basically, I wonder whether an experience common to people who struggle with mental health (and in particular trauma-survivors of different kinds) can offer a helpful comparison here. Avoiding certain objectively damaging and impairing coping-mechanisms for somebody who, say, has suffered trauma or has a history of poor attachment can be very hard. These can range from shutting down, to lashing out, to taking everything personally or, on the contrary, grossly disregarding one’s needs – the list is endless and extremely varied. Yet, the journey to manage some of these or even overcome them is not necessarily a journey away from one’s true self and towards a “fake,” if better functioning, persona. Indeed, it can be essential not only to have meaningful exchange with other persons, but also to be better in touch with oneself. Yet it is, other things being equal, much, much harder than it is for people who don’t struggle with mental health, and it is not something that comes naturally. Yet unnatural does not necessarily mean inauthentic, and natural does not necessarily mean authentic. This looks very much like “masking” in air quotes: it is hard work, harder than for others; it does not come naturally and the removal of favourable conditions can make it difficult to sustain; yet calling it “fake” wouldn’t be fully accurate. Of course, this is a gross over-simplification and there are grey areas. People who struggle with mental health already have it harder, and sometimes the solution might be to accept from them something which one normally wouldn’t accept, and that can also be a way of ensuring meaningful human exchanges – indeed, sometimes it may be a fairer distribution of burdens. What is more, some behaviours may be natural and authentic and not damaging to the person with mental health, such that, other things being equal, there wouldn’t be any reasons for trying to reduce them – crying more often and easily “than normal,” talking about one’s trauma and clarifying in public that one might find certain situations triggering might be examples here. This looks a bit more like a mask that one might cautiously yet steadily want to peel off – it is fair to expect others to deal with it. Not reacting adversely to visible stimming, lack of eye contact, or the abrupt information that one needs to leave the room because it’s too loud, might be equivalents for someone with autism. The examples might not all be the best, but what I am trying to say is that finding “masking” in air quotes useful and not necessarily inauthentic is compatible with there being many cases where, instead, the pressure to suppress certain behavious is entirely motivated by making things more acceptable for  neurotypical/mentally healthy folks. In those cases, the burden is on the neurotypical/mentally healthy population. What is more, maybe there isn’t a sharp dividing line: maybe what we have here is a spectrum with a blurred area in the middle.

Where does this leaves us? Well, again, I have no clue. But I wonder whether Micallef might be right in saying that there is a difference between (damaging) autistic masking and (helpful, and not necessarily inauthentic) filtering and yet what is missing in his picture is that the latter (the “masking” in air quotes) is much more hard work for some people than it is for others – people with poor mental health, trauma survivors, neurodivergent people, etc. And that is something which many autistic people engage in regularly, feel as exhausting work, but don’t necessarily consider only an imprisoning mask they want to peel off. Hence the decision to talk about “masking” in air quotes rather than dropping the language of masking altogether for a certain range of techniques – to convey the message: “I am not “faking,” and overall I think it’s important for me to try and sustain this behaviour in most occasions; but what I am doing requires me a lot of work and self-discipline which you might not even imagine.”



engels 11.08.22 at 10:59 am

It is perhaps unfortunate that most the people using this hashtag on Twitter seem to be anti-lockdown/anti-vaxers.


Chetan Murthy 11.08.22 at 1:30 pm

Three examples:

taxation. Everybody must contribute to the public purse. But bad actors will cheat, so the state deploys a massive and intrusive data-gathering and coercion function to ensure people comply. The usual bad actors claim “tyranny”/”unfreedom”; the rest of us recognize that this is needed to ensure a working society.
the immunocompromised; even before the pandemic, they cannot circulate in society without risking their lives, b/c the rest of us refuse to wear masks continuously in all indoor settings.
people on the spectrum, and with other psychological disabilities that make it very, very difficult to mask: as with #1, if everybody voluntarily refrained from cheating, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, b/c there wouldn’t be massive disease spread. But in March 2020, that wasn’t the case, was it? And unlike #2, somehow the idea that we shouldn’t infringe on their freedom in order to prevent the spread of a deadly and untreatable pandemic is a live concern, where it never was a live concern that we infringe on the freedoms of the immunocompromised by refusing to protect their lives by masking.

