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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 9:09 am 
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Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 1:31 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My head is spinning as I try to wrap my head around this....

We all know that Sabrina's Law requires school Boards to have an anaphylactic policy which includes strategies to reduce the risk..., a communication plan...,etc. http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_ ... ionID=38:1

I have been reading and re-reading my school Board's Anaphylaxis Policy and it does not meet the criteria set out by Sabrina's Law. The Toronto Catholic District School Board’s Policy can be found here: http://www.tcdsb.org/curriculum/special ... 202006.pdf

In my mind, it is a 56 page document of gobbleldy-gook. There really is some great information in the Policy and lots of great suggestions but nowhere does it list any strategies to reduce the risk nor does it list a communication plan. Under the heading “Ways to Reduce Risk” it reads: “Anaphylactic shock reactions can be prevented by reducing exposure to those substances that trigger a severe allergic reaction.” but there are no “ways to reduce risk” listed.

Similarly, there are sample letters to send to the community and sample newsletter inserts but no communication plan, just some suggestions.

Also, there are lots of “guidelines” and “suggestions” and there is talk of schools developing a “plan of action (which, I guess is the individual plan?).

There are also places in the document that quote Sabrina’s Law. It talks about Policy in a round-about kind of way that makes my head spin. For example:

"Policy:
A significant number of students are coming to the school system with anaphylaxis. When exposed to an allergen to which they have sensitivity, these students will have a severe and potentially life threatening allergic reaction. It is the policy of the TCDSB to create allergen- aware environments in our schools and workplaces. In order to protect the health and safety of our students and staff, the TCDSB will develop Regulations and Administrative Procedures which will comply with Sabrina’s Law, 2005, S.O. 2005, Chapter 7.

Regulations:

The procedures and guidelines for the implementation of this policy shall include the following:
1. Strategies that reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic causative agents in classrooms and common school areas.
2. A communication plan for the dissemination of information on life-threatening allergies to parents, pupils and employees.”
...[and it goes on]...

Am I going crazy here, or is this just basically saying that ‘the policy is, that we have a policy’. But where exactly is the policy?!!

Any thoughts?

Amanda

_________________
DS 1: environmental allergies. DS 2: penicillin allergy, outgrew peanut allergy. DS 3: allergic to dairy, eggs, banana & tree nuts. DD: no allergies. DH: bee sting allergy, lactose intolerant. All have asthma. http://www.familynature.ca


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 9:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6471
Location: Ottawa
Yes, it is guidelines only.
Quote:
Purpose of this Document
A significant number of students are coming to the school system with anaphylaxis. When exposed to an allergen to which they have sensitivity, these students will have a severe and life threatening allergic reaction.. This document provides information to school personnel so that they can develop an action plan to:
♦ lessen the risk of contact with an allergen.
♦ recognize the symptoms of a severe anaphylactic reaction.
♦ know the treatment protocol and be empowered to provide emergency life-saving treatment to the student immediately.
This document will provide school personnel with the necessary information and forms required to create a resource package for each anaphylactic student. This school-produced package will be a useful tool as a school develops an individualized action plan for each anaphylactic student.
(page 3)

So, armed with what they have at thier disposal, you can ask your principal to clearly explain his/her schools anaphylaxis policy.

What is (insert school name here) doing to reduce the risk of exposure?
Are any foods restricted? If so which foods and from where?

How often, when, to whom and by whom is anaphylaxis training provided?

What are the current school procedures regarding:
- snacks/lunches
- fieldtrips
-volunteers or student helpers in the classroom
-celebrations
-use of allergens as a teaching material ei art supplies, science lesson etc
-supply teachers

Where is the EpiPen kept?

Describe how the school would handle an allergic reaction.

How does the school communicate awareness with students and parents?

These are just a few questions to start the communication. The answers to these will help you to pin point areas that require extra attention.

A school anaphylaxis policy is a basic tool the school can use to run smoothly. The individual plan is where you can adjust it to ensure your child is safe for their particular allergen. The main policy was kept vague on purpose as there are many different allergies out there.

_________________
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 26, 2009 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 1:31 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Okay, good to know that I am not crazy.

Thank you so much for this. I have read that policy so many times but have never noticed the "school-produced package" line.

I have emailed the principal again...we'll see what happens.

Amanda

_________________
DS 1: environmental allergies. DS 2: penicillin allergy, outgrew peanut allergy. DS 3: allergic to dairy, eggs, banana & tree nuts. DD: no allergies. DH: bee sting allergy, lactose intolerant. All have asthma. http://www.familynature.ca


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 1:31 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This is infuriating.

