Friday 15 February 2013

University is going out of its way to help - wow!

Wow, what a superb package Sheffield University has put together to help Ben ease back into university in September (if, indeed, he chooses to return). And here it is, in all its awesomeness!

One day in March, we'll be spending a whole day in Sheffield.

First, we'll be spending an hour with the residential support lady (who we met last September after Ben decided to withdraw) discussing the various accommodation options because, if you remember, Ben found the cell-like room of the purpose built student apartments particularly difficult to deal with and isolating. Also the lack of storage space in the kitchen meant that he had to store an awful lot of non-perishable foods in his room which, when you have a history of anorexia which makes you think about food a lot of the time, isn't ideal.

After that we're visiting the wonderful lady in student services again to talk about easing Ben back into university life. As she says, part of the work her team does is to run activities through Intro Week that appeal to students who find the big alcohol focused events a bit overwhelming or unappealing.

Also, they run what they call Discovery Week, the week before Intro Week, for students who are interested in coming to Sheffield a bit earlier to find their feet. It's quieter and not at all party and booze-focused, and it's something that Ben can commute to from home. Plus, she'll arrange contacts from the various societies that might appeal to Ben e.g. the tabletop war games / Warhammer soc.

After lunch we will be meeting with the eating disorders specialist nurse at the university health service to discuss support should Ben need it at any time, followed by further support which can be offered by the disability advice department (which don't just deal with physical disabilities).

And, finally, at 4pm, we're meeting with two admissions tutors from the history faculty to introduce Ben to the department and also to discuss the possible option of commuting for the first semester - and to examine a typical week's lectures and seminars timetable to see how feasible this might be.

All I can say is... Wow!

Oh, and that - if you are worrying about sending your recovering son or daughter to university this September, and especially if they have a confirmed offer of a place - it might be worth contacting your university's student services to see if they can put together a similar package.

If your child is Sheffield University bound, then please get in touch with me and I'll send you links to the relevant people. Email me at anorexia @ (don't just copy and paste this email address; I've added spaces before and after the @ to avoid spammers getting hold of the email address).

The mistake we made was just to assume it would all be there, in place, and that Ben would find his feet, find people and activities that floated his boat and settle in.

He lasted two days.


  1. What a fantastic team - let's hope Ben really enjoys the day and can start looking forward to next year.

  2. My daughter is recovering from annorexia ,struggles to maintain her weight when given more control and responsibility over her eating herself. She reluctantly attends CAMHS appointments,believing she will be free to choose when she is 18 .She will be 18 in August 2013 , and due to go to university in September 2013 .I am reading with interest the recent debates , as we are also struggling to understand the support as she transitions from adolescent to adult services [ none of the advice is clear or consistant ]. She now has her "offers " from the universities i will be contacting them to understand their support .The big benefit you have is that your son is now accepting of the help . I hope that by September my daughter will too. Good luck !

    1. Hi Eleanor's Mum, Thank you for commenting on my blog. Have you read the experience we had with university first time round last September? If you check back to my blog posts for September 2012 you will get an idea of what happened. Our experiences might be helpful in making a decision as to whether or not your daughter is ready for uni this September. If I knew this time last year what I know now I would have insisted my son took a gap year. Unravelling Uni once they're there is time-consuming and complicated. And expensive! Especially if they quit after 13 weeks, I think it is, when they will be liable for some of the £9K fees not to mention accommodation costs.

      Uni is tremendously stressful in so very many ways and anyone with an active ED might just find the experience very triggering. This is just my personal opinion of course... Other families have come unstuck at uni, too, when their child wasn't completely ready. However, for others, it's been a great success, so it's difficult to say!

      I agree with you re. Adult Services. There is no consistency or clarity.