The simple truth (in March 2020) is that just as with the immunocompromised, for whom the answer is “stay at home continuously for the next two years, b/c open society is too dangerous for you”, the answer for those who cannot wear a mask is the same: while a dangerous untreatable respiratory pathogen is in wide circulation and exacting a significant toll in lives and health, “stay at home continuously unless you can do your part to prevent the spread of that pathogen”.

And the simple truth is that the previous paragraph is an “ought”: it’s not how the world works, nor how it will ever work. We all know how it turned out. It turned out that those who were willing to act for the common good did so, those who were freeloaders did that, and nobody gave a damn about the dying.

engels has it right: this subgroup is a stalking horse for the anti-masker libertarian right — people who believe that there is no such thing as a collective action problem, no such thing as a public good, and don’t actually believe in the existence of society.


Omega Centauri 11.08.22 at 2:53 pm

Having been substitute teaching in California high schools for the past year. I note that at least in these schools, with widespread mainlining of moderate “Special Ed” kids, it is pretty commonplace to see kids using coping strategies, even rocking back and forth all period. This seems to be completely tolerated/accepted by the rest of the class -at least as long as a teacher is present. So it seems that a lot of tolerance conditioning has occurred. Hopefully the amount of behavior-masking that autistic people feel they need to do has significantly decreased.


notGoodenough 11.08.22 at 3:05 pm

Chetan Murthy @ 2

My understanding of the OP is that this thread isn’t about physical masks (such as those someone might wear during a pandemic), but rather a metaphorical mask in the sense of hiding parts of yourself in order to avoid standing out from one’s surrounding society (such as if an autistic person were to attempt to hide traits and behaviours in order to “fit in better”).

I think either I’ve misunderstood you (and am perhaps taking your post too literally), or one of us has misunderstood the OP, and I just wanted to mention in case people end up accidentally talking about different things…


Nick Alcock 11.08.22 at 3:38 pm

From the inside: they are both true in a sense and do not pull in opposite directions. Being witty and etc about the subjects you are interested in when in a relaxed environment, surrounded by people you know, is relatively easy: you don’t need masks or conscious filtering of responses with these people because you know them, you have a vaguely-well-functioning working mental model of them (after years to decades or because you always knew them), and so on.

Take that away, and suddenly stress levels rise, huge amounts of mental capacity is consumed trying to handle that even before you’re trying to model — or work around the lack of model — of unfamiliar people, etc, and honestly if that gets bad enough speech alone is difficult, let alone trying to be funny or a good conversationalist.

The second thing is, well, just semantics, really. I always called these things masks because you have to consciously put them on and consciously wear them, not because they are in some way fake or inauthentic: they are filters and adjusters over your innate reactions, but over time (years) they sink into your skin and the ones you use a lot end up on all the time with no conscious effort, and are no longer masks. That doesn’t mean you have, I dunno, become a more fake person, if that even means anything. It means you have learned to automate something, albeit with much more trouble than neurotypical people do. And automation of frequently-needed things into unconscious habits is fundamental to consciousness. If all automated responses were fake, we’re all almost entirely fake and should probably stop breathing immediately.

IMHO, “authenticity” is only meaningful insofar as it distinguishes intentional deception from everything else. I’ve come to believe that everyone masks, and for everyone the masks fade with time and fuse with your normal functioning, but for autistics the masks are probably a) less good b) a lot more effort to construct c) a lot more effort to run, particularly if they involve inhibiting our ridiculously-too-strong emotional responses. It’s quite possible that for neurotypicals this stuff is all easy enough that they don’t need to conceptualize it with special terms at all.

(Myself, I’m lucky: I’ve hardly needed to build new masks or use existing ones for over a decade. I’m completely aware this makes me stinking privileged.)


J, not that one 11.08.22 at 4:13 pm

I recently listened to a CBC “Ideas” podcast on the idea of neurodiversity that was very interesting. It was in two parts, the first taking roughly an evolutionary approach and the second focusing more on individual experience. I’m not sure they are compatible, entirely.

