Potentially useful research about masking

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ToughDiamond
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15 Feb 2020, 11:12 am

Just in case it's new and useful to you, I've just seen this diagnostician's checklist of compensatory strategies seen in autism so I thought it might be worth sharing. The actual checklist is at the end of the Word document, the other link is for the research paper:

https://static-content.springer.com/esm ... 1_ESM.docx

https://molecularautism.biomedcentral.c ... 019-0308-y



JohnInWales
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15 Feb 2020, 11:33 am

Interesting. Maybe it helps to explain why it took 63 years to get a diagnosis.



Handa Rei
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16 Feb 2020, 1:30 am

Woah. Reading the examples in Table 1 in the PDF makes me feel like I've had my mind read. Except the dressing and speaking bit. This is very interesting... and feels really weird.


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B19
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16 Feb 2020, 4:51 am

Great to see you posting again TD! I have missed your posts and presence on WP.



magz
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16 Feb 2020, 6:23 am

Quote:
Appendix 1 – Compensation Checklist

Masking
1. Avoidance
Avoid social situations where you would stand out.

2. Hold back
Hold back your true thoughts and opinions in conversation (e.g., agree with others even if you disagree with them, tolerate behaviour of others). Hide aspects of your personality that would be deemed different to the norm (e.g., your interests and hobbies).

3. Suppress
Suppress atypical behaviours (e.g., hand flapping, fidgeting).

4. Present but passive
Attend social events, even if you would rather not, to give the impression of sociability. Stand in a conversation but say/do as little as possible.

5. Superficial assimilation
Dress and speak like the group you are trying to blend in with (e.g., copy hairstyle, language, interests).

6. Basic social etiquette
Reflect basic social etiquette to indicate a willingness to socialise (e.g., smile, manners, look towards other people).

Shallow Compensation
7. Plan and rehearse
Predict, plan out and rehearse conversations before they happen, out loud or in your head.

8. Copy/model behaviour
Mimic phrases, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice picked up from other people and/or TV/film/book characters.

9. Eye contact
Make appropriate eye contact, even if it is not useful for communication and/or is aversive. Avoid eye contact but give the impression of social interest (e.g., look at bridge of nose, stand at a 90° angle to interaction partner).

10. Learned scripts, social rules
Enact learned scripts and social rules, even when it may not be appropriate, to guide conversations (e.g., ask others set questions, small talk, laugh at ‘joke cues’, turn-take in conversation).

11. Guide conversation
Steer conversation to topics you are equipped to talk about (e.g., special interests). Focus conversation on your interaction partner to draw attention away from self.

12. Rely on others
Attend social events with a more socially skilled individual who can act as a ‘social crutch’ (e.g., introduce you, fill in or disguise your social mistakes, explain social nuances to you).

13. Reduce social demands
Reduce social demands on yourself in order to disguise any social faux pas (e.g., ‘flit’ between different groups/conversations, engage in 1:1 conversation rather than groups so there are less social signals to read, make use of structured socialising or ‘organised fun’).

14. Counselling skills
Listen to, repeat and rephrase what your interaction partner says to give the impression of being an ‘good listener’ or ‘adviser’, without having to necessarily mentalise.

15. Use props
Rely on props (e.g., dog, children, interesting object) to structure and guide conversation. Similar to learned scripts.

16. Play a false role
Play an exaggerated role or character that is inconsistent with the ‘real you’ (e.g., false confidence, fabricated stories, extraverted personality).

Deep Compensation
17. Learned non-verbal cues
Use learned rules about non-verbal behaviour (e.g., facial expression, body language, direction of gaze), when it is appropriate, to infer what others are thinking/feeling. For example, inferring that when someone looks at the ground or rolls their eyes, they are bored.

18. Learned verbal cues
Use learned rules about verbal behaviour (e.g., tone of voice, content of speech) to infer what others are thinking/feeling. For example, inferring that someone who is talking about a funeral with a particular tone is likely sad.

19. Assess behaviour
Assess someone’s behaviour over time to infer what they are thinking/feeling. For example, if someone re-invites you to a social event, they think positively of you.

20. Substituted perspective taking
Substitute someone else’s values/preferences/interests with your own or those of a TV/film/book character to infer what others are thinking/feeling. For example, if someone is acting similar to a TV/film/book character in particular situation, infer that they are thinking/feeling how that character would in the same situation.

21. Logic, context, experience
Predict likelihood of what someone is thinking/feeling based on logic, the context or experience of how that person has previously behaved. Often involves analysing social situations after they have happened and carrying ‘lessons learned’ to the next time the same situation happens.

