My son was diagnosed with PA at age 2. He just entered 1st grade and is eating in the lunchroom for the first time. At present, the school does not have a "peanut free table". While he has never had a reaction from being "near" peanuts, I cannot be sure this would not happen. I have addressed my concerns with the appropriate staff and am waiting for their response. I am still amazed at the amount of people this allergy affects, and the ignorance of people who do not take this life threatening allergy seriously. Also, for those of you whose children sit at a "peanut free table", are non-allergic children allowed to sit at the table as well, as long as they don't have nuts, or are only the allergic children permitted to sit there? While my primary concern is my son's health, I am also worried he will feel ostrisized for being at "THE TABLE". Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
On Aug 28, 2001
You and I both check out my post in "SCHOOLS" if you figure out how to calm your nerves I'd love it if you'd let me in on the secret. Good luck! 6 days in the counting for us [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
On Aug 29, 2001
I wish I could say I have found a way to calm your nerves! I too have just sent my son off to first grade. Talk about stress.I really dont know how he will react to a room full of peanut butter. They have put him at a table by himself(isolation as usual).
On Aug 29, 2001
I am lucky in that our school is peanut free. Although it is never 100% effective. In my daughtres first week of school in JK she came home covered in welts head to toe 1 1/2 inch diameter from sitting across from a peanut butter sandwich. I was not notified for 3 days that the sandwich was even in her classroom. Some peanut ban eh? Anyways my thoughts and prayers are with you!! Good luck and keep safe.
On Aug 29, 2001
MarleneD, welcome! If you are in the U.S., have you considered developing a 504 Plan for your son so that he could have a "peanut free" table? Are there any other PA children in his school?
Also, I'm pretty sure in the video Alexander the Elephant that Couldn't Eat Peanuts, or perhaps it's the book where Alexander goes to the cafeteria for the first time, other non-PA children ARE allowed to sit at the table as long as they have "peanut free" lunches and snacks.
You may find the FAAN BE A PAL Program quite helpful in educating other children about your son's allergy as well as recognizing them for not bringing peanut products in their lunch. I did this with my son's classroom last year and the results were amazing. The children felt thanked, appreciated, and also educated. If we are able to teach other non-food allergic children how to have empathy at very young ages, I truly believe it helps.
There are some wonderful 504 Plans posted on this board already. Simply read through one and see what points you would like to have implemented for your son. Even post a totally separate question for those parents whose children do have a "peanut free" table at the school for their children - Do Other Non-PA Children Sit At Your Child's Peanut Free Table at School? and see what response you get to that.
If you're really running into a great deal of difficulty, please contact me off-the-board and I will see what I can do as far as contacting a group of American PA parents/people that I am in contact with off-the-board.
As far as your nerves, I am of NO help there whatsoever. My son has a "peanut free" classroom and is entering Grade One this year as well but my nerves are totally shot. I think most all of us are in the same boat with that right now.
Figure out what YOU need to feel your son is safe at school and what YOU need so you don't go bonkers while he's at school. Then have it implemented (I'm sorry, I made that sound easy and realize that it may not be).
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
On Aug 30, 2001
what is a 504 plan?
On Aug 31, 2001
For information on 504 plans go to schools and do a search with 504 as the topic.
On Sep 5, 2001
Thanks to all for your responses, suggestions and support. I have been reading through some of the information on existing boards regarding schools and have found it very informative. I am still waiting for a response back from my son's school as to what they plan to do to ensure my son's safety. We've made it through a week of school safely, but clearly I do not wish to "keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best" when it pertains to my child's well being.
Thanks and best wishes for the health and safety of all!!
On Sep 5, 2001
Originally posted by MarleneD: [b]Also, for those of you whose children sit at a "peanut free table", are non-allergic children allowed to sit at the table as well, as long as they don't have nuts, or are only the allergic children permitted to sit there? While my primary concern is my son's health, I am also worried he will feel ostrisized for being at "THE TABLE".[/b]
My son started first grade yesterday, and his cafeteria experience went much better than I had anticipated.
Let me preface my comments with a little background: my PA/TNA son has never yet had an allergic reaction more severe than an itchy tongue and never shown a contact or airborne sensitivity, so while I'm quite cautious about the food I buy for him (he never eats "may contain"s or "manufactured in a facility..." items), and never carry fewer than 2 epipens, I am probably a bit more willing to let him be in proximity to children eating peanut butter than most people on this board have the luxury to be.
Before school started, I explained to him that there was a peanut-free table in the cafeteria, but that if it meant that he'd have to eat his lunch alone, or if he was uncomfortable sitting there for some other reason, it would be fine for him to sit at a regular table with his friends, as long as he remembered not to touch or share their food. (I'd also heard rumors of occasions in which children had brought PB&Js to the peanut-free table when it wasn't in use, so I was dubious--to say the least--about the actual protection the peanut-free table offered.)
Well, when he went to the cafeteria, the boy who has the assigned seat next to my son in the classroom, bought a lunch from the cafeteria (with no obvious peanut content), and joined my son at the peanut free table! I was so relieved. My son could be as safe as was feasible, and didn't have to be a pariah. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img] Whew!
I can't imagine why friends who are eating safe food should be kept away from the peanut-free table.
Anyway, it worked out for us, at least for yesterday. And now my next project is to volunteer to be the "recycling" lady in the cafeteria every so often so I can get to know the cafeteria staff and double-check on the cleanliness and use of the peanut-free table.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll go over as smoothly for the rest of the year.
Good luck in establishing a peanut-free table for your child's school. This seems to me to be a simple and cheap solution, and I hope it works out for you.
On Sep 6, 2001
This whole school thing totally frustrates me!! It is bad enough thinking and worring about the actual allergy. My son just started full day kindergarden and they have established a peanut-free table for him. I am very concerned about his exposure. If I talk too much about it to the staff they think I am a freak!! Nobody can releate to the seriousness of food allergies unless they experience it them selves. If you are TOO much with it you are labeled nerotic. GOD FORBID something happens the first thing someone says is 'How can the mother allow the pa child to eat there!!!' Also, you try to be so cautious and the same time you 'off play it' with your child because you don't want them to get anxiety or be 'labeled'. I bet in 10 years it will be accepeted better in youth envirourments. I feel like when I say goodbye to my son in the morning and see him at 3:00 I made it through a safe day!!