YOUR CHILD IS WELL BEHAVED AT SCHOOL, POLITE AND FOLLOWS INSTRUCTION. EVERY TEACHER SAYS WHAT A PLEASURE THEY ARE TO HAVE IN THE CLASSROOM. BUT AS SOON AS THE SCHOOL DAY ENDS AND THEY SET FOOT OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL BAM, THE HORNS COME OUT AND THEY EXPLODE.

Take heart you are not alone, chances are if you can identify with this then what you are seeing is known as the delayed effect.The most simple way to explain the delayed effect is to use a coke bottle analogy.

Your child is a new coke bottle that has never been open. Let’s send that coke bottle to school for the day.

Coke bottle needs to get dressed, but cannot wear clothes that feel extra comfy it has to wear a uniform. (Shake the bottle)

Coke bottle is walking to school, on the way they pass another group of bottles and are convinced all the bottles were looking at them in a strange way, they may even want to hurt the coke bottle. (Shake the bottle)

Coke bottle enters the classroom to find that their teacher is off sick and a different teacher is taking the lessons. (Shake the bottle)

Playtime Coke bottle is trying really hard to understand the rules of playtime, why is it called playtime? There are no toys, its cold outside and so loud. (Shake the bottle)

The new teacher is cross with some bottles in the class but the coke bottle isn’t sure if they have caused the teacher to be cross so will assume responsibility. (Shake the bottle)

Lunch time, the coke bottle now has to sit in a noisy hall full of different smells and eat a meal that doesn’t look like anything it has seen before, the lunch time supervisor said it has to be eaten…reluctantly the coke bottle eats the food even though they didn’t like the feel of it. (Shake that bottle)

Can you see where this is going and it’s only lunchtime!

After lunch it’s PE, Coke bottle now has to get changed, take off the clothing it has taken all morning to get used to the feeling of and change into another set of clothing that feels wrong and cold. (Shake that bottle)

After PE it’s time to go to the library, Coke bottle enjoys the library only today just as they get there the fire alarm goes off, it’s loud and everyone has to go outside. (Shake that bottle)

Finally just as Coke bottle is dangerously close to exploding and making a huge mess all over the place the bell goes and it’s home time.

As soon as coke bottle is safely away from school it takes its lid off and BAM all that pressure is realised. All of the negative chemicals that have been building up all day are realised. Coke bottle doesn’t mean to make such a mess at home, coke bottle feels terrible for the destruction it causes. Coke bottle doesn’t like the feeling of exploding and finds it quite scary as they feel so out of control.

What can be done to prevent our Coke bottles from exploding? The same as you would do for a real Coke bottle that had been shaken you need to slowly release the pressure.

Ask school for your child to have regular sensory breaks just 5 minutes at the end of every lesson to go into another room and self regulate can make a big difference. Bouncing on a yoga ball, listening to some music or pushing a wall can all help.

Can the school provide a quiet place to eat lunch or make allowances for food to be eaten at a different time?

Ask if the school can allow your child to keep an extra Tshirt on during PE so they don’t have to feel like they have completely got changed for PE.

All these steps are reasonable adjustments that a child can expect to have made for them under the SEN Code of conduct. The delayed effect is serious and can cause real harm to a child. It is very important that schools take it seriously. If you would like more information on how to support your child avoid the delayed effect please do get in touch.