Tips for Back to School with Food Allergies

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Tips for Back to School with Food Allergies
Planning is essential in preparing your child for school, so we have compiled tips and resources to help
support you for a safe and successful new school year. Please also work with your Dr. for specific
medical instructions that would need to be shared with your school.
Educate, Educate, Educate!
Study up on food allergies, and share this information with your school. You can use documented
statistics, scientific facts or a personal experience when advocating on behalf of food allergies, versus
your personal opinion. Parents need to know how to communicate information convincingly, and it is
also important to develop the confidence to do your own advocating.
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Food Allergy Facts and Statistics: www.foodallergy.org/files/FoodAllergyFactsandStatistics.pdf
Food Allergy Advocacy: calorielab.com/news/2011/02/18/food-allergy-advocacy/
Food Allergies by the Numbers: www.faiusa.org/document.doc?id=67
There are many websites available that provide valuable information on food allergies. A few
organizations are listed for you below:
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The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network: www.foodallergy.org
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Kids with Food Allergies: www.kidswithfoodallergies.org
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The Food Allergy Initiative: www.faiusa.org
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Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc.: www.fakidsatl.org
Empower your school, your teachers, your child’s classmates, your child, and yourself. Praise efforts
continuously!
Plan well in advance
Prior to school starting, call the school & request the forms that are needed to have medications
available for your child, and ask for any other medical forms your child may need. Including
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Medical Forms and Food Allergy Action Plans
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Food Allergy Action Plan, English - FAAN : www.foodallergy.org/files/FAAP.pdf
Food Allergy Action Plan, Spanish – FAAN: www.foodallergy.org/files/spanishFAAP.pdf
Have your Dr. fill out and sign your child’s FAAP (we suggest using a bright color paper so it
stands out in your child’s file). Be sure to give all caregivers a copy, including photos of your
child.
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504 and IEPs
If you are considering a 504/IEP plan for your child, be sure to study up and know your rights in
Georgia. Some resources are listed below:
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The Right to Learn Education Advocacy, GA: www.therighttolearn.net/about/
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Education and Advocacy Solutions: http://www.foodallergyadvocate.com/504Plan.htm
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Parent Leadership Support Project of GA: https://www.facebook.com/GAPLSP
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc.
www.fakidsatl.org
[email protected] | (404) 512-7983
Tips for Back to School with Food Allergies
Communicating with your School about Food Allergy
It is a good idea to write down the discussions and decisions about your child’s food allergy
management with the school. People present at meetings to discuss these points should include the
principal, all teachers (including P.E, music, art, etc.), nurse, food service personnel, transportation
driver or anyone else who will be caring for your child. This allows everyone the opportunity to
learn about food allergies, practice with the Epipen trainer and ask questions.
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Remember, your goal is to create a team (positive attitude & open mind)!
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If you are planning to hand out material, keep it short, like a summary. Be sure to
include your phone number in case someone thinks of a question after the meeting, or
later in the school year.
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Outline instructions for what you would like the school’s staff to do in the event of a
reaction, encourage they practice it (some schools may already have a policy
implemented, know it and make suggestions for your child as necessary!)
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Discuss "what-ifs", such as "what if a reaction occurs on the playground", "what if a
reaction occurs when a substitute teacher is working.” Always plan for unexpected
situations; everyone needs to feel confident.
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The nurse should demo the Epi pen during the meeting, or you can do this. Practicing
your child’s epinephrine device will build confidence with caregivers. Allowing them to
practice ensures swift action in emergency situations.
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Video Demonstration of Epinephrine Auto-injectors – FAAN:
www.foodallergy.org/page/links-to-video-stream-for-epi
Sometimes, having a third party speak helps to open lines of communication and
address areas of concern, that may otherwise not have been addressed in initial
meetings.
Epinephrine Management and Storage
Find out what the school’s rule is in regards to epinephrine. Discuss the importance of
epinephrine and the risks in delay, or absence in administration of the medication.
o
Does the school pass the Epi with the child, or is it kept locked? If it's locked, find out
who will have immediate access to the key.
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Does your child carry his own Epi? Can he administer it himself? If so, current GA law
allows students to self-carry. Learn more about the law here:
www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/versions/sb8_As_passed_Senate_3.htm
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Epinephrine should be stored in various locations throughout the school (visit the Food
Allergy Kids of Atlanta website, resources page, for a listing of epinephrine carrying
devices).
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Don't forget to cover proper storage temps for your epinephrine device.
