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Efftee

Eating disorder record

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Our 16 year old has developed an eating disorder while in the middle of auditioning for upper school. She is about to be treated at an eating disorder clinic. Will there be a record of her illness that schools and, down the road, companies will see? 

Edited by Efftee
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Companies, probably not. They'll look at her resumé and watch her dance. They'll probably also have a reference from the school where she trained so as long as she didn't have problems during that time I don't think it will be a problem for companies.

Presumably, she has already completed the application forms for the upper schools she's applying to and the medical information sheets that go with them. There is usually a question about eating disorders on the forms. Did you mention her problem on there or did it develop later? If you didn't mention it on the form, whether the school will have a record of it will depend on whether you signed something to let them have access to her medical records (not sure how that works in the UK these days.)

Sorry to read that your DD has been struggling with this, I wish her all the best in her recovery.

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I do not know how this works in the UK. 

 

Just wanted to say that my heart goes out to you and your family.  Sounds like you are getting the help needed.  

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Hi Efftee,  so sorry to hear that your daughter is not well, it must be very stressful for you. I can’t answer your question but just wanted to say sending positive thoughts and I hope she recovers well. Glad she is getting the support she needs So she can return to her passion when she is ready. 

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Hi Efftee, I'm so sorry to hear this but really pleased that you are getting help and support. I hope you don't mind my asking but have you considered putting off the upper school applications for a year, until your DD is better? Perhaps it would be more beneficial in the long term to focus on that without the added pressure of auditions and schools. Medical history may well come into the applications in the later stages and as tempting as it may be to keep this hidden from the schools, you would be doing your DD a disservice not to disclose it (in my opinion however that is one of a teacher and dancer-health advocate not of a parent).

 

Thinking of you all. 

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In theory with GDPR and without your daughters explicit consent, the information cannot be shared.

 

This is regardless of whether it is known to the current school, they cannot share this information. 

 

Might I suggest that you check the schools permission to share policy. You might need to ‘opt out’ of sharing, as oppose to ‘opt in.’ I would also write a polite letter to the lower school if that is where your daughter is stating you do not give details of her personal history to be shared with anyone other than GP, ED Clinic, parents. Your daughter will also need to sign it.

 

Eating disorders come under mental health and this is private and confidential personal information.

 

Check ICO website for more details.

 

I have your daughter gets all the support she needs. 

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Every school/college that dd applied for had a medical questionnaire that including questions on injuries, medical conditions and eating disorders.  It would be unethical of a school not to enquire and it would be in your daughter's best interests to declare it so that appropriate support can be put in place and indeed it can be determined whether full time training is in her best interests at this stage of her hopefully recovery.

 

I hope that she gets the support she needs to come through this.  Accepting there is a problem and accepting help is a major hurdle she has already overcome.

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Hello Efftee, so sorry to read this but happy your DD is getting help. From what i re-call when DD received offers from upper schools, i needed to disclose medical statement and history signed by the GP. The schools had their medical questionaire that i needed to have filled by GP.
No one can release your file without prior consent.


Wishing you all the best and thinking of you. Lot's of love and strenght.

Edited by FlexyNexy
spelling error
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7 hours ago, invisiblecircus said:

Companies, probably not. They'll look at her resumé and watch her dance. They'll probably also have a reference from the school where she trained so as long as she didn't have problems during that time I don't think it will be a problem for companies.

Presumably, she has already completed the application forms for the upper schools she's applying to and the medical information sheets that go with them. There is usually a question about eating disorders on the forms. Did you mention her problem on there or did it develop later? If you didn't mention it on the form, whether the school will have a record of it will depend on whether you signed something to let them have access to her medical records (not sure how that works in the UK these days.)

Sorry to read that your DD has been struggling with this, I wish her all the best in her recovery.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. Yes, she had completed the forms including the medical information before her problems began (or before we were aware of them). She is talking about it, rather than being secretive, which is a positive sign, so we hope for the best. Thanks again

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7 hours ago, DD Driver said:

I do not know how this works in the UK. 

 

Just wanted to say that my heart goes out to you and your family.  Sounds like you are getting the help needed.  

Hi. That's very kind. She is getting help and has a positive attitude, so we're hopeful.

