I’ve created a food allergy binder for Ollie’s school. We have an amazing team behind us. After a rough start to the preschool journey, I’m thankful we are where we are. It certainly hasn’t been an easy process but I feel as confident as I can with things starting next week. I’m hoping this food allergy binder makes it easier for everyone involved. Also, when I get stressed, I organize. This might be the most organized binder you’ve ever seen.
We also have our own copy of the food allergy binder at home. It is really nice to have one place to go for all allergy-related documents. In the case of school, it also means when I’m emailing, I can easily reference an exact document. Here’s a sneak peek at the binder (each heading is a tab of the binder).
what’s inside our food allergy binder:
-Food Allergy Anaphylaxis & Emergency Care Plan: To me, this plan from FARE is the holy grail of food allergy plans. I love the visuals and how simple it is. It’s front and center in the binder.
-Contact List: There is contact information on the plan from FARE. In the case of an emergency, nerves are running high. I want an easy go-to document to turn to for all family member’s contact information as well as all of Ollie’s doctor’s contact information.
-Teacher’s Checklist for Managing Food Allergies: We used this as a guide for writing Ollie’s Individual Health Plan, so it only seemed fitting that we include a copy. It breaks things down into clear and easy to follow steps.
-Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Food Allergens: This is yet another FARE document. It provides more detail than the teacher’s checklist document linked above. Some parts of it don’t fully apply yet as Ollie doesn’t have “specials,” but it makes everyone think about traveling to other parts of the school none the less.
-How a Child Might Describe a Reaction: This is another document from FARE (they really are so great). I added a few notes to ours to help with some Ollie specific things. He uses “my stomach hurts” to get attention, same with “I have a throw-up,” which is important for his teachers to know.
-Healthcare Professional Medication Authorization Form: This is a pretty straightforward form our preschool requires for each prescribed medication at the school. For Ollie, we need one for EpiPen Jrs, Auvi-Qs, and his inhaler.
-Authorization to Give Medication: This form is the parent’s authorization for the school to give a medication. There is one for each of the medications listed above in addition to an anti-histamine and cortisone. These medications don’t stop an allergic-reaction and likely won’t ever be used, but I want them there so Ollie can be as safe and comfortable as possible in any situation.
-How to Read a Label: We used information from FARE on general label reading and information on each of Ollie’s allergens. There are SO many names allergens can hide under. Erik and I will be checking each snack that Ollie gets, but this is a great resource for planning classroom activities and just trying to be aware.
-List of Hidden Allergens: For this, I actually used one of my own posts! A while back, I polled a number of food allergy parents to find out where allergens hide. The number of non-food items, especially those that might pop up in a classroom, is really astounding. I know it’ll be a helpful list to have readily available.
-Individual Health Care Plan: We have worked with the school district our preschool is located in as well as the teachers, director, and health officer at our preschool to develop an Individualized Health Care Plan for Ollie. To write Ollie’s, we read many samples online and went through his day start to finish trying to figure out points where something might need to be different to keep him safe and included. It’ll be a living and breathing document that changes throughout the year as needed too. If your child is elementary school age, they likely qualify for a 504 plan instead.
-Special Needs Health Plan: This is the document that the preschool requires. It is a much more simplified document, which is why we created the more in-depth health plan described above. Even so, there are two of these documents in the binder, one for food allergies and one for asthma.
-Family Letter: We worked with the teachers and director of the preschool to determine what rules needed to be in place and crafted a letter to send to all families at our school. I included a copy of this letter in the plan section as it outlines the rules and plans. I think it is helpful to be able to easily reference it if there is ever a parent question.
-Reaction History Write Up: This gives teachers an idea of how things have been in the past and potentials to look for. We included a few pictures. We only had them from some of the lesser reactions. It certainly was not fun to write, but I know it is helpful for them to understand how previous reactions have been.
-Allergy-Friendly Snack Options: This document was given to each family at the preschool. It includes a number of snack options that are currently safe for Ollie should they wish to send in a shared snack that is safe for everyone. Ollie will always have his own snack there, and we will ALWAYS check the snack that morning, but I sure do love the idea of him being included with all of his peers when it’s possible. The list includes pictures and stores to make it as easy as possible for people.
We also printed a number of signs for the school, purchased a magnet from FARE (sad to report their store just closed), and added some extra activity sheets and bookmarks (leftover from Food Allergy Awareness Week storytimes) to the front of the food allergy binder. These items will be displayed and used at the teachers’ discretion.
This is certainly not everything that one could include in a food allergy binder. I don’t want it so extreme that people can’t find what they need when they’re looking for it. I hope you’ve found this helpful! Let me know if you have any questions when it comes to creating a food allergy binder for your own family.