The latest fashion accessory these days is definitely the face mask. Whether you’re wearing a fancy home-made mask or a surgical mask, it certainly is a whole new world for all of us.
It puts us all in a position where it is difficult to see the facial expressions of people around us, allowing us to only see their eyes. It certainly makes the ‘normal’ things in life very different.
Does this new accessory help us to understand a little bit about what it is like to live with autism?
In my opinion it does, at least to some extent. Let’s break it down.
- When we wear a mask and hide our facial features going out in public is very different and somewhat socially awkward.
- You’re not sure where to look.
- It’s uncertain if people are smiling at you, or what their facial expression is behind the mask.
- It’s difficult to see if the person walking towards you is someone you know. Do you say hello, or just keep walking?
- Conversations with others are somewhat stifled by the restrictions the mask provides.
- The simple things in life like going to the supermarket can cause anxiety and you feel like you just want to get out of there as quickly as possible.
- It is uncomfortable to wear and can irritate your ears and fog up your glasses.
Hopefully we won’t have to wear a mask as protection from disease forever. However, autism is forever, and some, if not all of these feelings mentioned above are everyday feelings and emotions felt by people who are on the spectrum.
We are merely getting an insight as to what some aspects of everyday life are like for those who live with autism. Perhaps this can help us all to understand and empathise a little more with those around us.