Should I encourage my daughter to mask at school?


Okay, so really I know the answer to this question, but it is much more complex than that. My daughter (9) hasn't settled into school since going back in September, largely because she has taken a dislike to her new teacher. However, last week we had the first 2 days where she was really great in school. Friday, and this week, we are just back to her usual behaviours of being rude and running out of the classroom. When I asked her what the difference was between those two days and this week, she said that she was just holding everything in [on those 2 days] and she can't do that all the time. 

I totally understand that 'holding it all in' all the time when she is feeling overwhelmed is not the right answer, but neither is letting it all out all the time either. She does need to learn some level of self control, and understand that not everything can be adjusted for her (she already has a significant amount of reasonable adjustments made for her). 

School, on the whole, have been very helpful (she did have FT TA support, which has now been reduced to PT as she still doesn't have funding yet - though this is due to the school messing up with the EHCP). When I asked them their advice, they said to encourage her to speak to a trusted adult when she is feeling upset, but the problem is she is upset and overwhelmed ALL OF THE TIME! There are only 2 trusted adults in school that she would speak to and they are not available to her all of the time. 

I honestly don't know what to suggest for her to do. I know asking her to hold it in isn't right, but she does need to learn how to regulate - but I don't know how to reach her to do this! 

  • instead of holding it in, has she tried having a notebook and being able to right down how shes feeling if she feels she cannot talk to someone. 

    speak to the school and see about having flash cards made so when shes feeling upset she can show a card and have 5 minutes away from class or have her own safe space somewhere in class where she can go to reconsole herself

  • Letting it all out is your daughter response to a school environment that is clearly not meeting her needs. Masking is draining and not healthy for your mental and physical well-being. Masking all day will no doubt cause your daughter to melt down when she comes home or isolate her self from family life. It’s not a healthy coping strategy.

    Your daughter Is a child and can’t learn to regulate without your guidance on strategies and your full support.

    Why do autistic children always have to be the ones who have to change their self’s to fit in. 

    Encourage your child to be her authentic self. 

    Can she have more comfort breaks in school when she feels she’s becoming over whelmed? Can she spend time out with the classroom to do lessons away from a busy class environment? Is there anyway she have a shorter school days?

  • I hear you. Self regulation is important. I might suggest studying principles and ethics with her as she grows up and she won’t need to regulate but mindfully create ways to help everyone including her self win. Afford her her limits so she feels safe to expand them when she can. I have always asked my son “How can I help” this wins every time. He’s older with a job and now says this with others.

    At school- Is she near natural light or is she subjected like a prisoner to buzzing harsh aggressive fluorescents. Are the classroom acoustics painful on a normal day- echoes, reverberations, these can be like a few flies that never stop leaving you alone at your desk at work- could you produce excellent work on a raft in the middle of a bug infested swamp? There are daily torturous unnatural sensory elements which are not human friendly and didn’t exist anytime in history until recently. How humans are expected to thrive when they’re in something akin to a prison camp is beyond me. And then constantly being misunderstood / misjudged like I’m speaking Russian and being accused of NeuroTypical motives which never cross my mind.

    Personally I’ve had it daily with auto correct or technology “doing” things I have no intention of doing, gate crashing my workflow. Schools are a sensory nightmare. Maybe she’s also bound up in polyester all day which is unnatural and if exposed to fire would melt onto your skin. Sure it’s cheap, but it’s biologically traumatising. Human skin cannot breathe in it.

    Chances are tho, if there’s a gas leak or an electrical fire or something else of grave importance she’ll catch it before anyone else. 

    autistic individuals barely tolerate what can sometimes be viewed as a mindless, pointless, brain numbing silly society. John Cleese redirected it into comedy but didn’t have to deal with the inhuman sensory assaults we have to as children today. To top it off many Humans have little ability to take notice, or be receptive to chemicals making them sick, and then complain about it. They need to be told things on repeat and can’t seem to follow direct basic logic. She’s making DAILY accommodations for the muggles around her. And she probably would go out of her way to liberate them from their dreadfully boring lives if requested. How many will grow up and use drugs to sense and experience life how she normally does? 

    Just another perspective to think about. There are so many amazing careers we can succeed at if we’re supported properly, if we’re respected and learn proper boundaries. In fact, we can only teach respect by giving it. But break all the glass in your greenhouse and you’ll destroy all the life forms in the nursery thus killing the entire garden before it has a chance to bloom. Best analogy for her experience.