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Does anybody have an autistic boy who masks?(3 Posts)
My son is 10 and has a diagnosis of adhd with asd traits and sensory processing issues and I have parented him around adhd being his main area of additional needs.
In a meeting with the school last week they have said they are now doing a re-referral to camhs for an autism assessment. They’ve said that they believe he is masking partially but is obviously autistic and they are adapting his day to fitting in picture cards, sensory breaks and other bits aimed at helping autistic children which I think is going to help him hugely.
I am feeling a mixture of feelings but feeling like I may have let him down in believing he has a certain diagnosis when in fact it may be something else entirely and that maybe I’ve been going about things wrongly.
I also feel like I must be so terrible for not recognising this fully myself and pushing forward my suspicions for him.
I feel terrible as there are things I’ve just not looked at from an autistic point of view like the teachers shouting at him and giving consequences for not looking at them when they’re talking to him etc when in trouble. I’ve always told him that it’s rude not to do as the teachers have asked and that’s why the consequences have been given but if he is autistic it’s obvious why this is an issue.
Sorry this is a bit of a ramble but I suppose what I’m asking is can boys mask too and has anyone had a diagnosis changed to asd after a previous diagnosis of adhd?
I don't know about diagnosis changes, but I do know there are big overlaps between ADHD and Autism and many autistic people also have ADHD.
And yes, I believe boys can mask. In fact there are discussions in the community about having these ideas of female "type" and male "type" autism are not very helpful, as we know there are plenty of girls with male "type" autism, and there are likely also many males with female "type": but often undiagnosed for that reason (they don't fit the stereotype, any more than many autistic women have in previous generations).
Please don't feel bad: you are doing what you can when you can in a world where these things aren't properly understood even by experts. You can only start from where you are, and it will be good enough. Brilliant that you have got this far before the secondary transition: that's the key thing.
You may find some of the autistic adults on social media a helpful source of information. Many of the men are adult or at least teenage diagnosed and so are likely to have "masked" to some extent. Check out Chris Bonnello (Autistic Not Weird: autisticnotweird.com/asperger-syndrome-50-facts-about-having-mild-autism/), Pete Wharmby (http://petewharmby.blogspot.com/ and in particular petewharmby.blogspot.com/2017/11/camouflage.html and also on Twitter) and Connor Ward (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCR0sGyrQN800DkQbhCbLDA) for starters.
DS (9) masks. He presents very much in a "feminine" type description. He is very bright and right from sitting up in the pram, has studied people and processed what is going on. He falls apart at home when he is tired or anxious and it often takes him all his mental reserves to get through a school day.
He's fortunate to be in a lovely class in a lovely school and has a stable best friend with similar geeky interests, and is well-liked and accepted by his class. He is a quirky individual, but no one takes issue with it (although they would be brave to...)
He had SALT intervention in the pre-school years. He needs a lot of personal space at home and buffers and warnings around transitions. He can be literal in interpretation such as taking his bowl off the table last night... he had two bowls and believed that litterally taking the one bowl completed the instruction. His eye contact is erratic and he focuses on safe people, so verbally he might respond to the unknown person talking, but I'm the safe person that gets the eye contact. He is very sensory in several ways
Our diagnosis was recent, and I've made plenty of errors along the way, particularly before the evidence stacked up that a referral was worthwhile. I did what I could with what I knew at the time.