Going Too Far?

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 11:55pm
BASP's picture
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I would like to hear others feelings regarding our school actually going too far in dealing with peanut and other allergies. We have two boys in our school, one in second grade and one in fifth grade that have peanut and other allergies. I do not know how severe either one of the cases is but it's my understanding neither one is susceptable to airborne nut material. I feel that our principal has gone above and beyond in accomodating the special needs of these kids and still the parents push for more. So far, letters are sent home constantly revising the "approved list" of snacks which was already VERY short, there is a peanut free table with a peanut free zone set-up in the cafeteria, teachers have to supervise the kids washing their hands when they get to school, the school carnival has to be sure not to use the two hallways that house the classrooms of these two boys and the very popular cake walk/junk food walk at the carnival has to be a carrot/fruit walk. Forget about the holiday parties because they're a joke. No eggs, no flour, no dairy or nuts allowed anywhere, ever. At what point is enough enough? I don't need my principal and his staff including teachers spending time taking care of these issues when they should be teaching and educating children. At what point do the requests get rediculous? These kids are old enough to know what they can and cannot eat. There's no need to mandate what the other 99.5% of the kids can do to facilitate the needs of .5%. The kids need to be able to take care of themselves. I just wanted to see what others thought.
As an aside, I do have a 4 year old that also has a peanut allergy and she knows what to eat, what not to eat and not to share food.
I look forward to hearing others thoughts.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 12:03am
Gail W's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b] I do have a 4 year old that also has a peanut allergy and she knows what to eat, what not to eat and not to share food. [/b]
Have you read Emily's story? [url="http://www.allergykids.com/index.php?id=12"]http://www.allergykids.com/index.php?id=12[/url]
I wish the very best for you and your daughter.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 12:17am
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My school does many of these things for the sake of my son and the many other allergic children at his school. In fact 10% of the incoming kindergarten class has life threatening allergies (5 of 51 kids). It is becoming epidemic. We do have 3 parties a year which I will help plan for my class and attend to make as safe as possible for my son. They will be peanut and nut free. Other than that it sounds almost identical to your situation.
Regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, please recognize that federal law mandates appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities and this includes food allergy under Section 504 of the American Disabilities Act. If it is a public school, the allergic children are entitled to be and feel safe while getting an education.
While at first glance it may seem like an infringement of freedom, your child is not entitled to a junk food walk at a publicly funded school under federal law. Your child is not even entitled to eat his/her peanut butter and jelly sandwich in school under federal law, if the school feels this impacts safety for other students.
Luvmyboys

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 12:24am
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I understand what you're saying but the fact that there is currently a law in place to force the schools to act a certain way doesn't make it right. Things like cake walks at carnivals have been around forever and I don't remember it being an issue when I was in school. Granted, they don't HAVE to have one, but why should they noy? There might be a few kids who can't participate but the VAST majority still can. My concern was more towards taking too much time catering to the needs of a few kids(and the mothers) and forgetting about the education.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 12:30am
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Welcome! I must say I am very proud of your daughter! She knows what to eat, what not to eat and not to share food. That is a good start! I wish it were that simple.
There is a thread on here dedicated to all those, of different ages, who have lost their lives to an anaphylactic reaction. I'm sure they all knew what to eat, what not to eat and to not share their food. However, in reality it is a learning process throughout the allergic person's life. I think at 4, she knows these things because you have been a great teacher to her about it but she still needs to be guided. She learns from wathcing you and how you are dealing with it and what you teach her. My DD is 11 and I am teaching her how to deal with this every day. I don't think the world should be paved for her "peanut free" but if she can get some help along the way that is great!
I do think some schools go far out with their peanut free policies. There has to be some balance between the PA kids and the non-PA kids.
I would continue to teach your DD about her food choices because of her allergy. It is something she'll have to live with all her life unless there is some way to outgrow or prevent it medically (praying!). I always tell my DD, peanuts are in the world and you just have to avoid them as best you can.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 12:41am
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I agree completely. I'm just trying to determine if our school is going too far or if they are on par with other schools.
It's always tragic when a child dies regardless if if it was for an accident, cancer or anything else. You can read any of those stories and your heart will be torn out each time. I lived through my friend dying of cancer in high school and it was the horrible.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 12:45am
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BASP -
Thank you for coming here to find out more information.
You mentioned that you don't know how severe the allergies are, and if the kids are sensitive to airborne allergens.
What about contact reactions? Peanut residue can be invisible, but just as deadly.
I totally understand your point about going too far. We've been walking a fine line after putting our son in public school, but it really can all be worked out, AND be fair to everyone.
I suggest you try to find out the extent of the allergies. Maybe then you'll understand why things are the way they are.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:00am
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If your child had anaphalactic reactions from pb residue then you would change your tune in a heartbeat! You would not want the halls filled with something that was deadly to your child. Many children are allergic to residue. My child wasn't till he was 6 or 7... so watch what you say- you may be the one fighting for the same accomodations one day.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:02am
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Thanks you for your response and you made me remember one more question I had that I neglected to add. If the rest of the school is going to make special accomodations for a couple of children with allergies, are the other parents in the school entitled to view the medical records and doctors recommendations to determine of there is TRUELY a medical issue or if the parent is just being overly protective?

