Any Cons to 504 Plan

Posted on: Sun, 10/12/2003 - 6:03pm
bkbnkr's picture
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Joined: 10/13/2003 - 09:00

My daughter recently started kindergarten. After sort of stumbling around in preschool, camp, etc., I decided to deal with the food allergy issues right up front in a more organized way. I did the following: got the requisite doctor notes and medicines put in the school office, met the people trained to use the EPI pen, insisted on meeting the school nurse, met with the school teacher, typed up a short one page memo (which I now realize looks like a 504 plan) setting forth a proposed plan on how to deal with her allergy, etc. I feel comfortable with the way things have been handled so far. The key is that I volunteer in the class once a week and keep a close eye on things. Also, the kids do not eat lunch at school and only have snacks (thus dramatically cutting down on the PBJ sandwiches floating around. I show up every time outside food is brought in by a parent. I plan to send a letter (with teacher's permission) next week letting parents know about nut allergy.

I got a "504" letter two days ago. I had no idea what this meant until I read this board. Here is my question: I feel like everyone is on board already with what I want and I am in a comfort zone with the allergies. My daughter will likely go to this public school for only one year and then go to private kindergarten. I am very concerned about discrimination in the application process at these competitive schools and am worried about this becoming part of her file that will be sent to these private schools. Am I crazy to not want a 504 plan? The evaluation meeting is next week.

Posted on: Sun, 10/12/2003 - 11:56pm
Mary Kay's picture
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Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

No you are not crazy to not have a 504. My son is in 6th grade, and we have NEVER had a 504. We have had an Individualized Health Plan for him each year, which outlines all the steps necessary to ensure his safety. This includes a peanut free classroom (in the elementary years) and a peanut free lunch table. It also outlines how field trips and busing are to be handled. He is now in Junior High and he still has an IHP, but each year, more of the responsibility goes to him and less to the teachers. All the teachers/staff, etc. are still aware of who he is, what a reaction looks like and what to do in case of an accidental ingestion, however. He carries his EpiPens with him as well as having two more, unlocked in the Health Office. We have a district wide policy (which another parent and I put together for them), so it has worked very well for all children with life threatening allergies. We have never had a 504, and I don't know of any other children in the district that have one. Yet, there are at least 6 or 7 kids at each school with a life threatening allergy. So if you have a plan that works, and the school is willing to work with you on it, there is no need to go the 504 route.
------------------
Mary Kay

Posted on: Mon, 10/13/2003 - 6:26am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Bkbnkr,
Our son is also 5 and started K this year, so I thought I'd share our experience w/you.
Last year, we originally envisioned sending him to private school (starting in K). My wife took the tour, and loved everything about the school. As we got into the application process, though, she decided to reveal to the school that our son had severe PN/TN allergies. As soon as we did that, the school changed their tone w/us, and basically indicated that we would not be welcome.
Since they didn't receive federal funds, our ability to fight this became much more limited (i.e. couldn't use Section 504, etc.)
So, initially, we were outraged.
We had wrestled with whether to conceal the info until after our child had been accepted. Ultimately, we came to the realization that it was better to know upfront that the discrimination would have been there, and that it would not have been a safe environment for him (or worse yet, that they would have refused to admit at the 11th hour).
Re:this year, I've seen that some parents use the 504 process, some go with IHP, and there are succcess stories in each case.
In our situation, having a 504 gave us an additional degree of comfort, because the school didn't have previous sufficient experience in dealing with [b]severely[/b] allergic PA situations and because some parents pushed back on the accommodations that the school agreed to make.
I think that you should try to probe the private school (either through other parents or an anonymous call) to determine what their "stated" position is re:support for food allergies. There are some wonderful private schools (like the one profiled in FAAN's latest video "Keeping our children safe" - part of the school food allergy management program materials) that "get it" and can and will provide a safe environment. Others can't or won't and it's better for you to understand that upfront, IMHO...
Good luck in working through this decision.

Posted on: Mon, 10/13/2003 - 11:38am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote: Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]In our situation, having a 504 gave us an additional degree of comfort, because the school didn't have previous sufficient experience in dealing with severely allergic PA situations and because some parents pushed back on the accommodations that the school agreed to make.[/b]
by "[b]severely[/b] allergic", do you mean someone who has the [b]potential[/b] for anaphylaxis?

