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Can a Child Mask ADHD at School?

As someone who works with children daily, I’ve often noticed how kids can appear well-behaved at school but become more restless in other settings. It’s natural for parents to wonder, “Can children with ADHD mask their behavior?” Many parents of neurodivergent kids are curious about this and how it impacts different aspects of life. In this post, I’ll share insights about ADHD and masking, including how to recognize the signs and provide support. Understanding these dynamics can help you better support your child in managing ADHD.

Quick Look at ADHD

First, let’s remember what ADHD is. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain condition that affects kids and adults. It makes it hard to focus, sit still, and control actions. Kids with ADHD may have trouble finishing tasks, following directions, and paying attention. This can make daily life, making friends, and school harder.

ADHD can be divided into three types:

  • Inattentive type
  • Hyperactive-impulsive type
  • Combined type

Now, let’s see how masking fits into ADHD.

can a child mask adhd at school  boy in dinosaur costume
Read more: What is ADHD Masking?

Masking: Real or Not?

Masking means hiding or covering up true feelings, thoughts, or actions. It’s a way for neurodivergent kids, like those with ADHD, to cope. Studies show that children with ADHD can mask their behavior in some situations. They may do this because they want to fit in or because they feel they have to. So, the answer to “Can children with ADHD mask their behavior?” is yes, they can.

Masking can happen in many situations, like at school, with friends, or during family gatherings. Kids with ADHD might try to hide their symptoms to avoid getting into trouble or feeling different from others.

How to Tell if Your Child is Masking

Now that we know kids with ADHD can mask their behavior, how can you tell if your child is doing it? Here are some signs:

  • Acting very different at home and school or other places
  • Getting upset or angry after hiding their true feelings
  • Avoiding people or activities they used to enjoy
  • Feeling tired or stressed from trying to hide their ADHD symptoms

Watch your child’s behavior and look for any changes that could mean they’re masking. Trust your gut and talk to your child’s teachers and support team. They can also help you spot signs of masking and give you more information about your child’s behavior at school or other activities.

can a child mask adhd at school boy being scolded by father
Read more: What Are Hidden Disabilities?

Helping Your Child Be Themselves

Masking can be tiring for kids with ADHD. It’s important to make them feel safe and supported so they can be themselves. Below are some tips and tricks to help your child be true to who they are:

  1. Learn about ADHD: Know more about ADHD and its symptoms to better understand your child’s challenges.
  2. Talk openly: Encourage your child to share their thoughts and feelings without judging them. Let them know it’s okay to be themselves.
  3. Speak up for your child: Work with teachers and other adults to make sure they understand ADHD and help your child.
  4. Find support: Connect with other parents of neurodivergent kids to swap stories, advice, and support. This can aid in your child feeling less alone.
  5. Set routines: Having a regular routine can help kids with ADHD feel more in control.

When setting routines, consider these aspects:

  • Morning routines
  •  After-school schedules
  •  Bedtime routines
  •  Weekend plans

Try Goally For Your Child With ADHD

Goally helps kids with ADHD stay focused and build skills. Unlike a Kindle or an iPad that kids get easily distracted on, Goally has no YouTube, no social media, no web browser, and especially no ads.

Goally uses game play as a points-based motivator for your kiddo with ADHD and helps them learn emotional regulation skills. It’s simple to set up and has an expert-informed design.

A young child demonstrates brushing teeth on the best tablet for kids by Goally, highlighting a kid-friendly interface.

In the end, children with ADHD can mask their behavior, and knowing the signs is key to helping them. By learning about ADHD, talking openly, and standing up for your child, you can help them be their true selves and deal with any problems they face. Remember, every child is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Be patient, understanding, and active in helping your child grow. Together, you can take off the mask and help your child reach their full potential.

FAQ’s About Can a Child Mask ADHD at School

Can an ADHD child mask their symptoms at school?  
Yes, an ADHD child can sometimes mask their symptoms at school to blend in and avoid standing out.

What does it mean for an ADHD child to mask at school?
Masking for an ADHD child means hiding or suppressing their symptoms to appear more typical and meet expectations.

Why might an ADHD child mask their symptoms at school?
An ADHD child might mask their symptoms to avoid negative attention, peer judgment, or to meet academic and behavioral expectations.

Can masking ADHD symptoms affect a child's well-being?
Yes, masking ADHD symptoms can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion for the child.

How can parents and teachers support an ADHD child who is masking?
Parents and teachers can support an ADHD child by creating a supportive environment, encouraging open communication, and providing appropriate accommodations.

This post was originally published on 05/02/2023. It was updated on 07/08/2024.

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