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:04am
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Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b] I'm just trying to determine if our school is going too far or if they are on par with other schools. [/b]
I'll share what our school district does. . .
Our carnival at the elementary school has a cake walk and parents voluntarily provide the goodies~ some safe and some unsafe. No overt peanut, but unlabeled foods and also 'may contains'. I didn't address it because the event is held [i]outdoors [/i], kids are not allowed inside, so there was little/no threat of contaminating surfaces inside the school.
We're now at the Middle School, and our 504 plan is clear that any food that is provided by the school or by the Parent Association for general consumption must be safe for my daughter. So that means that any parties organized by the PTA will only serve foods that my DD can eat. The school enforces/oversees this policy. For the lunch program, all the food on the 'line' is completely safe, and there is one basket of 'may contain' pre-packaged products that is labeled as such for those who are PA.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:10am
Gail W's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b]If the rest of the school is going to make special accomodations for a couple of children with allergies, are the other parents in the school entitled to view the medical records and doctors recommendations to determine of there is TRUELY a medical issue or if the parent is just being overly protective? [/b]
Fortunatley, a child's medical and educational record is protected under FERPA and HIPPA privacy laws, so no, another parent does not have the right to this information. The school is prohibitted from sharing this information with you [i]verbally [/i]as well.
What makes you believe that these two parents are being overly protective?
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited August 29, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:19am
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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you should find out by any other way than straight from the parents.
There are some parents who don't want to be asked, but I think it's wonderful. Education makes all the difference, and I'd rather they find out from me - and get the truth. I appreciate it when someone asks. When someone is genuinely interested in learning about PA, NOT just trying to stir up trouble, that is.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:24am
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I think when it comes to the life your child, we are all guilty of being a little "overprotective." We ack like a Mamma bear protecting her cubs!

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:39am
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Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b]...teacher have to supervise the kids washing their hands when they get to school...[/b]
Good! This is a widely recognized infection control method, and will well benefit all children at the school. Many schools are re-addressing this practice (nothing to do with allergies).
[b] Quote:...the school carnival has to be sure not to use the two hallways that house the classrooms of these two boys and the very popular cake walk/junk food walk at the carnival has to be a carrot/fruit walk.[/b]
What in the world are the carnivals doing *inside* the school, anyway? [i]Remembering working the ever-so-messy sand-art-table...the fishing booth...and the pumpkin painting station. Would not be volunteering to be on the clean-up committee.[/i]
What about outside? That's where we had carnivals when I was in school. Do they not have a gym, in case of rain?
And I think the staff has much more to do than plan a carnival. This is usually a "parent thing" at my DD's school.
[b] Quote:...Forget about the holiday parties because they're a joke. No eggs, no flour, no dairy or nuts allowed anywhere, ever. At what point is enough enough?...[/b]
Since when do they *need* cupcakes/doughnuts/ice cream at school?
We all have certain special "memories" of our time at school. Special teachers, art projects, playground activities...may just be me, but I don't remember class parties that well. Cupcake and juice, maybe a cookie. Oh well! Our DD is much more interested in the activity (usually a craft to keep).
Many of these "catered affairs" seem to be *much more* important to the Mom's than the kids.
[b] Quote:
...As an aside, I do have a 4 year old that also has a peanut allergy and she knows what to eat, what not to eat and not to share food.
I look forward to hearing others thoughts.
[/b]
Have you read the threads about accidental exposures? Many parents never dream their kids would take something from another kid, or even an adult (other than a parent or teacher), but this has sadley been proven true more than once.
Most parents here only *dream* of a school like you are describing.
Hope your DD is one of the "lucky ones." But wouldn't you rather not take the chance? I mean with the *obvious* peanuts and such. Not saying some parents don't go overboard.
But at least you will have one less thing to worry about your DD when she starts school there.
If a school is that committed, the staff must really care about the kids. Nice!
Have a good day,
Daisy

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:46am
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Daisy -
Well put:
"But at least you will have one less thing to worry about your DD when she starts school there.
If a school is that committed, the staff must really care about the kids. Nice!"

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 2:04am
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Daisy: Did you actually READ what I wrote before you responded? First of all, we live in a northern climate so planning something outside in October doesn't work. Every school carnival I've ever gone to in this area has been inside. If we lived in California it might be different but we don't. The carnival takes up the entire school including the gym, cafeteria, library and hallways. Secondly, the staff doesn't plan the carnival, the parents do. I'm not sure where you got that either. There is an outside company that sponsers the entire event and the parents organize and run it. Lastly, the event is HARDLY catered. There isn't even any food available outside of the cake walk (and possibly cup cakes). If you're going to resond to a thread, make sure you respond to the actual question being asked and not make up items to respond to.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 2:24am
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In my opinion..remember, you asked [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]..
You have been given an incredible gift and you don't even know it.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 2:42am
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Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b] I look forward to hearing others thoughts.[/b]
Okay. . . then we'll try to share our thoughts with you.
Personally, I don't think this is completely about age alone. Yes, more responsibility should be handed to children as they mature and are developmentally capable, but there's more to it than that.
Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b] These kids are old enough to know what they can and cannot eat. [/b]
Did you read Emily's story? The link I posted for you? Emily's mother makes this important point: [i]"She knew what she could and couldn

