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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:56 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Victoria, BC
I am speaking tomorrow to a class of future teachers about our experience with our son and our concerns and worries about sending him to school given his health issues.

Our son is anaphylatic and also has eating/swallowing disorder and the thought of sending him even to daycare has been stressful for us. School will be that much harder as class sizes / teacher ratio will be different.

I am just curious to see if others have felt or feel the way we do. If there was one thing you could ask or tell a future teacher what would it be? I am interested in people who have not yet sent their kids to school or people who have and what their struggles have been. Perhaps your family decided to homeschool based on your worries/experience why was this?

Thanks for any feedback you might have!
Pam

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Mum of one son who is anaphylatic to eggs and peanuts!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:42 am
Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Welcome Pam!

It is so very hard to send a child with allergies to school, so thank you for making this presentation. What I would want teachers of the future to really understand is that this is a health issue -- not a social issue -- which requires support.

In the real world, though, teachers have to follow policy set forth by the administrators. It varies from district to district, but I do know there is an anaphylaxis policy in the public school system in the four districts in southern Vancouver Island.

In this policy,
-there is a list of requirements for the principal, teacher, parent and, if appropriate, the student.
- a letter notifies the parents of the classmates about the allergy (it is a form letter which has been reviewed by the health authority, administrators and parents)
- often only at the request of a parent, a health nurse come in to talk to the class early in September.
-again at the request of a parent, there may be signage on the door and in the classroom (this is often HOTLY debated!)
- there has to be a decision as to whether or not the allergens allowed in the classroom, which is set by the principal
- and then there is a question if there will be adults present when the students eat, another decision by the principal

It is fairly standard that kindie has adult supervisors during snack time (they don't stay for lunch) -- but they might have snack outside at recess. If your presentation is for teachers are from grades 1 -12, there is a challenge here in Victoria and in many parts of BC because, currently, the norm in elementary school at least, is that there is no immediate adult supervision at lunchtime. There are some schools (like where my son goes) that have principals who will NOT prevent the allergen from going into the classroom. This creates the need for an 'allergen zone' and highly aware lunch monitors (10 year olds) who can alert an adult 'duty' (usually there is 1 per 100 kids at lunch) should there be any exposure to the allergen. As seconds count, this is a very precarious daily scenario that, in my opinion, endangers the child with the allergy. Hopefully there will be change in this general policy but, until then, it means that there is a very delicate balance of safety of one vs. the 'right to eat' for all. [I am trying so hard not to be obvious what I think! But I bet you know -- it is not great right now!!]

Good luck with your presentation. If you could tell them that avoidance is the key to preventing a reaction requiring an EpiPen, that would be great. What I find is that we get caught in the policy without realising this is a child who wishes for all the world they did not have to have this 'special' care. I think that if administrators (the teachers' bosses) understood that this is a health issue, not something to do with over-protective parents, we would be a whole lot better in keeping kids with allergies safe within our BC schools.

Caroline

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son anaphylactic to peanuts


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:15 am
Posts: 11
Location: Australia
Hi,

This is great that you are able to bring this to the attention of "future teachers"... what a terrific initiative. I am about to send my son to daycare (he is 14mths). You will notice from other posts on this site that we all feel the same way. It is really scary sending them out in the care of others when you don't really know if they "get it" or not.

My biggest fear is of those people who think they understand but really don't! How many times when I tell someone that my son is allergic to milk, has someone said "Oh yes I'm lactose intolerent too!" These people are the biggest risk to my son's health. I'd rather they be completely ignorant

There are a few things I'd love to be able to say to new teachers;

1) It's not just peanuts that can kill an allergic child. Show them all the common allergens that cause anaphylaxis , and then throw out some of the more obscure ones (fuzzy caterpillars, spices, exercise)

2) Don't assume you know what something has in it, check labels on anything you bring into the classroom. Allergens are in the most obscure things. eg makeup, creams, playdough etc.

3) If in doubt, use the EpiPen. Don't sit around trying to work out if he was / wasn't exposed to the allergen, we can work that out later, if he shows any of the Anaphylaxis symptoms, give him the EpiPen anyway!

4) A lot of parents deal with life threatening allegies differently, some are super vigilant and some are really relaxed about it. Some parents don't "get it". Anaphylaxis is Anaphylaxis even if the parent thinks there is nothing to worry about - take the same action as you would for the super vigilant parents.

5) Educate the students about allergies. Ultimately as the children get older it is their peers who will recognise the symptoms and have to take the emergency action, not necessarily the teachers.

_________________
Son Ethan: 1yr old dairy anaphylaxis
Daughter Annella: 3yr old No allergies
Me: Penicillin


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Fantastic points TC!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Luke's mommy,

We decided to homeschool. It was a decision based primarily on too much junk/party food during class time, and my child feeling scared, excluded, sorry for herself, different and sad every day she attended.

It was a bit sad in the beginning to throw in the towel on school, not really knowing what to expect homeschooling. Now, one year later I could not be happier and neither could my girls. We've joined our local homeschool group and regularily get together for group activities including skating, painting, tours, plays and pottery. There are other activities coming up that we haven't gone to yet such as swimming, monthly meetings (basically free play for the kids), christmas concerts, a trip to see baby horses and more. Our "school time" is relatively small since it's done one on one and at her level. The girls have lots of time to be kids, play, explore, discover on their own, and find their own interests. My oldest LOVES little house on the prairie books. From reading them, she has this appreciation for all the things she has to be thankful for. She was so focused on all the things she couldn't do (restaurants, junk food) when she was in school. It's just so wonderful to see her happy and enjoying all the things life has to offer.

What I would tell future teachers is...these kids need to feel safe, included and accepted at ALL times.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:56 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Victoria, BC
WOW!!

Thank you everyone for your feedback! You all highlighted some very interesting points/concerns that I look forward to sharing with these future teachers. The class I am presenting to is as follows:

ED-D 420
Learning Support: Context & Key Issues
Units: 1.0, Hours: 2-0
An introductory overview of key issues in learning support. Topics will include the organization, administration and management of classrooms in which students with special educational needs are found; the referral process; teacher responsibilities for students with special educational needs in the context of regular classrooms; and the utility and limitations of various assessment techniques.

It seems like a good fit and I will post back on how it went!
Again thank you all so very much I will check the site once more tomorrow before I speak to them.

Take care,
Pamela

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Mum of one son who is anaphylatic to eggs and peanuts!


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