I do notice that my teenage daughter, who was taught from an early age about “differences” rather than disabilities, and who gets a lot of information from the Internet, thinks about these issues differently. I’m not sure whether I’m over-interpreting to see a perceived similarity in those venues between neurodiversity and gender and sexual diversity, especially in attitudes toward medical and other institutional intervention, with regard to ADHD in particular, but possibly also autism (which I know less about). For some people, these really are simply differences, but for others, the inability to focus, say, even on things they care about, is bothersome.

I do wonder whether we are in a period similar to the 90s when ADHD is being self-prescribed really a lot more than might be expected. I’m beginning to see the idea that “feeling people are criticizing you” is specific to people with ADHD, which concerns me and seems to relate more to our positivity- and self-help-obsessed society than to the individual.


J, not that one 11.08.22 at 4:30 pm

To be clear, wrt to my previous comment, I’m talking about adults: my dad diagnosed himself in his 50s from a questionnaire in a best-selling book and got his GP to prescribe him Ritalin, which he took alongside various self-prescribed herbal remedies. Maybe he had ADHD, maybe he was depressed, we can’t know now, but his situation was very different from a child’s, which is not what I meant to be referring to.


Miriam Ronzoni 11.08.22 at 4:38 pm

notGoodenough @ 7

Yes, you are right. Something went wrong in the moderation there. Thanks for pointing that out. I will not approve comments talking about physical masks from now on, and might even un-approve some retrospectively if they get approved by other CTers accidentally. Sorry folks!


Sean 11.08.22 at 4:52 pm

I could write a lot on this, and go in so many different directions, but I’ll try to be organized and keep it simple for now. I’m late diagnosed autistic (30s); I became aware of ADD characteristics as I “unmolded” and “untangled” things. I also, like the vast majority of late-diagnosed autistics, had very bad C-PTSD. While trying to learn more, I spent a significant amount of time on ‘Autistok’ (autistic TikTok), where I’ve watched hundreds (if not thousands) of testimonials during the past year and a half. It’s made me highly aware of various presentations of “neurodiversity,” led me toward some more academic-oriented content, and prompted me to consult some of the more recent literature.

I’d argue that what we’re just beginning to come to terms with is the collective spectrum of neurotypes; what generally is considered autism centers around monotropism (limited, concentrated attention). How that monotropism manifests will actually determine if a person is designated ADHD, autistic, or AuD[H]D. What we’re seeing among those who are autistic / ADHD are limited attention and interest scopes, which are present from birth and can influence both neurological and psychological development. The primary difference between autistics and ADHDers is sensory sensitivity, i.e., sensory development and perception. A lot of people who presently consider themselves as solely ADHD are likely actually autistic because they have sensory sensitivities, but are not being diagnosed as autistic because of the stigma attached to the label. I personally agree with the parent “who is quite skeptical about sharply separating different forms of neurodivergence.” There are different “ideal types,” but it all comes down to monotropism and its scope. There’s no sharp cut off; I’d argue it’s a progression. Presently we seem to emphasize how monotropism affects those around the individual, as opposed to how monotropism affects the individual themselves; this is hopefully changing.

Re masking, I think the issue is terminology and the combination of what are in fact two distinct concepts, as you’ve intuited. The main concept of “masking” should really be relabeled “molding,” a term I’ve heard a couple clinicians use. The person is molding themselves long term to external expectations. They’re not just presenting themselves differently, they’re reshaping themselves—behaving differently, suppressing stims, ignoring sensory needs entirely, etc. (‘a relentless, self-censoring long-term process’). I think the term “masking” should be limited to a more temporary phenomenon, associated more with filtering and common societal norms / niceties (‘the normal process of filtering what you reveal about yourself’). The latter can be more difficult for autistic individuals than allistics because autistics do not necessarily learn, observe, or comprehend the same way that allistics do, and therefore do not pick up on social cues and other societal norms the same way. They do not come always come naturally. Behaving “appropriately” can be exceptionally difficult and/or draining, as it involves much more intentional behavior and conscious control. Social interaction itself can be tiring.


