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   Food Allergic Children and Schools

From the moment my son was diagnosed with food allergies at 18 months old, I began to worry about school. Of course, I was worried about college – not preschool! I realized I might be getting a little ahead of myself, and brought myself back to the present.

Preschools have changed a lot since 1999 when my son entered. Back then, it was the rare preschool director who had heard of food allergies. Every preschool in our city denied our son admission because they either didn't want to deal with the “liability of a food allergic child,” didn't want to learn how to operate an EpiPen Jr. or didn't want to monitor a nut-free classroom. We thankfully found a public preschool in our school district that believed a nut-free classroom was no big deal. We've learned a lot since then about preschool, elementary classrooms and now middle school.

Here's some of the big issues (and solutions) we found with keeping our son safe at school:

  • Assume that food will be part of every lesson in preschool and kindergarten! For some reason, schools just love food to be part of the tactile lesson. Whether it's counting Skittles into color groups, candy for good behavior or birthday treats – food is everywhere. Communicating with the teacher(s) before the school year starts about your child's food allergies will allow him/her to change lesson plans and find either a safe food alternative or a non-food item for the lesson.
  • Help out in the classroom as much as allowed. Many preschools don't want parents to be part of the classroom environment since children are learning how to separate from mom and dad at that age. However, by kindergarten most teachers love a room parent. This allows you to watch what's going on in the classroom, help plan parties and observe the school in general. Also, I've found out what's being planned for subsequent weeks just by being in the classroom helping out. This is a great way to avert a potential disaster!
  • Teach your child how to self-advocate. When my son was in 1 st grade he was left out in the hallway during one activity. He was so upset when he came home, which made me even more upset. It would have been easy to march in to the school and unleash on the teacher. That would have probably ruined our relationship. Instead, I had my son write out what he would like to say to his teacher about not being included in the activity. The next day, Morgan went in to speak with his teacher with me as ‘cheerleader' on the side. He read his prepared script. He cried and his teacher cried, and I knew then that she really understood she messed up. He was never left out of an activity again and he learned how to stand up for himself even with an adult.
  • Make sure your school has rules against bullying. Morgan has received the brunt of a few boys who probably wanted to be friends and didn't know how to approach such. Instead, they chased after Morgan with a peanut butter cracker (supposedly) on the playground saying they were going to kill him! One of Morgan's friends was so horrified he told the playground monitor. Morgan himself didn't think the situation was too serious because one little boy had emotional problems. The situation was elevated to the principal who suspended the boy for the rest of the school day and brought the boy's parents in to school for a discussion about food allergies and their severity. The situation repeated itself with another boy trying the same behavior. He too was severely reprimanded. Morgan knew that his teachers and administrators were looking out for him and he therefore felt safe at school.

There are so many other ways to ensure safety at school, and many of those are covered in our e-books on food allergies and schools. Click here for more information about “Reasonable Accommodations” and what those mean to us in the school environment for a child with food allergies.

We have learned that keeping the lines of communication open between the school personnel and our family is so important. Now that Morgan is in high school, he does most of the communicating himself. He's learned how to act responsibly, and he also knows what a potential hazardous situation is. I continue to receive e-mails from teachers about food being in the classroom for a special event, and thankfully in high school that happens VERY infrequently!

Sending your food allergic child to school can be a big challenge! It can also be a big joy! 

Learn how to set your child up for success in preschool and in elementary school by purchasing this amazing new e-book on what parents can do to keep their food allergic child safe at school.

Included in this e-book are examples of a 

  • Health Care Plan

  • 504 Plan 

  • and a letter to other parents 

Parents in the school community will need to know what to do regarding food allergies to keep your child safe. 

This e-book is written by Nicole Smith, author of “Allie the Allergic Elephant: A Children’s Story of Peanuts Allergies,” “Cody the Allergic Cow: A Children’s Story of Milk Allergies” and “Chad the Allergic Chipmunk: A Children’s Story of Nuts Allergies.”

Utilize years of experience in determining what works with schools and help your child safely attend school!

E-Book To purchase the e-book, How to Send your Food Allergic Child to School, please click below. The book is priced at $7.95, and includes everything your family needs to know to have a successful school year!


Purchase now

E-Book We have a new e-book made just for teachers and administrators who are seeking to gain awareness and understanding about what it takes to keep food allergic children safe at school. To purchase the e-book, “Food Allergic Children and Schools: Support for Teachers & Administrators” and to have it downloaded to your computer, please click below. The book is priced at $7.95. Feel free to print it out and take it to your child’s teacher to help them understand food allergies and keep your child safe and included!

Purchase now

E-Book Purchase our School Information Pack for $24.85 and receive the following:
  • Two e-books - How to Send your Food Allergic Child to School and
    Food Allergic Children and Schools: Support for Teachers & Administrators
  • Classroom No Peanuts Sign for your child’s classroom or lunch table!

E-Book

E-Book Purchase all 5 e-books by Nicole Smith for the low price of $33.75!
  1. How to Send your Food Allergic Child to School
  2. Food Allergic Children and Schools: Support for Teachers & Administrators
  3. Help Your Child Succeed with Food Allergy and Behavior Manifestations: Giftedness, Autism & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  4. Traveling and Eating Out with Food Allergies
  5. How Do I Keep My Food Allergic Child Safe? 

E-Book

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E-Book

In Praise of e-books

Praise for these e-books

Had I not had the information from your “How to Send Your Allergic Child to School”, the advocate and the allergist's support, I think the district would have tried to bulldoze us into only having the health plan.
~Angie

 

Watch a video clip of Nicole Smith speaking on the topic of food allergies in schools.
http://www.kktv.com/news/headlines/8092787.html


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