What to Tell Your Child’s School About Their Eating Disorder
If your child is contending with an eating disorder, it stands to reason that you might be anxious about the school environment they’ll face throughout recovery.
Don’t be afraid to approach your child’s teacher or pastoral lead, and discuss with them what you feel will be most helpful by way of support.
Here are some things you’ll want to consider raising in those conversations:
Tell them about your child’s diagnosis or pending investigation
Give them the full picture in order that they can best help you. Assist them in comprehending the severity.
Explain the behaviours
Recognise that some teachers may have little knowledge about the illness and may want you to point out behaviours they need to be on the look for.
Indicate what mealtime support you think may be appropriate
Have a full and frank discussion about what might be necessary – whether that’s your child being chaperoned to the canteen, whether it’s allowing the child home for lunch or you attending school, or them being able to eat in a separate classroom with a friend.
Emphasise the need for them to be cautious about their use of language in relation to food, weight and appearance.
Ask about curriculum content
Find out what is being discussed in classroom material which may have a bearing on how your child feels about weight, exercise and body image.
Agree an ‘if necessary’ urgent action plan
Be really clear about when you would want to hear from them and what you think may need to happen in certain circumstances. Make sure they have all your contact details and that you expect regular contact.
Tell them about other support organisations or healthcare professionals playing a part in your child’s recovery
Advise them if what GP, community eating disorder team, therapist, dietician, child psychologist or befriending partners you have involved so far – if you do.
Suggest teachers get training
Encourage them to explore wider training for all school staff. Let them know that organisations like Wednesday’s Child actively offer this.
- Apr 2021