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advice re: letter requesting accomodation at a conference?
http://talkingallergies.allergicliving.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1191
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Author:  Helen [ Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:43 pm ]
Post subject:  advice re: letter requesting accomodation at a conference?

Hi everyone,

I might end up erasing this letter later....but for now, I'd be grateful for any feedback/opinions/editorial suggestions on the draft. I hate writing these things (well, I don't mind firing off letters to companies, but it is difficult to write letters like this when there is more at stake). Criticisms welcome (particularly if people think that I sound too demanding--private messages are fine, too).

[letter deleted]

Author:  soccermom [ Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

Helen,

I think you have done an absolutely wonderful job writing that letter. You have explained things very clearly and do not sound too demanding. I think when they realize they do not have to be responsible for your food, it will make them more relaxed about the whole thing.

I also do not think it is odd to request foods have no nuts even though you will bringing your own food. I have done that myself on several occasions. I just think it reduces the chance of possible cross-contamination and it will also reduce your stress!!

Good luck at your conference.

Soccermom

Author:  Helen [ Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the encouragement :) I am going to do a little tinkering with the letter after hearing back from a few people through private message...will post the updated draft (which will represent a group editing effort)

Author:  KarenOASG [ Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

I too thought it was a really good letter - and not demanding at all.

It might also be worthwhile to ask them about emergency services... might help get the point across that your situation is serious. And also mention that you carry an auto-injector (or two) with you at all times so that they know that you do have emergency medication with you.

Just as a side note: Will there be anyone there that you can train to react in case of an emergency? It would be good to have someone with that kind of knowledge just in case.

Good luck with the re-write! :)

K.

Author:  Helen [ Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:19 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for all the support everyone, but in the end I decided not to send the letter.

Someone on this list pointed out a really good resource that I'll pass on:
http://www.aaia.ca/ENGLISH/Main_Pages/Articles.htm#brochures--Click on "peanut allergy brochure"

The brochure addresses the question of threshhold doses (could be as low as 1/70 000 th of a peanut).

Author:  ethansmom [ Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

Have a great time at the conference - I'm sure all will go well! :D

Author:  Mylène [ Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

sorry I haven't been here in sooo long. :oops: (and can't catch up to all the messages...)

I have attended many conferences (big and small) over the past years and I have found that the conference organizers are really understanding when you ask and explain.

I know you have opted out of sending the letter, but for others and the future, here are a couple of things.

One thing I noticed in the letter you first wrote is that you mention cross-reactions with door handles and all. This is one point where you may get push back and resistence is that normally conferences are held in "public" places and people cannot garantee that yesterday's group didn't have nuts etc. so they will be less willing to accomodate you.

The one going extremely good thing that I would like to point out to others who may attend conferences is that you say it right up front that you are NOT going to consume their food! This is a really good point because in that type of environment, it is unsafe anyways and a large headache to the organizers. Another thing was that you asked to take obvious sources of nuts out and did not ask about traces of nuts. This is one point that needs to be stressed with people as it makes life a lot easier for them and they are more willing to accomodate and take out the banana-nut muffin if they can leave the others without worry!

You also mentionned only about your anaphylaxis allergy and not your others. This is a point that people will appreciate because you will not be eating the food anyways. And after sending the letter, always ask for a confirmation and a contact... and call that contact and talk! This helps them know the seriousness and that it is not just you being fussy.

This is just my 2 cents that I wanted to add based on my own experience on dealing with conference attendance.

Mylène

Author:  Helen [ Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Mylene, good to see you back :) Thanks for your input. The problem with asking for allergy accomodations is that people tend to think that one is asking for them to *eliminate* the risk when usually what we're asking for is a *reduction* of the risk.

Yeah, I figured (when I was thinking of sending the letter) that it would be better just to focus on my most serious concern . . . although I've had anaphylactic reactions to egg and soy too . . . but I've never had as near a serious reaction as I've had to nuts.

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