Food Allergies At School

More and more children with food allergies are heading off to school these days. With an increase in food allergy education and awareness, those students can do more than just survive – they can thrive.

Food Allergies In School – Helpful Resources for Parents

by Allergy Free Kitchens on March 14, 2014

Food_Allergies_In_Schools-Allergy-Free-Kitchens

Summer vacation is a short time away, but food allergy parents are often in high gear this time of year planning and preparing for the coming school year.  Whether your child is entering school for the first time, changing schools, or even changing grades, it is time to evaluate and assess your school’s readiness to respond in the event of an allergic reaction.

Where do you begin?  There are a number of resources available to assist you. One I’ve found helpful is the CDC’s Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs.  This FREE resource is designed for schools, but it is good for parents to read too.  I particularly like the charts and checklist provided at the end of Section 1 (pages 41-43).  You can review those with your school to help identify areas where your school excels  or falls short.

If you are somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer size of the CDC’s document, it will encourage you to know the document gets specific. From the superintendent to the bus driver, you will find position-specific guidelines for managing food allergies.  Those alone account for approximately two-thirds of the total page count.

My second go-to resource is the book Allergies at School, by author and 2014 FABlogCon speaker, Stacey Stratton. It is an inexpensive resource filled with valuable insights to help parents and caregivers arrive prepared and ready to communicate effectively with school officials.  I use it in tandem with the CDC’s guidelines to help me understand both sides.  Allergies at School is priced reasonably at $4.99 on Kindle and $8.99 for paperback.  You can obtain your copy at www.peanutfreezone.com  or on Amazon. (I do not receive any compensation from sales of this book.  I simply recommend it because it has helped me.)

If you are sending your child off to school for the first time, I hope you find this information helpful!  If you are an old pro at this process, please share the tips and resources you’ve found helpful in the comments below.   Thank you!

 

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Her First Day of School

by Allergy Free Kitchens on August 29, 2013

I remember the day vividly.  As my husband quietly made his way down the hall to our little’s room, I heard him softly singing, “It’s schooly pookers time.  It’s time to give a cheer, ‘cuz schooly pookers here,” and I smiled.  That sweet little diddy is a song from his childhood, a song his dad sang to him every morning before school.  And that day he was singing it for the first time to our little girl.   The day was finally here.  Our lovey bun’s adventure at school was set to begin.

We had prayed.  We had met with the doctor.  We had met with the school nurse (whose office was directly across the hall from the classroom – comforting).  We had met with the teacher.  We had prayed.  A stash of allergen-free lollipops had been delivered to the teacher for the times I might have missed a note on the calendar that someone was bringing a birthday treat to class.  I had packed up vegan and gluten-free pasta in varying shapes for craft projects.  I had prayed.  Notice a pattern?

Leaving your child in the care of another for the first time can be worrisome enough, but when it comes to leaving your child with multiple food allergies and allergic asthma in an environment YOU can’t control, you have the perfect opportunity to be a ball of nerves.  In fact, something inside you seems to say you’d be an uncaring, unloving, brainless parent to be anything but a wreck.

But I’ve discovered something.  I’ve learned when I put my trust in God and not in me, myself, and I (or someone else), I can rest.  Have I always done that?  I’m sorry to say I haven’t, but I’m getting better at it.

I love the scripture that tells us God is faithful and utterly trustworthy – He will keep us, He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).  And that day, amidst my anxious thoughts, I was able to grab hold of that wonderful truth and breathe.  Now, as we begin yet another school year, I’m reminded of His faithfulness all through last year.  He kept our lovey bun.  He did it.  And He’ll do it again.

If you are thinking about sending your child off to school, daycare, or preschool in the next year or two, I encourage you to begin your preparations with prayer.  The Bible tells us in all our ways to acknowledge God and He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6).  He will help you make the right decisions regarding where and when to send your child to school.

I would also encourage you to check out Stacey Stratton’s book Allergies at School, available on her website and through Amazon.com.  As a former educator, parent, and co-creator of www.PeanutFreeZone.com, Stacey’s perspective is expansive and helpful.

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