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Posted on: Sun, 04/10/2016 - 1:38am
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Joined: 06/21/2013 - 11:03

Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.
Our Answer:
Thank you for your question. It’s challenging to find a good environment for children where parents can really feel they are safe. It’s good that you are addressing this concern. Unfortunately, outside food is something that you will always have to be wary of in public places but there are steps you can take to keep your child safe at school.
For starters, it’s important that you talk to the teachers and staff about your child’s allergy. They should know that it’s severe and you should make sure a school nurse is equipped to take action in the case of an allergic reaction. If it seems like the staff is not understanding, there are steps you can take to speak to them about the severity of your child’s allergy. You can read more about talking to others about a child’s allergy here.
You can also consider a 504 plan for your child. A 504 plan would allow you to set specific accommodations for your child at school. It would also allow you to document them so they are followed. You can read more about 504 plans and how to talk to your child’s school about a 504 plan here.
It’s also important that you speak to school staff about cross-contamination. It can be difficult for people without food allergies (or people whose children don’t have food allergies) to sometimes understand the severity of an allergy. You can read more about talking to others about cross-contamination here.
We also reached out to our Facebook community with your question, and you can see their responses here.
We hope this information helps. Take care!

Posted on: Sun, 04/10/2016 - 6:50am
mom1995's picture
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Joined: 11/09/2004 - 09:00

I understand your concerns for an environment that is safe and will foster your daughters learning. As the mom of a now nearly 21 yr old with similar level of sensitivity and concerns for the same when she started kindergarden in 2000 when this allergy was barely heard of. I can only share my perspective and experience in the hopes it gives you insight and food for thought.
In her early years we did require a nut free class room and a safe zone in the cafeteria. We worked very hard to educate all that were part of her day. Some were excepting and others not. It never changed my vigilance or intensity I had for her safety. At 6th grade in her ISD they combined four elementarys into one school. At this point she began to carry her own epi-pens and had the understanding of all staff that at any given moment she could remove herself from an unsafe environment and report dirrectly to the school nurse. By high school she was empowered to go to the Principal's office when issues arose and address them then. Her finding her voice was for me the most important part of the process. I needed to know she could and would stand up to precieved authority to protect herself in an environment where she was expected to always follow orders. I needed her to be able to go to college and succeed.
I am not of the mindset of a nut free school. The reality of the world is that nuts are everywhere. She will grow up and have to navigate bigger campus', work environments and social situations that are not so kind and undersatnding.
By 4th grade our daughter was able to recognize products we never had in our home, foods and non foods that could be a danger. She was her own first line of defense. Controling the school environment at some level is good. We had other provisions like requiring hand washing after lunch for fellow grade students as they left lunch and went to the play ground all together. She had 'her spot' at the table that was center on the table and required no one within two people in all dirrections had nuts of any kind. She had friends that also looked out for her. She was never segregated from classmates and we did not allow for her exclusion of activities. They understood the law did not allow for them to exclude her ever. Yes there were times I wanted to ..... shall we say correct others bad choices in a not so proper way but over all her public school experience was merely preperation for life.
I am proud to say she attends college has a full time job and enjoy's her life much like anyother 20 yr old. With a few consessions here and there.
I hope this helps you in some way and know this forum is a wonderful place for advice and different prespectives.

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