Starting school is a particularly stressful time for kids who have spent the last couple of months enjoying their freedom. For the right-brained child, school represents a particular harsh dose of reality, which can often bring about severe behavioral changes in your child. Many times, the only draw that school has, for the kinds of children I work with, is that they get to once again reunite with their friends. Beyond that, there is usually only suffering implied by the beginning of school. Right-brained children almost always have issues sleeping, and their fears can many times be more intense, than other children’s. All summer long they have been free to sleep later, go to bed later, and wake up free of the anxiety so often prevalent in their school day. The left brained nature of our typical school is very hard for these visual students to easily accommodate to. Many times these children wake up too early, in anticipation of school, and often suffer from headaches, stomachaches, and other anxiety related issues. It is common for the students I work with to start feeling anxiety around the starting of school, a couple of weeks, before they actually begin attending school. Parents often report that their child is more irritable, short tempered and generally hard to be around when school starts. With a left brained child, school is not a major interruption to their lives, indeed they may really look forward to the beginning of school, and actually enjoy the drill, rote, and the orderly sequential nature of the typical American classroom. In contrast, the visual child knows full well what they are getting into in school; which usually consists of insufferable amounts of homework, boring lectures, and having to sit still in one place for a prolonged period of time. Everything about the typical American classroom is difficult for the visual child, and when they reminisce about their earlier school experiences, they many times have a general negative associative feeling about school.

Here are some helpful tips:

1. The parent should talk to their child about how they as a team, will tackle the difficulties in school together. Tell your child that you will serve as their executive assistant, and that they will never need to lie to you about any school related issue.

2. Reward them for not repressing negative feelings about their school day, and give them an occasional mental health day off, to recover from school.

3. Try hard to convince the administration that your child thrives with visual, hands on, lively teachers, who encourage children to move, who have a sense of humor, and whom your child will like. The left brained child will not care about weather they like their teacher, but to the right brained ones, their teachers personality and simpatico with their teacher is the most important variable on weather or not they will have a good or bad year.

4. If you can, volunteer in the classroom and become friends with your child’s teacher. Use every opportunity to educate the teacher on the subtleties of how your child differs from other children.

The most important thing is to instill in your child’s teacher the knowledge that right brained children can learn anything that they can turn into a mental image, but will remember almost nothing if this visualization, does not occur. Encourage the teacher to gently remind ask your child if they are visualizing the lesson, and you will be helping not only your own child, but many other visual children as well.

-Jeffrey Freed