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7 hours ago, Aklf said:

Hi Efftee,  so sorry to hear that your daughter is not well, it must be very stressful for you. I can’t answer your question but just wanted to say sending positive thoughts and I hope she recovers well. Glad she is getting the support she needs So she can return to her passion when she is ready. 

Yes, it is pretty stressful - much more so, of course, for our daughter, who's having to cope with auditions, GCSEs and now this... 

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5 hours ago, drdance said:

Hi Efftee, I'm so sorry to hear this but really pleased that you are getting help and support. I hope you don't mind my asking but have you considered putting off the upper school applications for a year, until your DD is better? Perhaps it would be more beneficial in the long term to focus on that without the added pressure of auditions and schools. Medical history may well come into the applications in the later stages and as tempting as it may be to keep this hidden from the schools, you would be doing your DD a disservice not to disclose it (in my opinion however that is one of a teacher and dancer-health advocate not of a parent).

 

Thinking of you all. 

Thanks very much for your considerate reply. Yes, we are looking carefully at delaying upper school for a year. Perhaps she wasn't quite ready for the pressure of vocational school and a year back at home could be beneficial. Will certainly bear in mind your comments about disclosure of medical history. Thanks again

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5 hours ago, Motomum said:

In theory with GDPR and without your daughters explicit consent, the information cannot be shared.

 

This is regardless of whether it is known to the current school, they cannot share this information. 

 

Might I suggest that you check the schools permission to share policy. You might need to ‘opt out’ of sharing, as oppose to ‘opt in.’ I would also write a polite letter to the lower school if that is where your daughter is stating you do not give details of her personal history to be shared with anyone other than GP, ED Clinic, parents. Your daughter will also need to sign it.

 

Eating disorders come under mental health and this is private and confidential personal information.

 

Check ICO website for more details.

 

I have your daughter gets all the support she needs. 

All very useful advice. Much appreciated and many thanks for your kind words.

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1 hour ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

Every school/college that dd applied for had a medical questionnaire that including questions on injuries, medical conditions and eating disorders.  It would be unethical of a school not to enquire and it would be in your daughter's best interests to declare it so that appropriate support can be put in place and indeed it can be determined whether full time training is in her best interests at this stage of her hopefully recovery.

 

I hope that she gets the support she needs to come through this.  Accepting there is a problem and accepting help is a major hurdle she has already overcome.

Good advice and comments. Thank you for your kind words and recognition that she has already overcome a hurdle by asking for help.

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Hello Efftee and a belated welcome from me.  I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s illness; what a worry for you all.  I’m very glad she will be starting treatment soon.  

 

I have to say I echo drdance’s advice about postponing auditions - GCSE year puts a horrible amount of pressure on teenagers without also having the physical and emotional stress of auditioning for upper school at the same time.  There are of course upsides and so many wonderful benefits of dancing but at the same time, the competitive environment combined with being surrounded by other ballet dancers can be the very worst place to be if you suffer with an ED or any body image issues.  😔 

 

Wishing you all the very best and hoping for a full recovery for your daughter.  

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1 hour ago, FlexyNexy said:

Hello Efftee, so sorry to read this but happy your DD is getting help. From what i re-call when DD received offers from upper schools, i needed to disclose medical statement and history signed by the GP. The schools had their medical questionaire that i needed to have filled by GP.
No one can release your file without prior consent.


Wishing you all the best and thinking of you. Lot's of love and strenght.

Hi, I'm sure you're right about having to disclose medical history. Many thanks for your kind words and support.

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1 minute ago, Anna C said:

Hello Efftee and a belated welcome from me.  I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s illness; what a worry for you all.  I’m very glad she will be starting treatment soon.  

 

I have to say I echo drdance’s advice about postponing auditions - GCSE year puts a horrible amount of pressure on teenagers without also having the physical and emotional stress of auditioning for upper school at the same time.  There are of course upsides and so many wonderful benefits of dancing but at the same time, the competitive environment combined with being surrounded by other ballet dancers can be the very worst place to be if you suffer with an ED or any body image issues.  😔 

 

Wishing you all the very best and hoping for a full recovery for your daughter.  

