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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:58 pm
Posts: 58
DD had her Kindergarten orientation yesterday. She was a little nervous to go off with her teacher but once they called her name, she didn’t even look back except to wave. She had a great time. While the children went to their classrooms, the parents stayed for an info session and then we rejoined our kids to go on a school bus orientation and ride. Part of the orientation was from a dietician who discussed healthy foods for children. Every time she mentioned dairy products, I cringed. The thought of DD being surrounded by dairy products and eggs stresses me out but I know it’s just something that she’ll have to learn to deal with.

While we were on the ride, I asked DD about what she did with the teacher. She told me about using playdoh, building something, reading a story and colouring. Anyway, it sounded like she had a lot of fun. Then she mentioned having a snack. The alarm bells started sounding in my head. I asked her what she had eaten and she said a bar “that didn’t have her allergies” and apple juice. Turns out she told the teacher that she was allergic to eggs and dairy. This makes me so proud that my little girl knows that she needs to be careful and takes ownership to protect herself.

The rest of the story completely stresses me out. The teacher checked the ingredients on the bar, told DD that it was safe and gave it to her to eat. Needless to say, my overprotective allergy mama instincts kicked in. I don’t know of any granola bars that are safe for her to eat. I of course checked her over very carefully, while trying not to stress her out or worry her. She didn’t have any rashes or hives, there were no symptoms indicating she had eaten one of her allergens.

As soon as the bus trip was over, I went back into the school and asked about the snack. They got one of them for me and right on the ingredients label it says “milk ingredients”. Not may contain, they are actually in the bar! I spoke with the teacher who basically told me the same that DD did and then stated that it was safe. I told her that there are milk ingredients in the bar and she basically shrugged and said nothing. The admin assistant said something to the effect “if only we had known about her allergies”. Every form that we have filled out with them has indicated her allergies, this was not new information for them and DH had asked, at another meeting, specifically about what they would do about her allergies. They were right in the middle of starting another orientation so I couldn’t address it then. I was stressed and upset and I really just wanted to get DD home.

The school keeps saying they are allergy aware and very concerned about their students. But I think they are aware of peanut allergies (they’re peanut free) and think because they’ve taken those steps that they are safe for other allergens. If they were truly allergy aware, they never would have given my daughter that granola bar. I was in the building so they could have checked with me and if not that, then she should not have been given it at all. They also would have informed us that they were providing snacks for the children. With that information, I would have found out what the snack was and easily replaced it with something that was safe for DD.

I’m supposed to trust these people with my child. How am I supposed to feel safe after this incident and their indifference? I’m trying to set up a meeting for next week to go in to discuss this (I was already going to meet with them to set up a plan). As much as I try not to worry and obsess about her allergens, I feel as though I’m literally putting her life in their hands when I do send her off to school.

I’m so glad that it was milk that she was exposed to because her reactions have always been mild to dairy products – just a few hives. On the bright side, DD had no reaction to the bar. Does that mean that she is outgrowing her milk allergy?

Sorry for such a long post! And thanks for reading it!


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 1:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
I'm really sorry. I've had similar things happen and I do a lot of this: :banghead

As for the allergy, it's really something you'd want to talk with your allergist about, but I know that small amounts in baked goods are sometimes tolerated whereas consuming the food whole is different. I don't think that can apply to nut allergies etc..but I have heard of it with milk & eggs.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 7:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:17 pm
Posts: 255
Location: Niagara region, Ontario
Tina, I'm so sorry you had such a terrible experience mar what should have been an exciting time in your daughter's life. I agree with you about them confusing any allergy with peanut allergy. I have told so many people about my nut allergy, and these are friends through a church group I see repeatedly. You wouldn't believe how many times they've thought I was gluten free!

On the bright side, your amazing little girl did what she was supposed to do by telling the teacher her allergies. Unfortunately, it turns out your daughter is smarter than the teacher. I wish you all the best as you deal with this situation, and hope it all works out. Sending you virtual hugs,

Soccermom


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 11:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6492
Location: Ottawa
Wow, Tina428, I can completely understand your shock, fear, outrage, disappointment, frustration.... :frightened

I've had a similar experience with my daughter in JK but that was 9 years ago! You'd think that the school would have learned something by then!
:verymad

What province/state are you in? Your daughter has rights!

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Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:58 pm
Posts: 58
Thanks for your responses. I'm still waiting to hear back from the school to schedule the meeting.

Becky, we've got an appointment with her allergist in July so I'll follow up then.

Soccermom, thanks for the support. Your comment about my DD being smarter than the teacher made me laugh.

Susan, we live in New Brunswick. I've looked up the legislation here and will make sure that her plan follows everything in it. Though it doesn't really do much for dairy and egg allergic children.


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 9:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6492
Location: Ottawa
Yes, it's very hard for them to understand about milk and egg allergies.

The school needs to understand that you have one simple rule. Because reactions can be deadly, your daughter is not to eat ANYTHING unless it has been verified as safe by you or your husband.

Let your daughter know that it's a family rule and it's OK to remind others of the family rule. This way, she is helping the teacher by reminding her and NOT being contrary.

You can also get the school to comply because it's pretty hard to argue with one simple rule. If they go against it, you can tell them that they are undermining your authority. It will take time, but you can get them to cooperate.

