Dealing With Food Allergies and the Special Needs Child

 

244665391If your child has special needs and food allergies, you must be extra vigilant to ensure that he or she remains safe at home, school, and play.

Food allergies among children are far from uncommon when you consider that around three million children living in the United States have the condition.

But how can you even tell if your special needs child has food allergies? Read on for the nitty-gritty on how to tell, what to do if there is a food allergies problem, how to go about meal preparation, how to keep your child safe away from home, and how to handle emergencies.

How to Tell if Your Child has a Food Allergy

Many parents find out that their children have food allergies only after seeing certain symptoms, subsequently taking their children to see the doctor, and then getting a diagnosis. One source notes that 90% of all food-related allergic reactions are caused by eggs, wheat, dairy, nuts, seafood, and soy, and they can lead to symptoms that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Dizziness
  • Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is particularly troubling since it could potentially be fatal. Essentially, it impedes breathing and sends the body into shock.

In the event that you see any of the aforementioned symptoms in your child, you’ll want to take him or her to the doctor. The medical professional can conduct a number of tests, including an allergy test, to determine if your child either has food allergies or some other condition.

What to Do

The first thing you need to do if your child has food allergies is to cut the offending foods from his or her diet. This will require you to read labels carefully while shopping for groceries.

You’ll also want to equip your child with the skills he or she needs to stay safe. For instance, your child should have an epinephrine pen at all times, carry antihistamines such as Benadryl to treat slight allergic reactions, and use a medical alert bracelet.

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Meal Considerations

When cooking at home, you may have to cook separate meals so that you can accommodate both your special needs child who has food allergies and the rest of your family members who do not have food allergies. As well, be sure to properly wash up the dishes, cookware, and utensils to safeguard against possible allergic reactions.

Out and About

In addition to ensuring that your child knows about his or her food allergies and understands what to do if there is a problem, you have to involve other parties such as the school and anyone your child will be around. On the one hand, schools may have to make certain accommodations in the cafeteria. On the other hand, people at whose homes your child visits must know about your child’s food allergies, understand what the symptoms are, and know how to handle emergencies. Kids now a days are involving in many negative extra curricular activities and parents should keep their eyes keenly on them to avoid any severe reactions, such as high school kids are found to be taking some chemically composed formulas to enhance their study efficiency, in that manner they are openly marketing to buy adderall online xr pharmacy and to buy this from multiple online pharmacies. Although it is not a bad thing to do, but the wrong usage could lead to some major or minor side effects.

How to Deal with Emergencies

Kids Health recommends a five-step checklist for you in the event that there is ever an emergency. They include the following:

  1. If your child’s doctor has insisted on an epinephrine pen, you must ensure that your child always has it nearby. Also important, you have inform your child about when it should be used.
  1. You, your child, and those your child associates with must recognize the signs of a severe allergic episode — like labored breathing or fits of coughing — and take decisive action speedily.
  1. Practice makes perfect. So practice using the epinephrine pen routinely so that you and your child know what to do if the time comes to use it.
  1. In the event that your child suffers an allergic reaction and has to use the epinephrine pen, apply it straight away. Also ask someone to call the police, and get to an emergency room quickly since your child could potentially experience a second round of symptoms.
  1. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as it relates to storing the epinephrine pen. Also, take note of the expiration date so that you can get a new one as required.

You must be diligent if your special needs child also has food allergies since the consequences of an allergic reaction can be very serious. If you adhere to the aforementioned tips, though, you can certainly keep your child safe at home, school, and play.

Why Pokemon Go is Perfect for Special Needs Children

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Pokemon Go has completely taken the world by storm.  Both adults and children have pulled out their phones to hunt Pokemon and maybe catch a fan favorite (almost always Pikachu!).  Pokemon Go may be a trip down memory lane for some or just an excuse to take the dog for a walk, it also has added benefits for children with special needs and their families. The social aspect of this new craze allows special needs children develop new skills which their families can take an active role in.  

