Hi All,

My son is 4 and will be starting full day kindergarten in the 20-21 school year.  I know it's a year away, bit he still has multiple triggers and to put it mildly the thought scares the heck out of my wife and I.  

We were wondering if anyone has had experiences (good, bad, ugly) with entering Kindergarten and tips on how to proceed w/ IEP/504 Meeting requests and what you were able to get accommodated or not.  Our dream is for a food free classroom, but idk if that has ever been put into an IEP/504.  Our son currently has an IEP for speech but will transition over to a medical 504 w/ nurses plan at some point... but we are looking for pointers of what to request.

Thanks,

Mark & Julia

Original Post

I’m an FPIES mom to two kids and have acted as a advocate for families working with the schools in my professional life. A food free classroom is not likely to be considered a reasonable accommodation. In addition removing all dangers is not going to teach your child self advocacy which is an important skill.  Food product is often considered a vital part of curriculum.  Food product can mean things like paint, crayons, and even paper if your child has a soy allergy.  You can though educate all the students about how to keep your child safe.  Teach them to wash their hands after touching food or food product. Teach them to wash their faces in the morning after they may have eaten cereal with milk. My oldest when he was three kept getting welts on his cheek during a group class and we figured out a little friend was kissing him on the cheek to say good morning—we educated her and came up with a plan that worked. Teachers can be trained to be extra vigilant with table washing and encouraging hand washing. A lot of children don’t know how to properly wash their hands, they can learn with education.  Self advocacy is most important though honestly! My oldest is 6 1/2 and only eats food from home and knows he can’t eat anything else and is cautious about paint and sensory activities.

I used to be a classroom teacher. Are his triggers common to school supplies? (Soy, wheat, etc) You will definitely want to ask the teacher about those and provide alternatives where you can. You can make accommodations for food through an IEP but I can almost guarantee you that it will not be a food free classroom. Most kindergarteners still need snacks and taking that away seems a little excessive, in my opinion. I’m don’t mean to this sound harsh and I understand the fear. If you aren’t ok with the idea of your son participating in snack times, you may be able to arrange something like having him sit at the teacher’s desk, having an aide come take him on a walk / to another class during his snack time, etc. Your best bet is to have a heart to heart talk with the teacher so that he / she is aware and concerned. If the triggers are reasonably easy to avoid, maybe he/she can make a list of preferred snack foods and send as a handout to the classroom. I would set up a meeting before school starts next year to give him/ her time to arrange all of this. I’m in somewhat of a hurry so if this came across insensitive or rushed then my apologies. Just trying to squeeze in my most basic thoughts ☺️

Let me stress again the importance of education and advocacy. As I read the previous post one thought came to mind. Substitute teachers! In a perfect world a substitute has information about your child but that is often not the case!  In addition to the soy is school supplies I mentioned play dough can be major issue and gluten free play dough is typically made of rice so no better!

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