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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
I have really been feeling lately that my daughters safety and emotional wellbeing is just not a priority for schools. Having treats, while she sits there empty handed, upset that she is left out, is not good for her emotionally. Constantly being excluded or different has taken its toll on my 4 year old.

After eating a jelly bean that she knew she shouldn't have eaten, she told me "I know that I shouldn't have, I just did not want to be left out...I am always left out. I am always different, why can't I be just like the other kids?" That was pretty heart breaking yesterday.

For the schools, find a way to include everyone...I am willing to do what ever I can to help with the food activities but I do not get the opportunity. The treats just show up and she gets left out. If you have an activity to do, find a way to include eveyone or do a different activity.

I just feel that if it was ANY other medical condition, it would be completely different. My friend was a teachers assistant who worked entirely with one child who had fetal alcohol syndrome. My friends job was to help her with school, help her feel included, and make her feel loved and accepted in school.

So why is my kid told to sit there, be excluded and deal with it? So if the money is there to provide a personal teachers assistant to an FAS child, to make sure that their emotional needs are met, whywill there be no one available to make sure that my child survives the school day? My situation is more critical, we are talking life or dealth here! Not to mention that their emotional needs and feelings are disregarded over and over!

Does anyone else get Anaphylaxis Canada newsletters? The most recent one showed a study of 100 ontario teachers and there ability to give an epipen. 88 of 100 would have given it incorrectly, and most of the ones who passed had a family member with an epipen! It was a pretty scary study. Did anyone else read it?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Ottawa
Our daughter (also 4 years old) has told me that it's up to her whether or not she washes her hands before eating her snack. She also states she only has 4 minutes to eat her snack when she is in French (one week is English and one week is French).
I seriously doubt she washes her hands.
I have sent a note to her French teacher stating she is to wash her hands prior to eating her snack. I had thought that mandatory hand washing before and after eating was being done to cut down on the risk of cross-contamination.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 936
Location: Oakville, Ontario
saskmommy, I really feel for what you are going through - and having the school feed your child something inappropriate is very scary - sounds like it won't happen again though! My son (turning 4 on January 19) is always left out of all the food related activites too (why does it seem like there are SO many! Have there always been this many, or are we just more aware??). My son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, mustard, egg, fish, green peas and pineapple. One thing I've done to try and make sure he always has a treat, if the other kids are having a treat, is to have stuff at his school. I realise not all these snacks/treats will work for you, but these are foods he can eat if a "treat" day is happening. The foods don't need refrigeration, and can be bought in small individual packages. I keep a clear plastic container, with his name on it, so the teachers can just grab something closely appropriate. We have a package of Dare gummies so he can have just one or two if that happens to be the type of treat, a couple of boxes of Smarties, a few bags of Ritz Scuba crackers and some Betty Crocker Looney Tune candies. The worst "treat day" that's happened so far at my son's school happened when I was there. Santa arrived, gave all the kids candy canes (no label, of course), and there's my son trying to get his open. He's only 3 years old, and I'm trying to tell him that I need to find out the ingredients in Santa's candy canes - it was not fun, and I was not happy with my son's "allergy-aware" school that day!!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
I have a bag of treats at school too. There is a ziploc bag with her name on it filled with halloween sized bags of fuzzy peaches and sour patch kids. This is what she is suppost to get when the other kids get something. But, she still feels different.

What is with all the junk? I am 28, and I remember a lot about being in school myself. At my school I rarely recall ever having any food present in elementary grades at all. Kids were not allowed to stay at school at lunch...everyone went home. Occassionally a kids family would have two parents working and the school always found the child another family who was willing to take them to their house over lunch and give them a hot meal. Occassionally afew kids stayed ( and had to pay for a parent supervisor for the hour ) until they could find families that would take them home for lunch. My teachers never gave me candy! Why does the school environment I remember from 20 years ago offer a less risky environment for exposure than it does today, with allergies on the rise, and when people are suppost to be more allergy aware.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2950
Location: Toronto
Saskmommy, I think you make an excellent point. There do seem to be more treats at school than in past. And this at time of great increases in allergies, and also diabetes and general concerns about nutrition/overweight children. Seems a valid issue to raise with the school(s).

