Questions to ask the School when enrolling child

Posted on: Wed, 02/10/1999 - 3:51pm
Colleen's picture
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Joined: 02/04/1999 - 09:00

For those of us who are soon to be enrolling our "Peanut Allergic" children in the school system for the first time, it would be a great help if those who have already been through this could give us some pointers on what questions to ask the school teacher, nurse, principal etc. Some questions might be obvious, and others we may not have thought about. It would be great to be able to compile a list before meeting with the school. Thanks!

------------------
Colleen

Posted on: Wed, 02/10/1999 - 10:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

<p>Colleen, you beat me to the punch! My son will be starting Kindergarten this year and the exact same things going through your mind are going through mine! I will be glued to this board for some great tips!</p>

Posted on: Thu, 02/11/1999 - 2:39am
Greg's picture
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Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

<p>One often overlooked problem is after school use of classrooms by organizations. Many of these groups,like Boy Scouts etc... get involved with crafts and other things that use peanut butter. If they happen to use the table/desk your child sits at during the day it could cause some problems.</p>

Posted on: Thu, 02/11/1999 - 7:46am
Nicole's picture
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Joined: 01/21/1999 - 09:00

<p>Hi everyone ~</p>
<p>One of the concerns I have in the schools is making sure that the baking done in our elementary is not going to cause an allergic response in our son. Often times schools have ovens in the Kindergarten area as well as in the kitchen area and other classrooms use these ovens for school activities and projects so make sure your entire school staff and personnel are aware of the dangers of using peanut products in the school ovens.</p>
<p>Good Luck. Nicole</p>

Posted on: Sun, 02/14/1999 - 10:36pm
Mary Kay's picture
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Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

<p>Hi,</p>
<p>We have a son in first grade so we have had only two years to implement this plan. We seem to be paving the way each year for the next group of peanut allergic children. I can give you the outline of what has worked for us and if you have more questions email me at [email]mike_b@megsinet.net[/email]<br />
1. In the spring we met with the District Nurse and the Principal to explain that our son could die within 15 minutes of a peanut ingestion if he did not get medical help. Also we told them a general outline of what we would be requesting in the classroom. We set up a tentative date to meet again in the fall, before school starts with everyone involved at that time.<br />
2. The District Nurse and the Principal arranged a meeting a few days before school started that included everyone, and I mean everyone that would be involved with our son. This included custodians, gym teacher, art teacher, music teacher, aides, (lunchroom staff if the child will be at school eating lunch), bus driver, etc.<br />
3. We provided a flyer with our son's picture on it and what to do if there was an accidental exposure. It includes his symptoms, where in the school his 2 epi pens are located, and how important it was to administer the epinephrine and call 911 at the same time. Then give the benadryl. This flyer is posted in the classroom (important for substitutes), the health office, school bus, anywhere necessary.<br />
4. At the meeting we laid out what we would like to have happen in the classroom and asked for their comments on whether it was workable. Everyone was very receptive and even came up with more scenarios and what would help make our son even safer. We of course asked for a peanut free classroom. We composed a letter (signed by the Principal) to send out to parents explaining the situation. In first grade, the kids bring in snacks everyday, so instead of listing snacks they couldn't bring I gave the parents a list of about 30 healthy snacks that were peanut free. I also supplied some spare snacks in case someone inadvertantly brought a peanut snack. The snacks are still there and I think the teachers have only had to use one.</p>
<p>This is getting too long. There is a lot more and we have a written outline of our son's Health Plan. I would be glad to FAX it to anyone that requests it at the email address above or the flyer we circulated. Good luck.</p>
<p>Mary Kay</p>
<p>------------------<br />
Mary Kay</p>

Posted on: Mon, 02/15/1999 - 5:34am
Mary Catherine's picture
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Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

