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Promoting authenticity, not anxiety, with autistic clients

Research shows multiple impacts of autistic masking, including mental health problems and reduced closeness in personal relationships.

May 8, 2021

Autistic adults have been vocal about the significant mental health costs associated with autistic masking, or attempting to appear more neurotypical by hiding certain actions or traits. They’ve also had a lot to say about the harmful ways therapy can promote masking. We’re starting to see these concerns backed up by research. Two new studies add to the growing body of evidence on autistic masking with important implications for SLPs, so let’s dive in!


In a large study of male and female autistic adolescents, Corbett et al. replicated several findings that we’ve seen in other research like that females use fewer restricted and repetitive behaviors than males and use more “appropriate” language skills in social interactions. They also found females mask their autistic traits more than…

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