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 3:02am
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[quote]Originally posted by BASP:
[B]I understand what you're saying but the fact that there is currently a law in place to force the schools to act a certain way doesn't make it right.
Perhaps you should be working to eliminate the American Disabilities Act then because right or wrong, the schools are forced to comply with it. If it didn't exist, I would be forced to homeschool my 3 boys, right or wrong. Fortunately for me I am in a position where that is possible but others are not so lucky.
As for your desire to see these kids' records and make a judgement call for yourself.. Would you want the public seeing your child's records? Would you micromanage every decision the school makes or will you trust the school to make appropriate and legal decisions that protect their children?
My school district provides an incredible education while still going to every reasonable effort to protect its disabled students. It has not detracted from the education at all. It helps students to feel safer, and therefore focus on an education. Handwashing has reduced absences, allowing students and teachers to focus more on education. Less food in the classroom reduces the focus on food as reward, improves student health and allows students to focus on education.
Luvmyboys

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 3:22am
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Quote:Originally posted by luvmyboys:
[b]Handwashing has reduced absences, allowing students and teachers to focus more on education. Less food in the classroom reduces the focus on food as reward, improves student health and allows students to focus on education.
[/b]
Excellent point.
BASP, is your concern really about majority children not getting an education because staff are distracted (my word choice) dealing with the .5% of children with food allergies? Seriously.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited August 29, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 3:36am
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I get the sense that this is about a lot more than the safety measures for the two children in question. Why exactly does this seem so "over the top" to you?
To continue the cancer analogy that you have used, not everyone recieving treatment for cancer is so immunocompromised that they need extreme infection control measures. But I gladly comply for those who do. And it isn't for me to ask whether or not the need is "genuine." Good grief.
I think that is what is seeming rather abrasive about your posts. You seem to be somewhat bellicose toward the "moms" of these two children. What gives? Is this a personal thing?
If it is because you "know what peanut allergy is like," based on your own experience... with all due respect, you DO NOT walk in [i]my[/i] shoes, I assure you. You have no idea the nightmarish proportions that daily life assumes with a contact and aerosol sensitive PA child.
And I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but even if you live with PA, that doesn't mean you "get it" until you've held your child in your arms and begged for them to somehow be snatched back from the brink of death. If you haven't, I suggest that you avoid passing judgement on those who have.
I have to wonder why you are feeling put out that someone else's child has a PA that requires different accomodations than you would ask for your daughter. Are you also put out that some children require differentiated instruction due to learning disabilities? Clearly you could look at this as also "robbing" the other children of instructional time.
Why on earth does the ADA protections afforded PA children seem so wrong-headed to you?? Not all PA children qualify for 504 protections. It is decided [i]individually[/i].
By [i]persons knowledgeable about the child's condition[/i].... which I respectfully remind you that you are not. It does seem extraordinarily unlikely to me that any school administration would enforce such protective measures if they weren't deemed necessary by a committee that includes a medical advisor. You don't get a peanut-free building or even classroom just by "demanding" it be so, trust me.
So-- is your problem with the situation because;
a) you feel that disability law provides "special" treatment for those protected by it,
b) you don't believe for a minute that an allergy can rise to the standard of a "disability," (see d. as well)
c) you have a special axe to grind with one or both of these families,
or,
d) you refuse to acknowledge that anyone's situation might differ from your own?
Just things to think about. You seem very angry and I cannot understand why. Definitely some missing information in your posts. And I can't quite figure out what you are asking, but you clearly aren't happy with very many responses that don't agree implicitly with your opinion.
Edited to fix spelling.
[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited August 29, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 3:49am
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Can I just say (with tears in my eyes) that I wish my son could go to that school? I'd give my right arm (literally) for a school like that for my son.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 4:11am
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I don't understand something. If your DD is PA as well, wouldn't you be happy that the school is taking these precautions for the kids that are allergic, your DD included? Each PA is different from one another regarding their severity. Yes, they are all severe in the fact that they are life threatening, but to different degrees; ie. ingestion only, airborne, touch.
I think you should just sit back and relax that your DD is in an environment that watches out for her safety as well as you do. She only benefits from it.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 4:53am
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I get the sense that BASF is a troll, or someone out to stir the pot...just my sense.
I mean a 4 year old who knows what foods contain hidden allergens?!? My 6 yo is just realizing how careful he has to be -- ask a responsible adult to read labels ALL THE TIME if I am not around, never share food with friends at the lunch table, etc. Will BASF's 4 year old know to ask an adult who hands her a wonderful looking piece of candy to check the label? Will she ask the waiter at a restaurant whether or not they cook with peanut oil?
------------------
mom to Ari(6) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (9), mild excema

