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 Post subject: Daycare & Discrimination
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
--RANT AHEAD--

I am trying real hard to be optimistic here but I am just getting tired of daycares in Halifax. This is yet another rejection from another daycare that we were looking at for our daughter who is severely allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts.

Quote:
Hi, Noha,

Sorry to take so long to reply your email. I'm afraid I cannot take care of your daughter since currently most kids enjoy milk products, egg, and pork. It's very difficult to change the menu. I feel very sorry about that. Thank you for considering our centre.

Good luck.

Linda


Seriously, why is it that daycares are willing to eliminate peanuts off the menu but not other unnecessary food items like butter, or cheese? I mean, we eliminate peanut butter because it is so volatile and sticks to everything but butter DOES THE SAME THING! Health Canada has already changed the food guide to reflect that cheese and butter are no longer considered viable items from food groups when creating a menu for daycare. Not to mention, I did not ask this daycare director to eliminate milk, eggs, or pork. Instead I asked for her to seat my child at another table when others are drinking milk, and then I suggested the possibility of switching to a safe butter (soy, as no other children are allergic to soy in her daycare) and soy cheese. And I asked for my daughter not to be fed pork because it's not kosher. Why is it that on the best day our dairy allergic children are treated like outcasts, and on the worst day, they're treated like total freaks?

What really bothers me about her email, is the phrase "I cannot take care of your daughter since currently most kids enjoy milk products, egg and pork." Isn't this line of thinking similar to Pearson, the writer of the Chatelaine article "It's Just Nuts"? SO because some other child enjoys milk, my daughter's safety comes second. This is incredibly upsetting, and I'm not even an advocate for banning allergens... I'm an advocate for decreasing cross contamination.

Is this what we're looking at now, discrimination based on allergy type? Though as I'm writing this, I realize that my daughter has been rejected also because she does not eat pork! Are we back in the Stone Age??

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6474
Location: Ottawa
On the one hand discrimination based on disabiltiy goes against our human rights but...do you want these people looking after your daughter?

Are these agencies? You might do better with an agency.

_________________
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 Nov 20, 2009 1:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
When Aaron was little I ran my own daycare - it is a really great thing, if you think you might like it.

A nanny might be a good alternative. I feel really sorry that people with allergies other than peanut, particularly milk, feel like they don't get treated the same as kids with peanut allergies (and I know you feel like that because you aren't, that it's not just a feeling). I've been dealing with this for 11 years now, and 11 years ago, I faced the same thing all the time with peanut...there were very, very few places that restricted peanut 10 years ago...I saw my first peanut free sign when Aaron was about 3, 9 years ago...it is just that it is so new, it's not that your child's allergies are less serious or important. People haven't got their heads around minimizing peanut yet, and it will take them a while to get their heads around milk. But I think it will happen. Especially if moms like you get formal policies in place. All the legislation and policies place equal value on all allergens, although sometimes they note that peanut is a big deal. However, there is a study that shows that fatalities in very young children are more likely milk, peanut in youth to young adulthood and medications and stings in older adults. I don't know off the top of my head which study, but I think it's Pumphrey's.

I hope that in 10 years time all this is resolved and all life threatening allergies are dealt with by focussing on the fact that they are life-threatening, rather than the food involved.

In BC, we have resource centres that act like information sources for all licensed daycares in the area...if you have those in Halifax, they might be able to help, too. Also, larger group daycares, especially ones associated with universities, would be more likely (I think) to have formal policies that would restrict foods other than peanut.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
Susan.. even the word disability is vague to the department of community services. The ones who run the daycare license have no idea if children with allergies are considered disabled. I was told that unless the child has a physical or mental condition, that they would not be covered under the disabilities act. I have not checked on that so I am not sure. You are right, though. I don't want someone as ignorant as this daycare director to look after my child. It just bothers me that she thinks it's okay to be ignorant. And her apology seemed very fake in my opinion. As for an agency, I have looked but there are none that I know of here in Halifax.

Aaron's mom, other people as well, have suggested that I should just find a babysitter or start my own daycare. I'm afraid I do not have the space to run a daycare, not to mention, would not be able to get licensed by Public Health unless I serve milk. That came as a surprise to me. After speaking to Public Health I discovered that daycares are not allowed to remove milk from their menu; that if there is no milk on it, nutritionists will not approve the menu. And they will not replace it with soy or otherwise. So in order for me to open my own daycare, I have to expose my home to milk, something I am not comfortable doing. We did find a babysitter though who will come to our home. She has not started yet, but we will be meeting her this weekend. Fingers crossed...

