jamais_toujours (jamais_toujours) wrote in ed_ucate,

Four year old with possible eating disorder

I'm not sure if this belongs here so feel free to remove this post.

I'm working in a foster home and the foster parents and I think one of the children may have an eating disorder. She came here in May along with her older sister. Since the first day meal times have been an issue for her. She will eat normally (although much more slowly than the other children) at breakfast, take nearly an hour to eat one small sandwich at lunch, then when it comes to dinner time either pretend to have a sore tummy, take three hours to eat it, or eat it all very quickly then immediately vomit it back up. She does this no matter what size portion or what type of food she is given. She also has a habit of holding food in her mouth for a long time and refusing to swallow it or spit it out - once she kept it there for six hours. After a routine visit to the dentist last week, he told us that the number of cavities and the extent of the erosion on her back teeth are similar to what would be expected in a child with an eating disorder. Looking at various websites she seems to fit the bill for a child at high risk of developing a disorder: she comes from a highly stressful background, would not have gotten a lot of attention, and recently during a phonecall her mother told her older sister not to eat so much because she was getting fat.

Basically what I'm wondering is what we can do to help her. We are bringing her to the doctor tomorrow to rule out any physical reason for her eating habits. Does anyone have any suggestions about what we can do to encourage her to eat normally? Should we consider bringing her to a child psychologist? Are there any communities out there that give support and advice for dealing with children this young suffering from eating disorders?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. We're all so worried about her - apart from this she seems to have settled in really well and we want to help her in any way we can. Thanks.

EDIT: The visit to the doctor today has more or less ruled out any physical reason for her behaviour, though we are waiting on the results of her blood tests still. She's 18 kg underweight and malnourished, and has managed to lose the seven pounds she initially gained when she came here. We've been given a list of foods that she is not allowed to eat as well as some fortified milk to help her gain weight and take in the vitamins she needs. He has referred her to a child psychologist so we just have to wait for her first visit and take it from there. Thanks to everyone that replied.


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