With the start of the school year upon us, there's an understandable uptick in the discussions about food allergies and school. There's no shortage of advice both online and in print on how to plan and prepare for school with food allergies. I have listed some particularly informative pages in the sidebar for easy reference. I have faith that it will go smoothly for most of us. If you ever frequent the online food allergy discussion groups or bulletin boards, however, you'll see there are plenty of horror stories of schools refusing to accommodate or avoidable allergic reactions. I'd like to share with you a resource to keep in mind should the need ever arise.
If you ever need or want assistance in ensuring that your child is adequately protected at school, there are people who can help you. One example is the consulting firm Educating for Food Allergies, LLC (EFFA), located outside of Boston, MA. For nearly a decade, EFFA has been assisting families and schools with food allergy management. They provide training to cafeteria staff, school nurses, teachers and other school staff. They also assist individual families with drafting an IHP or 504 plan and even advocate for families who reach an impasse in food allergy management discussions with their schools.
Jan Hanson and Shelly Creager are the founders of EFFA. Jan is an Education Administrator and Shelly is a registered nurse. They are both eminently qualified and experienced in dealing with food allergies in schools. They have provided assistance to individuals and schools in more than 75 towns. Also of note, they “conduct 2 professional development workshops for school nurses every year, for the past 2 years, and have trained over 60 school nurses from different towns throughout Massachusetts in this way (EFFA meets the requirements of the Mass. Registration in Nursing to provide contact hours for continuing education for nurses)....(they) are also registered with the Mass. Dept. of Education to provide professional development points (PDP’s) for teachers.
They are a good resource to be aware of and keep in mind. I have highlighted only a portion of their extensive experience. The EFFA website, http://www.foodallergyed.com, provides much more detail. For more information, please visit their website or contact Jan and Shelly by telephone (781) 982-7029, fax (781) 982-7037 or email FoodAllergyEd@verizon.net.