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Real Life Account

Sarah's daughter was only nine years old when she was diagnosed with anorexia. Sarah writes, "She was very sporty, very brainy and very ambitious. Like many primary school children what her teacher said was gospel. The school was teaching Nutrition and was trying to win a Healthy Eating Award. There was no obesity in the school and Naomi was very slight naturally with a very fast metabolism and coming up to puberty where she needed extra energy. Lessons that featured lists of good and bad foods and very simplistic teaching were disastrous for her. Coupled with the fact that she thought the teacher was directing her comments specifically towards her led her to stop eating certain items and to become frightened of food and guilty about it."

It was such a dramatic and fast decent towards a critical situation that the school had little chance to support them during her illness as Naomi was in hospital within the space of just a few weeks and then on to the local NHS unit for months.

Sarah maintains, "There had been little awareness from the school. It only realised just before she was taken into hospital after we’d tried many times to alert them to the problem. The teachers were good teachers and it was not an awful school. Her class teacher was so upset how Naomi had taken the teaching. Children are different. Our daughter was at a dangerous point even when she didn’t look too bad. We were having a really hard time and no one was noticing. Even the GP and the Health visitor thought we were over-dramatising. Once Naomi was in hospital the teachers were really good with cards and visits but we could have done with more sensitivity and awareness beforehand".

Sarah is keen to explain now that Naomi has made a complete recovery that she doesn’t blame the school or the teachers but says, "I do think they created a situation in which an eating disorder was very easy to happen." - Sarah

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