22. Flexible catalogue
Flexibly use built catalogue of possible interpretation of others’ thoughts/feelings, based on combination of multiple sources of information (e.g., logic, context, facial expression, tone of voice).

23. More information or time
Gain more information to increase accuracy of your inference about someone’s thoughts/feelings (e.g., get them to repeat what they have said in a different way, find out about their interests/opinions from others). Gain more time to make a judgement of someone’s thoughts/feelings (e.g., take a well-timed break to consider various interpretations).

24. Recalibrate
Recalibrate your interpretation of someone else’s thoughts/feelings based on self-awareness of your own cognitive biases (e.g., tendency to perceive neutral expression as anger).

25. Psychological theory
Apply learned psychological theory to help infer what others are thinking/feeling (e.g., categorise people by personality type).

Accommodation
26. Play to your strengths
Play to your strengths (e.g., humour, wit, intelligence) to add additional value to conversation with others, despite your social differences.

27. Be helpful, liked
Go out of your way to be helpful to others, so that your social differences might be forgiven.

28. Seek ‘atypical’ others
Seek relationships with others who are also socially ‘atypical’ and therefore more accepting of your social differences.

29. Accommodating environment
Work in an environment where your social differences are actively accommodated (e.g., ‘autism friendly’ workplace) or where non-social skills are valued over social ones (e.g., academia, skill-based job).

30. Foreign disguise
Live in a foreign country so that your differences are attributed to being foreign by others. Live in your country of birth but seek relationships with others who are foreign, so that your social differences are attributed to cultural differences.

31. Disclose difficulties
Disclose your difficulties or diagnosis to others so that they can better accommodate you.


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BenderRodriguez
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16 Feb 2020, 6:38 am

Great link.

While I limit my masking and shallow compensation these days, I still do a lot (most) of the things on the Deep compensation and Accommodation lists, some even with very close people.

This relentless effort that we have to put in every day is the answer to a question asked in another thread: why are people who can hold a job and have a family still considered disabled? This is the answer: simply living amongst others takes a lot of constant work that normal people don't need to do.


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goatfish57
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16 Feb 2020, 8:00 am

Thanks for the link, I saw myself in the compensation techniques.


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magz
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16 Feb 2020, 10:38 am

32. Playing musical instruments.
...

Really, in my and my husband's experience, ability to play a popular song (even very poorly) on some instrument is a functional prothesis for lacking social skills. Making (even awful) music together is a structured form of social interaction, far less stressful than unstructured forms.


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CarlM
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16 Feb 2020, 10:51 am

This is the first time I've seen a good explanation of what masking really is. Previously I always thought it was something I try to do but am not very good at. Now I realize how it has been a big part of my life.
When all else fails, try no. 31 (disclosure). I'm trying that now :roll:.


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Amity
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16 Feb 2020, 12:07 pm

12, 16, 29 and 30 may have been reflective of me in the past, not now though... the rest I can relate to except 31, in general that would not help me.

Sometimes I feel like a performing seal, I'd much rather have a swim in the ocean.



BenderRodriguez
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16 Feb 2020, 12:11 pm

Amity wrote:
Sometimes I feel like a performing seal, I'd much rather have a swim in the ocean.


Well put!


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ToughDiamond
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16 Feb 2020, 11:24 pm

B19 wrote:
Great to see you posting again TD! I have missed your posts and presence on WP.

Thanks for saying so, B19 :-) I don't seem to get much free time these days, but I've no intention of vanishing for good. And thanks to magz for pasting the most important info from the links I supplied before. I suppose playing an instrument could go under "Play to your strengths" - it's tempting to think that non-virtuoso playing isn't much of a strength, but it's a big step up from not being able to play at all, or not daring to play. Personally I've found music to be a huge social bonding force, and I'm sure I'd be a lot lonelier without it.

Most of the compensatory strategies in the list apply well to my own case. I was surprised that they did.



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18 Feb 2020, 6:04 am

magz wrote:
32. Playing musical instruments.
...

Really, in my and my husband's experience, ability to play a popular song (even very poorly) on some instrument is a functional prothesis for lacking social skills. Making (even awful) music together is a structured form of social interaction, far less stressful than unstructured forms.


Or providing delicious food. I am known for my great key lime pie.

This is an incredible list. The irony of all the skills that took me a lifetime to learn on my own now published in a single list. :D (At least I think it is irony. :D :D :D )

Thanks, magz, for posting the list.


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Benjamin the Donkey
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18 Feb 2020, 9:47 pm

For me, everything in "shallow compensation" and "accommodation"...even long before I knew I was autistic.


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