Kindergarten

I took Caleb to school for Kindergarten screening today. I confess that I left the meeting not feeling very confident or assured about the ‘allergy-plan’ that is in place there. One of my issues is that the school is peanut free, but not tree nut free; and since Caleb is allergic to tree nuts, dairy and peanuts [and nutmeg and cats!] I worry that there is a real possibility for him to come into contact with a potential allergen there. I also worry that the ‘plan’ in place there is very inadequate.  I am so bothered by this that I plan to contact the school again tomorrow to see if they would consider perhaps setting up a meeting with the staff and other allergic childrens parents. I was told that they have quite a few coming into the school, and they were perhaps going to have to reassess their usual format of different kids being responsible for the ‘class snack.’   Among other concerns I am having, include: what about the bus? and the cafeteria? and recess? Is keeping the epi-pens in the nurses office really the safest plan? How trained are the teachers and other staff in recognizing a reaction?  My anxiety is climbing!

A very helpful web site I have found is from the Massachusetts Department of Education~ which I intend to share with the school!    http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/allergy.pdf

I will update this post once I get some of my own questions answered! Wish me luck!~Jenny

I spoke to the principal about my concerns this morning. He will be getting the district allergy plan emailed to me, so I can review it then see what other steps we feel need to be taken. Apparently they had no peanut allergic kids there at the moment- I told him, “You do now!” Funny I am not bothered about the usual sending him to school stuff- but the allergies- yikes! So empathetic to the parents of diabetic children!~having to trust others to be responsible enough to care for our children! I also spoke to my allergist’s office and they did say that all schools policies are to keep the Epi-pens in the nurses office. I guess I am just so programmed to always have them handy!

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5 Responses to Kindergarten

  1. Jane June 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Check the state that you live in. Most states allow a child to carry their own Epi-Pen after a certain age. I think it is third grade. If I remember correctly (I haven’t looked in awhile as my child is not old enough yet) it was with approval of the MD and was signed off by the parent and the school nurse. My son attends a small school and hte classrooms for the k-5 through 2nd grade are within loud talking distance of the nurses office. I have read some people’s posts that the teachers actually keep an Epi-Pen in a locked cabinet in the classroom and then there is a lock box in the lunchroom also. The only problem I can see with this is if the school has central air or not and how warm the classrooms are at any given time. (I grew up in the north. As it was usually only the last couple weeks of June and the beginning or Sept. that are very warm, open windows was all you got and on a few of those days it could be very warm in the classroom).
    Just remember, take a breath and tackle each thing as it comes. As with everything else, everyone will have an opinion on how things should be done, find what works for you and your family. My anxiety doesn’t ever completely go away but it was greatly decreased after I developed a good relationship with the school nurse and his classroom teacher. I think if I could have been a room mom that may have helped in the beginning with my comfort level. (I have younger children and it just couldn’t be worked out). I got to be very friendly with the room mom and tried to volunteer in the classroom as much as possible. She was a huge help in keeping as extra special eye out for my son during special classroom activity when I couldn’t be there.
    Wish you the best as you navigate through.

  2. Jane June 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Just checked all states but NY,RI, and WI have laws that allow children to carry their own Epi-pens and asthma meds. Each states law is slightly different so check with yours on what they require so your son can. Hope this helped.

  3. Multiplefoodallergyhelp~Jenny June 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Thank you for your sane advice! I think it will be easier when we know who his teacher will be. I am in a similar position where I have my younger son, I won’t be able to be in the classroom to help either. I am still waiting to see the district allergy plan, and to speak further to the school staff; but this may have to wait until August when we find out who his teacher will be and can then firm up the plan before the official start of school. I will be sure to add an update when I have anything note-worthy! 🙂 ~Jenny

  4. livingtheallergylife July 22, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    My oldest is starting kindi this fall as well and I am so nervous! I met with the school nurse during the kindi screening and plan to meet again before school starts. I’m with my boys 24/7, mainly because we don’t live around family and I’m too scared to leave them with just anyone. So the thought of having Charlie out of my site for most of the day petrifies me. He also has asthma. I know other kids with these issues manage to make it through school so I need to suck it up a bit and have confidence in the teachers. Good for you sticking it to the principle and letting them know this is serious and they need to take note!

  5. Poulingail January 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    I recommend you get in touch with the school nurse(s). They will be staunch allies and will be comfortable leading the way. They are very well trained and understand the dangers. They can address all of your concerns. FYI our school calls it “nut safe” as it is impossible to be nut free. We confiscate snacks and lunch items often enough for the nut safe to be impossible. Parents don’t read labels far enough down the ingredient list and many don’t know that coconut is now on the nut list as well.
    Breathe. You will need to trust the system with an eye out for any weaknesses. In my school, everyone gets epi-pen training including bus drivers. Some kids have their epis in their backpacks for the bus. There should be a written plan in place for a medical necessity ie 504 plan.

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