Talking Allergies

Another new article redarding school lunches
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Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:48 am ]
Post subject:  Another new article redarding school lunches

This article illustrates how frustrating it can be when you are told what not to do but not given information on what to do. ... 70910.html

Author:  mharasym [ Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:30 pm ]
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I feel for the parents in the class too! Having a child with multiple food allergies is difficult enough for the allergic family to deal with - let alone those in the community.

Several years ago a co-worker's son was in a class with a child with multiple food allergies and the way they dealt with it in grade 1was to have a monthly "lunch buddy" program.

Each month, a group of 3 other children from the class were invited to eat with the allergic child at a specified table with safe food. They were given a list of the safe items they could bring and they sat together for the whole month. Each month the "buddies" were swapped out for new ones. This way, by the end of the year everyone in the class would have eaten at the buddy table and would have begun to build an understanding of what it was like for their school mate. They were only "inconvenienced" for one month of the year and it was a bit easier for all parents to get on board. They still had backlash - but it seemed to work. If memory serves, the child was wheat, milk, egg, peanut, nut & fish allergic. Of course they took other precautions as well - special cleanup of tables & chairs, hand washing for all, etc., etc., but the idea that not everyone needed to avoid all foods all year was far more palletable than a complete ban.

At the end of my co-workers buddy month, she commented on how tough it was and how long it took to prepare lunch, shop, etc. Welcome to a taste of our world . . .

Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:41 pm ]
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I wonder if it would be easier for parents to get a notice before school starts around the time the bus schedules go out.
I think that by the time the parents get notes indicating what foods they can't send, they may have already spent 3-4 weeks planning what they will send. I think it starts when you shop for back to school clothes and lunch bags etc. It would be hard to give much notice before school starts as I imagine a lot changes over the summer but if a note could go out reminidng the parents of the school policy it might help get parents online before school starts.

Author:  ficbot [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:33 pm ]
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I wonder if the school thought to ask the mother of that child what she packs for lunch. I'm not saying she has to sit down and hold a big seminar with the other parents or anything, but if anyone would know what is safe and still palatable to children, it would be her, wouldn't it? :) It wouldn't be that hard to include some suggestions if you're already sending home a letter anyway...

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:26 pm ]
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I'm just wondering why the parent involved here didn't contact the allergic childs parent or parent via teacher and ask for food suggestions, or that the school provide an eating area outside the class. It just seems odd to me that someone would contact CBC because you don't know what to do, instead of contacting those who know what to do.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:05 pm ]
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I like the "lunch buddy" system that mharasym raises for a case like this.

But if the principal feels this case warrants full food exclusion, some ideas would have seemed rather logical (and obvious) to include.

I'm sure a dietitian from CHEO or another pediatric hospital would be happy to help write up some suggested "menus".

Author:  _Susan_ [ Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:33 pm ]
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I think the parents are operating from a place of fear. I can understand wanting to ban all allergens. I also understand that this may not be possible. (such as those who are allergic to insects)
I think it is confusing for a principal to ban eggs, wheat, milk, peanuts and nuts but to still go ahead with Pizza Day and the milk program. Perhaps the memo was initiated before the decision to ban the allergens.
I hope that the parents will find our local support group so that they can get support in coping with food allergies. In time they may come to see that while we can not get rid of every risk but we can take many steps to reduce the risk of exposure.

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