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Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 3:50am
lilpig99's picture
Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

I know there are starting to be some studies about the emotional impact of food allergies on children. I'll have to look for one.
Will the next step be a visit to the child psychologist? Seriously, think about it. We're talking about emotional well being here. I know darn well that my child *must* experience some unpleasant feelings over not getting the same things as all of the rest of her class....being the *only one*, essentially ostracised (sp).
edited to add this article abstract...
[i]Can illness perceptions and coping predict psychological distress amongst allergy sufferers?
Author: R. C. Knibb and S. L. Horton
Source: British Journal of Health Psychology
Publisher: British Psychological Society
Objective: The aim of the present study was to measure the extent to which illness perceptions and coping strategies are associated with the levels of psychological distress amongst allergy sufferers.Design and methodOne hundred and fifty-six allergy sufferers (all members of Allergy U.K.) completed a postal survey consisting of the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R) and the COPE. Psychological distress was measured using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).ResultsMultiple regression analyses indicated that illness perceptions explained between 6 and 26% of variance on measures of psychological distress, coping strategies explained between 12 and 25%. A strong illness identity and emotional representations of the allergy were associated with higher levels of psychological distress, as were less adaptive coping strategies such as focusing on and venting of emotions. Strong personal control beliefs were associated with the lower levels of distress, as were adaptive coping strategies such as positive reinterpretation and growth. Coping partially mediated the link between the illness perceptions and the outcome; however, illness identity, emotional representations and personal control retained an independent significant association with psychological distress. Conclusion: The findings support a role for illness perceptions and coping in explaining levels of psychological distress amongst allergy sufferers.[b]This has implications for targeted health interventions aimed at reducing the strength of illness identity and emotional representations and increasing a sense of control and the use of more adaptive coping strategies.[/b][/i] emphasis mine
I would think that a food free classroom would reduce the strength of illness identity.
[This message has been edited by lilpig99 (edited August 11, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by lilpig99 (edited August 11, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 4:31am
Lori Jo's picture
Joined: 09/17/2003 - 09:00

I can seriously see your point, but I don't think I would do it myself for the following reasons.
1. I would not be willing to make my child the pointy end of the spear, as it were. PA dd is starting K this year, and with that age, I know I wouldn't, but then you are not dealing with that age, I know. I think my fairly mature 3rd grader (no FA's BTW, just using my experience with her age level) would resent being made an example like that, regardless of how much I explained the reasoning. It might make perfect sense at home, but her sitting at an empty desk in the middle of a party I think would feel pretty awful, and all your reasoning would be forgotten.
2. I have NO faith in the teachers and ALL the other parents taking enough pity on a child without food to change their actions. I think they will all assume you are the meany, not them, and will happily, in blissful ignorance, continue to send whatever food they deem good for their child.
In a perfect world, yes, I agree with your plan, but I don't think it would actually work and for my kids, I'd worry I was making them be even more excluded.
I think a PN free/gluten free/food free classroom needs to come from the top of the school, and until the principal or higher decides that it's a priority, it's not going to happen.
Our culture is so rooted in food, these are huge hurdles to overcome.
Lori Jo,
Rose, 7-31-02, PA
Noah, 7-29-05
Beatrice & Georgia, 8-14-99

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 4:45am
lilpig99's picture
Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

[b]The schools might have a hard time justifying excluding a student flat out with something that isn't necessary to their education,[/b]
I am writing this down...this is a good thought gvmom.
you better stick around [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 4:53am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