J, not that one 11.08.22 at 5:38 pm

@9 is interesting and I wonder if there is a tension between addressing aspects of syndromes and labeling. Is it helpful to recognize sensory processing issues younger, even in the absence of suspicions of autism, or does that encourage normal people to claim they’re “special” while preventing kids with autism from getting the attention they need (because SP issues actually do always signal autism)? Is it even helpful to always encourage people who do have diagnoses to identify causation solely in a specific disorder, rather than as a deficit in executive function or something specific that can be addressed with an intervention — which may be related to the labeled condition but can be separated from it?

The way kids are treated in schools and at home has changed a lot over the past 75 years, but I still see people with attitudes like my sixth grade teacher’s, who thought the speed-reading class was appropriate for kids with dyslexia and only for them. Scientists may assume scientific knowledge is more evenly spread than it is.


Sean 11.08.22 at 7:03 pm

@10: I had a lot of issues in elementary and middle school around “behavioral issues” because of my autistic characteristics, in addition to being socially tortured by my peers. I probably first developed symptoms of C-PTSD in middle school, and was diagnosed as clinically depressed, began having suicidal ideation then (since becoming aware, unmolding, and untangling, I am now depression free for the first time since I was about 7 or 8). Teachers didn’t understand my behavior, generally assumed that my curiosity, sensory difficulties, and other issues (e.g., eye contact avoidance) were either signs of extreme disrespect or excuses; they also ignored, if not reinforced, the bullying. Because I was not aware of the fact that I did perceive and think differently, I assumed I was a broken person, who lived in constant pain I was told wasn’t real, and I despised myself. I was told not only to distrust my senses, but to distrust my intuition (autistic pattern recognition).

I’d argue that it’s quite important to identify and be aware, if only to ensure that children do not find themselves severely traumatized; are able to mitigate sensory differences (e.g., light, sound, etc.); and can develop to their full potential. There’ll be some social exclusion, but that’s something that’s more or less impossible to avoid, as it’s part of the human condition. I do think it’s less a “disorder” than a difference; what makes it designated a “disorder” is that it is a minority neurotype, which can make it difficult to interact with those of other neurotypes as well as function in society as presently constructed. Does that mean that there are always “interventions” that can level the playing field? I’d argue no; the differences will always be there. One needs to learn as much about oneself as one to live the best one can in the world as it is.

Re “disorders,” there’s a lot to unpack, but will keep it simple (more of an addendum, as it feels like it needs to be added on). First, autism tends to have a lot of “co-occurring disorders,” which are often more closely associated with autism in the public imagination than the underlying monotropism (e.g., intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, etc.). Autism itself has been a moving target, as the “diagnosis” has changed over time and does not necessarily align with the public understanding of the term any more. Second, unrecognized autism and molding can lead to substantial psychological disorders, ranging from schizophrenia to borderline personality disorder to rejection sensitive dysphoria to obsessive compulsive disorder to anxiety to depression to sucidiality… I think you get the idea. So many of these disorders grow out of unrecognized, unaccommodated autism, as people are rejected, dejected, alienated, isolated for reasons that they don’t understand and for which blame themselves / others, from which they seek escape through substances and dissociation, among other things.


Peter Dorman 11.08.22 at 7:04 pm

I want to second the OP, @5 and @9. I’m a spectrum person myself. I wasn’t formally diagnosed until my early 40s (fascinating test!), but my autism was rather severe as a child. One year I was essentially nonfunctional. I had extreme difficulties interacting with others and went through my childhood without friends. By my late teens it was obvious I had a deficit to address.

I remember my initial breakthrough was a book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, by Erving Goffman. He was obviously a spectrum person himself, and what he wrote was essentially a users manual to social interaction. (Looking back, I wish I had read Face Work too; it would have saved me a lot of trouble.) Still, I didn’t have a framework for self-diagnosis and -treatment. I fumbled around with a lot of approaches, with limited success.

The second turning point was becoming a teacher. Teaching is impossible without the ability to read other people and present in an acceptable manner. That’s where the molding came in. I had to train myself to look at faces and associate facial characteristics with attitudes. I trained myself to smile periodically. I started to take what you might call a clinic approach to my varying success at being socially accepted rather than just panicking. By the time I actually received my diagnosis I had already made most of the important changes. (I still have zero exteroception, incidentally, and I have to rotate my head continuously in socially dense surroundings.)