<p>Don't rely on other parents to send in safe snacks. You know how complicated this is, number one, and some just don't BELIEVE it can be as serious as we say it is. I always provide ALL the food for my son. I stop in each day to update plans and to check and see if a substitute teacher is there for the day in any of his classes. His homeroom teacher calls me if a substitute is present for her, then I give them a crash course in managing peanut allergies. I am present for all field trips and parties, though not always on the committee. They can NEVER dismiss my son for an early emergency dismissal without contacting a parent who must come with medication. What if I'm not home, and he is too young to give his own medication? That could be a nightmare. How many people will be trained in giving the Epi-pen? Is there full day coverage for the nurse? If a reaction occurs, will a familiar face accompany him in the ambulance and who? Keep up with art and cooking projects in his/her hallway. Our son is taught he must always have medication with him. He carries it from room to room, Epi-pen, benedryl, walkie-talkie which the nurse has the other, and emergency care plan. It's in an insulated lunch pack. Now that it is too cold to go out for recess, only the walkie-talkie goes. We have a peanut-free table;kids do well with this. Any sack races on field day???Our sacks were PEANUT sacks. Murphy's law....That's all for now. Good luck.</p>

Posted on: Tue, 02/16/1999 - 11:25am
Laura's picture
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Joined: 02/16/1999 - 09:00

<p>My son will be entering Jr. KIndergarten this Fall & I'm scared stiff. He's 3 years old & we've attended many Mom & Tot programs, only to encounter lots of obstacles. I always inform everyone of his anaphylaxis/allergies (peanuts, treenuts, dairy & egg ) yet I've had other Mom's bring in deadly snacks & even offer them to him. I find it very hard to imagine that it would be much different once he enters school, but all I can do is hope & pray that he's kept safe until he comes back home to his family at the end of the day.</p>

Posted on: Wed, 03/03/1999 - 11:42pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

As the time draws closer to the end of the school year and the beginning of a new one, I am getting more and more apprehensive to my son starting Kindergarten. For the school year 1999-2000, his school will be starting a week earlier; August 18. When I read the articles of children being hateful towards other children with the peanut allergy, I get knots in my stomach.
I will be meeting with school officials when I register him next month, and no matter how prepared I feel I am with this allergy (I am still learning something new about it every day thanks to this board and FAN), I still feel queasy some days at the thought of "releasing" him into the real world.
Those of you whose children will be starting Kindergarten this year, how are feeling now that the new school year is right around the corner?
Those of you who have already "been there", how did you get through those first days and how are things now compared to the initial first days in school?
[This message has been edited by Connie (edited March 04, 1999).]

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/1999 - 11:47am
Mary Catherine's picture
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Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

Hi Connie. We're in our second year of school now (1st grade), and I do feel much more relaxed. Don't worry too much about children teasing. I had only one incident to deal with so far. The children are wonderful and very accepting of his differences; they are very caring. They remind him to carry his epinephrine pack when they change classes, and ask to have their lunches checked so they know if they can sit at his table, etc. Parents call me to determine if snacks are safe, review party plans, etc. Hopefully you will meet this same type of people. I assist with each lunch period, and have pretty much given up my job so I can be near enough to school if I need to respond. I haven't reached that degree of a comfort level yet! Will I ever? I'm very available at school for teaching and have found a positive response from the staff. They are very concerned about his safety. I work hard at making sure we don't infringe on anyone else's rights. It would only take one person to upset this balance we've achieved. I hope your experience will be the same.

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/1999 - 12:01pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Mary Catherine,
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'm glad to hear things have worked out for you.
I quit my job in January so I could be a "stay at home" mom and spend some quality time with my son before he starts Kindergarten. Now I will have the time to become his "room mother" at school so I can be close by. (Maybe when he turns 30 I might be able to let him go)!
Thanks again!

Posted on: Mon, 03/15/1999 - 9:12pm
Coco's picture
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Joined: 03/14/1999 - 09:00

I have a son in kindergarten this year. He is there all day every day. The school is incredible. I offered before school began to supply all food activities. I have taken them safe gingerbread boys with icing and treats that they could decorate with, safe chocolate valentines, safe graham cracker houses to decorate for Christmas etc. I also volunteer my time to stay in class on "food" days. Please be very cautious of school trips. Also supply teachers. Most problems in school (and other times) occur when there is a change in normal routine. We also made up a very detailed protocol list for Charles at school. The school further approached us with a written list of 16 things we had agreed upon. It is scary to think of trusting strangers with your child...but don't worry...they won't be strangers for very long. Good Luck to all!
[This message has been edited by Coco (edited March 16, 1999).]

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