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 5:04am
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Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b] My concern was more towards taking too much time catering to the needs of a few kids(and the mothers) and forgetting about the education. [/b]
Please explain what a cake walk has to do with education?
How is the vast majority being denied thier right to teaching and education because of these school guidelines?
Its been my 8 years of expereince that its the mothers(not kids) of non pa children who get upset about the rules. Children are typically sensitive and understanding about keeping thier fellow classmates safe(and alive)
What if something could have been done to avoid your friend having cancer? Would you want to avoid it for just that person or allow it because it makes life more confortable for the others.
We just try to avoid having our children around what is to their bodies....poison.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 5:26am
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Wow, this is the kind of thread that makes me really wonder about people.
BASP, sorry, but reviewing another CHILD's medical records would be a huge invasion of privacy.
I also think this person is a troll ... I hardly believe BASP's 4yo has a peanut allergy or the parent would be thankful the school has such measures in place.
Why do school events revolve around FOOD anyway? Shouldn't they revolve around LEARNING? And, there are plenty of carnival type foods that would be safe -- think bubble gum, cotton candy, lollipops.
I've heard that often it's the kids that show much more compassion than the parents, once they're old enough to understand their friend's limitations. Thank god for kids that are caring and sincere, even when their parents have not displayed such compassion.
BASD, very interesting that your FOUR year old can read labels. And, despite that, btw, most fatal reactions occur in the preteen/teen years, becasue younger children are more protected by their parents and hopefully, the schools.
If you truly have a child with peanut allergy, choose your words carefully as you may reevaluate them once your child is saved after a horrible reaction that could have been prevented. Reactions get worse over time, so be careful what you wish for.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 5:31am
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Quote:Originally posted by that'smetrying:
[b]I get the sense that BASF is a troll, or someone out to stir the pot...just my sense.
[/b]
ditto- too many inconsistencies.. just doesnt have the credibility of a parent with a PA child..

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 5:36am
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Looks like some college kids haven't returned to classes yet.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 6:34am
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This person is just trying to stir up the puddin'. Her questions were not questions - but statements disguised as questions. Ho-hum. I sincerely hope this person does not really have a PA 4 year old. If so, poor kid!

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 6:39am
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Of course, this was BASP's first post on this website, another giveaway...6 posts to date, 5 of which are on this thread, the other one 20 minutes after her initial post in this thread, as BASP anxiously awaited responses.
And I love how a 4yo daughter with the peanut allergy is "just an aside".
Sorry, BASP, you didn't fool us. Now go spend time finding some compassion for those children and their parents at your child's school.
[This message has been edited by TwokidsNJ (edited August 29, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 6:44am
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I don't think so. Few trolls are so subtle. This poster just seemed... [i]uninformed.[/i]
I think that in all liklihood this is a person who has a (airquotes)"'PA'" child. One who was diagnosed with a single allergy test, has never had a single reaction (not even before testing) and lives in a household which is not particularly careful.
(And hey-- I know that this might offend a few people on the boards who are in that boat-- I don't mean to imply that without a clinical anaphylaxis hx you aren't really allergic, okay? It is possible if you are [i]really[/i] careful-- this just doesn't seem to fit with BASP's post.)
Such a person would quite naturally be pretty amazed at the lifestyle [i]I[/i] lead, let me tell you. I am amazed that such people don't do more harm when they gloat about how the rest of us are simply wackos and that they know all about it.
Anyone who thinks a PA is easy or simple to live with-- doesn't. Period.
No, my suspicion is that this person is posting partly out of irritation because of being inconvenienced by restrictions that have never been needed in her experience (but see my opinion above...)... AND (though it may have been a subconcious thought when she posted) she might even be worried about her daughter being labeled as "disabled" when she enters school. If she understood more about ADA she wouldn't be concerned on that score. Either that or she's feeling vaguely uneasy about how cavalier they've been about precautions for her daughter and she wants validation that her comfort zone is just fine.
Three comments.
1. If ADA didn't exist, we could roll back the clock to the days when a particular medical diagnosis was sufficient for a school to deny a child entry. How 'bout them apples? Do [i]you[/i] want to be forced to homeschool your "PA duaghter?"
2. Get a better grip on what PA means or does not mean for your own family. Quit worrying about another child's medical diagnosis and find out more about your own. Do you need to be carrying epipens? How do you know your child is allergic? Seriously, if your daughter hasn't had any reactions at all in the last 2-3 years, there's a good chance that she may be one of the lucky children who have outgrown a PA. Only a doctor's challenge can tell you for sure, though. [i]Might be time for a talk with your allergist, KWIM?[/i]
3. If your daughter [i]is[/i] truly allergic, then you should discuss her care with your allergist-- you need to carry epipens and always be prepared to treat an allergic reaction. Beyond that, nobody here is going to challenge what you need to do to keep her safe. That's called a comfort zone, and I don't think any two people have the same one. We may ask one another to think about things in a different way-- but that is a very good thing.
(shrug) Of course, I have run into a few people who have self-diagnosed a PA in a child and have no real basis for having done so (IMO). Always amazes me. Why would you [i]want[/i] such a thing? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img] It really seems kinda sick. Anyway. Tangent over.
I just hope that BASP will consider the glass house she thinks she is currently residing in before she lobs any more rocks.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 7:11am
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I agree with Corvallis mom. At first I wondering whether we had a troll, or this was just someone who is, for want of a better phrase, ill-informed. I used to have a neighbor who said her son was PA, but let him eat all kinds of "may contains" including plain M&Ms. He did just fine. I don't know how she knew about his allergy (reaction? test?), but I would guess that either he was very lucky so far, or he wasn't really allergic. But I think that BASP may have a child like that. And she either thinks her child is typical of PA children, or perhaps is afraid to find out it is more serious than she wants to know. If BASP is truly not a troll, I hope she sticks around awhile and learns from the many voices of experience here.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 7:24am
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Quote:Originally posted by Jimmy's mom:
[b]. . . I hope she sticks around awhile and learns from the many voices of experience here.[/b]
ditto here. I hope you stay around, BASP. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 7:55am
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BASP, all I have to say is I hope you realize these school procedures are in place now and WILL protect your nut allergic child when she is in school...if I were you, I would applaude your school rather than taking offense. They are helping SAVE the lives of children that attend that school, and the child they save next year might be your own!!! My daughter's nut allergies are LIFE-THREATENING and I take it Very seriously and I would take it just as serious if it were someone else's child and not my own at her school. I am very thankful that the parents of the kids in my daughter's class are very understanding and helpful with her serious allergies; not one has complained of the snack list, in fact a few have brought snacks from the list in for the whole class to keep in the classroom should a child bring a non-safe snack. I hope one day you are just as appreciative of others that help keep our children safe as we are.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 11:25am
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I think that you may be giving BASP a hard time. I have a 7 yo severely PA son, who a the young age of 4 was very capable of telling people about his allergy. He knew what he could and couldn't eat, he knew how to look for peanut words on the label, and he would ask adults to read the label. It is true that any accidents could happen, but unfortunately, our children do have to learn to live in a peanut laden world. I (in the case of my son) believe that I can't always provide a safe environment (outside of our home of course). He needs to learn to be extremely vigilant and "be afraid" of everything he puts in his mouth. This may mean to clean his table area prior to eating, or clean his seats and tables on an airplane, and even clean the seats around him at a baseball game (yes, I have taken him to MLB games...not comfortable with it, but I do take him). I believe this is the best lesson I can teach him. Yes, my son has had a severe contact reaction, and has tested in the very high ranges. I can't keep in him a bubble (though I would love to) and I can't treat him much differently than my other non allergic children. I believe that my son accepts his allergies for what they are and understands what can happen to him if an accident occurs. It's scary, it stinks, but it is reality.
I really didn't see anything wrong with what BSAP initially asked that required many of you to jump all over her!

