Book review: Unmasking Autism by Dr Devon Price

Autism isn’t something to be hidden or cured, but rather embraced and celebrated for the unique perspective and strengths it brings to our world.

Dr Devon Price

Unlike the UK, Jersey’s discrimination legislation encourages inclusivity by requiring businesses to remove barriers to work and access to services.

It’s easy to see where measures have been put into place to help with physical disabilities, including ramps, hearing loops, and AI talking cameras. But it’s not so obvious what support is available for those less visible impairments such as autism.

After a career in health, safety, and access auditing, I’m often interested in people. I like to look at issues from their point of view to tailor individual solutions rather than off-the-shelf remedies, which rarely seem to help as intended.

When I came across this book, written by Dr Price, for anyone who identifies as neurodiverse or suspects they are, I felt it was an opportunity to understand someone’s daily experiences rather than standard course material.

Throughout the book, Dr Price and a variety of autistic people who flout the common stereotypes explain their difficulties navigating life before being diagnosed with autism. Dr Price covers ways that he and others both manage their condition and mask their diagnosis to conform to society’s expectation of acceptable behaviour. Some of the problems they explore in the book are very different from my preconceptions of living with autism.

I had no idea that it was so exhausting trying to read people and situations throughout a day with the level of detail that an autistic brain processes, so I can now understand the need for quiet times to recharge.

As you read the book, Dr Price offers advice and exercises to help neurodiverse readers unmask and embrace who they are. He also points out the possible disadvantages if done too quickly.

This book is very useful, and I feel it gives valuable insights and lessons to neurotypicals on recognising our prejudices and accepting diversity. If I have some criticisms, the book can be a bit repetitive, and as an American book, the last chapter is very US-centric, with the changes in legislation across the pond not relevant in Jersey.

But overall, I think it’s a worthwhile read to gain even the smallest insight into simply regarding people, whatever their differences, as people.

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