I need some QUICK advice!

Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2004 - 12:47am
Sarahfran's picture
Joined: 06/08/2000 - 09:00

My PA DD started kindergarten this week. Today is the first day that they'll be eating lunch at school. We had discussed her allergy with the school in advance, of course, and were assured that there is a peanut-free table for her to sit at for lunchtime.

Today when I dropped her off I reminded the teacher of the allergy and seating arrangement and found out that the peanut-free table is in the hallway outside of the cafeteria. If my DD were a sociable person, I'd be fine with that, but in addition to her allergy, she also has a social/pragmatic speech disorder. Interacting with other children is something she really has problems with (she receives speech therapy and is fine in a structured setting, but in an unstructured setting, she flounders), so I'm really worried that she'll withdraw more and feel ostracised by not being able to even be in the same room with the other kids to eat. She gets to choose a friend to sit with, but that's the problem--she doesn't know how to make friends. She's friendly enough, but just doens't seem to understand the rules of interacting with kids.

I have a meeting with the school (her IEP team meeting) at 12:30 today, so this would be an ideal opportunity to bring up my concerns, but I'm wondering if I'm overreacting? Is eating in the hall o.k. or bad? OK for her allergy, but bad for her social problems. And of course we have to balance the needs of the other kids with allergies (Claire is o.k. in a room with peanuts, as long as she's not in contact with them; other kids aren't as fortunate and need that completely separate space in the hall).

Aaargh! What should I do?


Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2004 - 1:00am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Sarahfran, do you have a 504 Plan in place?
I think your daughter is being socially isolated. Yonit very kindly sent me a copy of their family's plan for their PA child and it includes sitting at a separate table but also tries to ensure that it will not be socially isolating.
Last year, the principal of the school my son was going to did want my son isolated from the rest of his class for the whole year - eating his lunch in another room all together. Here, in Ontario, it is against the Ontario Human Rights Commission for them to do that.
My children are starting a new school again this year (my fault, BAD MOMMY stuff [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ) and although it's great to hear, yes, they can take a buddy with them to the "peanut free" table, what if they don't have any buddies yet because they haven't made any?
No, I'm sorry Sarahfran, but I would not have your daughter socially isolated from other children. I don't believe it's emotionally healthy for our children.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2004 - 1:04am
ALLERGYMOM's picture
Joined: 10/09/2003 - 09:00

Sarahfran I agree with Cin I would not let them do that. I hope it works out for you. Good luck to you [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Have A Great Day

Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2004 - 1:26am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

I totally agree, also. My daughter is not the most socially adept, either, which made a peanut free table a disaster for her. In our case it was a table next to the regular classroom table and she was sometimes there alone. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] It wasn't that the other kids were uncaring, I think it just wasn't on their radar screen to even think of sitting with her.
Your situation sounds even worse. I'm glad you're meeting with the school today. I think you make a good case for the reasons why your daughter should sit with her class.
IMHO, focus only on your daughter's needs and don't worry about what other parents (at your dd's school) are asking for their pa kids.
Maybe your dd could be at one end of the table and the other kids near her would not have pb in their lunches. Actually, in kindergarten I would really want a peanut free class.
Good luck!!!!
Please post back this afternoon and let us know how it went!!!!
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2004 - 2:20am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I think we lose something here in translation. We spend lots of time and energy telling the school our child will DIE if exposed to peanuts and the school reacts and sometimes over reacts. They have little experience with PA and might need suggestions as to how to handle this situation.
I would maybe instruct your child to sit at the end of any lunch table she is at, maybe a table at the periphery of the room. And back this up with help from the teacher or lunch aide to find someone to sit with her until she makes friends.
My son's school ate outside (Southern CA, no rain, warm all the time) and he found places and people. I will say he isolated himself sometimes but that was out of self-preservation and shyness and I appreciated that since the school was chock full of PB.
He is still a bit of a loner but he is able to join in social situtations easily when he wants to. He's opened up tremendously in the last few years and is now a social butterfly (what is the term for guys... moth?)
Please I mean this with respect, you might have to decide between safe and socialized for now until your child is old enough to figure this out herself. The schools have a tough enough job without having to meet every single need. Our need is a life threatening need and should have priority over socializing.

Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2004 - 7:48am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I agree with Peg. When your school finally "gets it", then they can go overboard - but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. We, too, are trying to overlook some "not the best solution" provisions for Drew because he is away from the pb and safe, and his safety is our #1.
Are you (or another family member or close friend) available to have lunch at the school a couple of times each week? Maybe help ease your child into the new routine, help make new friends and see for yourself whether or not this is going to work. I know that when Drew tells me about certain things at school, my mind sometimes makes it out to be worse than it really is...and when I can see for myself, then I know that either (1)it, indeed, is not a good thing and can give Drew (or the school) suggestions on how to make it better or (2) it isn't as bad as I first assumed it to be.
Had did your meeting with the school go? Were you able to get something more acceptable worked out?
Edited to add: Kindergarten is tough (or at least it was for us - myself, DH and Drew)!! Hang in there!! You're doing great!!
[This message has been edited by Drew's mom (edited September 02, 2004).]

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