A school health plan will identify the types of responsibilities, training and services required to keep your child’s environment safe and how to respond to an emergency, should one arise.
As a parent sending your child off to school for the first time, it is normal to experience a myriad of emotions. Although this can be a time of great anticipation and excitement, all parents have the usual concerns: Will my child like his new school? Will he like his teacher? Will he get on the right school bus? Will the program be one that allows him to grow and learn in a positive environment?
As a parent of a child with food allergies, you have yet another dimension added to the anticipation and worries of sending a child off to school.
In addition to all of the usual concerns, you will worry about his health needs and safety. What will he eat? How will he be able to participate safely in classroom and cafeteria activities? Will my child get sick at school? Will the school be able to respond promptly to an emergency? Does the school have a full time school nurse? Will the school arrange for my child to be given medicines or special asthma treatments during the school day?
Concerns such as these are legitimate and understandable. You will have to “let go” of your child for the first time, and entrust your child’s health to staff with whom you are unfamiliar. You will have to trust that the school staff will learn to manage your child’s allergies safely, and learn how to respond to any emergency.
How will you ensure that they do it?
The key is to work with the school cooperatively and proactively to create a comprehensive school health care plan. A school health care plan will identify the types of responsibilities, training and services required to keep your child’s environment safe and how to respond to an emergency, should one arise.
The three most common plans used for food allergic children are known as Emergency Care Plans (ECP), Individualized Healthcare Plans (IHCP) and 504 Plans. When registering your child for school, be sure to make an appointment to meet with the school nurse and complete your child’s care plan.
Source: Kids With Food Allergies web site; Written by Lynda Mitchell, MA