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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:17 am 
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For our daughter, school (grade 3) started Monday. Monday evening I recieved a call from the teacher who wanted to touch base and go over a few things. ( :) )

1. Teacher has had students with peanut allergies in the past.
2. Desks are still in groups of 4
3. The reading table has been deemed the safe food table for lunch.
(daughter had still eaten snacks at her desk before this was pointed out to her)
Teacher pointed out that this is further away from the other students and she will not be able to socialize during lunch also as it is the reading table, it is used by all students so who knows how clean it is by snack time. (can't be sure that everyone washes hands after eating breakfast and before coming to school)
4. Students are encouraged to wash their hands (still not sure what that means...)
5. Teacher doesn't plan to include foods in lesson plans except for a bean experiment in the spring. It involves planting a seed and watching it grow and uses bush bean seeds. I explained that R eats green string beans and yellow wax beans and if it is this type of bean, she will have no problem but please remind me closer to the time so that I can discuss it with R.
6. Teacher has 3 celebrations each year Halloween, Christmas and Valentines Day in which food does play a part. Cheese and fruit at Halloween, Cupcakes at Christmas and I forget what at Valentines Day. She was hoping that I would approve of this. I told her I didn't know what to think.

I want to be able to establish a good rapport with this teacher but I suspect that I will have to ask her to review her class layout, "safe" table and say, "No." to the celebrations as they are (but offer to work with her to come up with something that allows inclusion of all students).

I really don't want to be the person who stops the class from having celebrations but I don't see why my child must endure the fear of exposure to her allergens unnecessarily. I don't see why schools feel the need to feed our children in order to celebrate.

We had not met with the principal this year as we met with her last year and developed an individual plan etc. The school does not know which class the students are placed in until the first day of school as they are still accepting registration ( :roll: )

Do I ask for a meeting with the teacher and principal to review the plan?
Do I remind the teacher of the legislation "reduce the risk of exposure to allergens"?
Do I ask them why they need to have desks arranged in groups of 4 or ask them to move the "safe table"? (R prefers to eat away from her peers as she is worried about contact allergies-she has had several anaphylaxis reactions and she remembers then quite well)

How do I respond without sounding like any angry bear? :(

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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 Sep 02, 2009 10:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Quote:
Do I ask them why they need to have desks arranged in groups of 4 or ask them to move the "safe table"? (R prefers to eat away from her peers as she is worried about contact allergies-she has had several anaphylaxis reactions and she remembers then quite well)

Teacher pointed out that this is further away from the other students and she will not be able to socialize during lunch also as it is the reading table, it is used by all students so who knows how clean it is by snack time. (can't be sure that everyone washes hands after eating breakfast and before coming to school)


Susan, I can only imagine how worried your daughter must be about contact reactions. Since the reading table may not be clean would your daughter re-consider eating at her desk if they were re-configured. If they were in proper rows and she sat on the far side in the front row then no one would be walking past her desk and there would only be neighboring desks to her right and back. She won't be so isolated and with some lysol wipes would she/you feel more comfortable that her desk was allergen free.

I would absolutely ask that the desks be moved. I did last year, kids eating peanut butter dripping food onto our daughter's desk/books etc. For you it is even more difficult I imagine due to milk. You have every right to ask such a thing, with all the H1N1 literature which came home yesterday you'd think the schools would want the kids as separate as possible!

Food for celebrations, I think we all know how any allergic parent feels about that issue.
Quote:
Teacher has had students with peanut allergies in the past.

I still don't think they get it fully. A friend is a teacher and has had children with allergies over the years. She was telling me how she had parents bring in fruit and veggies etc. and she still couldn't comprehend why if it was fruit and veggies and she told parents to make sure cutting boards were clean etc. that a child with allergies still should not share in the feast. We get it, it is just too much for others to grasp. Any buffet style food prepared in an unknown person's house regardless if it is fruit or not is still not safe. I see exceptions, say a sports team where you can one on one talk to a specific mom, get a comfort level feel gut feeling and maybe then you'd allow your child to share in fruit etc..

Out of curiosity, what are her plans if a parent surprises the class with a birthday treat?
This is why I give out pencils or mini play dough for special events.
I wish you all the best. I don't have an allergic child in school (yet) so my advice is purely based on opinion. I hope others have more substantial helpful tips to give you.
= -) I can't imagine you to be an angry bear LOL :D

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DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
:) thanks!