I do not think of this as a journey to inauthenticity. I understand that my autism placed a burden on me that most others don’t share. It had an extremely negative effect on my career. (Without a lot of perseverance, I could not have remained an academic. There are many stories to be told here.) But I don’t see this as a social justice issue. I don’t want to generalize; I understand that the spectrum label obscures a vast range of different types of abilities and disabilities. I also realize that in some sense I was and remain highly privileged; after all, I had the resources and skills to work through these obstacles. But I can’t get away from the feeling that my particular deficits had a moral component, not lack of empathy but lack of awareness of how others felt and what they were thinking. Living in a bubble is not just different, it’s worse.

Again, that’s just me. I respect the differences in condition and experience across the non-neurotypical population. (A catch-all like POC.) Still, most of the rhetoric I hear, including the business about masking, doesn’t describe what I went through or how I feel about it.


Omega Centauri 11.08.22 at 8:47 pm

I was probably on the mild end of the spectrum. Also have an odd form of amusica -One thing I absolutely can’t do it determine which syllable of a word is accented. Biggest issues were social, had few friends especially girlfriends, due to social awkwardness. Was severely bullied in middle school, and that can have longterm effects. I’m seventy now, so its all water under the bridge.

In any case in USA K-12 public schools, a diagnosis that puts one in either the 504 or IEP categories means that significant resources are available to the kid. For instance I had one class with two deaf girls, and each had their own sign-language interpreter. Many kids are allowed to take tests with open notes, even when the rest of the class cannot. They can also absent themselves to special testing sites. So a great deal has changed since my childhood.


reason 11.08.22 at 9:53 pm

I’m inclined to wonder whether there is really a normal that particular classes of neurodivergent people don’t belong or as somebody suggested there is just a spectrum or neurological responses to a difficult social environment for everybody. I’m definitely introverted and a “thinking” introvert on one scale of analysis and my wife has even suggested I get tested for autism even though when I read descriptions of autistic behaviours I immediately think that is not me at all. She has problems with me reacting first intellectually not emotionally and that I disappear into myself sometimes when she wants my 100% attention. I understand differences in temperament and responses and experience are difficult for other people.

I did read an article that suggested that introversion and autism are related, but that suggested to me, just that we understand the functioning of the human brain too little to understand the full range of it’s functioning. We really don’t understand either introversion and autism and just are lumping behaviours that have some superficial similarities together. Everybody has coping mechanisms because we all live in an environment that is in some ways hostile to us.

What am I trying to say? Maybe that labelling is not always useful and maybe we would be better treating every case as unique? Sure we can learn from similar experiences, but should always be open to the idea that in this case another approach could end up be better.


Chetan Murthy 11.09.22 at 2:46 am

Miriam, no need to post this comment:

I’m sorry, I completely misunderstood your post. Now that I have context, I understand it, and have a completely different appreciation for it. Thank you for this post.


Miriam Ronzoni 11.09.22 at 9:42 am

No worries!


Miriam Ronzoni 11.09.22 at 9:47 am

Sorry for not tagging anyone in particular but I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who shared your lived experiences in this comment thread. They are so helpful, and insightful, and I think I am not the only one who has learnt a lot from them.


nastywoman 11.09.22 at 12:17 pm

Well, what we have in mind is stuff that we find quite difficult, we had to learn it, and it doesn’t come naturally to us at all; but we wouldn’t say we’re faking in any meaningful way when we put some of these “masking” mechanisms in place – on the contrary, quite often they are what enables us to have meaningful human exchanges especially on Internet blogs.
In conclusion – some of us just don’t ”mask” that well in face to face ”masking” – hence the decision to talk about “masking” in air quotes rather than dropping the language of masking altogether for a certain range of techniques – to convey the message: “I am not “faking,” and overall I think it’s important for us to try and sustain this behaviour in most occasions; but what we are doing requires a lot of work and self-discipline which might not even be imaginable.”


Philip 11.09.22 at 8:06 pm

Both views seem right to me, but like you say it will vary amongst different people. Some people will be able to read social situations better than others and have a more innate understanding of what to filter out and what to let through. It will also vary on situation e.g. masking requiring more effort with new people or unfamiliar situations.

