I've seen a thing doing the rounds about the 'Coke bottle effect'. Those of us with neurodivergent children will be aware of this concept.
It serves to explain why teachers say our kids are "fine" or "had a really good day" and yet the second they get home (or sometimes even before we've left the school gates) they blow up in our face.
Watch: What life is like with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Post continues after the video.
In simplicity, you imagine the child is a bottle of Coke. Every time something stressful happens the bottle is shaken. Nothing much seems to change. But the bottle is shaken and shaken. The pressure builds and builds and then once home with their parents, in their safe space with their safe people, the lid comes off the bottle. All the shaking results in a lot of mess and try as you might, once the fizzing starts, the lid is next to impossible to get back on.
In the example I've seen, there's a boy going through his day and we think of the stressful things he goes through. My only criticism is that I think the things are too obvious, at one point he gets sent to the head teacher's office for being "naughty". So here's my take on the things that shake children up and down the land.
Let's call the child Kate. Kate is autistic, the school knows she's autistic and has measures in place to help. Kate goes to a mainstream primary school just like every other primary school up and down the land.
Kate arrives at school. She's excited to build a Lego model during soft start. She's been planning it all morning. Only three children can play with the Lego at once and Jack, Zoe and Anya got there first. Kate sits at her desk and draws a picture. Her teacher congratulates her on a beautiful picture. But it wasn't a Lego model.
Shake the bottle.
Kate does a maths test. She gets 9 out of 10. Her teacher says well done. Kate can't shake the feeling she should have got them all right.
Shake the bottle.
The classroom is loud, the sound of chairs scraping on the floor. Those children laughing. Kate has a pair of ear defenders. She wants to wear them. She knows she's allowed. But she knows it makes her look different. So she doesn't.