Doing More by Doing Less: Reducing Autistic Burnout

by Erin Bulluss, Ph.D., and Abby Sesterka

Historically, in both the clinical setting and in terms of societal perceptions, autism has been conceptualized as a list of skills, behaviors, and observable traits that mark the differences between autistic and non-autistic people. This understanding has been presented for decades in a way that implies that we can simply add or subtract said attributes from any given human to create either an autistic or non-autistic person. In light of this, and in a world where the majority of people are non-autistic, it is unsurprising that many autistic folk have learned to perform non-autistic ways of being in the world. While researchers and clinicians have led the way in this endeavor with interventions that aim to make autistic people indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers,1 many autistic people under pressure to conform to societal norms have also developed their own ways to appear non-autistic via a process called ‘camouflaging’. read more