Hi Anna. Thank you for your comments, which make a lot of sense. We are thinking very seriously about postponing the next stage. I don't know how these youngsters manage this. The pressure is immense. Thanks again

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I’m sorry to hear your Dd is unwell but pleased to hear she is about to start treatment. 
A number of years ago a friend’s Dd, who was in year 9 of a vocational school had to be hospitalised with an eating disorder. She tried to return to the school in year 10 but wasn’t ready so returned home for a full recovery. At 16 she was accepted at Central with them knowing fully about her medical history, she completed the course and went on to have a dance career. 
There were a number of DC who were also hospitalised with eating disorders whilst my Dd was at vocational school, both lower and upper. The only one that didn’t get the support she required was the one who’s parents hadn’t been open with the school about her illness. She ultimately had to leave but after a long gap, during which I hope she got the help needed, I believe is now training elsewhere. 

So our experience is the schools are open to supporting students who have a history of eating disorders but I would also agree with @drdance and postpone all thoughts of auditioning until your Dd is fully fit. 
I wish you all well at what must be a very stressful time. 
 

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6 minutes ago, Jane said:

I’m sorry to hear your Dd is unwell but pleased to hear she is about to start treatment. 
A number of years ago a friend’s Dd, who was in year 9 of a vocational school had to be hospitalised with an eating disorder. She tried to return to the school in year 10 but wasn’t ready so returned home for a full recovery. At 16 she was accepted at Central with them knowing fully about her medical history, she completed the course and went on to have a dance career. 
There were a number of DC who were also hospitalised with eating disorders whilst my Dd was at vocational school, both lower and upper. The only one that didn’t get the support she required was the one who’s parents hadn’t been open with the school about her illness. She ultimately had to leave but after a long gap, during which I hope she got the help needed, I believe is now training elsewhere. 

So our experience is the schools are open to supporting students who have a history of eating disorders but I would also agree with @drdance and postpone all thoughts of auditioning until your Dd is fully fit. 
I wish you all well at what must be a very stressful time. 
 

Thanks very much Jane for your informative and useful reply. It's encouraging to hear that your friend's daughter pulled through and went on to have a career, though shocking to learn that so many others were hospitalised. We are working closely with the school, which has been very supportive and understanding, though ultimately we may decide - as you and others suggest - to postpone things until she is better. Many thanks again.

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Many of us have children training in the dance world.  They are exposed to many messages that they must be extremely lean.

This is particularly so in classical ballet.  I know that Efftee's experience could so easily happen in my family.

 

I try to have conversations with my DD about this.  It is difficult.  When I have mentioned concerns about some students, she often says I am being mean or the person is naturally that way.  I explain that there is a significant danger in their environment and it must be acknowledged openly. 

 

In one instance, I wrote to my DD"s ballet school director with my concerns about a student.  The girl was used in the school's social media a lot!  I was worried about her and also - at a personal level - the impact of this role model on my daughter and other students.  I suggested that her family be made aware that people were becoming concerned and to check in with a GP (in the first instance).  Importantly, the ballet school needs to be pro-actively keeping a watch.  I am a health professional so it was probably easier for me to write that email,  gently highlighting the school's duty of care!  I received a thanks but no thanks response - as expected.  Still I feel that I did my small bit to say: hey, parents are watching and we put our children's welfare over dance success!

Edited by DD Driver
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If I may, I would like to ask for advice as all of the comments here are so thoughtful.
 

My DD is recovering from eating disorder. She was hospitalized for 10 days eight months ago. It all happened very quickly since she was petite to begin with. She hadn’t lost weight and had no recognizable symptoms while dancing 18 hours a week (including other forms of dance and rehearsals), so we were shocked. But she has been working hard with a great team of doctors, nutritionist and therapist and is much better now (her vital signs are fine and she is gaining weight eating three meals + three snacks a day). She is currently dancing less than half of what she used to (focusing on quality over quantity) and is motivated to get back to her full dance schedule.  She is looking forward to attending her dream summer intensives this year.


What I would love advice on is how her doctor should word the medical form required for the program. The summer intensive acts as the second stage of the audition for entry into the year round program and my DD is concerned that her chances will be reduced if her medical history is disclosed. But while this school is known for its focus on the well being of the child as a person, needless to say, we wouldn’t be comfortable sending her without informing the school and I presume her doctor has a duty to as well if she is to sign the form. But what I am wondering is if anyone would have advice on “how to best word” the answer to the question, “Does the child have medical problems?”

