Friday, October 1, 2010

Time to update the school health plan?

I have been checking my son's back-pack and folder every day for the letter that should have gone out to the parents notifying them that there is a child in the class with a severe milk allergy.  I did get a letter regarding a child with a severe peanut allergy in my younger child's class.  As in years past, the school agreed to do a letter for our class about our allergy issue.  Wondering why I had not received the letter yet, I decided to check with the school nurse today.  She said, I have spoken with the principal and teacher and they feel this is not necessary.
We have always sent out a letter.  Since kindergarten, this is what we have been doing.  Before giving in to the temptation to burst into tears and yell, "how dare you not follow this procedure and tell me this is not necessary", I decide to take a step back and think about this.  They assure me that the lunch room is following the proper procedures to keep our son safe.  The teacher is informed and knows how to keep him safe in class.  The room is not "milk-free" nor have we ever requested that a room be milk-free.  However, the kids are not drinking milk and having lunch in the room.  I am not asking for the room to be milk-free.  So what is the purpose of sending out a letter?
When our son was younger, we felt a letter was necessary.  It served as a reminder for parents and the teacher to be mindful during holiday parties in the room.  Young children should not have to take on the responsibility to wonder if a volunteer parent or teacher accidentally put the wrong cookie on their plate, or if the friend sitting next to them has a cup full of chocolate milk.  Sometimes, parents would ask me for ideas for holiday treats or birthday treats that were safe to bring in.
Now, we are realizing that our son is getting older.  He knows to be aware of his surroundings and if his buddy sits down with a carton of milk, then he should move over and give them some space in between.  He certainly knows enough not to take any food without checking first to make sure it's safe.  He definitely understands the importance of not trading food.  In addition, our son does not want a lot of attention drawn to him and to be labeled the "allergy kid".   So maybe, the letter to the class isn't necessary anymore.  It would have been nice, though, had the school discussed with us the change to our usual routine.   I should be happy. Things are getting easier.
Parent's of children with life threatening allergies will always worry.  I have a feeling the age of the child will not change that. However, they do grow up and become more responsible.  Maybe it's time I take another look at our allergy health plan and make room for adjustments.

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