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 1:24pm
Corvallis Mom's picture
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What was offensive?
1. Implying that measures taken to protect OTHER students at her older (non-PA) child's school were totally out of line. (Backed by her claim that she has a PA 4 yo and sees no reason to limit food in the school in [i]her own[/i] experience...)
2. Her irritation at ADA accommodation for... anything??
3. The notion that she must somehow be privy to these childrens' medical records so that she can "see for herself" that they "really need" these measures in place.
The last one in particular strikes me as deeply offensive-- doubly so if it comes from another PA parent.
Nobody questioned her comfort zone. What was questioned was her perspective and understanding of the school's obligation to all of its students. In addition, some things that she said (or didn't) told me that she may well be one of the unfortunate people who is told NOTHING about PA by a physician giving the diagnosis.
I don't think anyone "jumped all over" BASP. (Other than those who may have erroneously identified her as a troll... experience tells me she's not.)

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 2:30pm
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You say cake walks have been around forever, well, I believe at one time there was corporal punishment in school as well, times change.
I agree the focus should be on education in schools, there could be a lot of time saved by eliminating a lot of the birthday and holiday stuff in the school. What's so wrong with a couple parties per year? Perhaps with the focus on activities instead of food so everyone is included? Trust me, I wish my son's one month in public school had had the focus on education, instead everyday focused on food, what could they play with, how many unsafe birthday treats could they sneak in? My personal favorite was the crushed nut table they felt fit to display, my son didn't touch, but left school with red streaks on his face because people contaminated the entire environment. Did I mention that his lung function dropped to 68% of his norm in only one month of school? Are you going to tell me to homeschool? Then tell me why I should have to pay school taxes? I haven't gotten any refunds yet. Why are schools supposed to acccomodate these kids? Because the law says they must go to school, they're entitled to it. Unfortuately, I believe they will eventually kill my kid.
I really love view points like yours, you say the focus of the educators should be on education, yet your argument is for cupcakes, not extra teachers.
At our school, the kids in the area are SO POOR, all the parents can afford is peanut butter. Yet these same parents drop 20-25 bucks for the fanciest cupcakes for their kids to bring to school. Inconsistent wouldn't you say? Then all the treats for the back to school party, halloween party, thanksgiving party, christmas party, New Year party, Valentines party, St Patrick's day party, Easter/ Spring party, Memorial Day Party, end of school summer party, I think that's about one a month. Not counting B-day parties (at least two per month) and class parties of pizza and candy for being good.
I'm very glad your 4 yo is so good about her allergies, my son is too. He knew not to take food from anyone, in fact he was the only one allowed to open his snack bin, it made no difference because his entire environment was covered in residue. All he had to do is touch his eyes or nose because they itched from all the stuff in the environment, and boom- sick kid. I tried to keep him breathing, before school he had his antihistamine, we added an asthma med, he took two different nebulizer medicines (one was a steroid) and a steroid nose spray. No less than two hours later the school nurse was giving him his rescue inhaler. Load a 40 lb child with that much medicine, that still can't breathe, and then have the teacher tell you it's sheer defiance that keeps him from focusing on school work. Struggling to live will do that to a child.
Virtually the same routine before bed for medicines. Despite the plan of care the school wrote themselves and agreed to follow, they didn't bother. The best part is, there is noone to hold them accountable, the state pushes it on federal, the federal pushes it on state. But they sure didn't forget to collect their school taxes this year.
So forgive me if I seem less than moved by your canceled cake event. I'm more worried about how to pay for all the extra curriculars my child will miss because he can't go to school. We're not wealthy, despite that ever prevalant myth that allergic children are only born to the independently wealthy.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 2:45pm
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I just don't understand why so much thought goes in to what we can't feed our kids at school. They are there for lunch--the parents have them for every other meal and treat and birthday party, etc... Are we sending our kids to culinary school or elementary school? Why is food associated with "reward" for every time something has to be recognized at school? I believe we all put too much emphasis on how many cupcakes we Can or Can't make. School is about the learning, and I personally don't want my children taught in a pavlovian manner. I am just as guilty as anyone else about making sure that my PA & TNA kids had special treats. I never wanted to make them feel left out, and I just always felt so sorry for them.
I happened to be the Fall Festival Chair(one and only) for the last two years. Including homeroom mom for 2 classes. Big Big carnival-cake walk and all. What does two hallways have to do with ANYTHING! They are just 2 hallways. Unbelievable to me after reading all of these replies. Corvallis mom is right on in my opinion. I think this person hasn't been educated and hasn't experienced an up close and personal view of an anaphylatic attack, happening to your child. Changes everything!!
And, I don't believe anyone was giving anyone a hard time, except for the one who started this post. She got very snitty half way through. Point is is that I am trying to change my children's view of foods. Foods are for nurishment-not for reward. And especially not an every week event in the classroom. This way of thinking is hard to get across,(especially when I want my deep fried cheese puffs! ha ha) but very necessary and our school is giving different kinds of rewards all the time. Not just because of the food allergies, but because of healthy reasons.
------------------
Stacie - Mother to:
10 yr. PA
8 yr. TNA
2.5 yr. PA&TNA

