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Hi, I'm after a little help and advice, if anyone has any

 

We have had a new student start this week, she comes just twice a week and so I've only seen her twice but I have some concerns.

 

She is painfully thin and eats next to nothing and doesn't seem to drink nearly enough. On Wednesday she had a small amount of orange squash in the afternoon, and that's all. On Thursday her Mum dropped off a bag of lunch with an enormous baguette stuffed absolutely full (I'd have had a job wrapping myself around it!) and a small yoghurt. She didn't even get the baguette out, it got hidden under her coat in the kitchen. She brought the yoghurt out and it took her half an hour to nibble her way through it. She didn't scrape the pot clean. When I asked if she'd like a drink, she said she'd had some cola, but I don't know where from. She just had the bag with the baguette in. This makes me sound like I've been snooping, but I haven't.

 

Sooo, the advice I could do with is, do I tackle her on this, saying that she needs to set an example of healthy eating in front of the children?; do I just leave it and let her get on with it?; do I contact her college tutor and ask for some support?; Basically, should I try to tackle it or not - I don't really feel equipped to deal with it, and I'm not really sure it's my place to do so.

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i agree with hello kitty your relationship with her is too fragile for you to tackle directly. I have a lot of students come to me and with TLC you can often become their rock and they will open up to you but a word with a caring tutor may be the way to go to start with. Good luck ...how long is she with you for?

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I'd say you need some expert advice about how to proceed. You may be adding two and two and making five, but you may also just have hit the nail on the head.

 

Assuming she has an eating disorder, from what little I know, I'd say that if she has only been with you for a week she won't yet have built up enough trust to confide in you if you were to talk to her about her eating habits. If her mum is dropping off huge bagettes then it is unlikely she is aware of her daughter's issues with food because I think she would be encouraging her to eat small amounts of food at a sitting.

 

If it were me I would talk to the college about my concerns and see what they say. Of course they may not know anything, but then again they might, although I'm not sure whether they would be at liberty to disclose anything because I don't know what their responsibilities are in this regard.

 

Good luck - sounds as if you've got a potentially very difficult situation on your hands!

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Another vote for speaking to the college tutor here. If you tackle her yourself you could make things a lot harder for her.

 

It might be worth engineering a little time to speak one to one now and then, perhaps at the end of a session so that she has an ear to bend if she feels the need.

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I would also agree with what everyone else says, in fact Id go one step further and not yet even approach her tutor. You have only met her twice, and there are many many reasons why someone might not eat in a strange environment, and with strangers, for example there may be nerves at play. My step daughter when she was younger could not bring herself to eat in front of people she didn't know..she never went out for a meal until she was 21. She wasn't anorexic.

 

I agree with Upsy Daisy's idea about spending some one to one time with her each visit on the ground of supporting her to settle in and get used to your ways of doing things. That way you will start to build a relationship with her. Then if you have a review or initial visit form the tutor after a few weeks, and you still have concerns, then I think you could bring it up then. But the college, I don't think, would be at any liberty to discuss it with you.

 

Good luck with it, these situations can be really difficult sometimes cant they?

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Thanks everyone for your words of wisdom so far. The college seem to be next to useless, apart from the phonecall from someone who I assume was her tutor asking for the placement there's been no 'backup' at all. In every other instance when we've had a student from somewhere, the tutor or assessor or someone from the company has come either first or with the student and done a health and safety thing and had a chat about expectations and the work the student will be covering, what they want from us etc. etc. We've not had that. We had a student from the college a few years back and it was the same then, when she left we were sent a questionnaire to complete and I was very 'upfront' in my comments about the lack of support and feedback. I hoped they'd learned from that, but obviously I was just one voice of dissension.

 

Apparently her father and brother are clinically obese, and I wonder if that's impacting on her (well it must be!) it doesn't sound like her home environment is very 'healthy eating' based, so it's no wonder she has an eating disorder of some description.

