My daughter originally did not have a 504 plan for her peanut allergy when she began school. She carried an epipen with her (in her waist pack) and the school required her to have and carry doctor’s orders with her at all times. Eventually, it became apparent that we would need a 504 plan for her. It was needed to prevent peanut items from being consumed in the classroom, on the bus she was riding, or at her cafeteria table. Even though Nina brought her lunch everyday, it was hard for her to find a place to sitduring lunch that someone was not eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or something else with peanuts in it.
Riding the bus was another unsafe place for Nina due to students eating candy with peanuts in it. The 504 plan covered these types of situations and people were now accountable for making sure the area was safe where Nina was.
Halloween parties at school were a difficult time for Nina, but after the 504 plan was instated for her, things changed. Peanuts/peanut items were not allowed. Notes were sent home stating there was a student with a peanut allergy in class and that those items would not be able to be brought in. This made life much easier for Nina and school became more enjoyable.
We still had issues throughout the years, but they were fewer and we had a legal document to fall back on and a 504 Coordinator we could contact about issues. I was very lucky that my daughter was so diligent from a very young age about avoiding peanuts and not eating food from others. She was also very diligent with washing her hands. You never know what you might have touched that could have peanut residue on it.
An informational article regarding 504 plans can be found on the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Educations) website:
This was our family's experience with having a 504 Plan for Nina's allergy. I know opinions differ on the subject. In the end, it was the right decision for us.
When you find out your child has a peanut allergy your world changes. What does it mean? What will happen to her? What if someone eats peanut butter around her? Reading food labels becomes an obsession. What if the label is wrong? What does it mean to be manufactured on the same equipment or manufactured in the same facility? What food is safe? You want answers but sometimes they are hard to find. I remember finding out that my daughter, now 19, had a severe peanut allergy. It changed everything for us. Where we could eat, what we could buy to eat, everything. It’s a huge adjustment that no one really understands unless they have a child with a severe food allergy. We originally found out that Nina had a peanut allergy from her doctor ordering a blood test after she had a reaction to a tiny amount of peanut butter when she was 3. She had never had peanut butter before then. Her level came back high - meaning she has a severe allergy.
She had allergy testing done later and scored off the chart for a peanut allergy.
We also found out that she had many other allergies to outside allergens as well as a few other minor food allergies. She had double sinus infections quite frequently and then we realized it was due to all of her outdoor allergies.
Sending Nina to school with a peanut allergy was extremely scary and one of the hardest things I have had to do. Not knowing if students would be offering her treats was so unbearable at times. My parents or I went to all of the parties so she didn’t have to tell everyone all by herself that she was allergic to peanuts. Having to train your kindergartner to tell people she would die if she eats or comes into contact with peanuts was heartbreaking. Such a small child having to deal with the realization of her own death is something no mother ever wants their child to go through. It never gets any easier.
People’s reactions when you tell them your child/student has a peanut allergy is all over the place. Some people react in an unpleasant way by becoming upset at the fact that their student can’t eat peanut butter sandwiches around your child. As if a peanut butter sandwich is more important than a child’s life. Some people react as if it isn’t a big deal at all. Those are generally the people who forget and then eat peanuts or peanut butter around your child. I have even had a parent tell my daughter to just pick the nuts off of a brownie…. Well that’s not how it works! You can’t just pick the nuts off and still eat it. Why is it so important to people to have my child eat whatever treat or snack they brought in for their child? Who cares if my daughter doesn’t eat it?
Even though she is now a Freshmen in college, we still deal with situations on a regular basis. I do know that Nina is capable of taking care of herself. She has to be so she can survive, but I still worry.
This is a blog dedicated to the awareness of children and adults with peanut allergies. My daughter, Nina, has a severe Peanut Allergy. It has been a long road in dealing with all it encompasses. I remember finding out that my daughter, now 19, had a severe peanut allergy. It changed everything for us. Where we could eat, what we could buy to eat, everything. It’s a huge adjustment that no one really understands unless they have a child with a severe food allergy.
It is my hope through this blog to provide a place of information and awareness for those who have peanut allergies as well as for their family and friends.