Friday, August 19, 2011

Food Allergies and Easing Back-to-School Anxiety

I recently posted this amazing article, "Easing Back-to-School Anxiety" from FAAN on my Facebook page, but since so many of deal with this problem, I wanted to repost it again to make sure that everyone sees it.

Even though my daughter is entering 6th grade, each year brings new variables. The FAAN article, written by Kristen Kauke -- she was a speaker at the most recent FAAN conference I attended and she was so warm, wise and engaging--really hits home with her points about trying not to anticipate catastrophe and trying to live in the moment. (This is, of course, after you've filled out your zillion forms, spoken to teachers and staff and in other ways done your best to ensure an environment for your child that is as safe as possible.)

It's not always easy to feel relaxed about school, especially for younger kids who need to rely on adults for help and support with regard to their allergies. I also get diseheartened when I hear stories like the one someone shared on my Facebook page the other day about a "surprise" peanut butter treat (brought in by another parent) and served by the teacher on the first day of school. This was after a food allergy meeting with this teacher, apparently, so I'm fully aware that sometimes we do need to be persistent and discuss things more than once.

On a brighter note, I've also seen my own child take charge of her allergies which is very rewarding. So those of you with very young kids, take heart. When you feel your child has reached a certain level of maturity and understanding, it does help ease your mind and it is also a healthy thing for them.

I'm in the middle of my own back-to-school meetings and negotiations, so I truly get how demanding this time of year is. Once you've put your plans into place, I want to encourage you all to try to forget the allergies for a minute and look at your child as the beautiful person they are, give them a hug and celebrate the fact that they are about to enter a new school year that will benefit them with growth, learning and friendships.

For additional back-to-school allergy help, here is a link to one of my recent posts featuring collected links and back-to-school resources.


Anonymous said...

I have 3 severe nut allergies this year and 3 EpiPens in my classroom. My classroom is nut free. As a teacher, I am doing my best to keep my students safe. School just started yesterday and I have already had a nightmare. I am constantly watching my students, teach and manage 20+ students. Teachers do care. I applaud all parents and family members that deal with this situation daily.

Jenny said...

We appreciate the teachers who care and we also know that teachers carry a heavy load to begin with. It's difficult for us to approach you and ask you to do more and it's also difficult to leave our kids in the care of others when we don't know if they really understand the situation. What nightmare have you already had? I hope that as school settles in things will improve for your class.

As a family, we've had wonderful supportive teachers who've helped us with food allergies and just been great educators in general. I wish this was the same for everyone, so thanks for chiming in because teachers who will work with us are so appreciated!