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I don't think my DS3 can go to preschool.

(50 Posts)
CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 11:41:24

My 21mo DS3 is anaphylactic to nuts and CMP. His ana reaction to CMP is by far quicker and more severe than his ana reaction to nuts. He even reacts to secondary contact and to trace amounts in things like makeup and deodorants.

There are 2 preschools and 2 Nurseries local to me that do the free hours.

I can't get any further than those as I am a Lone Parent and have to drop older DC at Primary, on public transport as I can't drive because of epilepsy.

1 preschool and both Nurseries have refused
point blank.

I had an allergy management meeting with the last preschool, and that doesn't look too promising either.

They have instantly said that they are a nut free preschool, but in the same breath say that they can't be a totally CMP free preschool. Do they not see the irony?

My DS3 also has other issues, been diagnosed as 'hyperactive with a high likelihood of ADHD diagnosis when older", and is also under investigation for Autism.

He will be impulsive, he will touch other food if it is there.

Why is one allergy treated so much differently to another?

If they can't keep him safe, then I have no preschool for him. He already can't go to toddler group because he has had ana reactions there. sad

I can't afford private costs, and I can't afford to travel any further to get him to another preschool, both in financial terms and time constraints. He needs social interaction even more than most due to the possible Autism.

I won't be able to afford to get him to support groups etc or HE groups or anything, because they are all held on other estates in my town,
two buses away. And if they are held at weekends, then I also have my older 3 DC's to pay bus fares for.

Where do you go from there?

NatashaBee Thu 15-Nov-12 11:42:42

Surely they can't exclude him on the basis of a disability? I thought they had to make accommodations under the DDA.

What's CMP?

Agree with natashabee, think that you may have grounds under the DDA that they can't exclude on that basis. Speak to your local education department or Health Visitor.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 11:54:57

I think the only real way it could be even remotely safe for him is for it to be CMP free. They all say they can't totally as it's an essential part of a child's diet.

It's not essential to have CMP in just 3 hrs at preschool, any more than it is essential to have nut products in a 3 hour period.

Pisses me off.

I will be applying for DLA sooner rather than later, I think, on the basis that I will end up HE and need the money for resources. I knew proper school would be an issue as they are there for lunch, but didn't think it would be that hard to have a CMP free preschool. sad

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 11:55:37

Cow's Milk Protein - in the form of milk powder, casein, whey, lactose...

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 11:56:36

He even reacts to my old eyeshadow and Soft & Gentle deodorant because they have lactose in.

SoupDragon Thu 15-Nov-12 12:00:45

If he reacts to things like eyeshadow and deoderant, how can they guarantee CMP free?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:01:47

By not using ones with lactose in?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:02:52

They wouldn't use a deodorant with Arachis hypogaea in if they had a DC with a severe peanut allergy for example.

SoupDragon Thu 15-Nov-12 12:03:35

So, you'd expect all the staff etc to change their products?

SoupDragon Thu 15-Nov-12 12:04:25

BTW, I am mostly playing DEvils Advocate. It must be a nightmare.

I guess nuts are easier to avoid.

SavoyCabbage Thu 15-Nov-12 12:05:32

I feel for you I really do. I suppose they are terrified/overwhelmed/out of their depth. I wouldn't have a clue if my eyeshadow had lactose in.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:05:53

I guess, but I've found it just the sane avoiding nuts as I have CMP. I've had to do it.

It just makes me sad that he will probably miss out on all this because of his allergies. sad

Greensleeves Thu 15-Nov-12 12:06:52

God Couthy what a nightmare for you sad

The trouble is that if they exclude all CMP, even trace amounts, that is goig to involve policing the teachers' drinks and lunches, anything the other children might have in their bags, parents coming in with younger siblings who are milk fed... I can't see how it would work.

I hope ssomeone comes along with better advice for you.

greenbananas Thu 15-Nov-12 12:07:14

I do understand your concerns, and I had real problems with DS's local children and preschool. However, we have now found a preschool that can accomodate him and that I am happy for him to go to.

The preschool does not have to go completely dairy-free (and the Ananphylaxis Campaign doesn't recommend total nut bans either), but they DO have to make sure they can keep your DS safe. Every child is entitled to have their individual need met, and preschools are not allowed to exclude children on the basis of allergies.