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 3:06pm
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Sorry, I think I just had a Jerry Springer moment. Didn't mean to get all-all-evil! I just get frustrated like everyone else. Every FA child is different and every child with any disability is different. It is just not in my realm of understanding to not make every effort possible(especially if life or death) to make the school system a safe environment for all. I would and have done anything necessary for the safety and enrichment of every child. To even complain for one second about how this or that is such a pain or stupid--I don't get it! I have 3 children-2 are in school system-who are very anaphylatic and I could not bring myself to complain. There are so many things out there that could me EVEN WORSE. I have dealt with this allergy for 10 years. I just still think that I was given all three of my kids for a reason. Every day does not have to ALL consuming with fear-just remember the routine, and if the situation feels uncomfortable, don't do it. ie: basketball and baseball games--NO WAY! They serve shelled peanuts there--way too frightening. My kids don't live in a complete bubble, but I still have control at their ages.
------------------
Stacie - Mother to:
10 yr. PA
8 yr. TNA
2.5 yr. PA&TNA

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 9:19pm
anonymous's picture
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Just my 2 cents...
BASP, your child is 4 and knows what to eat and what not to eat...IN YOUR OWN HOME. That's a point that must be made because when they go to school, it is an entirely different ball game. There will be snacks, there will be parties, there will be people that will say, "Oh, this is okay. I don't "see" any peanuts." There will be substitute teachers that may not understand much about food allergies, ditto with bus drivers, support staff, etc.
Are you truly sure your 4-year old can handle all these pressures that go with being in school? You will not be with your child at school.
There is so much that can go wrong. Luckily we have a solid 504 that covers the entire school day. Little room for error or misunderstanding IMO. Very similar to the situation you describe with the school going "overboard".
Personally speaking, I would never send my child (at age 5) to school with the notion that he knows what he can and can't eat. That is too great a margin of error for a child with a severe, life-threatening food allergy. Ryan is now a soon-to-be 10-year old in 4th grade, and he is starting to make his own decisions regarding food, the snack program at school, and the lunchroom setup. He is ready to face these issues with my assistance. His growing maturity level means growing responsibility, and IMO his strong foundation in the early years has greatly benefited him.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited August 30, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 10:50pm
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I have to say I have learned a lot reading the posts that have come in over the last 24 hours both positive and negative. Let me start out by setting the record straight on a couple of things. I am not a "troll" as that'smetrying stated and I'm not a bored college student waiting for school to start as Lindajo said. I'm a real parent with a real 4 year old daughter that has a PA. She has had reactions in the past and has been tested. Thankfully she doesn't seem to have the allergy as severe as some of your children do but as I've also learned through these postings, that can change. I really appreciate the information and point of view I received from a few of you who like ants mom who were able to actually answer the questions and provide information rather then attacking someone who, god-forbid might have a different opinion then some of you do. Most of you took off an a tangent assuming I was some sort of deviant that was only here to cause trouble because I don't agree with all of you. After all, how could someone NOT agree with us? The militant attitude I experienced from a portion of this group is exactly the same attitude I see from other parents of PA children in our own school. I can tell you that isn't helping your cause at all. The few of you who stated that you feel I'm being neglectful and endangering my own daughter based on a few lines on a posting board are just plain idiots. That's beyond insulating to state something like that based on what little information you have.
There is a common groud to be attained here as a few of you seem to have found in your own schools. I'm trying to find that in mine as well. Maqbe we're already there and I don't realize it. Remember what my initial question was. I was trying to compare what my school was doing to what other schools are doing. Most of you took it as an attack on PA children everywhere. Those who did that should be ashamed of yourselves. If you truely want this to be an information sharing site, try answering the questions posted rather then attacking the individual asking the questions. For the few of you who took the time to answer my questions and give your own feelings, I thank you very much for the information.

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 12:08am
Gail W's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by BASP:
[b] The militant attitude I experienced from a portion of this group is exactly the same attitude I see from other parents of PA children in our own school. I can tell you that isn't helping your cause at all. [/b]
Would you elaborate on this? Can you please describe what you mean by "militant attitude" ? Maybe give some examples of what you've observed at your school by PA parents that is "militant"?