 

It's very early days yet, and yes, she does need longer to settle in and relax around us. She has one to one time with me with the Preschool group all morning on Thursdays, well, there's eight 3-4 year olds too, but there's opportunity for 'bonding' if you know what I mean. On Wednesday morning she's with the 2-3 year olds and all the children are together in the afternoons and go anywhere they like and so we all free-flow with them.

 

We had a student in the past who had problems with eating in front of people, but she got round it fairly easily during her time with us, to the extent that she could come out for the annual staff/parent night out. Admittedly she sat with me and the deputy, but it was a huge victory for her

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So know where you are coming from. I have just had 2 students come for an induction and it was 12.30 so in there lunch hour. I sat with them and they yawned their way through an 1/2 hour induction. i then asked them if they eat breakfast and the answer was no, so i asked if they had had lunch and the answer was a scotch egg!!!!

I told them that looking after children is phsically tiring as well as mentally and that they need to start eating breakfast and lunch. I have a lot of students come for work experience and many of them don't eat much, it is quite frightening.

I usually go down the route of telling them need food otherwise they will be tired and also they need to teach the children what good food is and good manners. Its surprising how they come around to eating properly. give her time. Just because they have grownup bodies I still treat them as children's mind's and hope that the time they are with us we can turn them around into well rounded (not literally) adults. The colleges are useless so I would even go down that route. If you have a member of staff with problem you would have no one else to go to, so go on your instinct of helping the person.

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Could you do a couple of sessions with the children about the food we eat, how it helps us grow and develop and where it comes from? You could plant early potatoes and share baked potatoes for snack where you all try some, but in a very relaxed way so not to spook her. If her family are clinically obese maybe she has no idea what she should be eating but is worried she will get too large.

Poor girl, I have no idea what anorexics go through, loving cake as I do, but it must be a very lonely place.

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It certainly must. It's one of those areas we could all slip into I think. Looking back at pictures of myself at that age I can see I was a stick, now, but at the time I can remember looking at myself in shop windows and thinking 'golly I'm getting fat!' So, there but for the grace of God ...... It's quite scary actually Is it called body dysmorphia or something?

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I was anorexic and it was the most scary and horrid time of my life, but no one except me could make it better. Better I am and have been for years and the irony is that I can eat anything now and not put on weight.

 

The more focus there is on food even in a positive way, the harder it is .

 

Your student may well be under going counselling and her family do appear aware. My mum used to do similar and I never ate what she gave me either.

 

 

It is a horrid time. Be aware, but don't draw attention to it unless she asks or indicates that she wants help. Praise her for her achievements. Don't comment when she eats or drinks something. Be aware and be there. She will need to trust you and it's too early as yet.

 

Ultimately, hard though it is, it is no one's business except hers.

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Can I play devil's advocate here...I do feel uneasy with this.......it does read through this topic as if it's been decided collectively she does have an issue or anorexia and really we can't be making statements of fact about a third persons medical history unless we are her medical practitioner. It could just be that she isn't hungry because she's nervous.

Cx

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Hi reading through all the posts and comments i just want to add that although you have concerns for this person, i think it is too early to do anything at this stage. I would try to build a relationship in the next few weeks for open dialogue,and friendship and see where that takes you both.

In the meantime if you wish to try to get as much information on this condition with support and guidance materials so that if you need to call upon it you have it to hand might be useful.

 

Wishing you well with this. :o

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I take your point totally Catma - what I was looking for was for anyone out there who had experience of anorexia to let me know, so that should I need advice, I would know that there would be someone who would know 'where I was coming from'.

 

Of course it's early days, and I hold my hand up and say that absolutely I'm not medically qualified to make these assumptions, it's just that she kind of set some alarm bells ringing, (I guess you had to be there). If it turns out that she does have an eating disorder then I'm sure the last thing she'll want is some well-meaning comments about her eating habits.

 

I really, really hope she's just shy about eating with strangers.

 

Thank you to everyone for your contributions

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