Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In one year ...

I will be preparing for Ainsley to start kindergarten at our neighborhood public school two streets over. I get anxious even thinking about it. Nervous for all the reasons that any mom would be - Will she do okay in kindergarten with all those other kids? Will we be happy with her teacher and the school? - and worried about doing everything I need to ensure the school accommodates Ainsley's allergies and keeps her safe. I will officially begin that process in the Spring when I notify the principal, school counselor, and school nurse that a seriously food-allergic child will be starting in the Fall and that we need to begin formulating a 504 plan for her.

I am so lucky that my sister-in-law is an elementary-school counselor in the district Ainsley will be attending; she has already been an invaluable source of information and advice and her assistance will be even more important in the next year. I am also thankful to have connected with the mom of a peanut-allergic child at our elementary school who is a real trailblazer in terms of making the school food-allergy friendly.

Additionally, I am very relieved that Ainsley is now able to take some responsibility for keeping herself safe. I know that when I send her to school I can count on her never sharing food with her classmates or eating anything I haven't sent for her. It's not easy having a Type-A kid like her but for purposes of her food allergy her tight-woundedness and attention to detail comes in really handy.

I am sad that this year is Ainsley's last in her wonderful preschool, which has bent over backwards to take care of its food-allergic kids. It has been such a nurturing, sheltered environment and I am so grateful that I stumbled upon it. I wish every food-allergic child had access to such a careful, safe place.


Grady Family said...

We were worried about Armando eating lunches at school too. I contacted both his teacher and the head of food services for the district. The head of food service requested that we send in a copy of his allergy sheet from the doctors office. Once the teacher got it, she kept a copy, a copy went to the school nurse and a copy was sent on to the food services office. His school lunch room snet home a menu marked with all the foods that were safe and a list of all the foods that were not. It was wonderful! Now I know which days I need to pack a lunch and when I can have him eat there. I feel great knowing that there are so many people watchjing out for his allergy. (It also helps that his teacher has a small fridge in her room and lets us keep snacks in there for when I forget or run out of time) Hope this helps give you some ideas! Best of luck with Ainsley starting school!

Jennifer said...

Aw, that sounds like an awesome preschool. The nurse in Max's fairly big public school (just started first grade today) showed me her cabinet full of epipens. You certainly won't be alone. I think most schools are getting accustom to it, which is good and bad. Hope she has a great year!