I emailed the principal again to point out the part of the Board's Guidelines which Susan quotes below (I highlighted in particular, how the document's purpose is to provide information to develop an action plan and that it is a school-produced document).

I also cut and pasted some things together and gave her a 'sample' school plan so that she would know exactly what I'm talking about. I was very pleasant and polite and offered to help in any way that I can.

She responded this evening saying that she had written a plan (which she will show me after she's had a chance to show it to someone at the Board) but that "Schools generally do not have plans written down. They take time to write and we are always changing them to meet the current need for our children. I will have something for you as this may improve our communication."

Which is why there is an individual plan also!

So while I'm happy that she's writing something down (although, I won't get too excited until I see what it actually is) it really bugs me that she STILL thinks that she doesn't have to do it and that she's doing it just as a favor to me. The worst part is there are about 10 students currently at the school who are at risk of anaphylaxis!! And the school has never had a plan!! AND how many other Catholic schools in Toronto don't have plans?

What to do now? I have quoted policy and Sabrina's Law. I guess it's time to involve the superintendent. <sigh>

As a side note she also said in her email to me "I had hoped that we were getting an autistic child and I was going to place him in Shannon's class. That would have ensured the EA." WHAT THE HELL!?!? She was 'hoping' for an autistic child? So what, my kid could piggy-back on the misfortune of another? I just think this is so wrong.

Any other Toronto Catholic Board mamas out there? If so, what has you're experience been?

Amanda

_________________
DS 1: environmental allergies. DS 2: penicillin allergy, outgrew peanut allergy. DS 3: allergic to dairy, eggs, banana & tree nuts. DD: no allergies. DH: bee sting allergy, lactose intolerant. All have asthma. http://www.familynature.ca


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
Please understand that I am sure that the principal was not hoping for anyone to be autistic. It sounds like she was hoping that there would be an extra staff member in the classroom who could assist the teacher with the needs of your daughter at snack and lunchtime - times when an autistic child is fairly independent. Getting an EA in a classroom these days is very difficult and it sounds like the principal is trying to meet your child's needs and another child's as well.

Why don't you wait to see what the principal has written down before involving the superintendent?

I worked on my board's anaphylaxis policy three years ago. Ours doesn't list specific risk reduction strategies either but... the document Anaphylaxis In Schools and Other Settings does have a thorough list of strategies. Every school in Ontario received copies of this document 3 years ago along with epipen and twinjet trainers.
We had a representative from Anaphylaxis Canada, Marilyn Allen, help us write our policy. The same rep also helped TDSB write their staff training manual. I am not sure about the Catholic board.

I have always found that keeping a cool head (even when it's hard) and being constantly ready to assist in anyway has helped build a good rapport. This is a really busy time in schools - speaking from my own experience. Staffing is getting sorted out, end of year activities are being planned and report cards are being prepared. The principal might not have as much time right now to respond quickly to your concerns. We always set up a meeting with the classroom teacher in the fall during the week before school to establish the risk reduction strategies.

Good luck.

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:32 am 
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Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 1:31 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thank you for your response.

Yes, I know what you mean about the EA. But still, it sounds awful.

Something that really bothers me is this: even if the principal comes back with an awesome plan that has everything I want in it -- what about this misconception that she has that she doesn't have to do it? It is the law. If she is misinformed then I'm sure other principals are. There is no point in having a Sabrina's Law if it is not understood, not enforced or if schools/boards don't have to comply.

I want to advocate for my own child and all children with anaphylaxis.

Amanda

_________________
DS 1: environmental allergies. DS 2: penicillin allergy, outgrew peanut allergy. DS 3: allergic to dairy, eggs, banana & tree nuts. DD: no allergies. DH: bee sting allergy, lactose intolerant. All have asthma. http://www.familynature.ca


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
For now I would just worry about your school situation! Don't take on the whole board! Give yourself a break. By advocating for your child, you are reviewing and raising new issues around anaphylaxis for your principal and the school staff. When this principal moves schools and other staff members transfer they will bring along their information as well.

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 11:19 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6471
Location: Ottawa
You've let them know that you are aware of what your sons legal rights are.

Wait and see what they can pull together. You want to foster an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect.

This will be in your sons best interest in the long run.

_________________
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: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:17 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6471
Location: Ottawa
FamilyNature-How are things going so far this year?

_________________
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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