Posted on: Mon, 10/13/2003 - 3:11pm
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Mommabear,
Now, I'm pretty sure you and have are both keenly aware of the reasearch...all PA children have the [b]potential[/b] for anaphylaxis, despite their previous reactive history.
My use of the word [i]severely[/i] was to represent our child's personal circumstances of previously documented CAP RAST results of >100 (i.e. Class 6), combined with several previously documented anaphylactic episodes, resulting in ER visits (fortunately, no bi-phasic reactions, though).
I'm surprised you would ask, since I know you have read my posts with great interest and contributed your thoughts on many occasions [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 10/14/2003 - 12:16am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]Mommabear,
Now, I'm pretty sure you and have are both keenly aware of the reasearch...all PA children have the [b]potential[/b] for anaphylaxis, despite their previous reactive history.
[/b]
yes, [i]I am. (aware of some of the research)[/i] editing to clarify response.
Quote: Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]My use of the word [i]severely[/i] was to represent our child's personal circumstances of previously documented CAP RAST results of >100 (i.e. Class 6), combined with several previously documented anaphylactic episodes, resulting in ER visits (fortunately, no bi-phasic reactions, though). [/b]
yes, on the boards, many times there is mention of reaction history and "numbers". Although objective (are they?) there is still the unknown and unanswered aspect of research, and I *personally* consider true PA to be severe, [b]period[/b]. With regard to the allergy, *and* potential for reaction. As I am unaware of any research (currently) indicates one can rule out reactions suddenly "getting worse" or forbid, being fatal (despite treatment). Even in my profession, despite the best, sometimes, the best doesn't yield the expected results, for one reason or another. Why I tend to err on the side of caution.
Now, how would anyone feel about a child with class 1 [b]blood test[/b], who has eaten pb in the past with no observable signs of reaction (wondering what the microcellular level would reveal)? And no history of anaphylaxis? For any reason. And, out of curiosity, I wonder what I would test on a "rast"?
Not speaking of comfort levels but rather, establishing dx, (acceptance?) but where does the dx part come in? Once "PA" is a given, should there be "classes" of PA? Just wondering. As I truly struggle with this myself. Truly. Can't help but think of "gene markers". What do they actually mean?
Quote: Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]
I'm surprised you would ask, since I know you have read my posts with great interest and contributed your thoughts on many occasions [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img][/b]
did you take offense to my question? Now I am confused. [i]I ask alot of questions[/i] some as information seeking behavior, some rhetorical, some for all intents and purposes, as a [i]muse[/i]. Maybe it's just me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] And, I read most everything with great interest. Particularly when provoked to read.
Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just asking questions that have been on my mind, as I am unsure myself.
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited October 14, 2003).]

Posted on: Tue, 10/14/2003 - 5:29am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[B] did you take offense to my question? Now I am confused. [i]I ask alot of questions[/i] some as information seeking behavior, some rhetorical, some for all intents and purposes, as a [i]muse[/i]. Maybe it's just me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] And, I read most everything with great interest. Particularly when provoked to read.
Thanks for your clarifying your thought process and position, MommaBear. No, I am not offended by your question.
I agree that it is prudent to treat all PA diagnosis as severe; despite the research to date, many questions do remain.
Take care [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 10/14/2003 - 5:41am
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Ah, the mild vs severe conundrum!
Veering off the topic, but sort of not, because I think this touches on why there can be so much resitence in the schools.
Just moments ago, as I picked up my dd from a soccer program run in a health facility, I was approached by another Mom who was asking what my dd's allergywas. Her ds has a PA, also, and she notices me leaving a snack and out epipens. I explained her 3 allergies, and she said her son's was olny peanuts and a mild one. Went on to say "he can eat anything." All may contains, plain M&Ms, were two specific statements. Feels like they just stick those labels on everything, and afriend with alot of allergies told her the chances are so small that anything would happen. Never seen an allergist and the ped is who told her it was mild and "just don't give him peanuts." We had a respectful conversation, but each of realized we were coming at it from totally differing sets of advice and comfort zones. She was just assuming our dd's allergy "was *worse*".
I had trouble with this in the preschool last year, as there was a "mildly allergic" child in our teacher's other class.
I think it is inconsistencies such as this, and misinformation from the medical profession that make the 504 and IHPs essential. Regardless of guarantees, at least there is a concrete set of terms laid out for yur child as an individual. becca

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