Mother and daughter Nic and Zoe King use first-hand experience to explain what masking can do to autistic people.

Being told everything is fine, when it’s patently not, can lead to a loss of sense of self and a feeling that your own needs or emotions don’t matter. “Gaslighting yourself in your own head” is how 13-year-old Zoe describes it.

In turn, this can result in autistic burnout – increased sensory sensitivity, physical pain and physically shutting down.

Zoe explains what she has done to get to the point where she feels safe enough to “de-mask” and be herself.

Find out more from our Behind the Mask campaign
Do you need more help and advice? 

Our family development service provides support for autistic people and their families pre, during and post diagnosis. The team is committed to providing the right support, at the right time and in the right way to ensure the best outcomes.

The team can offer different levels of support including:

  • Being a listening ear for families seeking information, advice and guidance
  • Refer you to appropriate services (if applicable)
  • Attend 'team around the family' meetings and compile reports (for families we are supporting)
  • Conduct home visits (for families living in Newcastle, North Tyneside and South Tyneside)

The team also offer a wide range of free services for families including:

  • Toddler Groups
  • Family Workshops
  • Virtual workshops
  • Support Hubs
  • Family Resources
  • Family Networking

Visit our Family Resources website