Easy to Pick Up

Video games have gotten very complicated since the days of Tetris or Super Mario Bros., but Pokemon Go is an easy concept for anyone to pick up, whether they are children with special needs or parents that haven’t picked up a video game controller in a few decades.  You simply open the app on your smartphone and walk around; eventually, you’ll come across a Pokemon that you can toss a Pokeball at with just a flick of your finger.  This ease is one of the major reasons the game has taken off so well and a big contributor to how it helps children with special needs.  

More Social Interaction

Pokemon Go is a natural icebreaker, not just for children with special needs, but even children and adults that may naturally be shy in social situations.  Go to any public park, playground, or church and you’re bound to see a lot of people with the same goal: catching Pokemon.  The game essentially gives people a shared goal and this can help break down social walls and can get kids with special needs an aide to help them interact with others.  Players can show each other new catches or share information on where to find the more elusive Pokemon.  They can also work together as a team to take down a gym leader and claim the spot for their own team.

A Reason to Get Out of the House

When a child has a special need, especially autism, which affects how they socialize with others, its not uncommon for that child to prefer to stay within the confines of his or her room and set up a routine in which they are able to limit the amount of socializing they need to do in a given day.  With Pokemon Go, part of the fun is the adventure can be had out in the real world.  For example, in order to get more Poke Balls, a player has to visit Poke Stops, which are pre-determined landmarks like parks and churches.

Pokemon Go is the one game where it doesnt pay to sit in front of a TV all day, which can help children with special needs learn to make their schedule a little more flexible, diversified, and allow them to become more acquainted with changes in their routine.

Strengthening Family Bonds

Parents of children with special needs can sometimes find it difficult to communicate and share experiences with their children. Many of these children, whether they have autism or other needs, have a hard time expressing their likes and dislikes as well as carrying conversations with others.  Pokemon Go has actually bridged the gap between special needs children and their parents.  It has become a shared activity for children and parents to go on walks to catch Pokemon.

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Creating Attainable Goals

Pokemon Go has a built-in system of tasks that need to be done and medals that reward certain milestones.  These unlockable goals give children, especially those with special needs, a sense of accomplishment and can boost confidence and self-esteem.  These goals could be as simple as catching a favorite Pokemon or taking down an opponent in a gym battle; regardless of how big or small, it can do wonders to help a special needs child grow.

Pokemon Go can help both children with special needs and their parents.  With its social and physical aspects, Pokemon Go can help grow a childs personality and help them interact with the world in a way they havent been able to beforehand.  

The Back To School Guide for Special Needs Kids

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After a summer break filled with all sorts of fun extracurricular activities—with some rest and relaxation thrown in for good measure—there will inevitably be another school year.

Buying some back to school clothes and supplies for your kids may be on your to-do list. But that is only scratching the surface if you have a special needs child who needs to be ready for the classroom environment.

This is so because children, and more so special needs children, could have more difficulty adjusting to a new teacher, new classmates, and a new grade level.

In order to make the transition to the school year from the summer break as smooth as possible, what follows is a back to school guide for special needs kids.

Talk it Out

Before the school year kicks off, you should open up a two-way dialogue between you and your special needs child. By so doing, you can help to lessen, if not altogether eliminate, any pent up anxiety your child may have about returning to school. Even though changes can be difficult for anyone, you can get your child to relax and even to look forward to the new school year by focusing on the positives such as the opportunity to connect with old friends, to make new ones, and to learn new things. If your child is headed to a new school, try to schedule a tour of the facility beforehand so that he or she develops some familiarity with the school environment.

Comb Over IEP

Familiarize yourself with your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is a written statement for special needs children. The IEP essentially serves as a blueprint for your child’s educational needs, so you need to look at it before the new school year starts to ensure that it still meets the needs of your child. Keep in mind that IEPs have an expiration date, and make sure that you stay on top of when your child is slated for a reevaluation. Ensuring that your child’s IEP is still relevant will help to make the academic year less stressful for your child and will position him or her for success.

Familiarity Breeds Content

If your special needs child gets anxious whenever he or she encounters change to the status quo, you can potentially alleviate any worries by setting up certain routines for both before and after school. These activities to start and end the day can serve as calming bookends, so to speak, which will give your child comforting, settling anchors.