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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 Sep 02, 2009 9:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 1:40 pm
Posts: 149
Location: Toronto area
Susan,

Most primary classrooms have desks grouped together because group work and centres are a major part of the day. I would have your daughter eat at the reading table so there are less chance of spills, etc. Can you provide the teacher with a plastic placemat to put on the table?

I asked my son's principal to have the children's desks cleaned after every lunch hour and have the garbage also removed, and he seemed supportive of the idea.

With regards to celebrations, in the past my son's teacher gave the kids Lays regular chips, pita bread (for the Last Supper celebration) or teddy graham cookies. She would always call me and I even offered to pick up the food for her. At my school we have NO food during our celebrations - instead we provide the kids with an afternoon movie treat.

boys' mom


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Thanks for the ideas!

I really like the movie treat. The kids feel like they're getting something special and it can still tie into the theme - what do cupcakes have to do with Christmas?

Also, it's relatively inexpensive. :)

_________________
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 Sep 04, 2009 8:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
How did it go Susan? Did the teacher move the desks or how did you solve your daughter's eating arrangements, class celebrations etc.?

Quote:
Most primary classrooms have desks grouped together because group work and centres are a major part of the day.


I can appreciate the reasoning and I admit I see the benefits of desk grouping, but....in this day and age of H1N1 and more allergies amongst school age children it is something I am not comfortable with in the least. When our daughter was in kindergarten parents/teacher could not figure out why the flu was going around and around for months. A group of parents helped out one day and we realized a huge key to the puzzle. The kids were at circular tables, there were shared containers of scissors, crayons etc. in the center of each table. As one kid wiped their runny nose with their hand they then touched scissors or chewed on a penciletc. , after using them they went back into the bin and another child picked them up, etc. etc.. After that the school had the kids use their own supplies and the flu rotation in our class, (plus a huge room cleaning and some hand washing lessons) seemed to help.
Boy's Mom, I love your school! No food for celebrations, WOW! Were parents in an uproar at first or supportive?

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
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Location: ottawa
Boy's Mom , FYI I didn't mean that at ALL to be bitchy....I think I am very touchy on the issue after last year. It made me so upset to have such a disgusting classroom and with the desks together and people lunch constantly spilling on our daughter's lunch and books and their dirty kleenex ending up on her desk it was just and awful year. Food events were ALL nut crap so I could never attend anything (teacher didn't care even when our family sat in the hallway just so we'd be there for our daughter). I actually went in and had the teacher move the desks in front of me.

As a teacher, was it easier a decade ago before the explosion of allergies etc? The good old days, I told our daughter she sounded like a broken record and she replied "what's a record"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BUT...back to you Susan, how has the first week gone for your DD?

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:00 am 
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Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 1:40 pm
Posts: 149
Location: Toronto area
BC 2007,

I didn't think you sounded "bitchy" at all, just a little frustrated :) ! I'm a teacher, and unfortunately the reality is kids are grouped together especially in the primary and in the early junior grades. You're right, spills happen in every classroom (kids are really messy eaters) and germs spread very easy (we had H1N1 at our school last year in June - along with other viruses). Believe me, I'm not as relaxed about my son starting full days as I let on - but I've spoken to the teacher, the principal and my son and we've discussed the protocol for eating lunch, snacks, etc. His teacher was great and very supportive. I can only hope for the best.

Where I teach, we've implemented a "no food celebration" policy now for about 4 years. The first year teachers had to send home birthday loot bags (which contained food) quite a few times - but eventually parents got it and now it isn't even questioned. Any loot bags or Christmas treats are always non-edible. This policy is written in our school newsletter and most teachers also include it in their classroom newsletter as well.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
I had hubby pick her up yesterday and scope out the room. We haven't had a chance to discuss it and decided what to do (crazy schedules!).

Basically, I'm just feeling really guilty because I haven't moved on this...it either is a big issue or non at all, right? The longer I put it off the harder it is to change. I want to know if there is supervision at snack time or should she move then too. Her allergens are just as likely at that time yet she eats her snack at her desk.

