David and Sarah were nearly 5 when I first met them. David was about to start school and his parents were worried about the way his new teachers would respond to his difficult behaviour. Sarah had already been admitted early to her infant school at her parents’ request as she was understood to be exceptionally bright. David’s parents and Sarah’s headteacher had both contacted me for advice. Here were two different problems presented from two different perspectives, but together they illustrate some of the most commonly encountered sources of difficulty at this important stage in children’s development.