In Ontario, they have an Ontario Parent Council which advises the minister of education. Perhaps they have a similar organization in Saskatchewan? Sounds worth a letter.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
I will be looking into the council as I find that here in Ontario there is far too much emphasis on food in the classroom.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
The day my son got diagnosed at 13 months for ana was also the day of my older son's kidergarten picnic with the whole school. After the appointment I went to the park and I noticed this kid of about 8 crying leaning up against a tree. I asked one of the staff why he was crying (no one was trying to help him, he was just by himself, crying) and they told me he was allergic to milk and that he couldn't have the ice cream that the school had bought for everyone else. The staff said "oh, he cries alot", and that was that. They never thought about what they could do to fix it, it was obviously his problem, and his parents obviously were okay with that kind of treatment.

I thought "That will never happen to my kid." (I also went and helped the crying kid). Aaron goes to a different school then that one. I make it clear every year that I want Aaron included as much as possible and that there is no reason to exclude him, as alternatives should always be available. I provide treats and I do the cooking/baking for the class. I bring hand soap for the class, I do anything they ask me to do. Each time the secretary has had to give him the Epipen, I write her a letter and I buy her a gift, because she is a hero who has saved my son's life. And it isn't easy for her to do it and she is a wonderful woman. One time I asked what would happen if I couldn't get there in time and he had to go to the hospital without me or my husband and she said "Well, I would go of course." and that meant so much to me that he would not be alone with no one he knew. That is not in her job description. I know that if the unimaginable happens they would care for him with love.

The best advice I could give anyone who has a kid entering the school system is take the time to get to know the staff ( all the staff, not just the teacher, cos they will all help look after your child - even the janitor - he is the one who sees the garbage, so he knows what is being eaten in the school by the wrappers - the supervision aides are the ones you really need to target - they look after the kids at lunch and recess, when food is being eaten, so if you ask them to keep a special eye on your child and why they are usually more than willing) and let them see how much you love your kid and how hard you are trying with bad policies and a terrible lack of awareness to just make his/her life good/safe. Most people who work in schools truly love kids, and will do anything they can to help you. The ones who are not helpful probably need more education about what you are dealing with. Shop around for the most caring school in your area.

I work in the school system now and it is the most wonderful, caring place I have ever worked. I sometimes work with a little girl with diabetes who can never eat anything brought, and she deals with it really well. She is only in grade two and she has more than 10 needles a day, and she never complains. Her food has to be strictly monitored. It is way harder for her parents than for me. They have to test her 2 or 3 times a night, so they can never get a full nights sleep, and they have to be available at the school all the time. They are always upbeat and encouraging of the staff, they really support our efforts to help their little girl. They make an effort to be really appraochable and always make me feel good. They also both work. I am trying to be like them.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Your post made me cry Pam. I have been emotional lately over the uncertainty of my childrens education. I pretty much feel that way to...that if she is in a class, then she is completely involved in the class. I do not want her being excluded.

Your story about the milk allergic boy who "cries a lot" is quite upsetting. I definitely don't want that to be my kids.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 936
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Thank you for your post Pamela - you sound like such a caring, compassionate and reasonable person. I'm sure your son Aaron has done very well in school because of this. As parents of allergic children, and children with other health issues, our involvement with the school, and the approach we take with the staff is vital to our childs safety. I volunteer at both my kids schools, and it's such a great opportunity to see how our children spend their day. I'm not sure that my younger son (turning 4 yrs old tomorrow!) will attend the same school as my 6 year old daughter. I love my daugher's school, but in terms of handling food allergies, they still have a ways to go. I don't believe many people would deliberatly harm a child - I believe they simply do not know or understand food allergies, so they make mistakes. It's a tremendous effort to educate everyone, and not everyone is receptive to listening. We all have to evaluate a school's receptiveness before sending our child there - it's pretty tough!


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