Unmasking Autism by Dr. Devon Price

A portrait photo of Anissa Ljanta. She has glasses and a grey streak through her hair.Book Review: Unmasking Autism, The Power of Embracing our Hidden Neurodiversity by Dr. Devon Price. Autistic communities online are on fire with people recommending Dr Devon Price’s latest book ​​Unmasking Autism, writes Neurodiversity coach Anissa Ljanta, and with good reason.

I consume a lot of neurodivergent content and this one is a standout.

Unmasking Autism offers evidence-based tools and insights to support Autistic folks to unpack internalised ableism and live as our true neurodivergent selves while simultaneously educating and broadening society’s limited view on autism.  

Dr. Devon Price is a proud Autistic US-based social psychologist, writer and professor.  His work has appeared in numerous publications including NPR (the public radio network of the United States) and the Huffington Post.  Active across a range of Autistic spaces and communities, he is also the author of the books Unlearning Shame and Laziness Does Not Exist 

Unmasking Autism reframes autism in the social model of disability.  It amplifies stories and commonalities of lived experience, educating readers through autistic perspectives gleaned from online polls and requests for feedback on Dr Price’s online platforms and interviews. This wealth of social wisdom is scaffolded beautifully by clearly cited academic research.  

Dr Price demystifies common autistic behaviours like ‘spending hours or days alone sleeping and recharging after a socially demanding event or stressful project’ and ‘not knowing how we feel, or needing a few days to figure out how we feel about something’.  It’s super important for those supporting Autistic folks, especially our rangatahi / young people, to know this stuff.  

Book cover for Unmasking Autism, The Power of Embracing our Hidden Neurodiversity

Unmasking Autism dissects the reality and cost of masking, explores how to build an ‘Autistic Life’, addresses common dilemmas like the age-old question of whether to ‘come out’ as Autistic, highlights the importance of Autistic relationships and sends out a reverberating call for an inclusive neurodiverse world.  

If you’re Autistic, or supporting a loved one who is, I recommend taking time to digest and process each chapter.  Reading it can be confronting, in a good way, especially for late diagnosed or young folks just starting to embrace Autistic identity.  

I’m often asked to recommend books about autism.  This one is on the top of my recommended reading list.  Unmasking Autism is a keeper, a book to return to again and again as we come more fully into our Autistic selves.  

“Autism is a spectrum, a rainbow of different shades and hues that thrive when they stand beautifully together.  For too long we have hidden what makes us unique, fearing we’re broken or unlovable.  Embracing Autism means shedding that mask and finding safe ways to share our vibrant colours with the world.”

“To unmask is to lay bare a proud face of noncompliance, to refuse to buckle under the weight of neurotypical demands.  It’s an act of bold activism as well as a declaration of self-worth.  To unmask is to refuse to be silenced, to stop being compartmentalised and hidden away, and to stand powerfully in our wholeness alongside other disabled and marginalised folks.  Together we can stand strong and free, shielded by the powerful, radical acceptance that comes only when we know who we are, and with the recognition that we never had anything to hide.” Dr. Devon Price


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