Help with PA son questioning why

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My 7 year old PA son came to me a few weeks back and wanted to read a bunch of books that had to do with peanut allergy (peanut butter jam, no nuts for me....which he NEVER does because he rarely chooses to talk about his allergy). After reading them, he asked me why he had to wear his epi-belt (which he has been wearing since JK and which we have talked about 100 times). We talked about it and I knew something was bothering him, so I asked him if something happened at school. He said that his classmates are starting to ask him why he wears his epi-belt and what it is for. He doesn't want to tell them, so he ignores their questions. With tears in his eyes, he asked me why it happened to him and not other people. I had to keep the tears away when I responded to him and when he left I cried like a baby.

I've read all the books and talked to him about it - and although he understands it, he doesn't like the fact that he is different with respect to the foods he can eat, especially since he hates being the centre of attention.

Have any of you had to deal with this?

Rita

On Mar 19, 2004

Hi Rita,

My son is 19 and has been PA forever. Somehow maybe he got to the point where other kids did not bother him. He went to private schools, small ones and was respected and treated pretty decently although he was a loner for awhile there.

Maybe you should question the epi-belt? Does it make him stand out too much? My son first had a pack attached to his belt, it hung down like a knife sheath. I bought it in "The Walking Store" and it fit two epi pens. No one could tell what was in it.

I later got him this one in the link. [url="http://foodallergy.org/s-cart/enlarged_image.phtml?f_strProductID=EPENPALCOMBO"]http://foodallergy.org/s-cart/enlarged_image.phtml?f_strProductID=EPENPALCOMBO[/url]

It works better than the jerry rigged one I made and keeps his pens safer.

You probably need to have him present some sort of educational program to his class about his PA. Feel out the administration to see how appropriate this is for a seven year old class to hear.

If they are bugging him about his epi belt then they need answers before they make a grab for it. Kids are HORRIBLE to each other, it only gets worse until the end of Junior High.

I would also suggest you get him a pen pal, another PA kid he could trade stories with. Let him know he is not the only one.

Again somehow we missed this with our son. He just accepted it and moved on. He HATES his PA and the limitations but he does understand why he has to be so careful.

And maybe a psychologist could help your son with the why's which are impossible to answer but manageable once you accept them. You should for sure speak to his teacher or the principal.

Good luck Peggy

On Mar 19, 2004

yes, My son was the same way at that age. So I notified the school nurse and his teacher/s , and they showed all the kids in his grade what an epipen was, and how it was used. They DID NOT direct attention to my son.

When you son gets a little older, most of the friends in the class will know that he wears one anyways. Sometimes even now I tell our new friends because he sometimes conveniently forgets.

Maybe right for now, you willhave to tell his friends. Better safe than sorry. At that age after you have told them, they will just go and play anyways like nothing was wrong.

On Mar 19, 2004

Thanks so much for your help.

He has been with many of his friends since JK, so they know about it. But there are a bunch of new kids he does not know, and those are the ones that are asking the questions. He is very very shy to boot, and his PA only makes his shyness worse. The kids haven't been bad as of yet (at least not because of the PA) but I know that it will come, kids can be so cruel it just kills me to think about it.

I have asked the teacher whether we could talk to the other kids in his grade about it, and she seemed receptive to perhaps presenting something in their health class within the next few months (we'll see though).

Rita

On Mar 19, 2004

Batman, I don't really have any advice to give, but just wanted to send you hugs and encouragement.

Drew is 6 years old and the start of this year (kindergarten) was especially hard because the other kids had so many questions that brought attention to Drew, who like your son, is quite shy. He has NEVER liked to be the center of attention especially when his PA is discussed. His teacher read the book "No Nuts for Me" to his class and that helped with some of the kids, but of course, there are always going to be those "others".

The "why me?" question....we just try to be as honest and upfront as we can. I tell Drew, "I don't know why you are allergic to peanuts? God made everyone just the way He wanted them. Some people are allergic to milk and just think about what foods they can't eat...cheese, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate milk (most of his favorite foods are dairy)." Of course, he hasn't yet come back with "but they don't have epi pens and have to wear a bracelet." But for now, it takes the focus off of what he can't have and instead what he can.

I grew up with my brother, my only sibling, having muscular dystrophy. And I respect my parents so much for the way that we were raised. There were many things that my brother couldn't do - he was in a wheelchair by 4th grade - so we, as a family, didn't do them either (we didn't go to amusement parks, camping in a tent, air travel, etc.). We NEVER focused on what we couldn't do, but always made sure to have the best time doing what we could.

With PA, of course, we have to educate Drew as to what he can't have in order to keep him safe, but we try not to dwell on it. In an attempt to help him see that everyone is different in their own special way, we have also told Drew that just like his uncle who *had* to have his wheelchair everywhere he went, Drew *has* to have his epi and his bracelet everywhere he goes.

I'm rambling.....Spring Break is almost over [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] (maybe I will regain some sanity!!! )

On Mar 21, 2004

Batman, If your teacher is a little reluctant, I would go to the principal and ask her to have the school nurse go into the class.

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