Stay in Touch

When it comes to making back to school preparations, you need to focus not only on your child, but also on the staff at your child’s school. In other words, you should make it your duty to know whom your child’s teacher is, not to mention the principal, in the event that you need to inquire about anything related to your child’s IEP. The school staff are there to help your child, and you are obviously your child’s best advocate. By staying in touch, and voicing your opinions and observations, you can be the advocate your child needs.

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Organize for Success

When buying school supplies, look for things that’ll help your child stay organized. For instance, you can, depending on your child’s special needs, opt for color coded binders or folders that correspond to specific subjects. This organization will help your special needs child to remain more focused and provide less opportunity for your child to possibly get flustered or frustrated in an environment that could trigger sensory overload.

Back to school can certainly be a particularly stressful time of year for special needs children. By following the aforementioned tips, you can make the transition to the school year from summer break less stressful and more enjoyable for your child.

Should You Consider a Charter School For Your Special Needs Child?

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With ten different types of schools in the Los Angeles school system, each of which can carry their own enrollment period, parents are finding it very difficult to choose the right school for their child’s needs.  

Recently, however, LAUSD came under fire for not spending part of their budget on high needs students. This has led many special needs families to consider switching from public schools to charter schools..   Here are some pros and cons of charter schools, especially if your child happens to have special needs.   

PRO: Charter Schools Give Families Options

The popularity of charter schools has grown because they give families the option to choose the school that fits their childs needs.  For a family with a special education student, this can be a huge benefit.  Not all public school districts are created equal.  The provisions that a public school has at its disposal for special education students can rely heavily on its funding.   At least with a charter school, these families can research what to expect with how that particular school works to accommodate these types of students.

CON: Charter Schools Can Create Exclusivity

Obviously, charter schools cannot practice discriminatory acceptance methods, but their model does tend to favor certain students.  If, for example, the charter school looks to save money by reducing transportation services, this can affect low-income families more than it will affect higher income families.  Charter schools can also set their own curriculum, which can create an exclusivity that can negatively impact special education students.  Some schools have been accused of discriminatory acceptance practices against special education students in the past.

PRO: Niche Teaching

Public schools are exactly what the name implies: they are schools that are designed to serve the general public.  Each public school has a certain set of standards that they have to adhere to, leaving very little room to specialize the curriculum.  Charter schools have the ability to design their own curriculum and can specialize in the form of teaching they subscribe to.  Montessori schools, for example, focus on freedom within limits and independence.  This type of teaching philosophy, which focuses on a childs natural development, was developed specifically with special education students in mind.

CON: Underfunding

As charter schools are technically for-profit institutions, making money is part of the game.  The government funds of a public school, on the other hand, are meant to go straight into the education experience, whether that means paying administration or buying supplies.  Typically, charter schools only spend about 50% of their budget on instruction, whereas public schools spent closer to 60% of their budget on instruction.  In order to make a profit, charter schools will usually cut spending in places that public schools spend more: teacher compensation, special education, transportation and high school education.

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PRO: Smaller Class Size

As charter schools tend to have less enrollment, each classroom tends to be smaller compared to public schools, especially those in urban areas.  As special education students need more attention, keeping them in overcrowded classrooms can prevent them from getting the education that they need and deserve.  More manageable class sizes in charter schools are beneficial to special education students by giving them more one-on-one time with a teacher that is not as overwhelmed.

CON: Less Transparency and Less Student Freedom

Public schools are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, which by contrast, charter schools are not.  The reason for this difference is that charter schools are privately funded, so when it comes to some information, charter schools can be a little more tight-lipped.

Only recently have some measures been put into place that require charter schools to release certain data, including disciplinary data.  When studied, the data (collected from more than 5,000 United States charter schools) showed that disciplinary actions were carried out against black students and students with disabilities at a disproportionate rate compared to white and nondisabled students.

Charter schools do have their advantages, for students that require special education classes, but there are also some drawbacks in this system.  Research your local charter schools thoroughly in order to decide what is best for your child.