 

Thank you so much in advance!

Edited by Knh
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I don't have experience of disclosing an eating disorder to a program/school, but as a health professional I often write 'in remission' when things are resolved but we'd like to flag up that they have occurred to protect the young person - so how does 'eating disorder in remission' sound?

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This is a pertinent strand for any dancer & their family & friends - male & female - as it is a ‘so easy to slip into’ illness when desperately trying to ‘fit the perceived X school or X company ‘mould’ of theideal dancer they give places to/employ....

The combination of a desire to succeed & the very real fear of failure at an age of natural development must be truly challenging. Plus our natural (Brit?) tendency to ‘brush under carpet’ or hope it’s ‘just a phase’ have too easily let things get too far before help is sought. I fortunately only have experience of seeing it happen to others but I do see how open discussion, the strength to admit there’s a problem & seeking help are not easy but are the critical first steps to recovery. There needs to be less worry of the stigma of ever having this illness, the worry that having that ‘label’ will hinder future chances. But health & welfare of the individual must always come first and it is also important to protect impressionable young minds. If an individual known to be suffering from an eating disorder & who openly discussed/witnessed symptoms/actions is still feted by schools/social media etc & seen to be a ‘dance success’ then I do worry about the impact & possible ‘normalizing’ of this life changing condition which could further exacerbate poor body image etc in others & lead in turn to eating disorder/over training issues. This was a problem in the dance world before Social Media.... the pressures now must be so much more stressful. Although I do also see how it can be a platform for positive open discussion & a force for good in this area & others (👍🏻👍🏻 for this forum) 

Health & happiness to all

 

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3 minutes ago, Peanut68 said:

This is a pertinent strand for any dancer & their family & friends - male & female - as it is a ‘so easy to slip into’ illness when desperately trying to ‘fit the perceived X school or X company ‘mould’ of theideal dancer they give places to/employ....

The combination of a desire to succeed & the very real fear of failure at an age of natural development must be truly challenging. Plus our natural (Brit?) tendency to ‘brush under carpet’ or hope it’s ‘just a phase’ have too easily let things get too far before help is sought. I fortunately only have experience of seeing it happen to others but I do see how open discussion, the strength to admit there’s a problem & seeking help are not easy but are the critical first steps to recovery. There needs to be less worry of the stigma of ever having this illness, the worry that having that ‘label’ will hinder future chances. But health & welfare of the individual must always come first and it is also important to protect impressionable young minds. If an individual known to be suffering from an eating disorder & who openly discussed/witnessed symptoms/actions is still feted by schools/social media etc & seen to be a ‘dance success’ then I do worry about the impact & possible ‘normalizing’ of this life changing condition which could further exacerbate poor body image etc in others & lead in turn to eating disorder/over training issues. This was a problem in the dance world before Social Media.... the pressures now must be so much more stressful. Although I do also see how it can be a platform for positive open discussion & a force for good in this area & others (👍🏻👍🏻 for this forum) 

Health & happiness to all

 

Thank you to everyone contributing to this discussion. All of the comments are useful and I am touched by your compassion for my daughter. I just want to clarify my original question: competition for places at upper school and companies is fierce, as we know, and as those organisations will have far more applicants than places they will look for any reason to reject someone. If two dancers of equal ability are going for one place but one of them is known to have - or had - an eating disorder then she/he is bound to lose out. We don't want to deceive the school, and clearly we wouldn't push our daughter into an even more pressured environment if her eating and weight loss were still a concern. But if the issue is under control and she is moving in the right direction we don't want to needlessly jeopardise her chance of being accepted by disclosing a condition that is, we hope, resolved. 

On 11/02/2020 at 09:21, invisiblecircus said:

Companies, probably not. They'll look at her resumé and watch her dance. They'll probably also have a reference from the school where she trained so as long as she didn't have problems during that time I don't think it will be a problem for companies.

Presumably, she has already completed the application forms for the upper schools she's applying to and the medical information sheets that go with them. There is usually a question about eating disorders on the forms. Did you mention her problem on there or did it develop later? If you didn't mention it on the form, whether the school will have a record of it will depend on whether you signed something to let them have access to her medical records (not sure how that works in the UK these days.)

