You are viewing Allergic Living Canada | Switch to United States

Talking Allergies

* FAQ    * Search
* Login   * Register
It is currently Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:48 pm

All times are UTC - 4 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:34 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
It's September and as usual schools have developed protocols meant to protect students (and maybe staff) who have severe allergies. With this come news articles and angry comments. For those who are new on the scene to food allergies please, DO NOT READ THOSE COMMENTS!

There is a percentage of the general public who enjoy causing trouble and they will comment on any and every story regardless of what the topic is. They are angry and just want to inflict pain and misery on others. It makes them feel powerful. I have come to look upon their comments with pity.

For others, they do not understand the nature of severe (anaphylaxis) allergies and feel put upon and fearful. The start of school is stressful for all parents, it's just more so for us. These are the people that we want to educate.

I have commented in so many newspapers across North America and the UK that I shudder to think about it. I find myself repeating the same few sentiments. So, I have decided to start keeping a copy of my comments on file. Why should I keep reinventing the wheel? I think I might share a few such letters here, If you have one that you are particularly proud of, why not post it here, too?

My goal is to remain rational, address the issue and not attack the person. My personal mantra is: All children deserve an inclusive, public education where they feel safe and rspected. Learning takes place not only in the classroom but also during nutrition breaks and in the school yard. Through dealing with various personalities, group dynamics including forming and changing alliances, advocating for themselves, thinking through issues and finding solutions, one develops critical thinking. This is a tool that is necessary in the world today!

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:38 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
In response to "Why are they banning peanuts but not my childs' allergens?" Some might also apply when responding to issues such as segregating students with FA (food allergies).

With all of the peanut-free packaging on the market, it seems like this is the only allergy that the general public even remotely gets. But then I think back to my childhood days and if a food allergy was ever mentioned, it was a peanut or shellfish allergy. I don't know which allergy came first or where or why...and frankly, I'll leave those questions to the scientists who are actively trying to find the answer. But I do offer up my silent thanks to those who have gone before me to fight with schools, organizations and food manufacturers to start the allergy awareness ball rolling. My job is made easier because of them.

In Ontario, we have legislation that requires schools to minimize the risk of exposure to allergens. Schools have a delicate job of balancing the needs of all the students. They must consider the age and abilities of the students, the layout of the school and how various rooms are used as well as the resources (supervisory/custodial) available to them. Rules have to be made in such a way that everyone can remember and follow them.

Certain allergens by their nature are more easily spread and harder to remove than others. Very small amounts of a peanut can induce a severe reaction. Even aerosolized dust particles can cause a reaction. Peanut butter is sticky and more difficult to remove. I would be concerned about milk, too if the students are blowing bubbles or using the straw as a pea shooter. Yogurt tubes need to be cut open and I worry about cleanliness the scissors before and after use.

Another issue is placing all of the allergic children at one table. While this may seem like a good idea in terms of monitoring for a reaction or care and attention while cleaning afterwards; it opens up a whole can of worms though in terms of segregating students due to a disability and minimizing the socializing opportunities available to these students. I have always maintained that much learning is done at school beyond the classroom. Do you allow them to have a friend join them but limit it to only one? How does this encourage all students to accept them or does it keep their social circle small? Do they truly learn how to socialize when they are only given one to one exposure? How will they handle speaking in a group or strategizing and resolving conflicts? These are skills that our children will desperately require.

It might be felt that other allergic students are going to be more understanding and accepting of each other. That they will keep each other safe, but this is a dangerous assumption. Allergies affect a cross section of society and not everyone is on the same page in terms of understanding, awareness and comfort levels.

It is up to the school to develop policies and processes that ensure each child is safe and feels accepted for who they are. They simply cannot learn otherwise. If you do not feel that your child is safe in the current situation, speak to your principal and let them know. We are valuable resources to the school and it is only through working together, identifying issues and developing solutions that we can ensure our children have a positive school experience.