[b]but then you are not dealing with that age,[/b]
I actually am. I have two sons. One is 5, and entering kindergarten. The other is 7 1/2, entering 3rd grade. Both have FA's.
Apart and aside from food allergies though, isn't there something, legally, that would prohibit the exclusion of a child in the classroom?
I mean, it seems that the approach, which centers around parents rights to send in whatever garbage they want, overrules our child's right to life, is a big problem.
If you take a few steps back, and make another point about a larger issue of school sanctioned, teacher sanctioned, exclusion of a student..... isn't there something there that would garner some attention, in a legal sense?
Is it legal for a teacher to knowingly allow exclusion of a child in their classroom..... at all? Is it legal for a school to sanction exclusion of it's students.... at all?
Nothing would prohibit parents from passing out their junk food outside of the classroom, not on my child's time, and not on my tax dollar....... but is it legal to use my child's educational time, my tax dollars, on state property, to exclude him?
I mean, I'm not talking about the illegality of "Separate but Equal".... it is completely separate and excluded. Is that legal? Would it make a Principal or Teacher be more likely to pay attention? Do something?
And, I am glad, lilpig, that you brought up the psychological aspect. Do you think that if those of us brought this in, asked for the school psychologists to evaluate the impact of the school sanctioning exclusion on our children, someone would listen?
I know that personally we are approaching things the way of the 504, but I'd like to add a bigger picture element that transcends the FA's since they seem to be so difficult for these people to get. And if in the mix, there is a larger legal issue that they can't ignore looming over their heads, then so be it.
In fact, I'm gonna have to make a note about the psychologist thing right now.
[b]PS -- Exile-schmexile.[/b]
Well, I like to stick to my word... but I'm on borrowed time right now, and I'm too fried. I thought I could make this one exception since it was schools, and it is important in real life.
edited for spelling
[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited August 11, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 5:08am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

gvmom, my son is going into 7th Grade this year, so the treat thing is becoming less and less common, which is a good thing.
He had a "peanut free" classroom, in which he ate, up until Grade 4.
And I must be a mean or bad Mommy as well but here's what I did - maybe even demanded.
If my child could NOT eat the treat (meaning it was unsafe) - it meant it should NOT be in the classroom to begin with so NO CHILD got to eat the treat. If treats were brought in, that were not okay, they had to be given to the other children (still excluding my son kinda) at the end of the day to take home with them.
To me, at that time, NOTHING was going through that door (classroom) if it was not safe for my guy to partake in as well. I did not think about how this would wash with other parents or anything. I never had any repercussions (well Grade 2 and 3 were a bit of a horror show - but an accumulation of stuff, KWIM?) and I don't think my son did either.
I remember him going skating in Grade One with Ron on a field trip and some parent had brought in Tim Horton's Timbits for when the class got back. They were distributed to the kids to take home after.
I don't know if I was really fortunate with Jess in JK, SK, and Grade One, but I had no problem with the teacher (or principal) accepting this.
In Grade 3 (posted about here somewhere no doubt), I checked the food for a Christmas party and there were two things that were "may contain" (at that time I didn't allow "may contains" in the classroom either - although I finally gave up on that due to great advice from members here). I told the teacher that those two treats were not okay to be at the party. She said they were. I said no, they're not and if you allow them to be served, I will pull my son out of school to-day and you will be hearing from the Ontario Human Rights Commission tomorrow.
The substitute (thank heaven it was) principal told her that she had to get the things out of the room. It was in my son's written school plan, at that time, that no "may contains" were allowed in the "peanut free" classroom.
I stayed and used the teachers' kitchen to cut the candy pizza into I don't know how many pieces and whatever the other thing was and bag it all up for the kids to take home.
I know I must sound harsh and horrible, but my stance, at that time, was that if my son couldn't partake, then NO ONE could - and they didn't.
There is no need for the amount of stuff that comes through that classroom door every year - it's this feeling of entitlement or something I've really become aware of (and funny that I've only become aware of it within the last year or so when really, as a PA parent, I *could* have been aware much earlier) - that kids have this big to-do at school on their birthdays and then the big to-do at home as well? I don't get it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img]
I can't explain the "entitlement" thing I'm talking about right now coherently - I know what I want to say, but I don't know how to say it - it has to do with society and this sense of entitlement and what damage I believe it's doing to our children.
After Grade 4, no food was to be eaten in my son's classroom, but, of course, there are parties. In Grade 4, I went in and checked the treats (remembering now that I did allow "may contains"). They were all, for the most part either packaged goods or fruit and veggies.
In Grade 5, I stopped going into the school and physically checking myself. My son is old enough.
Now, there are cupcakes that come into the classroom and I've just basically told Jesse that there are other food choices there - not to have the cupcake; read his labels; whatever.
He has never complained when he couldn't have a cupcake. And that would only have been in the last two years. He's always found enough other junk to fill up on and feel part of the party.
I certainly read here through the years about people sending safe treats in for their children, but NO, I was not going to do that. And I didn't. So, I'm a BAD MOM too. So be it.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 5:17am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know what the ADA covers. I know when I had to deal with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (in Grade 3, in particular, because the principal didn't even want my kid through the door), anything that I brought to their attention was seen as, not illegal, but a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. I would have to think of what things I did bring to their attention.
In Grade 4, with the BENCH situation, I know I dealt with Anaphylaxis Canada (maybe even for Grade 5) and did NOT get the answer I wanted to hear from them at all - they thought the bench was okay if due to limited resources. I can't remember if I contacted the Ontario Human Rights Commission or not and if I did what they had to say. I'd have to check the thread.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 5:25am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Sorry, trying to brainstorm with a half working brain (only to-day [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] ). I just read the 1st page of one of my bench threads (I think there is more than one) and is this something that could help in any way - ?
Under Duty of Care, the teacher is acting on behalf of you, the parent. In her/his case they're acting on behalf of say 20 parents. So, as the parent of 20, could they exclude 1 or 2 children and serve 18 other children?
Might be a stretch - I'm not sure.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 5:43am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