Here are a few of the things that my DS's lovely preschool staff have put in place to include him:

-All staff have been trained in how to recognise and treat allergic reactions. All are aware of DS's allergies and I am confident that they don't forget about him.
-DS takes his own food for snack time in his 'special bag' and nobody is allowed to touch it except him.
-All children have their hands wiped on the way in, to remove traces of whatever they have eaten/touched on the way.
- Children only eat at the tables, so that there should not be traces of food allergens on toys.
- Tables and floors are cleaned before DS arrives. They also clean the sinks and make sure there are not traces of allergens left on bars of soap etc.
- All play equipment is checked (e.g. playdough, paint, craft stuff etc.) for ingredients. If the staff are not sure, they also check with me.
- All junk modelling equipment is carefully policed, e.g. no yoghurt pots, cereal packets with traces of nuts. I think they threw a lot of stuff away when DS started attending, and I have replaced that with safe boxes and cartons from home.
- Snack time is carefully supervised. DS sits next to a member of staff and there is an empty space the other side of him, to minimise risk of other children putting their hands on his food. The member of staff stays there throughout snack time - that is their job for the duration of snack time.
- At snack time, all the children who want milk not water to drink are sat on a separate table from DS - he sits on the water table. This helps to protect him from spillages. All tables and floors underneath are cleaned afterwards.
- All children have their hands wiped by a member of staff as they get up from the snack table.
- Staff tell me about cooking activities weeks in advance so that I can provide alternative ingredients if necessary (although in practice they usually try to use appropriate recipes and ingredients which make the whole activity safe for him)
- DS has a "treat box" full of sweets and dairy-free choc (provided by me) which he can dip into if other children bring in birthday cake.
- All staff have been trained to use the epipen, even the office staff. All were present at the meeting where an allergy nurse told them how to recognise and treat the signs of a reaction.
- The epipen, inhalers and antihistamine are kept within view in the kitchen area, in a box clearly labelled with DS's name and photo (i.e. NOT locked away in the office or in a cupboard). All staff can get at them quickly, but they are out of the reach of children.
- There is a poster in the kitchen area (provided by Anaphylaxis Campaign, I think) which reminds staff how to recognise and treat allergic reactions.

Like you, I thought I was going to end up home-edcuating, but DS really wanted to go to preschool like his friends. I don't think it's reasonable to ask a preschool to go completely dairy free, but it is perfectly reasonable to make sure they have procedures in place to protect an allergic child (in terms of both physical wellbeing and social inclusion).

Our lovely preschool also has children with autism and ADHD and they are taking just as much trouble to include those children as they are taking over my DS. Every child is treated as an individual. I know we are lucky to have found this place, but it is possible, with the right attitude, the right procedures and the right team of staff.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:07:31

I didn't either! I spend half my life trying to narrow down what he may have reacted to by phoning manufacturers, going online for ingredient lists etc.

Why are other allergies that are life threatening seen as somehow 'less dangerous' than nut allergies? It's just not true.

That must be an incredibly hard environment for you have at home. I can appreciate it would be hard for a preschool. All the preschools I have experienced get the free milk for the under fives given to them. Although I agree with your point that its not essential.

Our current school has just had to go nut free and they are really struggling with parents supporting it and following through despite the information they have sent out to parents.

Is your health visitor any good or anyone involved with his allergies? They maybe able to help and give you advice on how best to peruse this. You may need to get a statement of special educational needs for your child to accommodate his medical needs within a nursery/school environment. While it maybe a long slog the government has the obligation to provide education to every child.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:09:01

They said they couldn't be expected to wipe the children on the way in. I asked about all the things you have listed, some they can do, some they don't think they can manage. sad

greenbananas Thu 15-Nov-12 12:11:43

they said they couldn't be expected to wipe the children on the way in

Good grief. I don't think I would be sending my DS to spend time with such people. Time to talk to your local authority and to Ofsted about this - the preschool is failing to put in basic safeguards and is being discriminatory.

Greenbananas, did your preschool and school do this independently or with support and who helped them set this up?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:14:28

He's already been referred to the EP to get statementing in place before he hits preschool.

I could name any preschool in town - but I have to be able to GET him there. These are the only four I can get him to.

I will have a 9yo with Autism (in MS, but not in the local school) to get to school BY BUS before I can start making a journey to preschool. 9yo won't be able to independently travel till...god knows when. He can't yet cross roads safely, he'll probably be 14 before he's safe unaccompanied. If ever.

