Environmental factors

Bill was an extremely gifted musician but not sporty. Sadly, his peers valued sport, not music. They teased him mercilessly until he went to a school that respected musical talent.

Rebeccafelt different at her old school so her parents sent her to aJewish school, believing she would have more in common with the students there. But she found it hard to join in: she was quiet, and waited for others to invite her to play, whereas other students seemed morefamiliar with one another. They appeared to merge easily, like withfamily. So Rebecca had to learn anew set of social skills.

Children are affected by the attitudes of people around them. If you are different, these attitudes play a detrimental role. Most children have an obsession with being normal because 'being different' equals 'loser'. If your school favours academic results, you achieve; but if your school praises sporting prowess, you excel at sport. The definition of'normal' varies from school to school. If you feel different from what is normal at your school, you remain invisible or react. In some schools you bully to retain your 'popular' status.

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