Speech Therapist not getting it!

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 6:09am
Ree's picture
Joined: 12/31/2004 - 09:00

This is long...

My ds is in pre-k but I take him to the elementary school 2x/wk for speech. I sit in the office with my 3yr & 9mo old ds' and wait. I told his speed therapist before he started about his allergies. I wrote it down on his profile, in bold.

On Halloween, he comes running down all excited with a little cup of gummy bears. I was shocked and asked him if he ate any. He said yes. She walked in behind him and I said "Can he eat those??!?" and she says "Yes, he earned them." I said "NO, I mean what's in them???" She looked at me strange and asked "why?" I said, "He's got food allergiest, remember? We talked about it and it's documented in his file." She say's "Oh, well then he should know better than to eat them. He should've told me." Ugh..no way. I said that it was unfair to make that comment and we are working on that with him. I asked why she was rewarding with candy and she said that it only happens at Halloween...yeah, right.

Well Christmas comes around and he comes running down again with a bag of candy... a bag! She follows smiling, again, he's earned it. Of course there's things with 'may contain' warnings on it. I gave back what he couldn't eat and left.

Today, a non-holiday, he comes down chewing. Ugh. What did you eat? He says a tootsie roll. WHAT? He said that she told him to eat it that it was ok. I had the secretary call her to confirm that's what it was and told her not to let him eat anything next time.

I'm fuming right now. And I wrote this in his notebook that she uses:

"Please, Please, Please - do not tell my son that it is ok to eat anything unless I have approved it, even if it's something he's had in the past. We work very hard on having him check with us first and we need others to work with us. It's very difficult for a child to disagree with an adult, so if you say it's ok, he's going to listen to you. We don't allow anyone to feed or give candy to our children because it could turn deadly. Please respect this. If you feel he deserves a treat, make a note in this book and I will give him one at home. Thank you."

I'm just so amazed that she's giving candy as a reward. With so many food related issues in children, diabeties, obesity, cavities, and most important to us, food allergies, you'd think it would not be allowed.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 9:02am
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

Rewards in the form of food, especially candy is completely out of line IMHO. Even without food allergies!
My son was 4 when diagnosed, even before he was diagnosed, I did not appreciate people giving him stuff to eat, candy and cookies in particular.
Additionally, is it the norm to reward progress in speech therapy other than with words of encouragement and praise?
I am totally against rewarding kids in this way. There is a thread called Gold Star Junkies....I'll look for it.
You have to tell this woman that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is she to give your child ANYTHING TO EAT. NADA, NIL, NOTHING.
You said that you wrote it in his profile. I think that you can never assume that even as an educator in a position like this that she'll have knowledge of food allergies. She many not have even read the profile thoroughly. You need to explain it...how a reaction occurs, the symptoms the seriousness.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:35am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

If he is getting speech therapy, does that mean he has an IEP? If so, can you have it written in the IEP that they are not to give him anything to eat ever? Or can you get a 504 for him? The speech therapist sounds stupid (given that this has happened several times) and this is so risky! To expect a four year old to always turn down food is unrealistic and not age appropriate. It is up to the adult to not offer him anything.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:10am
Ree's picture
Joined: 12/31/2004 - 09:00

Thanks for you responses...and I agree 100%. I've been trying to picture having kids without FA and I still think I'd be mad. I'm just not a candy mom. When he showed me his bag of candy, I felt like now I had to be the bad-guy police man not allowing him to have it until after dinner. I just don't like it..
So now what? Do I just talk to her, or do I go talk to the principle? Yes, he does have an IEP, and I never thought to put that in there. How do I do it?
I'm thinking of ripping the letter out of his folder and starting over...what would you do & say? I definitely don't want to make a scene, but I don't ever want her to give him candy again. Ever. And, he'll be getting services from her for the next 2 years.
What if I provide her with a bag of non-food treats with a formal letter stating my request to not give food under any circumstances and cc: the priciple for his IEP?

