Preparing for middle school

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My PA and TNA dd will be entering middle school next year. I am wondering if anyone who is going through this or who has been through it already has any ideas/plans in place? The areas I will address are: cafeteria, home ec., any parties/cause for food in the classroom, etc. I know she will be changing classes all day, and will train all of the teachers she will have. Does anyone have any thoughts on dd attending the meetings with the principal? I have set up all of the plans for elementary shcool, but thought she should be in on the planning for middle school. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

On Feb 15, 2005

Will your DD be comfortable attending the meeting with the school? Can she speak well about her allergy? If she can then I think she should attend.

You might rehearse her and give her a few things to present at the meeting because this will put a face on the allergy and they will be more inclined to cooperate.

We also brought our DD to a meeting with DS college. We figured safety in numbers plus she is totally invested in keeping her brother alive. She just sat there but it was silent support.

If your DD cannot attend then bring her latest 8X10 photograph so they know WHO you are talking about.

Be concise. Do not overwhelm them with paperwork or medical facts. Get the big important facts out. Be calm and matter of fact, do not overwhelm them with your fear or emotions.

I cried like a baby the first day DS went to high school. On the phone to one of his old teachers, no one else saw or heard me.

And remember one of the most important things to tell them in my estimation is[b] Most kids die when someone at school has decided to wait and see.[/b] If your daughter tells them she is reacting then BELIEVE her and act immediately.

Good luck. Peggy

On Feb 16, 2005

Thanks, Peg, for your response. I think she can handle being there, and I think I will take her. I am trying th shift the responsibility to her. This middle school thing is more involved than I thought it would be. I thought it would be so easy, since we have been through the whole elementary school thing with 2 kids, but middle school presents so many more issues, and does take away the protected environment. Anyone else that has been through this have any thoughts?

On Feb 16, 2005

When my son hit Jr. High I made a one sided "Emergency Treatment Plan" for his asthma and allergies to distribute to his teachers and coaches and for any folder that had his name on it in the offices. Each teacher got two - one on bright paper for their sub folder and one on white so they could copy or just keep for reference where ever it was handy for them. I put a scanned photo of him at the top. The teachers and nurse found it helpful that I put a chart type box and labeled "Condition" "Symptoms" and "Treatment" with brief descriptions in each box.

I also included a cover letter to tell them some ideas of safe packaged treats (not many with multiple food allergies!) - food isn't used nearly as much as it in in elementary school but there were a few occasions that they appreciated the list. We never requested allergen free cafeteria - I don't know if that's in your plan so I can't offer advice there. One time, however, DS mentioned that kids were buying (shelled) peanuts at the student store and thought they made dandy projectiles (spring fever and Jr. High entertainment, I guess . . . ). The principal had no problem pulling that snack off the student store shelf for my son's sake.

My son was brand new to the school district when he started Jr. High - didn't know a soul - no peers to advocate for him. One of his teachers let me come in to speak to one of the classes - my focus was more of a general FA educational segment - mentioning that they might need this information as babysitters or if their first job involved food handling - DS "let" me mention that he had food allergies and carried an Epi-pen. The funniest part is that I brought in milk-egg-nut free brownies and asked the class to guess what I might substitute for those ingredients. The girls almost had a look of horror when they found out they were eating tofu!

------------------ Jana

[url="http://www.seattlefoodallergy.org"]www.seattlefoodallergy.org[/url]

On Feb 20, 2005

Jana, do you have any formal written accommodations (an IHP or 504 plan)?

Gail

Loved the "tofu story", BTW. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Feb 20, 2005

My DD started High School this year. When she was in Middle School she did not eat in the cafeteria. She had 3-6 friends stay in the class with her to eat her lunch. This made her very popular since no one wanted to eat in the caf. No other food was allowed in the classrooms that she went to. There was a note on every door that she went to for classes that said "No Food Allowed-Peanut/Nut Free Zone", or something close to that. My DH and I met with the Principal once by ourselves, without DD. Sometimes it is easier to portray the serious, deadly nature of this allergy without your DD sitting there listening to you. I always want to make sure the staff know just how serious they need to take this allergy. After the first meeting then our DD is involved with most other meetings. I also expected more of her when she went to Middle School. It is much harder to keep an eye on them. They have to become more responsible for their safety. I would often tell her to talk to the teacher but then follow up with a phone call to make sure she had looked after things. Good Luck.

------------------ Karalot

On Feb 20, 2005

I am glad you think that dd will be able to attend the school staff meeting - I agree with Peg that it will be a giant step in knowing who they are talking about! And wonderful for her to start to take charge and all.