Noha

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:28 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
Noha,

They won't license if you don't serve milk...but what if you wanted to cater to kids with food allergies?

Running a daycare is not for everyone, that's for sure. Maybe phone the Ministry of Children and Families and ask what they suggest you do. I heard of one pres-school who refused a kid because the staff did not want the responsibility of ever having to give an epipen, even though the parent said they would sit in the car outside the whole time.

Kids with allergies are not included as having a disability, although kids with asthma are. So stupid. In the States they are classed as having a disability, which entitles them to appropriate support, but not here. We could get it, if we wanted to press for it, but we would need a good team to do it.

That's great news about the person who will come to your home. I hope it works out.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
It doesn't get any better does it??

We finally found a daycare for our little girl with a lot of effort. The daycare staff did not have to do much beyond washing the kids' hands and faces after food and keeping toys clean. We sent all her meals and snacks from home, she was not allowed to have any food at the daycare at all, and she was eating in a separate room. Things went very well and she did not have a reaction, and we did not even have to give her Reactine, not even once. Then yesterday the director calls me and kicks us out. Why? Because apparently, the parents of one of the kids in the daycare had "forgotten" to tell the director that their son is autistic, and she thinks that she can take better care of the autistic child if my little girl was not in her daycare.

I am furious. I am not sure if an autistic child is somehow more deserving than my little girl or is it simply easier to take care of a child with autism.

And the worst part is, my daughter loved it so much there and has been asking about going there again. I am not sure what to tell her.

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6474
Location: Ottawa
Quote:

Disability

Refers to severe and persistent restriction or impairment that results in an inability to perform an activity in the range or within the range considered normal for someone of the same age, gender, and culture. It describes a functional limitation (versus a diagnosis) and is ongoing in nature.

http://gov.ns.ca/coms/disabilities/docu ... Terms.html
I would think the inability to eat and/or breathe would qualify. :roll:

_________________
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: Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Quote:
and she thinks that she can take better care of the autistic child if my little girl was not in her daycare.


Noha, that is truly just awful. That is plain and simple discrimination and it would almost seem they were waiting for an opportunity to ask you to leave. What exactly do they mean that they can better care for the autistic child if your DD is not there? Is this due to a staffing issue (shortage) or plain old laziness with not wanting to care for your DD????

I think if this is their attitude you do not want your DD to attend this daycare regardless. I wish you all the best in finding another daycare with a caring, positive environment.

_________________
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: Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 649
Location: AB, Canada
Noha wrote:
It doesn't get any better does it??

We finally found a daycare for our little girl with a lot of effort. The daycare staff did not have to do much beyond washing the kids' hands and faces after food and keeping toys clean. We sent all her meals and snacks from home, she was not allowed to have any food at the daycare at all, and she was eating in a separate room. Things went very well and she did not have a reaction, and we did not even have to give her Reactine, not even once. Then yesterday the director calls me and kicks us out. Why? Because apparently, the parents of one of the kids in the daycare had "forgotten" to tell the director that their son is autistic, and she thinks that she can take better care of the autistic child if my little girl was not in her daycare.

I am furious. I am not sure if an autistic child is somehow more deserving than my little girl or is it simply easier to take care of a child with autism.

And the worst part is, my daughter loved it so much there and has been asking about going there again. I am not sure what to tell her.



What a horrible situation!! I can't believe they'd chose one child over the other, I wonder if they receive additional $$ from the Province for the autistic child? I'm so sorry for you & your DD.

_________________
DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
Susan, I really wish that people understood the intended meaning of the disability law, but unfortunately the daycare act in Nova Scotia has not been revised in years and the disability issue is not very clearly defined in the contents.

Quote:
What exactly do they mean that they can better care for the autistic child if your DD is not there?


BC2007, they explained that with the autistic child there, they cannot wash the hands of kids after eating so that my daughter would get exposed to allergens. And in order to do that, they would have to neglect the autistic child. It's a home based but licensed daycare, that has 7 children, and three teachers. You're absolutely right, this is not the attitude I want in a teacher, but I am upset that it had to happen in the first place. It's one thing to tell me right up front that she cannot do it. It's another thing entirely to accept our application and take my daughter into daycare, and THEN kick us out.

Becky.. I believe they do get additional funding for children with disabilities, but the allergic children are not considered disabled here in our province (or at least this is what I was told by the department of community services). This situation only came up after the daycare director was visited by someone from community services who had spoken to me and knows about my daughter. The worker was visiting the daycare to inspect on another case unrelated to me or my daughter. After speaking to the community services worker the daycare director told me she no longer wants my little girl in her daycare. I suspect the community services worker told her that she would get more funding if she took in the autistic child, but she could only handle 7 kids, so she had to kick someone out.

