Tips for Working With the School
Put yourself in the shoes of others. While our allergic children have a right to a safe environment, avoid having an overblown sense of entitlement. Parents often make the mistake of demanding accommodations that are unrealistic or impractical for the school community.
School policy development is a process of negotiation, so try to bear in mind the other side: principals and teachers are faced with cutbacks in funding, a greater number of children with special needs, and more demands from the wider school community.
Managing anaphylaxis is important and they want to do the right thing, but this is one of many challenges. Most educators entered the profession because they like and care about children. They are there to help. Be respectful of that, and you’ll get better results.
Provide “need-to-have” information; avoid the temptation to “tell all”. While minute details of your child’s worst reaction may have the effect of getting others to take anaphylaxis seriously, they can also lead to a debilitating level of fear.
Other adults (babysitters, parents of your child’s friends, teachers) may not want to take care of your child as they worry that they cannot possibly protect him or her.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If your child’s school needs an anphylaxis plan, don’t start toiling away. There are now great sample school plans and forms at www.allergysafecommunities.ca, the companion website for the national guidelines, Anaphylaxis in Schools and Other Settings and Anaphylaxis Canada’s website,www.anaphylaxis.ca.
Say “thank you”. These two simple words can go a long way to getting others on board. The majority of teachers and other families don’t live with severe allergies. But out of respect for our children, they comply with school food policies almost 200 days of the year.
As awareness increases, these people often support our kids at camps, community centres, and on sports teams. We owe them our thanks.
Don’t Miss the Schools & Allergies Resource Hub here.
From Allergic Living magazine.
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