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How Well Does Your Child's School Cater for Their Allergies?

(10 Posts)
JohFlow Fri 18-Apr-14 11:57:17

My 10 yr DS has food allergies - dairy anaphylaxis and egg allergy.

There seems to be such a wide range of support available from schools. Some schools see allergies very much as a burden. I have wrestled to get dairy free school meals, medical plans, medicine administration (including Epipen), for him to sit with his friends at lunchtime etc. Whilst others; see allergy/anaphylaxis as a pressing medical issue and will do everything they can to make life at school inclusive and medically sound.

For parents out there with children who have allergies:

How easy have you found it to get what your DC needs?
Do you still feel that you are shouldering all your child's allergy needs even though they are at school most of the day?
What attitudes have you met when asking for allergy management?
What would your ideal school situation regarding allergies be?

Does anyone have any good articles/suggested reading on the topic?

Over to you...

JohFlow Fri 18-Apr-14 15:25:56


jwpetal Fri 18-Apr-14 16:55:05

My son is allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts, oats and sesame as well as asthmatic. The school has been okay with him. He is allowed to sit with his friends and for Christmas they ensured he had a meal with the other students though I had to provide a dessert. The kids in his class are aware of his allergies and ask questions. Probably the biggest issue is when they go to Forest School. They have hot chocolate and a biscuit. They could easily and cheaply buy biscuits he could have but have not. They seem to think it is fine to have one 7 year old have nothing while the others get something. I do provide things and a couple of times they did not let him take his biscuit and hot chocolate. This is reminding me that I need to talk to them about this.

I have not found a good UK website but have been using the US website which has recipes, medical information and support. If there is a UK site, I have not found it.

He recently joined the Beavers and they are great. They reimburse me for anything I buy for him. not even his nursery did this.

JohFlow Fri 18-Apr-14 22:57:43

Thanks for the reply Jw.

Is it just me? The idea of one child not being able to do the same as the others/being left out seems grossly unfair - particularly if you have made provisions/provided information on what he can have. My DS has had the same every day at primary - milk times. 'Mum ; I love water the best!' (school knows the brands of soy milk he can have instead) - (bless DS's little sarcastic socks!)

There is also the question of financial provisions - would we expect some parents of kids without allergies to pay for part of a meal/a pudding whilst others don't? Sometimes its like being financially penalised for you child being different.

I haven't tried kidswithfoodallergies yet. Sounds good!

The arrangement that you have with Beavers sounds much better. Seems like a good compromise where your DS gets what he needs and you are not unjustly out of pocket. So well done there!

MagratGarlik Fri 18-Apr-14 23:23:35

Ds1 has allergies to eggs, nuts, peas, beans, lentils, kiwi and shell fish, whilst ds2 is anaphylactic to dairy, also having allergies to nuts, peas, beans, lentils. We've always given both packed lunches because school seem incapable of catering for multiple allergies whilst still providing a nutritionally balanced meal. We also have to provide alternative food whenever they are doing anything food-related in class.

It does annoy me tbh because I resent paying out significant extra amounts. You might find you get a larger response on the allergy board though?

listsandbudgets Sat 19-Apr-14 21:36:03

Not me but DD's friend has a dairy, nut and egg allergy. Her mum tells me the school have been brilliant. They arranged for her to meet with the school cooks monthly who went though all the menus for the next few weeks her and agreed what alternative should be made availabe.

Her class teacher has been trained in using an epipen as have the supervising dinner ladies and the head teacher.

Only problems arise when they do food related work in class but even then they try to come up with suitable alternatives that she can use. Once she was sent to a different class (for a fun craft class) as they were working with peanuts and she can be affected by breathing in the dust but otherwise the school have adapted.

ShredMeJillianIWantToBeNatalie Tue 22-Apr-14 00:11:42

Ds3 has anaphylaxis to a number of tree nuts plus an allergy to peanuts and shellfish.

I've found school brilliant. They seem to be extremely careful with school lunches and food allowed into school - only fruit or cheese is allowed as a snack (not sure what the situation would be if anyone had a dairy or fruit allergy but I feel confident they would deal with it sensibly).

They hold two epipens in the classroom and have phoned me in the past when ds3's are a month from expiry.

I remember reading a newspaper report of a child who died at school because his/her epipens were kept in a locked office; I discussed it at school and they said that the school nurse also always had one on her person and her mobile was never switched off.

MagratGarlik Tue 22-Apr-14 22:49:06

IME schools don't take any non-nut allergies seriously.

JohFlow Thu 24-Apr-14 14:38:00

My son is on packed lunches too at the moment Magrat. He is due to go to high school in September. He has been offered a school that openly suggests that his dietary needs are a.) too expensive and b.) a burden in a large school . Closely followed by comments on how children with allergies in the school have packed lunches and sit on a separate table - and we feel this is the safest thing for ALL concerned. School nurse - 'What does he eat anyway?' (top points there - answers on a post card please!). I am trying to negotiate with the school now suggesting that how they provide is linked to how included the children feels generally at school, and key to socialising with his non-allergic friends.

We are appealing for two other schools that have much better allergy provisions - menu provided weekly in advance, full school meals and snacks offered, dairy/egg free options marked on dining room board (so DS can just ask for these without having to have a separate tray - a practice that singles children out), chefs able to make new choices for him; if he gives them advance warning. Regular menu planning meetings etc.

Whole different ball game....

It's just really important to me that my son can engage in every social/food activity that his peers can.

Feel free to comment

MagratGarlik Fri 25-Apr-14 15:38:54

I'd agree with you wrt allergic children should be able to be included in everything non-allergic children are.

However, I think allergy awareness is woefully inadequate in the UK, together with an attitude that any allergy other than nuts is not serious hmm. This is compounded by the lack of allergy awareness by doctors and nurses whose specialism is not allergies and this leaves schools ill-prepared to deal with and provide for allergies. IMHO the only people who find that schools cater well for multiple allergic children are parents of children without allergies, or parents of children with only 1 or 2 allergies.

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