I'm kinda working on half a brain too. But you are on the same page as me I think ATM.
The whole notion that isn't there some standard, some legal something, that prohibits exclusion of a child... apart and aside from FA's? Doesn't Duty of Care extend to all children? If there is something that is more of an umbrella protection..... that all children are entitled too... can we tip the scale in our favor. Or at least make them gulp a bit?
By not sending in safe treats, it will make that painfully clear. Yes, I realize there is a cost to my children.... but the remedy is that they be included. And, how do they do that? By following x,y, and z (so to speak). And they do that, not through a debate about FA's, but because it is what they must do for all students.... is that making sense?
And you know, ATM, one of the problems last year is that we had a teacher who said she'd not let stuff in. If it wasn't safe for DS, then it wasn't supposed to be in the class, and nobody got it. She said she'd enforce that part of our 504 to our faces she said it.... and to the principal. And she still let stuff in. The only way I could have stopped the mess of the last year was to have just sat outside the door of the class all day long, every day. And really, the year before that, how I found out about all the stuff being dropped off and let in, was because I was there everyday, throughout the day, picking up and dropping off my son for lunch (since we didn't have a 504 yet that year).

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 5:59am
TwokidsNJ's picture
Joined: 05/28/2005 - 09:00

I appreciate where you are coming from and have 2 comments:
1) I also want to get away from baked goods in the classroom, and the resulting exclusion. I have asked my school to consider packaged treats only. Safer for everyone IMO. I have chosen the safety angle...preventing that ONE mistake. I am just worried a substitute teacher will give my kid the treat that comes in the door on the day the sub is there, etc. To me it's a risk because my kids are young (1st/K) and not assertive.
2) The safe treat box is supposedly kind of cool at our school -- it's unique and the other kids sometimes want one too and say "it's not fair" that they don't get one -- LOL. I haven't personally experienced this yet but maybe someday!
3) I wouldn't want my kid to have nothing just to make an adult point about exclusion. I try to keep my kid out of the firing range as much as possible, keep him happy, and focus on education and accomodations behind the scences.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 6:17am
mommyofmatt's picture
Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

I like your take on this. My main concern would be this: would your kids be tempted at all to eat the food if a child feeling bad for them offered to share it? It might be pretty tough for a child to sit there while everyone else was eating and not eat it.
Based on some of the stuff you've posted in the past, I sadly don't think it would stop stuff from coming in. I guess you could always try it and see how it goes...It would be wonderful if basic human decency actually came in the picture and people did the right thing with stickers or pencils or something other than FOOD!
I hope you don't stay in exile...Meg


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