Neurodiversity... The Coke Effect.

Nurodivergent: Functioning a bit differently.

The Coke Bottle Effect.

No this is not about Coke...

Take a minute and read to read this as it is a create example of how neurodivergent people experience daily life. This particular example is a child in school.

I see this all day long working with both kids and young adults in school, day programs, group homes and at home. And we all know an adult you interact with regularly who is neurodivergent; that adult might not even know they are neurodivergent and just think they are screwed up, but, this is how they experience their days.

Be kind. Be aware.

If people seem off or stressed, give them space and don't judge

You have no idea what is going on for them internally.

Wouldn't you want someone to offer you the same kindness when you are having a difficult time?

The Coke Bottle Effect:

Those of us who are neurodivergent or have neurodivergent children will be aware of this concept. It serves to explain why "teachers, staff, guardians, mentors, etc." 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. Or vice versa, they are calm at home and blow up at school depending on their space of 'comfort and safety'.

In simplicity you imagine the child is a bottle of coke. Every time some thing 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.

Let's call the child Kate, Kate is autistic, school knows she's autistic and have 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 3 children can play with the Legos 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 math quiz. 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. Children are laughing. Kate has a pair of headphones. She wants to wear them. She knows she's allowed. But she knows it makes her look different. So she doesn't.

Shake the bottle.

At break time Kate is excited to see mummy gave her a cereal bar for snack when she usually has an apple. She'll forgive the change of snack because, you know, it has chocolate chips in it. 2 bites in a child bumps into her and it falls to the ground. Kate can't eat it now it's dirty, she tries to tell the playground assistant who tells her it is fine, just brush off the dirt, it was even in a packet. But she can't. Its contaminated. So she puts it in the bin.

Shake the bottle. Twice. She was excited about the chocolate and now she's also hungry.