Holding it together at school but not home


Im engaged in other areas of this forum too for myself but have an amazing 9 year boy diagnosed with Aspergers although we are trying very hard to have him re-assed for ADHD… We are in the UK, i don’t know if this is relevant but thought id mention it.

As I’m sure everyone can relate to the amount of form filling was huge and we were trying to be as consistent as possible but his diagnosis between Aspergers and ADHD hinged on his ability to hold it together at school but not at home so i think this may have caused a problem when the school were filling in there paperwork.

We moved him from a large city primary school to a very small country primary school that only has 80 or so children across his whole school, his class has 23 children in which is split across two academic years and only his year only has 11 children in it. There is one teacher and one teaching assistant, the head teacher of the school is also the SEN (special educational needs) co-ordinator. As school is very structured, safe, quite and he knows every child and teacher he feels very comfortable. It also helps that his head teacher has a son who has ADHD/Aspergers so is very on board with giving him the attention and support he needs. In fact she was instrumental in helping us access the services we needed in the first place and without her i think we would be in a very different place.

My concern is all this help may be helping him a school which is great but also masking behaviours that would otherwise be being displayed. My concern is this could cause problems especially when he will move top to senior school in two years.

So i guess I’m reaching out to parents to ask if they have had similar experiences and also to anyone who has a diagnosis and can remember if they were different at school and at home.


I don’t have kids but I do have ADHD myself and also from the UK, I can confirm I was a very different person at school than I was at home it all depends on who I was around really but I don’t think it really masked the symptoms it just expressed them in a different way, unfortunately I didn’t get diagnosed until I was out of school so it may have been a bit different for me but the change from primary to secondary school actually really helped my confidence at first and I went from being extremely shy and not talking to anyone to talking to absolutely everyone then I found few close friends and my freindship group grew smaller again. I think it really just depends on what environment I was in because I was always worried of what people might think of me and if I thought they didn’t like me I would be shy or just avoid them I just adapted to the environment.
Not sure if this is much help but if he does have ADHD then I’m sure he will be fine as we are quite flexible people even tho change scares us at first we quickly adapt and grow. If anything I think the change is a good thing in the long run.

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@Reece thank you for your reply, its extremely helpful. My Son displays the exact same things you describe. He can be as calm as you like while at his nan’s house during the day but as soon as we arrive he explodes. His friendship group is very small, partly because the school is small but he has no interest in going out to play with other children where we live. He definitely likes a safe bubble and stays in it, whether that is to be struggling with his emotion, or just to chill out.

I’m sorry i tend to ask a lot of questions, and please if you don’t feel comfortable answering please don’t feel any pressure to do so. He flicks from being happy to angry in a split second and he can tell us he only feels these two emotions so we can be sitting calm to everything explode. if this is something anyone else can relate to did this calm down with age or were there any coping strategies he could use or we could use as parents?

you are welcome and don’t worry fire as many question as you want I love to answer them. I used to be similar to him where I could flick to being completely calm to angry but I found as I grew older the anger just disappeared completely I rarely get angry at all now and if I do its still very controlled and I’ll have a good reason to be angry. But ADHD is very different in everyone for my brother he is more of the hyperactive type (im inattentive) and he still has problems with his anger and can be quite snappy but he isn’t currently taking medication at the moment and is still going though the last few years of puberty so that could also have an impact. One thing that a lot of people don’t know about ADHD is that it greatly effects your emotions as well I sometimes even find I can switch like a light switch from being perfectly happy to really down and almost depressed it can be really difficult and I still don’t really have an answer to that myself I just do the best to explain to people its my ADHD and not them so not to feel guilty. Perhaps look into cognitive therapy for him? also meditation can be very beneficial.
I hope this all helps. :slight_smile:

I love that btw

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Actually people know that emotional dysregulation is part of ADHD, it’s just that in DSM-4 it was taken out because you can’t measure emotion.

I would think that if he is feeling happy and confident at his current school, the behaviours and confidence he is learning (especially at a young age) will benefit him more in his long term development than being in a crappy school, with no friends and ambivalent teachers.

I went to many, many different primary schools. In some, I’d be completely withdrawn and at the bottom of the class. Then we’d move again, and I’d have a better teacher and friends, and I’d be at the top of the class, having fun and playing.

The school your son is in right now will be giving him some of the building blocks for the rest of his life.

He will already have a degree of resilience from his struggles in life, but happiness and confidence is much harder to come by.

So the behaviours you are concerned about being masked are a good thing. If he forgets to be unhappy, or conscious of his problems all the time, I can’t see that as being too much of a problem.

Apart from being diagnosed that is. But in the end, if they are having trouble deciding between one or the other, that’s an administrative problem, not a behavioural problem.

I’m not completely sure I understood your main question, but I ran with it anyway.

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