My dd is younger (4th) but we still use the FAAN Action Plans - a one sheet quick review of the symptoms etc... where a small picture can be attached. Teachers at dd's school post it in the Teachers lounge and dd's teachers keep it is their "sub" notebook so if they are ill everyone knows. Also it is in the cafeteria, for any lunch room monitor to see.

I think that in middle school our challenge will be these ever increasing overnight trips, retreats, camps, etc... They seem to really be right around the corner and while I am not sure if they are mandatory, I would like dd to attend whenever possible, but not yet ready to give her total responsiblity for all allergy management. She has so far been able to participate within our comfort level with no problem, but in middle school these types of trips are really popular!

On Feb 24, 2005

Quote:

Originally posted by Gail W: [b]Jana, do you have any formal written accommodations (an IHP or 504 plan)?

Gail

Loved the "tofu story", BTW. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img][/b]

When we started school, I had never heard of 504's - the staff I've worked with have always seemed to accomodate DS. When we got to Jr. High and were told by the school counselor that he would not be able to carry his medications I began to think about investigating formal written plans for accomodations but as soon as I talked to the school nurse she told me that with a doctor's note of course he could carry meds. The other accomodation we asked for and recieved without a formal plan was his own locker so that we didn't need to worry about what a locker partner would be putting in with his things.

------------------ Jana

[url="http://www.seattlefoodallergy.org"]www.seattlefoodallergy.org[/url]

On Feb 24, 2005

Quote:

Originally posted by Jana R: [b] .. The other accomodation we asked for and recieved without a formal plan was his own locker so that we didn't need to worry about what a locker partner would be putting in with his things.

[/b]

I never would have thought of that. Great idea. Thank you.

On Feb 24, 2005

Quote:

Originally posted by Chicago: [b]I think that in middle school our challenge will be these ever increasing overnight trips, retreats, camps, etc... They seem to really be right around the corner and while I am not sure if they are mandatory, I would like dd to attend whenever possible, but not yet ready to give her total responsiblity for all allergy management. She has so far been able to participate within our comfort level with no problem, but in middle school these types of trips are really popular![/b]

yes!

Our DD starts Middle School this August. The third week of school is a three day overnight "camp" for the new 6th graders (I think they rotate half in the first part of the week and the second half the later 3 days). The camp is about 2.5 hours away. I'm trying not to be freaked.

On Mar 22, 2005

I am another parent of a PA child entering junior high with a few more questions. Does a peanut free table work for junior high or does that become something that kids make fun of? What about unsupervised lunches? Is there ever a problem with kids sitting there that shouldn't be- and then who deals with telling them to move? Has anyone tried dividing the cafeteria into more generalized areas-- peanuts on one side and peanut free on the other? Any recommendations about Jr. High would be appreciated. Elementary school seemed much easier-- this is a bit overwhelming! Thanks!

P.S. It would also be helpful to know how big your school is. We are going into a large middle school- which seems more difficult to make sure safety measures are in place and make sure the appropriate people know.

On Mar 24, 2005

Just bumping this up again. I would appreciate ANY info regarding entering middle school -what has worked and what hasn't. Thanks.

On Mar 24, 2005

Quote:

Originally posted by Gail W: [b] yes!

Our DD starts Middle School this August. The third week of school is a three day overnight "camp" for the new 6th graders (I think they rotate half in the first part of the week and the second half the later 3 days). The camp is about 2.5 hours away. I'm trying not to be freaked. [/b]

Our son went to camp every year with school from 6-8th grades. I freaked each time but let him go. Small school, knew everybody etc etc.

We spent a lot of time getting everyone ready to help DS stay safe. At each trip they assigned one parent volunteer to buddy with DS when they ate in restaurants so he would have someone there while he spoke to the chef. Worked out fine....

His last trip was up in the mountains a helicopter trip away from an ER. The EMTs had a base at the foot of the mountain. I was actually able to contact that EMT base and speak to them.

Amazingly enough one of their EMTs was also allergic to peanuts so they were well aware of DS situation and very accommodating. The guy even went up the mountain one day to meet DS just for the heck of it.

That was alot of work and I did it all myself to save the school from having to do the extra legwork. DS did fine.

One trip they took I packed food for DS in case he did not find food he could eat. They were eating in different places each meal since it was a road trip. I packed a big cooler and labelled everything. I gave pretty good ( or so I thought ) instructions to the teacher in charge of DS food.

When they returned from the trip the food was still in the cooler, mouldy and untouched. Apparently I needed to say "Put the food in a fridge at night and repack the cooler before you travel" There were fridges available but no one thought to do this. They had lots on their mind and DS always found food to eat but what a horror that would have been if he needed that food.

I guess communication is the key word.

Our situation is so different because DS always went to small private schools and we got cooperation right away.

Peg

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