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:07 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
Susan, you do a magnificent job of educating without criticizing and without going overboard. Having read many of your comments on articles I :thanksign for your advocacy!

You have a true gift in your writing. Lucky you! And lucky us!! :huggy

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:31 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
Aww, shucks! :oops: :huggy Members here, make it easy!


In response to questions such as:
Why does my kid have to suffer? Why do I have to be inconvenienced?

(USA-answer)
Um, because a severe food allergy, one that has the potential to cause death is a disability and is covered under the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
Quote:
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . "http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html
You might want to look it up.

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:32 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
In response to "By the time the kids are in school, I think that parents need to teach their kids how to be safe and not expect others to do it for them."

Wow, my daughter started school at the tender age of 3! With her (anaphylaxis) allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and most legumes (but not soy), I certainly did expect the school to keep her safe while she was there. Who doesn't expect the school to keep children safe in other ways?

I'm not saying ban all foods but realistically, knowing that in JK and SK, kids are messy eaters and many still stick their fingers in their mouths and noses (icky-but true), schools need to minimize the risks. Certain allergens by their nature are more easily spread and harder to remove than others.

Schools have a delicate job of balancing the needs of all the students. They must consider the age and abilities of the students, the layout of the school and how various rooms are used as well as the resources (supervisory/custodial) available to them. Rules have to be made in such a way that everyone can remember and follow them.

No one is saying you can't eat PB&J! Just don't send it in the lunch of a JK/SK student.

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:36 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
In response to, "If your kid is so ---, you should home school them!"

You cannot simply tell people to home school because you want to send PB&J for lunch! My kid would probably like PB too, if it didn't kill her first. She has been forced to accept other foods. Last time I checked, there was a right to a public education, but there’s no “right to eat” PB&J.

We need to teach our children to be compassionate, tolerant, creative and adaptable. There is a solution if we just open our hearts and our eyes.

Homeschooling is an answer for some, but I will not accept it being shoved down my throat because someone else can't be bothered to expand their thinking. That is how your quip sounds.

OK, this one got to me! :verymad

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:41 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
In response to shared foods in lesson plans, safe food lists, cupcake queens etc.

(This is just my humble opinion, others have different comfort zones)

As long as food is shared, there is a risk. Most schools try to minimize the risk of exposure but recognize that even with a 'ban', there is a risk. To this end, shared treats should be discouraged and certainly our daughter is not allowed to eat anything unless my husband or I have ensured that it is safe every time.

School should be safe and inclusive. The focus should be on education. It is rare that food is necessary to the lesson plan.

Most recommendations are to limit the use of food/treats/consumables at all. I have to ask why we are hosting can drives for the food bank and fundraisers to water wells and then turning around and using food as a reward or entertainment.

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:56 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
In response to
Quote:
As a parent I am very sympathetic to this child’s condition and the risk he/she faces, but I can’t help but think there is an alternative to an all-out ban on dairy. Our child loves cheese and he regularly gets a yogurt after lunch as his “healthy” treat for finishing things. Sure we could find alternatives but my wife ensures they our kids (3 of them J) get a balanced meals that include all four food groups.

I want to find some alternatives that I can suggest to the school here in Kitchener that allows for a reasonable accommodation of the child’s health condition while at the same time protecting the rights of the other children to a balanced meal.

Our trusty group leader, Karen wrote this brilliant response!
Quote:
I decided to solicit the opinions of members of the Ottawa Anaphylaxis Support Group (OASG) to see if they had any ideas for you, as many families in our group are dealing with a severe dairy allergy.

A number of members provided input, and without exception they all feel that a child’s right to be educated in a safe environment outweighs any concerns about providing a dairy treat in the classroom.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Education: "There is a direct link between success in school and the school environment in which student learning takes place. Students are more motivated to do well and achieve their full potential in schools that have a positive school culture and one in which they feel safe and supported." (Safe Schools Action Team, 2008, p.1)

There is also a strong feeling among the OASG members that the decision between the child’s doctor and the child’s parents and the subsequent arrangement put in place by the school should be respected, because we are talking about a child’s life.

