When we read about masking, there is often a assumption that we are talking about girls. And the truth is that it has had to be that way. So many girls have failed to be diagnosed or receive the extra support they have needed because they have been unable to show or even articulate just how much they are struggling.
They have quite simply managed to ‘look fine’ even when they haven’t been.
And awareness needed – and still needs to be – raised about that.
It’s important that the profile of girls on the Spectrum is raised.
But that shouldn’t be at the expense of being clear.
Because the truth is – and this needs to be said overtly not just implicitly- it isn’t just girls that mask. Just like girls, not all boys present in the traditional way.
Just like with girls, there are boys who slip under the radar, who don’t get the support they need, who ‘look fine’ even when they are not.
And as teachers and parents, as paediatricians and psychologists we need to guard against forgetting that children (yes both boys and girls) Mask, that both boys and girls can ‘look fine’ on the outside whilst being on turmoil on the inside.
That so many young people on the Spectrum go without the support they need, each and every day, that so many young people’s mental health suffers because no-one recognises just how in pain they are.
We need to be aware that even despite the knowledge of masking each and every day so many parents are ignored as they try to advocate for their children’s needs, told their child ‘is fine’ in school, to,d their parenting is fault.
It’s time things changed.
It won’t happen overnight.
But we need to start getting the word out there that Masking is a significant issue. Not a girl issue or a boy issue. But something that can affect all children and young people on the Spectrum.
There is power in numbers.
It’s time to stand together.
Together we can make a difference to the children who need it the most, those who cannot yet find the words to advocate for themselves,