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Masking is a common coping mechanism employed by autistic people in an attempt to fit into a neurotypical society. Examples of masking include forcing oneself to smile at the "appropriate" times, looking between someone's eyebrows instead of making uncomfortable eye contact, and suppressing stims like hand flapping, even though they're comforting. Megan Rhiannon for NPR hide caption

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Megan Rhiannon for NPR