How To Speak To Your Students

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Dr. David Herzog offers coaching advice on how to speak to your students about eating disorders.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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How To Speak To Your Students

  1. 1. It is important to remember that an eating disorder is a desperate attempt to cope with underlying problems. and although you can see how unhealthy and unproductive it is. for your student it may feel like a lifeline. That is why it is common for individuals with eating disorders to be upset or mad if you try to help them. They may fear that you are going to take away their only coping mechanisms. A student might deny the problem, be furious that you discovered her secret. and feel threatened by your caring. Athletes are likely to be frightened that your awareness of their abnormal eating habits will jeopardize their participation in sports. Give them ‘L Q‘ time and breathing space once you have raised your concerns. A" Prepare yourself for your talk. Gather general information before you talk to the student. Learn about the resources for help in your school and community without revealing the pupil's identity. Speak in an anonymous way with the school nurse or physician. health educator. and school administrator to determine whether there is a school policy about students with eating disorders (such policies are more likely to be in place at boarding schools). Find out what the ramifications might be for participation in sports. Read about eating disorders. The information provided by the Academy for Eating Disorders and by The National Institute of Mental Health will likely be helpful. Always talk privately to your student before letting others know about her by name, even if you strongly believe she is at risk. You can bring in other individuals later. but you risk breaking the student's trust if you talk about her without her knowledge. Plan with care. It is best to be able to offer your student a few options and resources. Locate a safe and private place to talk Plan ahead so you'll have the amount of time you will need to talk and be sure that you will not be interrupted or overheard

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