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To wonder just how well girls with ASD can mask?

77 replies

Tiredmum1511 · 13/12/2019 18:16

I'm struggling to get my head around likely ASD 5 year old DD being so one way with us and so different at school.

Can reception aged children really mask this well? Apparently she's completely normal at school

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


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LeekMunchingSheepShagger · 13/12/2019 18:18

Yes they absolutely can. In fact they mask better at a younger age and the mask slips as they get older when friendships/social interaction gets more complicated.


Fizzypoo · 13/12/2019 18:20

Well school has unmoveable boundaries. It may not be masking it may be your dd knowing the boundaries are firm and solid in that environment. That's not to say I don't believe you think your dd has asd, but children with asd do well with immovable boundaries as it makes them feel safe.


Grasspigeons · 13/12/2019 18:28

Well my ds school career went (boys mask too)
Year R - we cant see any of signs of autism
Year 1 - we cant see any signs of autism
Year 2 - we can see some areas of concern but nothing to worry about.
Year 3 - we can not cope with your severley autistic child he needs a specialist placement.
Year 4 - no school at all whilst special placement found
Year 5 - part time specialist placement at autism school- we need more help to manage his autism.

So yes they really can mask well.

And yes SOME autistic children like the routine of a school environment so that can help.


whenskiesaregrey · 13/12/2019 18:30

Well I made it to 28 without anyone realising


Dazedandconfused10 · 13/12/2019 18:34

Been masking it my whole life. Only DH knows


Tiredmum1511 · 13/12/2019 18:35

I just can't get my head around how my child who everyone who knows her knows certain things are a massive problem but in school doesn't even flinch at them

OP posts:

ShinyGiratina · 13/12/2019 18:38

Yes they can.
DS masks at school. I get the burned out version at the end of the day.

He's y4 and I've only ever had one incident where his teacher has to speak to me about poor behaviour. Prior to that, he had one "tantrum" at nursery. At home it was a totally different story.

Socially, it's subtle. He's in a lovely class and gets on well 1:1 and in structured activities, but gets lost in larger groups and unstructured time. At birthday parties, even his own, he's always drifted off into his own bubble. He's percieved as quirky but likeable and well-respected.

I was amazed at how readily our diagnosis was made as it seemed more like the female characteristics of the condition. We did have history of SALT, and there are strong sensory issues. His QB test indicated perfectionism. He's definitely better if briefed about transitions and changes to routine.

At home, I've had meltdowns lasting for hours.


AG29 · 13/12/2019 18:38

Very common with girls I believe. I have a son with autism and a girl with speech issues, global developmental delay. we have been told she hasn’t got autism but deep down I think she could be on the spectrum but is masking well and wants to fit in so follows the crowd.


Grasspigeons · 13/12/2019 18:39

What sort of things?
Whats she like at home after school? Lots manage all day then fizz over at home.


ItWasntMeOk · 13/12/2019 18:42

My sil has the opposite. Her dd has regular melt downs and lashes out at teachers and pupils. Completely fine at home. They're talking about asd.


BloodyCats · 13/12/2019 18:45

Yes they can, girls are excellent at copying social cues and fitting in.

I only realised I had adhd at the age of 30. Whilst DS was being diagnosed I saw a lot of my frustrations with myself coming up.
A lot of people still don’t see it in me despite a diagnosis, I can’t let the mask slip.

If you think there is any chance she has it please get her a diagnosis. It will help her understand herself so much better as she gets older.


Tiredmum1511 · 13/12/2019 18:51

The child we see at home would certainly be ASD.

Mornings are a hot mess of anxiety. She goes into school sobbing over things like mufti day (she hates) or if things have gone our of routine in the morning.

After schools are an absolute mess of extreme violent meltdowns usually about the days events.

She has strong food texture issues. She flaps, spins and head bangs. Her play is extremely repetitive.

She has poor social boundaries with adults. Way too over familiar with strangers. Kids she is very much she can somewhat join in with play but never instigates. She doesn't have friends but will flit amongst the entire class of 30 with no distinction/preference.

She didn't say words until gone 3. Still has speech sound delays

Very routine driven. Can't cope with anything out of the ordinary.