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:59am
PennMom's picture
Joined: 08/01/2006 - 09:00

I can relate to your frustration. Had a speech therapist for my 3 1/2 DD (PA & TNA) - she was with our "state program" here- they mentioned they used Peanut butter to help the children make the "F" sound- that was my first red flag. Second red flag was my DD's profile had in bold Severe Nut allergy- and even her speech folder had it written very large on the outside yet this teacher couldn't seem to remember- every time I told her she acted "clueless". I now have a different speech therapist for my DD- who "gets it" and gives stickers after each visit...and after 10 stickers they will get a small prize (not sure what these are yet- but she has always told us she didn't use any food- and I'm actually there with my DD).
Bottom line is if you have "red flags" or aren't comfortable make sure this teacher understands the seriousness (however you have to)! It's not right that she keeps giving your child food- especially after you brought it to her attention. If someone is that non-chalant about it- I would also worry if she would recognize a reaction. I know it's tough- but you are doing the right thing by being concerned!

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:38pm
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Now it is coming back to me that my dd also had speech therapy (it was 8 years ago, hard to remember that far back, since her speech has been fine for a long time). I remember that they had the habit of rewarding with food and I said they could not, and they said no problem. We never had any issues with it. Why can`t this speech therapist just follow instructions (that is a rhetorical question, I don`t expect you to answer). After all, she has an education, she cannot remember something so simple as don`t give him food? I am no expert on IEPs (my dd has a 504, no IEP), but I am a big believer in the paper trail, so I would write a letter documenting what has happened so far (all the time you have told her not to give him food, and all the times she has done it anyhow), and then request in the letter that it be added to his IEP that he not be given any food under any circumstances. That is a totally reasonable request. I remember when dd was age 4 and in preschool, I had her picture taped in her lunchbox, so she would know it was hers (there were so many girls with Barbie lunchboxes). I told dd that if her picture was not in there, she could not eat the lunch. So one day the picture came out, the preschool teacher taped it back in, but dd having seen the lunchbox with the picture not there was not sure if the picture was taped in the right lunchbox, so she refused to eat. This was at lunchtime and I was not picking her up until 5:00. Dd said she could not eat it, so the teacher let her go hungry, because those were my instructions. Dd was allergic to so many things that if she had eaten the wrong lunch, she would have had a reaction with all of her allergies. The teacher actually let her skip lunch because my instructions were if her picture came out she could not eat it. It was important to teach dd when to accept food and when not to. So I don`t understand why your speech therapist cannot follow simple instructions. Anyhow, I would write the letter and address it to whoever is in charge of the IEP (is there an IEP coordinator the same way there is a 504 coordinator?). Gail W., on this board has a child who has both an IEP and a 504, maybe she can better direct you what to do.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:50pm
Ree's picture
Joined: 12/31/2004 - 09:00

Wow, your dd must've been starving! But you're right and I'm glad the teacher followed your instructions.
I'll put it in writing and talk to the principle. She's in charge of all the services, including FA. I see her every time I'm there and we "chit-chat" a bit. Very nice woman. I think I need to volunteer my training services as well...it's very apparent they haven't been trained on FA in awhile, if ever. Funny, they're considered one of the most food allergy aware districts in the area. Signs all over the school, peanut/nut free classroom for every grade. Why the heck is she giving out candy!?!?!!?

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:59pm
SallyL's picture
Joined: 02/20/2006 - 09:00

I would be really mad...it's not so hard to remember, especially since you've had issues with it twice before!!! That's unbelievable!!!! (and scary!)
I don't think you should have to supply anything but it may just be easier to supply her with a pack of stickers or something that she can give him....assuming she remembers.
I'd definately be talking to her superiors - it's not like it was one mistake - it happened multiple times and could have been quite serious.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:03pm
onedayatatime's picture
Joined: 09/11/2007 - 09:00

[This message has been edited by onedayatatime (edited September 08, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:13pm
Adele's picture
Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

Even if my kid didn't have a food allergy, I would object to rewarding a child with food. This is SO wrong! No wonder there is such an obesity problem.

Posted on: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 12:33am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Yes, my dd was probably starving, but the way I look at it, it may have saved her life to go hungry for 5 hours. Up until about age 6 or 7, you really have to be consistent with the food allergy rules. These are the rules that your child will have to use to keep himself safe for the rest of his life. By age 7 or 8 they can discriminate a little more (apple juice in a box brought by another parent would be okay, but cookies brought by another parent would not be). At age 4 though, you have to keep it really simple. If it is not our food from our house, you cannot have it. These are the rules that keep them alive. I cannot even count the number of times that dd has been offerred unsafe food and told it was safe. Being consistent during the preschool years until she was old enough to determine for herself what is safe is what keeps food allergy kids alive.


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