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Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:58 pm
Posts: 58
Well, I had my meeting with the principal this morning and the resource person. First off, he apologized for last week which I really appreciated.

I asked about how the children eat their lunch and the process. They wash their hands before and after eating and the custodians clean the tables while the kids are outside so that’s one major concern answered. They have sinks in the rooms for the kindergarten group so it’s easier to get their hands washed.

They do annual training on Epipens but he wasn’t familiar with DD's Allerject. Anyway, I offered our trainer for them to use, if they don’t have one by September. I also offered to attend the training session to provide further information. I’m not sure that they discuss recognizing anaphylaxis symptoms but I provided him with a chart to post in a few places. Also, I’ll go over it when I meet with the teachers.

We worked out a plan on what I expect them to do and what they expect us to do to keep her safe. I emphasized that she was not to be given any food that we hadn’t approved. They are supposed to contact me, if there is going to be food in the classroom so I can either check the ingredients or provide a safe alternative for DD. They don’t have cake or cupcakes in the room for birthdays so that’s one huge worry gone. And most celebrations are food free or they serve fruits or vegetables.

So I definitely feel better after the meeting but I’m not sure that I’m prepared to trust them yet to keep DD safe. I think I’m going to spend the summer reinforcing things with DD so that she’ll know what to do such as always wash her hands and speak up if she feels unsafe. And if the teacher tries to give her some food that she asks whether or not Mommy or Pappa have approved it. Also, I’ll emphasize that she shouldn’t share food with any of the children which she’s great at now. Then, hopefully, she’ll be prepared to keep herself safe if the teacher fails.

I have a question for you allergy mamas. I've seen posts about children using wipes to clean their desks, etc. What wipes do they use?


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 5:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 933
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Tina428, I've been keeping up with your posts on this thread. First of all I wanted to say that I'm sorry about your daughter's initial orientation visit. It sounds like you're having a very good approach with your daughter's school, and this is SO important that you and the school staff are able to continue with being open, receptive and positive with your discussions. It is a real process of teaching, teaching, teaching and repetition, repetition, repetition, as you go along, one step at a time, grade by grade, depending on the level of knowledge with food allergies. You will have to always keep up with helping your daughter's teachers to understand the specifics of your daughter's food allergies, and expect to educate, in a positive, friendly and informative way with every teacher your child will be with. We have found we have needed to continue this process throughout school, and our son is now in grade 6. With this process, we have had a very good relationship with our son's 2 schools, and many teachers along the way. Say "thank you" a lot, and truly show your appreciation for their time and efforts, and always provide all the information they need to know to keep your daughter safe. Our son has multiple food allergies, and it's been a challenge as well, but we absolutely feel we need the school to be on our side so that our son can be safe at school. Of course, teach your daughter as well to take care of herself. Again, lots of repetition will be needed. We still need to repeat this with our son, even though he is now 12! But it does get easier.

In terms of wipes, we have been using the wipes from Walmart for years. They are $3 for a package of 80 unscented wipes. The wipes are called "Nice 'n Clean - All Purpose Wipes". The packaging is light blue and white. We have also used "Wet Ones" and they are very good as well, but more expensive. We buy the unscented Wet Ones in the green and white container.

The other thing we do is give our son 2 pieces of wax paper to use as a place mat for his 2 nutrition breaks. This keeps the place where he's eating safe, and wax paper can then go in the "green bin" (it's compostable).

Good luck with everything!!

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6492
Location: Ottawa
I have used just about all of the diaper wipes available that are free of dd's allergies. They all work well.
I tend to buy them by the case.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 8:52 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:58 pm
Posts: 58
Thanks Julie and Sue for the wipes suggestion. Right now I use baby wipes but I'm not sure how DD will feel taking them to school. I'll check out those Walmart ones too.

Julie, I'm trying to take that same approach. I want the school to be on DD's side not fighting with her mother. So when the principal apologized, I accepted his apology and began discussing the plan. At the end of the meeting, it was brought up again so I discussed a little bit of how I felt. I told them that I felt that they are allergy aware for peanuts and tree nuts but not for DD's allergies. They agreed and that's when I showed them the information that I had which they really appreciated. So, hopefully, after that rocky start, they're in a better place to keep DD safe.


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 933
Location: Oakville, Ontario
:D Tina, that's wonderful - so glad for you! We feel we have the same uphill battle trying to describe the seriousness of our sons allergies that extend beyond peanuts/tree nuts. They are always surprised by the sesame/sunflower/poppy seed/mustard so I completely understand. I find every year when we have our late August pre-school meeting that I get the same reaction from our sons "new" teacher - that sesame, etc has to be considered just as serious as peanut/tree nuts. I don't have to look too far back with my own lack of knowledge to understand and relate to the very steep learning curve we had to take, (and which we are now expecting of them) so I just have to remind myself that I had never even heard of an allergy to sesame (and so many other foods!) until our son displayed his multiple food allergies. (In fact, his first reaction was to green peas at 6 months of age! Which was a complete shocker to us!), so it's all been a very steep learning curve. I just have to keep that in mind every time we have to discuss and educate someone new. Teachers receive Epipen (and now Allerject) training, but I don't think the discussions go much beyond peanut/tree nut allergies, so we are all educators as well. Best of luck with it!!! You can do it! :D

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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