Food Allergies and School

Starting 4K: the nervousness of the unknown

Okay so we’re starting it over again. D-Man has been going to the same school/day care since he was 9 months old, he is nearly 5 years old now. They were supportive when we were just finding out about his allergies and have made accommodations throughout his time at daycare. We have never (knock on something wooden) had to use any of the EpiPens and the day care always knows when they are about to expire.

In a few short weeks he will be getting bused to his 4K public school in the morning from day care and being bused back prior to lunch time. This makes the transition a little easier, but still I am nervous. I have all the action plans created by the allergist and ready to hand off to the teacher, nurse and who-ever else needs to read them. PLEASE READ AND REMEMBER THEM.

D-Man will most likely be at some kind of nut free table during snack time (hopefully). I really don’t think they have a nut free, fish free, seed free, and cucumber free table. Luckily all of his reactions are a result of contact or ingestion and not air borne in quality. Un-Luckily some of his reactions include swelling and anaphylaxis.

This week is our back to school night where we meet our teacher, see our room, get school pictures taken, and talk to the nurse if needed. Yes our family needs to talk to the nurse. Hopefully our teacher will greet us and be able to listen and understand that I want D-Man to be safe, I don’t want him to be scared or isolated because of his allergies. I want them to understand it is more than just peanut free.

1 Week into 4K: So Far So Good…

D-Man has been in 4K for just over a week. His teacher and the school call the 4K and Early Child hallway a “peanut sensitive area.” They are not able to be truly nut free, but try to be safe and encourage families to not bring nut products to school.

We met with our classroom teacher in our conference prior to school starting. The majority of our conference centered around D-Man’s allergies and a plan for him to remain safe during his time at school. He will not being eating lunch at 4K, but there will be snack and some special treats for birthdays or holidays. His teacher assigns each student a day to bring in snack for the whole class. She sent out a great list of items that would be safe-ish. The list was definitely nut free but did not cover all of D-Man’s allergies (peanut, tree nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, fish and cucumbers). I would not expect the teacher to have this list, it’s difficult for me to make some days.

Our plan, so that he would be safe, was that he would bring in his own snack everyday, instead of eating the snack that the rest of the class eats. The teacher is planning on turning the snack into a center in the classroom (counting, number line, or sorting). This is the conundrum I tend to get hung up on, is the accommodations for safety which are needed seems to isolate D-Man. They make him different from everyone else in the room.

I really think this isolation or him being different is what I get hung up on, he at this time does not seem to mind. I love that about him, he is so strong and able to be different. I hope that this quality continues to thrive in him.

After the first few days of this system, his teacher sent me an email and called me to check in and see how he was doing. She felt that this system was going well and he was not having an issue at school. He told me he enjoyed having the snack for home as well.

I still was grasping at D-Man-fitting-in straws, and suggested to the teacher that if she knew the snack provided from the student would be safe for D-Man he could partake. I would continue to send a snack from home along with his list of unsafe foods. She preferred we would revisit this at the next conference and keep the original system we have in place.

Yep, it’s my issue now not so much D-Man’s. It’s okay to stand out from the crowd and be different, it’s not that he won’t fit in. It’s that he will make his own path and others may follow him.