This week's theme for Works-For-Me Wednesday is "Back to School". When I think about school starting, all I can think about is what it will be like handling my son's peanut allergy at school. He starts Kindergarten this year.
Not everyone reading this has a child with food allergies. It's likely that you know someone that does. Let me tell you what works for me.
What works for me when handling food allergies at school (whether it's your child or someone else's) is a good attitude.
When I tell someone about my son's allergy, I am met with many reactions. The news has been greeted with:
- lack of understanding
- sharing of worst case scenarios
- a good attitude
Having a good attitude about a child's allergy is the best thing you can offer the child and the parents of the child.
A good attitude is also the best thing for the parent of an allergic child to have with the child and with others who may or may not understand.
For those that don't have children with food allergies:
There are children with food allergies at your child's school. If you haven't heard about them yet, chances are you will.
It is not easy to have a food allergy. However, it is quite possible to make the child with allergies feel accepted and normal.
Talk to you child about food allergies. This is easily done if your school has a peanut-free table or something similar. Express a good attitude to your children about the food allergy (or peanut-free table). This encourages your child to be accepting and have a good attitude.
Be willing to make concessions for changes in food policies with class snacks or parties. Make changes with a good attidue - expressing appreciation to the teacher.
Consider sending non-food birthday treats. That is always helpful to those dealing with food allergies.
For those that have children with food allergies:
The following list explains some of the ways I am beginning to manage my son's food allergy at school. (Let me know if you want me to email you copies of any of my documents or if you just want to talk about my experience.)
I met with my son's allergist. I asked for and received a Food Allergy Treatment plan from the doctor to give to the school.
I met with the school principal and nurse. I came to the meeting with a written list of concerns. I approached the meeting (and each coversation) with a good attitude. I recognize that the principal and nurse want to take care of my son and keep him safe. I let them know that I appreciate them.
I brought an example of a Food Allergy Letter to Parents for the classroom. I willingly offered to help tailor the letter for my son's class and the school.
I made sure the Principal and Nurse know that I am available and willing to do whatever necessary to keep my son safe. I made sure they know how to contact me (this included my email address and phone number). I made sure they know that I appreciate any concerns or questions they have.
When I brought my concerns to the Principal, my only demand (and word seems strong - but it's accurate) was that we do whatever we needed to do to keep my son safe. I brought an attitude that expressed: "We can find a solution that works well for both my son and the school."
We have a lot more to accomplish in the weeks before school starts. My son has the first severe food allergy at the school. One thing I know for sure - my good attitude makes a difference.
Have a good attitude about food allergies. No one- not the allergic child, the parents of that child, or the rest of the school - benefits from negativity.
I am posting this as a part of Works-For-Me Wednesday. Stop by We are That Family for other Back To School ideas.
*While I was writing this post, I got an email from the school requesting some information to have on hand for school registration. What perfect timing! You see, registration is tomorrow. The school was checking their to-do list and realized they didn't have something... something that I provided them with in June. They emailed me. And, I think it's great. I am thankful they are working with me.