OP posts:

MabelBee · 13/12/2019 18:51

Saying they can mask at school because there are boundaries implies that they feel secure. Whereas children who mask at school are often bottling up extreme stress which they release when the do feel safe, usually at home.


ThisIsSanta · 13/12/2019 18:56

The ASD girl (11) I work with can cope (just) in school (With lots of support) but is so exhausted by it all her parents report that at home she often has melt downs, fights constantly with her brother (also ASD) and has verbal ticks that she never has in school.

My understanding is that that is totally normal.


Grasspigeons · 13/12/2019 18:57

Poor little love. Big hug to you all.
It doesnt sound like she is fine at school at all. Its really hard to get schools to understand. They can intellectually know about masking but dont really see how they need to make changes for the child to really be fine as to them they look fine.
Would keeping a record of events at home to talk through the teacher with help maybe? Theres lots of little cheap things they can do to support her.


Tiredmum1511 · 13/12/2019 18:59

@Grasspigeons this is the argument I'm having with school. They are discussing me needing external support to help manage her behaviour st home. I can manage her perfectly when she isn't coming home the state she is in. She can't be struggling with transitions (despite it being well documented in several of her reports) because she doesn't even flinch at transition time there.

She can't have an issue with plasters because she let them put one on her which then caused a horrific meltdown for me st home.

OP posts:

lululatetotheparty · 13/12/2019 19:00

We have a DS who has masked brilliantly... but I don't believe it is because he feels secure but he is 'bottling up' and yes it all comes out at home. We have a younger DD who I suspect is also ASD... but even better at masking... I don't believe she would get a diagnosis now (I didn't until recently!) but I am watching carefully.


Difficultcustomer · 13/12/2019 19:00

I’m adult diagnosed I managed as far as the academic and behaving well (model pupil). Didn’t really make any friends, parents instigated all social contacts. I presume that happens for most five year olds, but I’m an isolated adult now. Outside school/now work can be aggressive with my parents, can’t manage socially. I’m trying to get support, please take up for your daughter.


Chocolateandchats · 13/12/2019 19:01

They most definitely can. When she’s at home she’s letting it all out. She may not even realise she’s doing it but will subconsciously be trying to fit in. Push for an assessment and see the NAS website, there’s lots of advice on there. Good luck OP, it’s so difficult but hang in there.


MabelBee · 13/12/2019 19:04

Just because the behaviour occurs at home doesn't mean the trigger lies there.


Grasspigeons · 13/12/2019 19:05

We filled out a STAR chart . It was actually on the PDA website but is relevant for other types of autism to. It was hard but suddenly a SENCo just had a lightbulb moment with it when we talked through it. We kept it for 6 weeks. Everything is slow in education. Take a look at it and see if you would feel up to completing one.

Have they said what sort of external support they mean? Our external support was actually good and on our side.


imip · 13/12/2019 19:05


I had such a hellish time getting dd2 diagnosed. School treated me appallingly. Bypass them and go straight to the dr to get a cahms referral. I found it useful the second time around getting dd4 diagnosed to track her behaviours to the triad of impairments. Professionals blamed my parenting. Neurotic middle class mother who had too many kids to quickly! I have 4 dds, and two are definitely autistic. One other may be, but if she is, then so am I. This is a possibility. But with such a difficult time at home, I would certainly seek a diagnosis.


WheresMyChocolate · 13/12/2019 19:08

Yes they can. Nobody saw my DD's autism until she was 15 and saw a specialist, who recognised it immediately. Nobody understood how absolutely awful she was the minute she got home. She was an angel at school and they just couldn't see it. Until she was 17 and I had to go away for a week. Without my support the mask slipped and the school were ringing me every 5 minutes and never doubted me again.


butmynameisveronica · 13/12/2019 19:13

Without wishing to sound coarse... abso-**ing-lutely!! I've been doing it for 30 years. Managed to not get diagnosed until age 12.

75% of people who know me would not be able to guess, I get away with it by simply not telling people. My husband knows a totally different woman to most people that could claim to know me.

Best wishes to your family - I hope you get the support you need, it has really helped me.


bitheby · 13/12/2019 19:14

I masked until I was 40!

It's really common, especially in girls, to behave really well at school and then meltdown at home.

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