When it comes to dealing with pupils suffering from an eating disorder, school staff admit they lack knowledge and confidence. Unsure whether they can do anything to help, they're afraid of making matters worse. However, they can help. As one young sufferer remarked: 'I don't think it's going too far to say my teacher saved my life'. This Pocketbook is suitable for anyone working in a school setting and will be of interest to parents, too. It contains ideas, information and practical advice for supporting pupils with eating disorders. It explains what an eating disorder is, focusing particularly on anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. After identifying risk factors and warning signs, the author looks at encouraging pupils to share their concerns and at how to respond when a student confides. The emphasis shifts to a whole-school approach in a chapter about setting up a recovery team involving parents, peers, individual staff, outside agencies, etc. It stays practical and relevant to all staff, however, with day-to-day support strategies and how to keep things on track, eg monitoring progress and re-integrating students whose eating disorder has led to periods of absence.
There is advice on what to say, what not to say and exactly how to help. Cartoons, diagrams, bullets and other presentational devices support the text throughout. A recovered anorexic herself, author Pooky Knightsmith specialises in the prevention and management of eating disorders. She has interviewed over 500 young people with eating disorders and 800 teachers for a PhD in this field. She works in teacher education, currently at the TES, where her job is to engage with, learn from and share with a worldwide network of more than 1.8 million teachers.