F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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Teresabug
Our 16 year old daughter has been struggling for 3 years with atypical anorexia nervosa, anxiety/depression, substance abuse, and trauma. She has missed a lot of school and is at least a year behind, and is very smart.  She is back at a residential hospital after being discharged to a therapeutic boarding school and losing 8 pounds in less than a week and fainting. I need guidance in what educational options are open to my daughter. She has an IEP. Do you have any resources for me or someone i can speak with in more detail?
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scaredmom
Hello and welcome to the forum.
here is a thread that may  have something that can guide you.
All the best,
https://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/504-help-for-school-10238197?highlight=504&pid=1309254872
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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mommiful
My daughter struggled with anorexia throughout her middle school and high school years. During the first couple of years, we found the requirement that she complete meals in order to attend school to be quite an effective tool. That is definitely the approach I would recommend for families relatively new to treatment, especially if they're doing FBT. 

Later, as the OCD element became stronger, the pressure to remain in school was no longer helpful for my daughter. We gave homeschooling a try with the idea that she could do a bit of work when she was well enough, without the stress and constraints of the school system. This didn't help much, even though I had experience homeschooling a sibling in very different circumstances and was well connected in the local homeschooling community. Still, it was probably better than being in limbo without any schooling. She not well enough to attend school as we were attempting to do FBT at home (again) with interruptions for hospitalizations and residential treatment. We took a very loose interpretation of homeschooling and encouraged her to just explore topics she was interested in. She did listen to a lot of moderately educational podcasts and she ventured out to some interesting lectures at nearby colleges. However, the homeschooling did not help with social isolation, since she did not engage with the homeschooling community, and the lack of structure was difficult. (

As she got a bit healthier (mentally, at least), she continued homeschooling and began taking a few online courses through the local community college dual enrollment program and an online high school that our local public school used for credit recovery. She was able to apply the work she did through online courses toward her graduation requirements when she transferred back to school.

The approach that seemed to work best was for her to be enrolled in the local public school while taking her courses online through the community college. I really had to fight to get the school to let her do this instead of homebound instruction, but you might find this easier if you already have an IEP in place. She was able to complete her graduation requirements and graduate on time, even though she spent half of the year in the hospital or residential. The residential program does not usually allow much computer use, but they were willing to allow her enough hours to complete her online schoolwork, once they saw that she was compliant with eating and attending all groups. I believe most residential programs in the US do schedule a certain amount of time for kids who are in school to keep up with their schoolwork.

Once again, I want to stress that prioritizing treatment over schooling makes absolute sense for most kids who have not been ill for so long. When the ED goes on for years, a host of secondary problems develop: increasing social isolation, loss of an identity outside of the ED, a deepening awareness of having missed key milestones, the sense of a chasm of missed opportunities barring reentry into normal life, and a growing feeling of hopelessness. In this situation getting back on track with education can be a goal that feels more attainable, building confidence and hope. For our daughter, it really helped. 

I'm happy to answer questions about online high schools, dual enrollment, or homeschooling in more detail. Feel free to contact me off list.
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Foodsupport_AUS
Hi Teresabug. We have moved this to the main forum as it does not relate to provider feedback. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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