6 March 2022

Late-afternoon sky looking east down Pleasant Street. In the distance is Signal Hill. The sky is grey aside from a pale blue streak just above the horizon. On both sides of the photo are leafless trees and the tops of clapboard-sided houses. A row of power lines runs along the right side of the photo, and the sky is streaked with phone and electrical wires.

Yesterday I posted about how I don’t really relate to the term “masking” and that I thought something more akin to the camouflage techniques of the mimic octopus was a better comparison. Today I found an article suggesting “adaptive morphing” as an alternative, on the same grounds: that “masking” attributes too much intention to an action that is fundamentally involuntary. The author looks to the chameleon as an example of involuntary camouflaging for survival, and likens autistic morphing to that phenomenon:

Because of the intrinsically human desire to belong, many autistics are drawn by both biology and necessity to be included with and accepted by, the non-autistic majority. However, without true inclusive adjustments that allow for genuine inclusion and acceptance, this desire will continue to be thwarted by the stigma that is still associated with autism. As long as our society lacks truly inclusive attitudes and practices, autistics will need to continue to display chameleon-like responses in socially threatening situations. Our mental, emotional, physical and financial lives depend on it

Wenn B. Lawson, “Adaptive Morphing and Coping with Social Threat in Autism: An Autistic Perspective.