Health Reporter Seeking Info

Posted on: Mon, 09/24/2007 - 3:13am
FridayMom's picture
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Joined: 09/22/2006 - 09:00

Hi all,

I'm a mother of a PA toddler and a member of this board. I'm also a reporter for a national newspaper, and I'm starting to write about some health-related topics.
One area of health and food allergy that I feel hasn't gotten a lot of attention is the anxiety that a lot of kids when they start to comprehend their allergy. I've seen a lot of posts on this board about kids who go through phases in which they are afraid to go to school, afraid to have juice at snack time, or are afraid to eat at all, even when served by their parents, etc.

My story hopes to look at this issue and also offer advice from counselors, and pediatricians about the best way for parents and educators to handle children's anxieties without minimizing the seriousness of their food allergies. I'd love to hear from some parents of allergic children who have or have had these kind of anxieties, and how you handle them. If anyone is interested, I can be reached at 212-416-3057.
Thanks very much.

Posted on: Mon, 09/24/2007 - 4:44am
Jenna's picture
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Joined: 07/09/2000 - 09:00

You might also want to address the fact that many schools are trying to get away from the liability factor and are trying to shift the responsibility to the child for their allergy. Although I agree that the child does need to learn responsibility, this many times is expected much before a child has the maturity to deal with a life threatening condition. This "responsibility" pressure increases stress levels in the child as they feel it is up to them to take care of themselves, they do not have the support of the school to help them in the case of an emergency, and also feel a reaction would be their fault in that they were not responsible.
These kids have enough stress already just dealing with the allergy and then add the school's maneuvering and politics into the equation and the stress factor is huge to try to attend school.
Our school's line has been that responsibility will help the child "own" their allergy. In our case, this has not been true in that it has just shifted another burden onto our child and additional stress.
Just my 2 cents ...

Posted on: Mon, 09/24/2007 - 6:31am
williamsmummy's picture
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Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

I could help you with this, but am in the UK is that ok? or do you only want USA people?
my son has multiple allergies BTW
sarah

Posted on: Mon, 09/24/2007 - 6:39am
FridayMom's picture
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Joined: 09/22/2006 - 09:00

Sarah,
Thanks so much. I am, unfortunately, looking for people in the U.S. If you know anyone this side of the pond that has experienced similar challenges, please do send them my way.
Again, thanks for posting, and best of luck managing your child's mfa.

Posted on: Mon, 09/24/2007 - 11:19am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Maybe you can give us an email address? Open an account just for replies? That way you don't have to give your own addy?
Peg

Posted on: Mon, 09/24/2007 - 12:49pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I would be willing to help as well.
------------------
Stacie - Mother to:
11 yr. PA
8 yr. TNA
3 yr. PA&TNA

Posted on: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:47am
FridayMom's picture
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Joined: 09/22/2006 - 09:00

Thanks all, for your responses. Feel free to email me: [email]sara.schaefer@wsj.com[/email]
I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted on: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:54pm
SFMom's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Jenna:
[b]You might also want to address the fact that many schools are trying to get away from the liability factor and are trying to shift the responsibility to the child for their allergy. Although I agree that the child does need to learn responsibility, this many times is expected much before a child has the maturity to deal with a life threatening condition. This "responsibility" pressure increases stress levels in the child as they feel it is up to them to take care of themselves, they do not have the support of the school to help them in the case of an emergency, and also feel a reaction would be their fault in that they were not responsible.
These kids have enough stress already just dealing with the allergy and then add the school's maneuvering and politics into the equation and the stress factor is huge to try to attend school.
Our school's line has been that responsibility will help the child "own" their allergy. In our case, this has not been true in that it has just shifted another burden onto our child and additional stress.
Just my 2 cents ...[/b]
I hadn't thought about things that way, but you are SO RIGHT! Giving the burdon of total responsibility to a child is a horrible thing to do. I think that as parents we try to give them that responsibility gradually. Because ultimately it IS something they will have to "own" as teens or adults. But to hoist that burdon on a young child is ruthless.

Posted on: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 2:32am
MFA Mom's picture
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Joined: 08/31/2007 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Jenna:
[b]You might also want to address the fact that many schools are trying to get away from the liability factor and are trying to shift the responsibility to the child for their allergy. ...[/b]
Yes, I have realized this at school. Example of incident last week....
My ds is 9, very bright, normally a great problem solver...
Needed his inhaler during gym class. New gym teacher btw...he tells ds to go to the nurse, get inhaler, come right back. DS gets to the nurse and she's not in her office. He returns to gym (outdoors) and tells the teacher the nurse isn't there. He asks ds if he feels better and directs him to FINISH his mile jog.
DS tries, again says he HAS to get his inhaler. Goes to nurse and she's still not there. Gym teacher tells him to sit the rest of the class period.
I relay the incident to the principal and he says that my DS should have gone to the office. that he should have made it clearer to the gym teacher that he was in distress.
Well, if I ever get arrested for assault, it would have been that day.
I acknowledged that ds has a responsiblity, but for a physical education teacher to tell a kid who is having an asthma attack to keep running and not give him another alternative to get the nurse, that is wrong!!!
I am finding more and more that every situation seems to be DSs fault. His original IHP plan was full of what DS will do and very little of what others will do.
Getting back to your original post, I am seeing the anxiety/stress/fed up level rise in my son.
Gee, they expect him to just accept that there are allergens in his classroom....it is starting to bother him greatly.
He feels like...um my friend is over there eating food that could kill me. I think that it hurts his feelings a bit and is starting to make him hyper sensitive to his surroundings.
I always say, gee who would expect a kid allergic to bees sit in class all day with bees buzzing around? Imagine the anxiety that would produce...same happens with pa in my opinion.

Posted on: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 6:26am
Jenna's picture
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Joined: 07/09/2000 - 09:00

MFA Mom,
I would be very upset about the asthma incident. Did the situation get reviewed with the teacher? I would make sure you have the date and time written down for your records in case you need to refer to it at a later date. You have every right to be upset.

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