How to prepare for school

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 12:11pm
Andrea L's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2005 - 09:00

My daughter is 3 years old and can't wait to go to school. I was anticipating trouble so I contacted the school district. They have no policy regarding kids w/ food allergies and handle each case on an individual basis. I've heard they even serve PB and J on the menu. Any advice for how to start my discussions with the school? I've seen references to 504. What is that?

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 12:37pm
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Andrea,
I recommend spending some time on the Schools board and going back a bit and just reading some to glean from what others did. I think you'll find some helpful stuff.

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:09pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

If we had it to do over again, I would recommend getting a parent advocate to help you every step of the way, get EVERYTHING from ANYONE at the school in WRITING.

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:30pm
Lori Anne's picture
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Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00

Here are some links for you to check. They may help you out a little.
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001705.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001705.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000431.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000431.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000497.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000497.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001754.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001754.html[/url]
Reading the info in these links is definitely a good start. Then ask questions and you'll get help. Good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:39pm
Carefulmom's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I did it in the reverse way from most people on this board. I picked the school by interviewing the school nurses to get an idea of how allergy aware they were and how aware of the law they were. That worked well for us. The nurse told me I needed a 504. I did not even know what one was back then. Now dd is about to graduate and I am looking at middle schools. I interviewed the school nurses at all the middle schools I was considering. I basically just set aside about 10 minutes and call saying I have a child with severe peanut allergy and then ask them some questions. I asked if they had any kids with epis, how many, for what allergens (peanuts, milk, bee stings, etc), had the epi been used, where are the epis kept, who all is trained, do they have a peanut free table, and a few other things. I did not give my name when I called. It gave me a really good feeling for how things would go. I found there was great deal of variation between school nurses and how much they knew about food allergies. One school which is great academically the nurse did not seem very aware of how serious anaphylaxis is. She said she would never give the epi without calling the parent first. That was all I needed to hear to know that dd was not going there. So my advice is to interview the school nurse way in advance. I started a little over a year before dd was due to start (started around April or May), just to get an idea of who would be open to accomodations and who wouldn`t. Then I filled out forms for an intradistrict transfer (meaning transferring to another school in the same district). I had the nurse on my side from the start, so there were no battles to fight. The nurse had told me about the 504, so I did not have to convince her of anything. There was one 504 meeting before kindergarten. Everything I asked for they said yes to. There was no negotiating and almost no involvement from the allergist. He wrote a letter saying what accomodations were needed and the nurse said fine. That was it. In 4th grade we had a horrible teacher who kept violating the 504, but at least everyone (other than that teacher) knew the law was on my side. Again never had to convince anyone of anything. Much less stress for me.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited January 13, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 01/14/2006 - 5:59am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

