The art of masking: why it is so hard to diagnose women

Primary Author

Alondra Gonzalez

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kathy Ewoldt

Additional Mentor(s)

Dr. Ann Marie Ryan, Dr. Guadalupe Carmona


Masking or camouflaging in psychology is a term that means the ability to conceal ones own emotions or reactions in order to achieve a desired outcome. This skill develops quickly in young girls, and can make diagnosing many mental health disorders or general health issues very difficult as key behaviors/symptoms can be suppressed or not severe enough for concern. Early detection of any health concern is importnat, but it takes a new role in education and teaching. If a child is masking behaviors associated with a developmental disability, like Autism Spectrum Disorder, they may not receive early childhood interventions or needed supports in the classroom which would allow them to achieve their highest level of academic potential. Knowing that masking occurs in young children, there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of the current diagnostic criteria of Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders to see if girls are under diagnosed due to alternate manifestations of common signs due to gender and gender norms. By the end of this presentation, participants will understand the differences in masking between genders and the potential impact it could have on identification of girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder.



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