Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2016

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22 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2016 hensive plan, but occasional snacks and lunch were sufficient for us. We also kept cupcakes, clearly labeled and kept in the teacher's freezer for special events, and the teacher was willing to keep non-per- ishable snacks handy. Many daycare centers also pro- vide meals or snacks, which is another time when an adult must be knowledgeable about your child's pecial needs. Once again, an open and direct conversation with needs explained in writing is often the best plan. Leaving alternate snacks is also a way to avoid confussion when a food decision is not clear. Sandra Brown of Newburgh dealt with these issues first-hand when her granddaughter, Alayanna, who has a peanut allergy, entered school. After another child touched her granddaughter with peanut butter By STEPHANIE SANDLER I n the average classroom, it's common for there to be children with food allergies (to things like nuts, soy, and dairy), kids on special diets or that need to avoid preserva- tives/food dyes (for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), or on a gluten-free diet (for Celiac Disease). Teachers, school nurses, and daycare providers work hard to keep track of special needs and make accommoda- tions, but ultimately, a child must be properly educated to protect himself. Sending a child with food al- lergies into the world can be a frightening experience for caregiv- ers. Teaching a child to become knowledgeable about safe foods and advocate for oneself at a young age is no easy feat, especially when the margin of error could lead to illness or an anaphylactic reaction. Working with schools If your child needs to be on a special diet, bring a doctor's note to your school nurse, teacher, and food services and find out what accom- modations may be available. When my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and lactose intol- erance in elementary school, I called the head of Food Services for the district and explained our situation. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that some allergen-friendly items were already in the school freezer, and we were able to work out a schedule of pre-decided days upon which she could buy lunch. I was told that with a doctor's note we could set up a more compre- on his hands, Alayanna spent two days recovering from hives and breathing difficulties. As a result, result, Alayanna was placed at a table to eat alone, which made her uncomfortable and upset the other children. Ultimately, her school turned to a children's book about food allergies to help her classmates better under- stand her special needs. Special care for special occasions We live in a very food-focused culture and most celebrations involve gathering around a table. Whether it is the typical pizza and cake birthday party, a holiday buffet, or a summer barbecue, there are bound to be refreshments. Get in touch with the host ahead of time and find out what's on the How to cope when your child has food allergies

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