There is also the concept of double empathy, i.e. that it is generally easier to communicate with someone of the same neurotype. My current job is supporting neurodivergent young people into employment and I find my communication is much more natural delivering in those groups than in many other situations.

Here is a link to an article on double empathy from Damian Milton and one to an article on masking by Amy Pearon and Kieran Rose.




KT2 11.09.22 at 10:29 pm

Thanks  Miriam. 

I have no diagnoses for my missing “P-waves”. The cogsci said “surgeons and air traffic controllers exhibit missing p-waves”. I missed my calling!  P-waves fire after an action potential. Found during research into cognitive impairment and recovery after ceasing taking specific drug. Simple sensory tone trigger reaction time tests.

Miriam, you may be aware of this. I encourage you to apply for this research grant: 
“Pilot Awards (for innovative high-impact proposals for experiments still in the preliminary stages):”

“Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

“The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, or SFARI for short, is a research program established in 2005 by the Simons Foundation, which
– focuses on all aspects of autism research.

“Its director is Kelsey Martin.[1] The organization has funded more than $200 million in autism research to 150 different investigators since 2007.[2] 

“The awards they give out include
– Bridge to Independence Awards (for early-careers researchers transitioning to independent positions),[3] 
– Pilot Awards (for innovative high-impact proposals for experiments still in the preliminary stages),
– Research Awards (for research into a topic which has already been investigated at least preliminarily), and
– Explorer Awards (which provides grants for focused experiments on a one-time basis).[4]


Other foundations incl “The Simons Foundation established the Flatiron Institute”.

“James Harris Simons (/?sa?m?nz/; born 25 April 1938) is an American mathematician, billionaire hedge fund manager, and philanthropist.[3] He is the founder ofRenaissance Technologies, a quantitative hedge fund based in East Setauket, New York. He and his fund are known to be quantitative investors, using mathematical models andalgorithms to make investment gains frommarket inefficiencies. Due to the long-term aggregate investment returns of Renaissance and its Medallion Fund, Simons is described as the “greatest investor on Wall Street,” and more specifically “the most successful hedge fund manager of all time.”


NN Taleb may be jealous of Jim.


Going to mask for this comment 11.14.22 at 2:30 am

The discussions of masking in ASD circles indicate to me that nobody really has a clue about it, because it’s about an aspect of ASD that comes close to the problem of qualia in Greek philosophy. ASD causes your sensory experience of the world to differ from how everyone around you experience it, in ways that cannot be communicated to others.

Imagine having an unaffected tone of voice and body language that is disconnected from your state of mind. Knowing this is better than not knowing this. At least at that point you can take corrective action. You learn to pause before speaking, and give a brief moment’s though to how you’re about to say what you want to say, so that it convey your state of mind to the audience. To do this, you have to method-act like a normal person. That’s what I call it. I went through most of my life thinking everyone had to do this, and that my failure at this was just an indication that I was a bit of a jerk prone to thoughtless moments.

At one point in my 20s, I reached a low in more than one dimension, and to climb out of it, began method acting like two people I knew who seemed to be getting much further in life than I was. It worked. I was climbing out of the hole. It also got me mistaken for gay, since my model character were. To stop wasting the time of the men hitting on me, and also to signal to the world that I was interested in dating women, I dialed it back.

Years later, I was having moments where my method acting was failing. In moments of stress I couldn’t stay in character. I talked about this to one of my character models, and he was the one to tell me to go google Asperger’s, and the normal people don’t psyche themselves into normality before stepping out in public.

So for me at least, it isn’t masking. It isn’t inauthentic. If I have to modulate my monotone to avoid being misinterpreted. it doesn’t make me question who I am. But it is work. Having to get into character the moment you wake up, and stay in character all day long, with the world a stage, and only your bedroom for a green room, frankly it sucks.


Miriam Ronzoni 11.14.22 at 11:27 am

@ Going to mask for this comment: this resonates very much with the spirit of what wrote, so am I missing something? (Because you write that “most people don’t have a clue”, so wasn’t sure whom you meant there – did you mean to include this post and the content creators I cite in it? I am not taking this personally I am just genuinely trying to understand how the contribution was meant!)

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