<<Bangs head on wall>>

No good having a statement naming a preschool that can manage DS3's allergies if I can't get him there due to having to use public transport, is there?

greenbananas Thu 15-Nov-12 12:14:45

They decided to do it independently, and were then able to access support from various organisations (it was actually very difficult to find out who should train them all to use the epipen and I know they worked really hard on that in particular). The staff think proactively about pretty much every activity they do, and ask me if they are even vaguely unsure.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:16:21

Unless transport by taxi from DS2's school to DS3's preschool can be paid for by the LA? That's the ONLY way I can get to any other preschool or Nursery on time.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:17:04

I could look slightly further afield then, as I drop DS2 off at 8.45.

merlottits Thu 15-Nov-12 12:17:33

That's a shame for you and your boy but I think it's unrealistic for a nursery to be able to make a nursery CMP free too. Nuts are easier to avoid - milk products - aaahh - where do you start?

You've already said how much effort it has taken you, taking into account one child, to narrow down what can/can't be given. To expect the nursery to police that for all children/staff/siblings for one child is unrealistic I think.

I have a peanut anaphalactic child. I wouldn't even attempt to send them to pre-school if it was milk products too. I would also find it unreasonable as a parent of a child in the nursery that was unable to have milk products.

I would also pursue a statement and if he needs 1-1 in a nursery setting then it may be workable.

It's a shitty situation, I am sorry.

greenbananas Thu 15-Nov-12 12:17:46

No good having a statement naming a preschool that can manage DS3's allergies if I can't get him there

Any preschool ought to be able to manange them, and is being discriminatory if they fail to even try. You can insist that they include your DS. However, in the real world I personally feel it is not a good idea to risk sending our allergic children to places where the staff have not understood the issues and where we can't trust them to put precuations in place.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:17:57

I thought a 7 year gap would work ok. I didn't count on allergies complicating things!

greenbananas Thu 15-Nov-12 12:20:05

A statement is a good idea. You probably wouldn't get it on the basis of allergies alone, but the combination of allergies plus possible autism and ADHD sounds like a convincing case to me. One-to-one support would help to safeguard your DS - but the preschool would still need to put the basic cleaning, play equipment and snack table table precautions in place!

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 12:20:31

What about proper school then? Do his allergies mean he misses out on having friends and socialising? I don't know? I feel like he is going to be lonely.

He needs socialisation as part of his therapy for the possible probable given our family history Autism, anyway.

greenbananas Thu 15-Nov-12 12:27:51

Proper school the same - they must include your DS. However, I have not applied for DS to go the large infant school right opposite our house because (having worked there) I don't think they would actually take care of him, no matter how many policies they had sitting on file in the school office. We will be walking 20 minutes each way to a more sympathetic school in an another area.

merlottits Thu 15-Nov-12 12:33:11

I would think that school will have to support his allergies but I don't think pre-school is a legal requirement. I might be wrong though.
Giving him one-to-one support will enable a responsible adult to protect him from potential allergens whilst your DS can concentrate on relationships.

Good luck, what a worry.

AnaphylaxisCampaign Thu 15-Nov-12 12:39:36

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

God, how hard for you to manage.
Very tricky for the nursery too though - I have a toy truck next door which I am putting off needs cleaning as it seems to be covered in a bit of yoghurty vom/drool. Grim at home, potentially fatal for your Ds. Ok mine are younger, but I'm not 100 per cent sure they'll have stopped doing that by the time they move up a nursery room. I would also be worried about sending them in with clothes that have a bit of breakfast on that I might've missed.

Sorry, hit return too soon.
Can nurseries warn other parents of the issue or does that bring in confidentiality issues?

greenbananas Thu 15-Nov-12 13:03:54

Can nurseries warn other parents of the issue or does that bring in confidentiality issues?

My DS's preschool sent out a letter to parents, saying there was a child with severe allergies in the class so chilren would all have their hands wiped on the way in. The letter didn't name my DS but it did help to make parents more aware.

Actually, it was quite funny when one of the mums at the gate waved the letter at me and said "just look at this..." - she was clearly about to tell me how ridiculous she thought it was, so I jumped in with "oh yes, that's my son" and she backpedalled so fast that I could hardly keep a straight face grin (she has turned out to be lovely and as she is a keen cook she tells me about various recipes she has found that might be suitable).

eragon Thu 15-Nov-12 13:29:27

there have been some very good examples of how pre-schools can handle allergies here.

do you have access to a childrens centre? they might be more supportive.

can you contact local community nurses and ask if they can visit you with the pre-school leaders who already have allergic children in setting?

agree with anaphylaxis campaign contact.

school will be an issue, but they HAVE to support you with a health plan. it might be worth you downloading the 'medicines in schools and early years settings' document on your local education website, so you are aware of what their procedures and duty of care actually are.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 13:36:41

I'll pencil in a phonecall to the Anaphylaxis Campaign for Monday I think. Tomorrow is a bit busy!