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 12:35am
KS mom's picture
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Hi BASP! I know it can be difficult reading tone into a computer message. So please read this in a friendly, conversational tone :-) I have been dealing with PA for about 11 years now with dd. I'll tell you about our experiences in the school system.
DD started school in a K that was already peanut free. The teacher was exteremly vigilant because she had had a child have an anaphylactic reaction in front of her. She was very careful with my dd. I can tell you, it sure decreased my stresss level.
Grade one, dd started a new, larger school. At the time, I felt it was enough to train staff on recognizing a reaction, using meds, etc. Even though she had a reaction at 2 yo from touching a piece of pb fudge to her lip (no bite marks at all). She started coughing grabbing her throat and by the time I grabbed her epi-pen she was unconscious, not breathing. I won't go into detail about the emotional details....as a mom, you can well imagine the unimaginable terror.
So during the first grade, dd had many contact reactions. Her nose would run literally like someone had turned on a water faucet, one or two hives on her face, itchy eyes and mouth. Then when she was about 7 she had another anaphylactic reaction. This seemed to make her allergies more sensitive. During grade 3 from the beginning of Movember- Mid-december, I picked dd up from school everyday because she was reacting (we now know it was to trace amounts of pb). Each day the reactions were getting worse until she had an anaphylactic reaction at school.
This scared all of us including the principal. She said to me "How can I keep your daughter safe when her "killer" is smeared all over the school".
At this point we all felt better about a peanut free school. I can honestly say that we tried to avoid going that route but to keep dd alive, it was necessary. After the pf status, things were fine for the most part for dd. She could actually be in school for an entire day and not call for me to come and get her.
My dd looks healthy. She doesn't take asthma meds every day, only when she has a virus or her enviro allergies are particularly bad. So unfortunately, we weren't believed by many parents that her peanut allergy was that bad when the school stated that it would be going pf.
So this is just our own personal journey. Every situation is different and I think that is a very important thing to remember.
Also, things can change. I wish I had understood allergies more when dd was younger but I just didn't have the resources here. I often wonder that if I hadn't had that pb fudge in the fridge when she had her first ana reaction, would she be as sensitive as she is today? I am not blaming myself; I did what I knew at the time.
So if I could offer you a piece of advice from the mom of one beautiful PA little girl (although my 11 yo dd is not so little anymore....sob!) to another, things can change even with your own situation. One minute you can be going along thinking that everything is fine to...panic...when you get the call from school that your child is covered in hives, swelling up, wheezing, pale...etc.
I don't want you to have to look back and ask "What if I hadn't left that pb fudge in the fridge?"

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 12:43am
BASP's picture
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Thanks for the great response. Is it your belief or maybe a fact that if the kids are exposed to it at a younger age (like your peanut butter fudge) and have a reaction, that it makes them even more vulnerable to reactions as they grow?

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 12:52am
KS mom's picture
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I am in no way an expert, but I have been told by daughters ped and allergist that, yes, this is the case.
We have also seen this in our dd's situation. Not saying this is the case for everyone.
DD is now so severe that last summer I was standing talking to a friend of mine and dd and I didn't notice her little guy was eating a bag of peanuts until dd's nose started running, her ear started hurting (doc at emerg told me that this symptom is showing that there is swelling starting in her throat/ear and the swelling in the ear is causing pain).
So the fact is, she wasn't reactive to airborn particles when she was pre-school and now she is. Whether it is due to reactions over the years increasing sensitivity or the natural progression of the allergy...we couldn't tell ya. Just our personal situation.
Sorry...by the time I clicked to reply to your topost I forgot the question. I don't think it necessarily had anything to do with the age of my daughter when she had her reaction as much as having repeated exposures making her more sensitive, IMO and the opinion of her ped.
[This message has been edited by KS mom (edited August 30, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 12:54am
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Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]I don't think so. Few trolls are so subtle. This poster just seemed... [i]uninformed.[/i]
[/b]
It seemed to me there was a lot of rationalizing going on too. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] A cry for help? I don't know.

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 1:22am
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.....but I tend to do a lot of rationalizing myself too. I re-read the thread and I'd have to say there's some things I don't think BASP is that far off about. Maybe it's the point in my journey I'm at (echo's of another poster) and that I'm through cutting my nose off to spite my face. Struggling to get my kid a cupcake he's rather not have....and probably doesn't need. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
that kind of stuff. If that's what disability rights are about, maybe there is a need for change...

