A WOMAN who featured in a BBC documentary about autism has said she's had a "really supportive response" to it. 

Inside Our Autistic Minds, featuring Chris Packham, was shown on BBC2 on Tuesday, February 14.

Salisbury woman Flo Taylor was one of two autistic people Chris met to help them try to explain to their families and the wider world how they see the world differently.

Although Flo was very nervous about the premiere, she watched it among friends and family at The Winchester Gate, which features prominently in the documentary, both as the venue of a show Flo performed with her comedy troupe and as the place where Flo first revealed a short film to her mother explaining her differences and wish to show her mother her true self.

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Flo said: “I was going to watch it on my own or not even watch it at all because I was so nervous so I’m really glad that I ended up at The Winchester Gate.”

Since the show aired, Flo said she has received a great deal of positive feedback from friends and family.

Flo said: “I’ve had such a really supportive response from my friends and my family, including some people I haven’t spoken to in ages. It seems like it really struck a cord with people, especially people who have autistic loved ones.”

A large part of the documentary involved Flo being able to show her “unmasked self.” Masking is a behavioural adaptation common in autistic people in which they attempt to hide their autistic traits by consciously mimicking neurotypical people’s mannerisms.

Sometimes masking becomes so entrenched within a person that it is internalized and makes it difficult for an autistic person to act as their natural self even when alone.

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Flo said: “I think a lot of people mask so adeptly that they don’t really know how to unmask and that was true for me until I spent a lot of time with my husband and felt comfortable enough to start exploring that.”

Finally being able to unmask in front of her mother has improved their relationship. Since filming finished, Flo has become a mother herself to a daughter who is now four months old.

Flo said: “I think autism is actually a bit of a superpower when it comes to being a mum because I can tell what is a sensory overload for her, because as a mum I will get sensory overload from lots of bright lights, lots of noise, but so do babies, so I’m able to figure out what’s causing her distress.”