Sorry to read that your DD has been struggling with this, I wish her all the best in her recovery.

 

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Efftee your heartfelt reasoning will resonate with so many at this audition time of year & I am sure many will empathise with this exact same background issue & also many many others....such as former injuries now healed, any previous use of counselling services etc.... Couid these jeapardise chances? Well, I expect that yes, they may well could - possibly with good reason as these organisations have years of experience in selecting & training students & have knowledge of how to understand strengths/weaknesses of individuals & all the other things that come into play day to day. There is quite a high drop out rate in first year of training it would seem in many (all I’m sure do get this).... for many many unique in each case reasons....

These schools may need to minimise this drop out rate (business/cash flow/PR/ reputation etc will all be part of this) & the audition/interview stages will be utilised to help identify/flag up any possible areas for concern. Think about how any of us choose so many things in daily life? We are selective & sometimes harshly so....

You are clearly a supportive concerned parent who wants the best for your DD. I think msny more open frank discussions between the two of you may well help decide best course of action (short/mid/long term) & help both to manage expectations. 

Good luck xx

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@Efftee this is my personal opinion, but also framed by a professional background in psychological therapies, and with a ballet dancing son who has additional needs.

 

your daughters ED should in reality make absolutely no difference where her dancing is concerned, especially if it’s in remission and she has excellent strategies and support in place moving forward. That would have been my opinion before my son entered the non-syllabus/vocational world of ballet training.

 

i posted on here at the very beginning of his journey, and the feedback was amazing.

My question here was whether to be open and honest about his additional needs in applications for training schools etc

 

it is without doubt the single most difficult decision I have made on his part as a parent. Remember this is purely personal and based on my experience of this rarefied world we discuss here.

 

Disclosing his additional needs has most certainly gone against him in some areas, but more than this it has somehow tainted him with a ‘different than’ label no matter how talented a dancer he is. And he is a talented dancer.

 

His training schools currently all know, and all treat him very differently. 😕 Some inclusive, some not at all.

 

Mental health issues, additional needs, differences from the mainstream, no matter how transparent and open the current zeitgeist may be, I feel we still are very long way from acceptance in an inclusive way.

 

However all that said, I received on here a response that has stayed with me always, and it said would you really want your child to go to a school that you thought would reject him on the basis of his support needs/mental health needs?

 

 My thoughts for your daughter is if she is under intense pressure again, this could trigger her ED symptoms. A school that knows this in advance would hopefully be proactive and have that bit of extra support built into her training. Possibly avoiding a further relapse of her condition. 

 

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I think it would be best to conclude further comments at this individual level.

Efftee , these are important questions and discussions to be had with your DD's therapeutic team.  That is what they are there for.  xx

 

Edited by DD Driver
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Thank you @Betty.

 

@Efftee, best of luck to your DD and your family. My thoughts are with you ❤️Please do remember to also take care of yourself on this recovery journey. It is hard work not only for our DDs but for their family members as well.

Edited by Knh
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My daughter is now a professional dancer. Throughout her training at vocational school they are under immense pressure to keep to the right weight for ballet. If you appear heavy you are told to lose weight at upper school, if you lose too much weight you are taken off dance. For quite a few students this really messes with their heads, they are at an age when their bodies are transitioning to adult. 
Consider if this environment is safe for your precious daughter and if it ever will be. 
I saw so many students with ED but no one said anything. I saw students gain hormonal weight and I know that they were told to lose weight. Can anyone imagine how that poor student felt having to wear a leotard everyday in front of a mirror with all her super lean friends. Thankfully my daughter survived her training but is left with the emotional baggage of always checking her weight. 
As a mother I feel awful that I was unable to pull my daughter from this environment, she simply lived, loved and dreamed it and worked super hard. 
I wish your beautiful daughter all the best of luck in her recovery, and very gentle hugs to you as her mother, you have some very difficult decisions to make alongside your daughter. 

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On ‎12‎/‎02‎/‎2020 at 12:47, DD Driver said:

I think it would be best to conclude further comments at this individual level.

Efftee , these are important questions and discussions to be had with your DD's therapeutic team.  That is what they are there for.  xx

 


The therapeutic team are unlikely to have the kind of in-depth knowledge of the dance world to answer the questions asked in the OP.

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