Some of you may have noticed that beyond perhaps seeing me pop up in training and in talks – in terms of writing I have been incredibly quiet over the last year. I have been writing, it’s just that you haven’t seen it, because instead of articles, or blogs, or very looooooong social media posts, all my energy has been poured into the pages of a book.

Those of you that have ever read my words or heard me speak will know (some only too well) that autistic experiences of masking, stigma, identity development, interpersonal victimisation and burnout and life outcomes for autistic people have been at the heart of all my work forever. Some of you will recognise the phrase “Masking stands at the intersection of Autistic experience”, it’s not like I haven’t said it enough.

In 2021 my friend and colleague, Developmental Psychologist and senior Lecturer, Dr Amy Pearson, and I, wrote a paper published in the academic journal ‘Autism in adulthood’ called: ‘A Conceptual Analysis of Autistic Masking: Understanding the Narrative of Stigma and the Illusion of Choice’. That paper made a splash. In it we shared (and evidenced) our frustrations with the masking narrative to date, the lack of recognition of intersectionality when it comes to race, disability, gender and sexuality, the superficial theory around what masking is and what it involves, and the creation of unnuanced, uninformed and victim blaming phenotypes that came out of this narrative.

We always felt restricted by a 5000-word limit and knew that we had so much more to say, fast forward two years and we have nearly 100,000 words! It’s still not enough but eventually our publisher had to ask if we ever intended on publishing it…

So, at the end of June, a real life, full of words book will manifest into the world. It is called; “Autistic Masking: Understanding Identity Management and the Role of Stigma”

It’s not a personal narrative. While individual community experiences are included and referenced this is a book that evidentially explores the concept of masking from every angle that we could think of, inside and out. It’s predominantly aimed at academics, and covers deep and complex themes, but we have deliberately written it so that it can also be accessed, read and used by professionals and non-professionals outside of academia (parents, autistic people, interested parties, and combinations of each). Hopefully, it will be useful to all.

The book itself:
• Provides an overview of the history of autism to date and considers the impact of that history on autistic people now.
• Explores how we as humans develop a sense of self.
• Investigates the development of autistic social identity.
• Looks at the role of intersectionality and the different experiences of autistic people prejudiced in different ways.
• Deconstructs the current research to date, theories, and theoretical approaches to masking.
• Looks at the roles of stigma and trauma in relation to autistic experiences.
• Introduces what we describe as the mechanics of masking and explores our notion of projecting acceptability.
• Analyses the impact of masking, addresses ‘unmasking’ and shifts the responsibility from autistic people.

You can read more about the book, along with early reviews, on this dedicated page on the website; “Autistic Masking: Understanding Identity Management and the Role of Stigma”

I could keep going, but I’d be here forever. Safe to say there is so much more included and we are both over-excited and terrified to share it with you all.

We have our fingers crossed that the impact it has is as big as we hope it might be. And that the excitement we have in sharing it, matches your experience of reading it.

Our one wish is meaningful change in the lives of autistic people in hope of a better future.

To pre-order your copy you can scan, or click, the QR codes below.




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