Susanne de Munck Mortier
3 min readMay 27, 2021

The educational system works, but not for every highly sensitive child

We often speak about ‘the system that is not working’, but in fact the system is working.

It actually works really well, it works for putting children in line, following, repetition, and in the box thinking.

I know this statement is rather blunt and of course there are also beautiful things in every system, but I hope it gets your attention.

For some sensitive children the system works and for others it is everything besides that…it can be damaging.

That is why I want to acknowledge our sensitive children who feel so anxious to go to school that they need to throw up in the morning, don’t fall asleep easily, or even develop a fever out of their worried thinking.

Just imagine that you need to go back to a location that you are terrified of…over and over…every single day.

Wouldn’t your immune system be affected by that?!

Devastation is the word I would like to use.

When hearing what families of a highly sensitive child can experience in school.

I can relate to that feeling of ‘having failed’ when your child is surviving in an educational setting, even though you tried everything within your power to advocate for your child.

The feeling of guilt that is attached can bring your daily inner world down at a surprisingly fast speed.

You just know your sensitive child is actually really bright and talented, but just has different needs.

Luckily not every highly sensitive child struggles in education.

I hear about children who are severely bullied, parents who aren’t heard during their quest to just let their children enjoy the ‘little things’ in life again…like simply feeling safe in a classroom.

Some families struggle with this for 4 months, some more than 4 years.

The mental consequences it has on both is often not spoken about, while these experiences are so impactful in adult life.

This was probably not what you had in mind as a parent and also not when you started out as a teacher.

Even teachers struggle with seeing some sensitive students ‘not fitting in’ when they also know that their student is so talented.

“If I just had more 1:1 time with that boy” is what many teachers have shared with me.

There are also other magnificent educational settings out there, and often parents are not aware of the various educational opportunities.

Different educational streams that understand how the highly sensitive brain works and no unnecessary people involved to test your child on a disorder where there is funding for.

I just want to say to these caring parents that there is hope…many children who left mainstream thrived and blossomed into the person they already were before coping, survival strategies and anxiety.

Mostly because their brains are being challenged in a different way, more safety and therefore open to learning plus the opportunity to follow their inner knowing in a way that suits their needs.

So when you desperately take your child out of education (maybe you are forced to do so or you have no say in it) and you don’t know what to do…at your wits end…it can be the greatest accomplishment and relief ever.

I know it takes a while to adjust, to find your way as a family in this new situation.

In the end…It can be the biggest gift ever for your family.

* Do you want to explore this perspective further and experience what a school day looks like through the eyes of a sensitive child, then subscribe to my newsletter to be kept updated about the next opportunity to attend to attend my Masterclass “How to support your sensitive child’s needs in education’- https://www.internationalhspcenter.com/