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September 25, 2005

Be careful of language when describing your child's food allergy

Well, there it is again... an article describing schools and keeping a child with a food allergy safe. In this case a peanut allergic child who attends Jr High school.

Birthday parties? Never, says Carolyn. 'People are terrified to have him in the house in case something happens.'

Really? Her son doesn't get invited to birthday parties because of the other parents' fear that something might happen? I know this mom loves her son, that is clear in the article, however, once again, be careful of how you educate other regarding your child's food allergy.

But wait... there's more. Another mom (regarding peanut free schools) compares the volatility of her 12-year-old son's deadly peanut and tree-nut allergy to “putting a loaded gun on the table. This kid could die from a nut. If someone put a gun on the table and there was potentially deadly situation, everybody would scream, ‘Oh, my God!' But that doesn't happen with nuts.”

Ok, relax... a loaded gun on the table could kill anyone of the children sitting round that table (and anyone else in the school for that matter). I'm sorry but this is a terrible way to communicate the issue. Think about one of the other parents learning about the seriousness of the peanut allergy for the first time, is this really how you want to communicate the issue?

Two of our kids (out of 4) have life threatening food allergies (peanut and others), so I know this is serious stuff. I believe with greater care in the communication of the problem and the suggestion of effective and reasonable solutions, the child can participate in all the typical activities and be accepted by their peers (and the other parents).

Posted by David at September 25, 2005 4:37 PM