I rarely get to take him anywhere, soft play is out, toddler groups are out, I even have to pick isolated parks and wipe equipment before letting him play.

There's a particular park near my house that must be the cleanest in the country!

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 13:38:07

My Children's centre is a small room that holds 12 in a church hall. My estate isn't 'deprived' enough to have a proper one. The proper children's centre is two buses and 1hr25mins by bus away. Would take 20 minutes if I could bloody drive.

cashmere Thu 15-Nov-12 13:40:12

Could you find a childminder for now? Or invite friends over say once a week? Must be really difficult.

cashmere Thu 15-Nov-12 13:44:04

Another thought- maybe get in touch with some local autism groups and explain that although he doesn't have a diagnosis yet he has some specific difficulties. They might know of specific gym or swimming sessions you could try and also offer general support.

Pancakeflipper Thu 15-Nov-12 13:44:24

Our nursery has a list in the class of the children who have allergies ( there is 1 child who cannot have nuts or anything with milk protein). It lists the allergy, has a photo of the child, how to avoid the issue, what symptoms will occur if in contact with what they have an allergy/intolerance to and what to do.

My DS2 is on this list and I have no issues with a list in public view in the class. Occasionally they have staff from their other nursery working there and it makes it easy for them to check.

The child at our nursery comes into nursery 30mins after the rush of parents dropping their kids off to help avoid contamination from others. He is collected 15mins before the mad rush for collection. He is very much part of the classroom and well cared for.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 13:51:42

Childminder can't take the vouchers for the 15 hours, and I can't afford to pay.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 13:54:40

The Autism support groups meet in non accessible places for me. One is at 9.30 on a Tuesday morning, a 1hr in rush hour bus journey from my DS2's primary that doesn't go in until 8.45.

The other is every other Saturday and would mean a solo bus journey of an hour an a half each way, costing over £10, with my 3 DC 's that have Autism AND my other DC.

Not exactly manageable. sad

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 13:55:56

Can't do swimming - uncontrolled epilepsy means I'm not safe to take the DC's.

There are just so many obstacles!

I just wanted to send him to a local preschool that will properly manage his allergies.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 13:57:18

I feel isolated, it's not going to be surprising that this will also isolate him. sad

Pancakeflipper Thu 15-Nov-12 14:00:41

Then phone the number the person on here gave you. Don't do it next week do it now. They might have ideas and help you develop an action plan. Speak to the Dr, the consultant, the HV. Is there an Early Years contact at your city council who might have suggestions?

Come on, I am nagging you to start getting an action plan together. I am sure you posted this before or there was another person with very similar circumstances and there was some helpful stuff on there.

Namechangeforapropertythread Thu 15-Nov-12 14:10:08

Have you tried a different childminder? The one I'm thinking of using here does the eyfs and many parents choose not to do preschool and carry on with her. If they're set up for foundation stage they accept the 15 hours free funding so you could get the 15 hours that way. That's if you clo find an allergy aware childminder that takes vouchers but there are several near me!

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 15-Nov-12 14:11:06

Wasn't me! Do you have a link.

I would get onto it quicker if I didn't have 101 things going on this month. I have to go catch the bus in 5 mins to get DC's from school, get 1 at 3pm then have to hang around till 4.15 to get the other. By the time I get back by bus it's dinner baths and bed.

In a house where 4/5 are disabled, one of them the only parent, you have to plan your time well.

I have 3 appointments tomorrow. It's no good 'nagging' me, if I overdo it I end up in hospital.

I'm doing my best!!

Pancakeflipper Thu 15-Nov-12 14:15:57

Cannot search as on my crappy mobile thingy but will try to get on the laptop tonight.

Unless I am having that dejavu thingy...

cashmere Thu 15-Nov-12 14:23:23

Some childminders will accept the 15 free hours- think this can be slightly less than their usual rate but only 25p or so. Think the main obstacle is that they have to complete extra paperwork. There are a few round here that do though- think some are struggling when competing with nurseries.

Your local council should be able to post you a list of registered childminders that you can ring.

Your life sounds really tough. Do you get support from social services or have a CAF in place?

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