Members did provide a couple of alternative suggestions, which I have summarized below. I hope that these will be of some help to you.

You could provide the dairy treat to your child after school at home
You could send a non-dairy treat with your child to school such as soy yogurt
You could request that your child be given dairy products in another classroom (and then wash his hands and return to class). This has been referred to as “chosen” isolation for those who want dairy instead of “forced” isolation of the anaphylactic child – although it’s certainly not a preferred solution. No one wants to see small children isolated from their peers for any reason!
A couple of members provided links with lists of non-dairy sources of calcium (to help you address your balanced meal concerns):
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nut ... sp?id=1061
http://milkallergycompanion.blogspot.co ... -with.html

My own experience (two kids with multiple life-threatening food allergies), along with information I’ve been given by dietitians and nutritionists, has shown me that it’s more important to worry about a child’s weekly/overall intake of food rather than their daily intake. If a child consumes dairy during morning, evening and weekend meals, she is still getting quite a bit of dairy. And let’s be honest, kids with a dairy allergy never consume dairy, yet still manage to thrive! In fact, the Canada Food Guide now refers to “Milk and Alternatives”, recognizing that not everyone consumes dairy products.

Finally, a couple of members also commented that given your concern with providing your child with a dairy treat to encourage him to eat his lunch, you can hopefully understand that the parents of a very young child whose life is endangered by the presence of dairy need your active support to keep their child safe.

I am aware that it’s very difficult for everyone to tackle food allergies in the early school years, because, well, the kids are so young. As allergic kids get older, it’s often less necessary to restrict food in classrooms as much because the allergic kids are better able to self-protect – and because they and their classmates are less messy and more likely to follow all the rules. But when you are talking about young children, it’s just so risky to have life-threatening allergens flying around in a classroom, increasing the chances of cross-contamination and/or a reaction, with only one adult to supervise.

I realize that this may not be the answer you were looking for, but I do hope you appreciate all the thought and effort that went into it.

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:15 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
:thanksign You guys are just so great! :huggy

I am sure this will help many families educate the great many out there that have been forturnate to not ever have dealt with this.

I can't imagine having to deal with those people who don't understand this part of it let alone the dealing with an emergency should one happen.
Will you pretend I'm a troll (or someone in a position to make this happen)and write explaining why it would be a good investment to include first aid requirements (for all school staff) as well as more planning for allergic reactions should they occur? I just don't get why more requirements aren't in place for the basics.

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
_Susan_ wrote:
You could request that your child be given dairy products in another classroom (and then wash his hands and return to class). This has been referred to as “chosen” isolation for those who want dairy instead of “forced” isolation of the anaphylactic child – although it’s certainly not a preferred solution. No one wants to see small children isolated from their peers for any reason!


:happydance :banana Chosen Isolation :banana :happydance is a perfect term. Isolate those who choose to bring an unsafe food rather than an innocent child who has no choice. Guessing that most of those kids won't bring unsafe foods very often.

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:57 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
That was my local support group's leader (she and another parent worked on it).

I love that, too.

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:11 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
I stumbled upon this comment left and I just LOVED it and thought I would share. The brief article was regarding food-free classrooms, and the author mentioned how the world is not food free and kids need to learn to navigate that-this was a food allergy mom's response:

Quote:
True, the world is not food free and learning to navigate it when you have food allergies is important. But the world is also full of strangers and criminals too. Kids need to learn to keep themselves safe from that threat too, but I don’t think it would be wise to invite a ** offender into the classroom 25 times per year so that the kids can get that lesson in school. I’m all for sharing birthday cupcakes and treats to celebrate kids special days — at their own birthday parties held outside of school.

:rofl :thumbsup

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 4 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group