At our most recent school (and DS' second elementary school), we did something similar to what Carefulmom suggests. We were moving to a new community and I called the nurse at every elementary school where we were looking for a house--and a few where we weren't. I asked how they handled peanut allergy, where the EpiPens were kept, how many kids had peanut allergies, other life threatening allergies, and other such questions.
At all schools but one I got answers I didn't like. I was told that the Epi must be kept in the nurse's office. I knew I would win the "in the classroom battle" because I did in Dallas when DS was in Kindergarten (more on that later).
But after talking to the nurse at other school in new community, I was sold on her school. Me: "Where do you keep the EpiPen?" "Where your child needs it." "In the classroom?" "All we need is his doctor's note." "And it can travel with him from class to class?" "All we need is his doctor's note." As it turns out, there are 12 peanut allergic kids at this school and other kids with life-threatening allergies. Our nurse gets it.
So we bought the one house that we liked that we could afford in that school district. It's smaller than other houses we looked at, but we feel safe.
First grade was great food allergy wise, with one exception. This year has been more hectic.
We're lucky because our school system doesn't serve any foods containing blatant peanuts. They do have Chick fil A on Wednesdays. DS only gets milk, but we've actually explored his getting one or two things from the menu (they have a baked potato, and I've looked into it, and it seems safe). All that is to say that we haven't had to deal with some of the food issues.
Back when we lived in Dallas and DS was entering Kindergarten, we had a meeting with the principal and his teacher. But they kept pulling others in--anyone who would come into contact with DS. When we got started, the principal's office was packed. After we talked about how severe DS' allergy was and showed them examples of how quickly a reaction can turn fatal, they agreed that he needed the Epi in his classroom. And they came up with other places around the school where Epis needed to be placed. For instance, the music class was in a portable, and they thought it was too far from his classroom in case he forgot to bring his traveling pack one day. So an Epi pack was put in the music room. And in the cafeteria. And in the nurse's office. And in the classroom. and that one traveled with him to first grade math and specials and everywhere else.
On the first day of school the ovens broke, and as I returned home an hour after school started I received a call from the principal herself (I'm so happy I took that day off). She told me about the oven situation and that they were going to have to serve all the kids PB sandwiches and that DS was going to get to have lunch with her in her office that day and would get to bring a classmate. It was a treat for him. I told her they'd need to wipe off the kids hands before coming back into his class, and they did.
So we've had some good experiences. They've not been perfect, but for us, it's been a matter of 1) being able to talk with the folks involved; 2) finding someone who is already pretty aware because we called around; and 3) sheer luck.

Posted on: Sat, 01/14/2006 - 11:14am
mommyofmatt's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

The following thread is a list of questions I compiled to evaluate preschools. It doesn't address 504's... my ds currently attends a private preschool. Good luck in your search! Meg
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001844.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001844.html[/url]

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 12:37pm
McCobbre's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Andrea,
I recommend spending some time on the Schools board and going back a bit and just reading some to glean from what others did. I think you'll find some helpful stuff.

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:09pm
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

If we had it to do over again, I would recommend getting a parent advocate to help you every step of the way, get EVERYTHING from ANYONE at the school in WRITING.

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:30pm
Lori Anne's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00

Here are some links for you to check. They may help you out a little.
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001854.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001705.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001705.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000431.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000431.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000497.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000497.html[/url]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001754.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001754.html[/url]
Reading the info in these links is definitely a good start. Then ask questions and you'll get help. Good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:39pm
Carefulmom's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I did it in the reverse way from most people on this board. I picked the school by interviewing the school nurses to get an idea of how allergy aware they were and how aware of the law they were. That worked well for us. The nurse told me I needed a 504. I did not even know what one was back then. Now dd is about to graduate and I am looking at middle schools. I interviewed the school nurses at all the middle schools I was considering. I basically just set aside about 10 minutes and call saying I have a child with severe peanut allergy and then ask them some questions. I asked if they had any kids with epis, how many, for what allergens (peanuts, milk, bee stings, etc), had the epi been used, where are the epis kept, who all is trained, do they have a peanut free table, and a few other things. I did not give my name when I called. It gave me a really good feeling for how things would go. I found there was great deal of variation between school nurses and how much they knew about food allergies. One school which is great academically the nurse did not seem very aware of how serious anaphylaxis is. She said she would never give the epi without calling the parent first. That was all I needed to hear to know that dd was not going there. So my advice is to interview the school nurse way in advance. I started a little over a year before dd was due to start (started around April or May), just to get an idea of who would be open to accomodations and who wouldn`t. Then I filled out forms for an intradistrict transfer (meaning transferring to another school in the same district). I had the nurse on my side from the start, so there were no battles to fight. The nurse had told me about the 504, so I did not have to convince her of anything. There was one 504 meeting before kindergarten. Everything I asked for they said yes to. There was no negotiating and almost no involvement from the allergist. He wrote a letter saying what accomodations were needed and the nurse said fine. That was it. In 4th grade we had a horrible teacher who kept violating the 504, but at least everyone (other than that teacher) knew the law was on my side. Again never had to convince anyone of anything. Much less stress for me.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited January 13, 2006).]

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