For some children and young adults, it is not the lesson times that cause most anxiety at school, but the lunch. When your child has an eating disorder, learning comes second place to battling with food.
When you have an unhealthy relationship with food, which takes over your life and makes you ill, it is classed as an eating disorder. It may involve eating too little, too much or being obsessed with weight or body shape. Eating disorders affect men and women of any age but are most common in girls between 13 and 17. There is recent evidence to show the number of younger children (8-12s) with anorexia is on the rise too.
Anorexia is the most well-known of the disorders, but others are more common, namely Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED). Eating disorders can develop to be serious mental illnesses with life-threatening consequences.
Signs of eating disorders
- Disproportionate worry about weight or shape.
- Avoiding socialising when food is involved.
- Eating very little.
- Deliberately making yourself sick or taking laxatives.
- Excessive exercise.
- Having strict routines with food.
- Mood swings.
- Physical signs, including feeling cold, tired or dizzy, problems with digestion, abnormal weight to height ratio, girls not getting periods.
- Associated mental health problems including anxiety and depression.
Eating disorders are manageable and there is a good chance of recovery if caught early on. For many young people the treatment includes:
- Family Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), with a therapist who supports the child to adopt regular eating habits
- Medication such as antidepressants.
How schools can help
Schools are ideally placed to spot the signs of an eating disorder in a child or young person, and BEAT, the eating disorder charity offers informative training for primary and secondary schools to help staff and students spot the signs. PSHE lessons accommodate the courses.
Exam stress can affect people with eating disorders. Schools should make reasonable adjustments in exams, with the possibility of deferral or administering extenuating circumstances, if necessary. An eating disorder is considered a disability so the special needs coordinator (SENCo) and pastoral support need to be involved at every step.
Perhaps you suspect your child has some learning difficulty and you would like advice on what you should do. Or perhaps it is becoming clear that your child's current school is not working for him or her, and you need help to find a mainstream school which has better SEN provision, or to find a special school which will best cater for your child's area of need. Our SEN consultancy team advises on both special schools, and the mainstream schools with good SEN support, from reception through to the specialist colleges for 19+.
Special Educational Needs Index
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As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, The Good Schools Guide International offers the following guidance:
Determine the global situation and that of individual countries on government mandated school closures by accessing the UNESCO information on this link: https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-emergencies/coronavirus-school-closures.
For updates on the medical situation, go to the World Health Organisation website at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports.
If you wish to contact one of our GSGI listed schools to discover their current status or any plans for alternate learning strategies, please go to our database to find email and phone numbers for each school https://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/international-search.
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