I'm thinking of sending a travel container of wipes for dd to keep in her desk so she can wipe her desk down before she eats snack or lunch. I hate to have her move so far away 3x a day. The other option is to purchase a place mat for the reading table and a suction hook to hang it by when she's not using it.

I will make a decision this weekend and I'll be at the school Tuesday for our Parent Council welcome back BBQ :roll: (keeping my 'enemies' close!)

_________________
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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: Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:34 am 
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Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Susan, Would your daughter be able to manage a roll of plastic wrap ( no offense to her but I'm 37 and still end up with a huge mess now and then with the stuff). :D If she was able to tear off a piece each time she ate then it could be thrown away. Actually, wax paper might be easier to tear. Just a thought.
Good luck with your next move.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Hubby wanted to discuss it last night at 1030 at night...he started giving me an overview of the classroom and then jump forward to the teacher discussing a lesson plan she wants to do about nutrition, manners and eating :shock: This is in addition to her 3 class celebrations where she wants to serve daughter's allergens (only student in the class with allergies)

I asked him to hold up and let us talk about the lunch first as I was tired and couldn't juggle too many ideas at once...it turned into a fight about micro-managing :roll:

So now he's not talking to me (but at least a lot of odd jobs around the house are being accomplished! :P )

I hope your weekend is going better!

Now I have to worm out of him what he said in reply to the teacher as I am helping out on Tuesday afternoon with our welcome back BBQ (which daughter will not eat).

_________________
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: Sun Sep 06, 2009 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
I'm sorry to hear you are having an off day. I know how your husband feels. Even though I don't have school issues yet to deal with I still tend to try and tackle way to many allergy issues at once. It is my husband who is left frustrated.
It must be so much more difficult when you have no choice but to deal with the same person (a teacher etc.) all year. My instincts I know will be to jump in like an 'angry bear :D ' and tackle every issue in one big blaaaa of what the teacher will I'm sure hear as verbal diarrhea. When it is about life and death who can blame us really. Unfortunately I do also see that we need these people on our side and like you mentioned it could be best to tackle one issue at a time. It shouldn't have to be that way, if a school had multiple rooms without wheel chair access I'm sure they'd all be re-fit at the same time to accomodate a disabled student. Yet somehow the allergy issues from the sounds of it (and from what I've dealt with at our school already) seem to be such a touchy subject. Each teeny tiny change seems to only happen with way to much effort on the allergic parents part.
I can't imagine purposely planning an event in a classroom in which one child would be left out of. I think that is awful. True we still would send our child's own treat but to have treats for others which contain your child's exact allergen is so thoughtless and seems hurtful.

I hope your night goes better.

If you would like our daughter would LOVE to come out and give an allergy presentation in your daughter's class :D No kidding!

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6429
Location: Ottawa
I would love for your daughter to come out and speak to the school!
Aren't you in BC?

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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: Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6429
Location: Ottawa
Spoke to hubby (and told him if I can't be emotional then he can't either!), we're going to meet with the teacher and probably the principal because we can't understand moving her so far away from her peers for lunch and not moving her at all for the snacks.

From what hubby says, her desk is in the group closest to the teacher (probably so she can be monitored) but the table they would have her eat her lunch at is at the farthest corner (I'm thinking the lunchtime seating arrangement was a last minute decision).

So we need to figure out what we are trying to protect her from and if we can problem solve to develop another option. Dd is offbeat enough as it is, she doesn't need to be singled out as different and miss out on socializing any more that absolutely necessary.

_________________
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 Sep 07, 2009 1:42 am 
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Posts: 423
Location: Alberta, Canada
Good luck with the teacher. Children are usually very open and accepting. It is the adults that have problems when they cannot "SEE" a problem (allergies) they may just have a hard time accepting it. I am sure if we asked the children for a solution to keep each other safe and also feel involved, together, accepted they would figure it out and not get all bent out of shape about it. What ever the solution at a grade three level the children don't care if they eat here or there they just want to enjoy each others company and be kids. I remember what it was like to have lunch in grade three at the time I could not have milk, peanut, treenut...I only remember I did not want anyone to notice what I was eating. No one had allergies back in the day. I just wanted to be with and like everyone else. I wish for that for your daughter. Things are so much better these days it will all work out. :D :D

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Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


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