Shaken Bottle Syndrome

15 Apr

The children went back to school today. M had seemed quite calm before school, with a last look at her visual timetable of the day that had been given to her the day she broke up for the holidays. She was a little concerned about the new topic of Vikings but it didn’t stop her lining up to go into school. Once inside she pulled her hat down over her face and froze. I think the sudden rush of noise and bodies everywhere was too much for her. I waited with her learning support assistant until the worst of the rush was over and then left her to her morning.

On picking her up at 12.30 it appeared she had had a very good day. There had been a small issue about wanting to go home at about 11.45 which I soon realised was about 30 seconds before Topic work, but all in all she had settled well and had a productive day.

Or so I thought.

I made her some lunch, and allowed her some down time in front of a dvd. This is not “cop-out” parenting, but a way for M to recharge and quietly make sense of her day if she needs to. Before the holidays this would then leave her happy enough to continue her day in relative calm. Today however the lid came off.



Shaken Bottle Syndrome is when a child, like M, who has autism or similar, gives the impression that they are coping well with a situation. They know how they are supposed to behave and they spend every ounce of their self-control to achieve this. But each small problem, a ticking clock, someone tapping a pencil, the smell from the school canteen, gives the bottle a little shake. By the time the child gets home the bottle is dangerously bubbly. 

And then the lid comes off. It may be something innocuous like a toy being moved off the carpet, the “wrong” sort of biscuits in the tin, or even “a look” from a sibling, but that lid is blown to pieces and the pop goes everywhere. 

M has been like this since about 3.30 this afternoon. We have had so much screaming, crying, hitting out, running off, and every other kind of behaviour that you can think of that isn’t good for anyone, least of all her. In between times she has needed umpteen tight squeezy cuddles with me, in a desperate effort to regulate her system back to something she can deal with, but it’s been a very long day for her.

Even in her bath I could hear her screaming blue murder at either her brother or hubby (I didn’t get close enough to find out which) and her bath is normally the place she likes the most.

I am hoping she will be able to sleep tonight – with any luck her frustrations have been dealt with, but to be honest, I’m not very hopeful.

To end on a positive note I have managed to wash everything from the weekend’s scout camp the 3 teens went to, and got it dry. The weather has been sunny, warm (for the Highlands) and extremely breezy. Luckily not quite windy enough to damage my beautiful daffodils though. Tomorrow I am hoping for more good weather and no shaken bottle.



2 Responses to “Shaken Bottle Syndrome”

  1. candidcoma April 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    loving the term “shaken bottle” fab post as always xxx

    • ouremuk66 April 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      Thank you 🙂 I think I learned about shaken bottle at our local autism centre, it certainly makes it easy to explain to people who don’t know much about autism.

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