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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I live in the US. Can anyone refer me to appropriate therapeutic boarding schools that know and understand how to handle a student with an eating disorder?
I am not sure what you mean by that. The best treatment for eating disorders is when parents are taught to be in charge of their child's treatment.
Let me explain. We have been working with FBT for a couple of years and have been heavily involved. Due to all of our daughter’s residential hospital stays over the years she has gotten extremely behind in school. In addition to her ED, she’s dealing with trauma and depression/anxiety, substance abuse, and emotional disregulation. Our D has not attended mainstream school for 3 years. When she currently steps down from RTC and then PHP, she needs a new plan for school while she is also working through her other mental health issues while also having us, her parents, involved. Our daughter’s IEP team and FBT therapists have recommended therapeutic boarding school as an option to address all the issues our daughter is challenged with, however, the list of approved IEP schools is a daunting and confusing data sheet that is not easy to search. In our research we are finding it challenging to find schools that specialize in ED. I HATE the idea of not having our daughter live with us, my stomach is in knots, and we also don’t seem to have options. How do we address ALL of our daughter’s needs so she will be ready to launch into the world and have a healthy, happy, meaning future? 
I did not know that something like that exists at all and to be honest, I would not trust anybody to supervise meals and care for her intake but the parents.
Normally US children have a 504 to go back to school after a severe disease and that works well in most cases. How old is your d?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Welcome to the forum. I am not from the US so can't be sure, but so far in the last 9 years I have not heard a parent talk about a therapeutic boarding school for ED that has been successful. We have had a few parents consider using them over the years. Have you considered home schooling, distance education? These are certainly much more common options and many other parents look at sending their children back to a regular school with various oversights in place. 
Having had a a child with many of the issues you mention who missed more than 18 months of school, we found that over time things just gradually healed - keeping her fed was the first part, but then offering ongoing mental health support, including reduced school work load and special considerations things just gradually got better over the years. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.

Dear Teresabug,

So sorry you are grappling with this. My daughter was also out of school for a long time.

There is also an option, if you are in the US, for homebound instruction from the public schools. I know that in my state if a child is unable to come to school because of a disability or serious illness, the school is required to make arrangements for homebound instruction. I do not know whether it is a state or federal law but you could look into that as well. That way she could come home, receive instruction from the school, and you could serve as a food support at home and make sure that she had outpatient appointments with mental health professionals as needed. 

There is also homeschooling, of course, where you follow a curriculum such as the K-12 (which is also considered to be a public school) and is free.


I have a friend with a son on the autism spectrum who successfully homeschooled her son using this program and it is free and considered public school. Perhaps you can ask your district about this option?

The other option might be for you to go back and ask the people who have recommended a therapeutic boarding school which one is the best for eating disorders and then research those. Do they know anyone who has had an eating disorder and been treated successfully at one of the schools? Or phone some of the highly regarded residential treatment programs and ask whether they have any information on therapeutic boarding schools which have successfully treated patients with eating disorders.

Hope this can give you a few ideas.



I am in the US and also never heard about any boarding schools that help children with eating disorders.
I have heard of a few therapeutic boarding schools that accept girls with eating disorders but the schools are not specialized just for eating disorders. One that comes to mind is Discovery Ranch for Girls.

In my opinion, there ought to be therapeutic boarding schools that could handle eating disorders along with other comorbidities. Yes, FBT is ideal. No parent wants to place their child out of the home for 9-12 months or longer, but FBT is not a one size fits all nor a cure all. Some children have a disease severity that require the life saving choice of out of home placement. No parent who makes that difficult choice should be shamed.
have found this site about therapeutic boarding schools. There is a toll free number.

 Each ED child and each family has to do what is best for them and only they can figure what is required.I respect your situation and  I do hope that you find a school that is a good fit for your child.
All my best,
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)
Kartini Clinic - kartiniclinic.com, might be able to help you.
Sarah Rose