Hiding in Plain Sight


  • James Townend none




autism, lived experience, late diagnosis


Receiving an autism diagnosis later in life led the author to contextualize a lifetime of struggles and accomplishments, sparking profound reflection on the meaning of success, happiness, and interpersonal relationships. These two stories share the author’s lived experience with intimate detail. In the first story, the author shares his mental model that likens living with autism to ‘hiding in plain sight’, uncovering the intensive emotional toll it takes. In the second story, titled ‘All the Best With Your Future Endeavours,’ the author delves into the realm of work in our world, and the relentless pursuit of societal definitions of success. As the author grapples with his late diagnosis, the need to understand his past from a new lens becomes a journey towards self-discovery. What emerges from this is a moving account of a life molded by a desire to conform to societal roles, a norm shown through such mastery that it hides the true self. This narrative explores the challenges of understanding and embracing one’s identity, particularly within a world that often fails to recognize and accept differences. Together, these narratives illuminate the struggle of navigating life with autism and the simultaneous joy that can come from discovering one’s unique personal power.




How to Cite

Townend, J. (2024). Hiding in Plain Sight. Canadian Journal of Autism Equity, 4(1), 76–80. https://doi.org/10.15173/cjae.v4i1.5675