Masking can leave a person with less energy to handle other aspects of their day, from performing basic housework to processing thoughts and feelings. This, in turn, can lead to meltdowns and burnout. Something as simple as trying not to play with my hair or keeping my legs still while sitting in public can leave me depleted after a few hours.

Source: I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder (p. 147)

I must pull my hair, scratch my scalp, and bounce my legs to regulate.

See also:

Autistic Burnout: The Cost of Masking and Passing – Ryan Boren

Aww. I love these affirmations from neurowonderful.

  • Your stims are stupendous; your happy makes me happy
    • I would talk on the phone for you; please don’t make me
    • You’re on my red list; let’s get out of here
    • I want to know everything about you; do you mind if I take notes?
    • I want to spend time in parallel existence with you; let’s be alone together
    • Your echolalia is enchanting; let’s back and forth

I was fine chattering away to myself, singing or making sound patterns, in order to close out the impact of the invasiveness of others, and being told to shut up only heightened the desire to surround myself with the sound of my own voice. If I was expected to reply, however, this was the complete antithesis. Hearing myself speak in my own voice in acknowledged connection to the world was excruciatingly personal and felt like fingernails down a blackboard.

Source: Williams, Donna (2002-09-14T23:58:59). Exposure Anxiety – The Invisible Cage . Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

I’m also a vocal stimmer who shuts down when speaking.

The findings indicated four main reasons for repetitive behavior: enhancing the ability to function; reducing external stimuli and avoiding communication; coping with stress, distress, and excitement; and coping with social communication.

The findings suggest that repetitive behaviors play a functional role in people with HFASD and also serve as a way for these individuals to cope with their environment.

Source: Repetitive behaviors: Listening to the voice of people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder – ScienceDirect

Functioning labels and medical model language aside, this study reinforces what autistic people have been saying about stimming.

For examples of popular stims, see this thread.

My contribution:

I updated “I’m Autistic. Here’s what I’d like you to know.” with selections from “Respectfully Connected | 10 ‘Autism Interventions’ for Families Embracing the Neurodiversity Paradigm”.

  1. Learn from autistic people
  2. Tell your child they are autistic
  3. Say NO to all things stressful & harmful
  4. Slow down your life
  5. Support & accommodate sensory needs
  6. Value your child’s interests
  7. Respect stimming
  8. Honour & support all communication
  9. Minimise therapy, increase accommodations & supports
  10. Explore your own neurocognitive differences

Source: Respectfully Connected | 10 ‘Autism Interventions’ for Families Embracing the Neurodiversity Paradigm