I keep hearing from a lot of people that they get support for their allergies and how things are getting better. To be honest, at this point, I don't see the support or the "better" that others are talking about. I am starting to get really bitter and angry. As a member of the allergic community, this is the type of thing that I would expect the AAIA or Anaphylaxis Canada to take action on, but I know it's a pipe dream.

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Quote:
The daycare staff did not have to do much beyond washing the kids' hands and faces after food and keeping toys clean.

Quote:
Because apparently, the parents of one of the kids in the daycare had "forgotten" to tell the director that their son is autistic


Was this child already in the same daycare BEFORE all this happened. The reason I ask is that if they managed to wash hands when he was there and they weren't aware he was autistic then why all of a sudden now that they are aware he is autistic can't they wash hands???
How has your daughter reacted to the news? I find it tragic that we need a law to explain and defend our children's rights. Decency, compassion and empathy should be all that is needed, I would WANT to do whatever was needed to take care of a child regardless of their situation. This experience is really is a very sad reflection on some parts of society.

_________________
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 Jan 17, 2010 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
BC2007, yes the child was in the daycare already before this happened. That was my question to the director and she just replied that they cannot take care of two special needs kids and that they would not be able to keep my daughter safe. I don't really know what went on in her mind, but my guess is that it had to do with a combination of extra funding and laziness. She only has seven kids but her daycare is licensed for 14 so it's not an issue of understaffing because she has 3 teachers including her, and an additional two that I did not meet. I don't believe a word she said anyway. What kind of parent "forgets" to tell a daycare that their child is autistic. That's like me forgetting to tell daycare that my daughter has life-threatening allergies. It just doesn't sound right.

My daughter has been asking to go back there because she really loved it, and this morning she woke up asking to go back there again and I had to sit her down and explain that it is no longer a safe place for her to be. I did not tell her anything about being kicked out. I don't want her to feel like it's her fault or feel like she is less of a person because of her allergies.

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Quote:
I don't want her to feel like it's her fault or feel like she is less of a person because of her allergies.

We know it really is quite the opposite. Our kids are extra special and from what I from what I see, including siblings they are taught to be more mature, more aware, more disicplined and more assertive. These wonderful characteristics,I believe, will follow them into adulthood and they will be better people for it. :huggy Give your DD a HUGE hug!!

_________________
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 Jan 17, 2010 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 649
Location: AB, Canada
Noha wrote:
I keep hearing from a lot of people that they get support for their allergies and how things are getting better. To be honest, at this point, I don't see the support or the "better" that others are talking about. I am starting to get really bitter and angry. As a member of the allergic community, this is the type of thing that I would expect the AAIA or Anaphylaxis Canada to take action on, but I know it's a pipe dream.


I agree with you, it makes me quite irate when people (who don't live with food allergies/ana) think it's easy, and they think 'everyone' is so allergy aware. Seeing a peanut free symbol on a box of cookies certainly doesn't mean that life is smooth sailing. People don't get it, period.

_________________
DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
It would make a good human rights case. I know it's not Canadian to sue, but it's certainly not Canadian to be blatantly discriminatory. And how could having a child with autism in their care stop 3 adults from being able to wash 7 children's hands? Pretty crappy thing to say about an child with autism, too, "oh, now we've got this child, all the others will have to be dirty and germy, and it's cos of the child's autism"...that makes no sense to me. I would at the least report them to the childcare licensing officers in your area, and when you're on the phone with them, ask them who they would recommend.

I attended a Early Childcare conference in Surrey BC on the weekend, and their were about 450 childcare providers there. I asked as many of them as I could, how they dealt with allergies other than peanuts, and all of them had good answers. It might be that the accomodating providers were more interested in knowing more information about anaphylaxis, and getting trainers and materials, which I was providing, and that is who I ended up asking, and my booth would have made a provider like the lady you dealt with run away :scratchy . But the ones I talked to had no problem with eliminating dairy and egg, as well as peanuts.

In family run centres (in BC, anyway), the people running it do not have to have their ECE certificate, just take a short course and make sure the house is up to code, so you may have better luck in a larger centre, as far as finding better quality care. Dairy allergy is huge in preschoolers, so they will have dealt with it.

The early childcare educators are actually much more aware (and more willing to take responsibility) than I have found in the school system.

But I am very sorry you are having such a hard time. What happened to you really sucks.


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