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 1:55am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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I reiterate what I said before.
1. No other parent has any rights to my daughter's personal history, no matter how skeptical they might be. Individual accomodations are about [i]her[/i] needs, and beyond that, it isn't any of your business. Same as any other disabled child. Do I [i]enjoy[/i] applying that label to her? Of course not. I loathe it, and it certainly isn't how I feel about her... but the reality is that our life resembles BASP's or Ant's Mom's [i]very little.[/i] And truthfully, anyone with a PA who [i]can[/i] go to a MLB game isn't in the same end of the boat as us. (At least not today...) And high test results don't mean a damn*d thing, [i]for the record.[/i] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
[i]Demanding "proof" of disability from other parents. Wow. (Still having some trouble with this one.)[/i]
2. Because accommodations are about individual needs, comparing how two PA children are handled is not useful. Unless they have similar needs. Because you [i]do not know[/i] what these children need, you can't compare it with other kids. You have your answer, even if it wasn't what you were hoping to hear. Schools with highly sensitive PA children do this and more-- routinely.
3. Why do the accommodations for the other children make you angry, BASP? Please answer this question, it is genuine.
Is it:
a) about fearing that your daughter's allergy will be handled the same way (and perhaps too restrictively in her case)?
b) about a beef with ADA? (As I said previously, think carefully about that one.)
c) underlying uneasiness about uncertainties w/r to PA in general?
What is it that you know (or suspect) about these other two children that makes you question the validity of the school's response? Or is it that it just didn't tally very well with your own experience of what a PA means?
You are identifying strongly with those who have extremely relaxed comfort zones on the boards-- and that is fine. But please don't identify the rest of us as "militant." [i]That[/i] is pretty offensive... or is it "defensive?" Hmmmm....
As I said, nobody questioned your own comfort zone. I questioned your level of awareness about PA because it seemed you could not envision a reason for the accommodations which are in place, and seemed to feel that your child's PA was 'no big deal.' And again, as long as you carry epipens, nobody here is going to tell you that your parenting skills need work, okay? So don't read something which isn't there.
(Also for the record, I am glad you ventured back into the fray-- really, we don't bite...at least not much. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] )
[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited August 30, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 2:10am
bethc's picture
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In my PA DD's school, she has a peanut-free classroom. But all that means is that there are no classroom activities involving peanuts and the kids can't bring snacks that actually contain peanuts or peanut butter. There is no list of approved snacks, and I'd honestly be annoyed if there was. There's a peanut-free table in the lunchroom. I wish they didn't serve peanut butter in the hot lunch. My DD can't eat the school lunch and the only disability accomodation I've been able to find is that kids allergic to milk are legally entitled to a substitute beverage.
Our school carnival is indoors, mostly in the gym of the high school, and there is a cake walk. But all food brought by parents to that or for birthday treats has to be commercially-prepared and packaged. So everything in the cake walk is sealed and the child chooses what they want to take. My DD then has the option of taking fruit snacks with the label on it to check.
For birthday treats and holiday parties, nothing served can contain peanuts because of the risk that smears and crumbs can get on the tables and endanger my daughter, but that doesn't mean it actually has to be safe for her to eat. She has a bag of safe treats we've provided so that the teacher doesn't have to make the judgment call about whether a particular birthday treat is safe. I sometimes have checked treats in advance that the teachers wanted to serve to the whole class for special occasions. I don't think our accomodations have taken up much of the teacher's time. And other than having to remember not to send in peanut M&Ms for their child's snack (the one thing that got intercepted by the teacher last year), I don't think we've inconvienced other parents that much. It does make my DD a little sad to be left out of the birthday celebrations.
If we really want to focus on learning, I think it would make sense to take the focus off of food and parties. A little celebration is fine, but I've been disappointed with all the pizza party afternoons and walks to the ice cream parlor and holiday parties of goofing off and eating. And this has been with my DS who doesn't have food allergies. It's just too much time lost. Why do we need a longer school year if they're just going to waste days with this stuff? And with the obesity problem, I don't think food allergies are the only reason to make snacks healthier and to limit food in the classroom.
So that's how things are in our school. You have to accomodate medical needs. You don't want to greatly inconvenience the majority of parents if it isn't necessary to do so, but sometimes it is. Hopefully your administration is thoughtfully considering what the allergic children's needs are. Is there someone, the principal or superintendent, who could answer your concerns? I've been guilty of getting overly excited about things I've observed or read about, and then gotten more information from school staff that reassured me that things were being handled fine. They've been good about answering my questions.

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 2:18am
Gail W's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]3. Why do the accommodations for the other children make you angry, BASP? Please answer this question, it is genuine. [/b]
Do you (BASP) resent these restrcitions because you believe they are unnecessary? because you don't require these restrctions for your PA daughter?
(BTW, we subjected our daughter to multiple types of testing in order to obtain 'proof' of her allergy. in addition to the regular skin testing and CAP RAST blood work, she also had an air borne challenge and a contact challenge. But our allergist is sure to warn us that there is only very limited predictive value in any testing. )

Posted on: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 2:33am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Also back to your original post...
"Snack lists" and changes to them aren't always about a parent's desire to be an egomaniac...
Manufacturing changes occur all the time. This is one of the nastiest things about any FA... and not all of those changes are reflected by labels. Some kids [i]really[/i] cannot tolerate products made on shared lines-- no matter how "well-cleaned." [i]Really.[/i]
If your daughter [i]can,[/i] that is great. Nobody would suggest you need to follow someone else's "snack list" for her.... would they?? (Just trying to figure this one out.) It seems very likely from your post that one or more of these other children has [i]multiple[/i] life threatening allergies (as do a great many of our kids). Most parents would [i]rather not provide a "safe snack" list for that reason.... things change too quickly.[/i] But sometimes the school virtually [i]demands[/i] one anyway.
Also trying to figure out how you [i]know[/i] that neither child is aerosol sensitive. Is this a rumor you've heard circulating from other frustrated parents? Or something you have more direct knowledge about?
ETA... see the thread "Teachers" recently bumped up, which deals with many of the questions that you seem to be wrestling with.... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited August 30, 2006).]

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