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc.
www.fakidsatl.org
[email protected] | (404) 512-7983
Tips for Back to School with Food Allergies
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Several times during the school year, check to make sure expiration dates for your
epinephrine device has not expired. Register your EpiPen® device on the following
website to receive EpiPen expiration date reminders here: www.myepipen.com
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Review Georgia’s stock epinephrine laws with your school. Explaining the details of the
law helps to build confidence with staff and administration regarding administration of
the medication: www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/pdf/hb227.pdf
Food and Snacks
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Is your student going to be eating at the school? If so, review daily menus with the food
service director. If needed, set up a separate meeting and together examine the
package ingredients & labels they have in storage, etc.
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Have a plan in place to handle snack time. Ask that they have a policy in place that all
foods must bear a full pre-printed label, or send in safe treats to have in the class just
for your child.
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Is your child’s classroom or school nut free? If so, what policy is in place that allows the
class or school to be titled “nut-free”/”allergen-free?” (Regarding peanuts and tree
nuts, research tells us the majority of these food-allergic reactions in school is from craft
projects or lesson plans that involved foods.)
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Each month, review the teacher's plans for activities that involve food.
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Outline a plan for field trips
Make a plan for in-class parties & unexpected events
Learn your child’s daily schedule
Include your Child, and maybe his classmates
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Make sure to involve your child as part of the team, and talk to him about what emergency
plans are in place in his school.
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Will he give a special signal to alert the teacher that he might be having a reaction?
What will he do if it happens on the playground or in the cafeteria?
Practice drills with him, in order to build his confidence.
Tell him where medications will be stored.
Explain snack time and role play situations, such as peer pressure to try a new food, etc.
Create a no-food trading rule with you child!
Encourage and teach label reading
Practice emergency procedures
Practice administering epinephrine with your provided epinephrine training device.
Encourage your child to be sure and have his medical alert bracelet on at all times.
If you want to involve your child’s classmates in food allergy safety and education, we suggest
the following:
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc.
www.fakidsatl.org
[email protected] | (404) 512-7983
Tips for Back to School with Food Allergies
o
Keep an assortment of food allergy books, coloring pages, activities, and stickers
available for your child’s class or school to use.
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Consider the Be a Pal program; FAAN will send bookmarks out for free.
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Consider setting up a food allergy educational table in your child’s school library during
Food Allergy Awareness Week, or Anaphylaxis Awareness Week (Aug 26 –Sept 1, 2012).
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Binky Goes Nuts DVD and lesson plans: www.pbs.org/parents/arthur/lesson/health
Information for your Teachers and School
Here are some ideas on food allergy educational resources and materials for your child’s teacher
and school, which in turn will help to reduce risk:. Examples of suggested resources are:
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Dey EpiPen School Discount Program: www.bioridgepharma.com/programs.html
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School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies - FAAN:
www.foodallergy.org/page/school-guidelines-for-managing-students-with-food-allergies
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Cleaning methods – FAAN: www.foodallergy.org/page/cleaning-tips
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Kids with Food Allergies holiday guide – KFA:
www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcetopic.php?topic=holidays
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Potential Food Allergens in Preschool and School Activities – KFA:
www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=83&title=potential_food_allergens_in
_preschool_and_school_activities
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School Discount Supply:
www.discountschoolsupply.com/community/landing.aspx?campaignid=1030
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How to read a label – FAAN: www.foodallergy.org/files/HTRLsheet_2012.pdf
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Sample letters:
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A Sample Letter from a School Principal: www.faiusa.org/page.aspx?pid=499
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FAAN School Sample Letter: www.foodallergy.org/page/sample-letter
Educational materials (simple, clear, to the point)
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Off to School with FoodAllergies, Teachers Guide – FAAN: www.foodallergy.org
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School Food Allergy Program – FAAN: www.foodallergy.org
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Purchase the above products by visiting FAAN’s website, or by contacting your local
support group: www.fakidsatl.org
Videos
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Allergy Ready: www.allergyready.com
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Allergy Home: www.allergyhome.org/schools
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc.
www.fakidsatl.org
[email protected] | (404) 512-7983
Tips for Back to School with Food Allergies

Share information about your local food allergy support group and recommend your school
to consider scheduling an in-service food allergy educational presentation for staff members
and administration:
Georgia, Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta - www.fakidsatl.org
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc.
www.fakidsatl.org
[email protected] | (404) 512-7983
Tips for Back to School with Food Allergies
You are a food allergy advocate! Thank you!
Not only are you advocating for your child, but you are laying a foundation for students who will follow
in your child’s footsteps. Repetitive training, education, and awareness are vital in creating an allergy
aware institution!
Thank you for taking the time to review our resources. We wish you a successful school year! Please
feel free to reach out to our organization to schedule an in-service training presentation for your school,
or for any other concerns, questions, or comments.
Karen Harris, President, Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta.
(404) 512-7983
[email protected]
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc.
www.fakidsatl.org
[email protected] | (404) 512-7983
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