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Preview: Parenting a Child with a Food Allergy

Parenting a Child with a Food Allergy

Welcome to the web log dedicated to Parents with children who have Food Allergies

Published: 2012-08-23T15:53:26-08:00


Counseling Careers with a Psychology Degree


Counseling is the largest specialty area in psychology and encompasses a wide variety of treatments for clients with various symptoms and conditions. Counseling can benefit individuals throughout every stage of life. Counseling psychologists work with clients with a variety of situations, including emotional, social, psychological, educational, career, vocational, business, family and marriage relationships, addictions and other issues. What Type of Work Do They Do? There are basically two sub-fields of graduate level psychology. Clinical psychology usually deals with more severe cases of mental illness and takes a more medical approach to diagnose and treat patients. Counseling psychology treats less severe cases and uses psycho-therapeutic techniques. Both sub-fields branch into other areas of psychology and counseling, and approaches vary with specialty, education level and training. If you want a career in counseling, there are several options to choose. The specialty or type of client you work with in some ways depends on your level of education and helps to answer the question, “What can I do with a psychology degree?” In each case, the education level for a discipline is entry-level. Education and licensing will vary by state, type of organization or company. Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology Opportunities are somewhat limited at this educational level. Some examples include: * Social and Human Services Assistants (social worker) * School Counselor * Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors While you can break into counseling at this educational level, some states may require a number of college credits or completion of a two-year certification program. Some organizations may offer specialized on-the-job training and require certification or additional education while employed. As an assistant, you would most likely be assisting with administrative duties, scheduling appointments or setting up group meetings and completing reports. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary range at this education level is from $28,000 to $38,000. Master’s Degree A master’s degree is the minimum requirement for licensing in some states. Requirements will vary state-to-state, but some employers in the following disciplines will hire individuals who have completed a master’s degree in psychology. * Rehabilitation Counselors * Mental Health Counselors * Marriage and Family Counselors * School and Career Counselors * School Psychologists * Community Health Counselors Higher-level counseling disciplines and clinical psychologists must be licensed in the state where they work. Completion of a number of hours or years of supervised practical experience is a requirement for licensure in some states. An individual with a Master’s degree may be able to gain the required experience to get a license working as a counselor at this level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary range at this education level is from $33,000 to $54,000. Combination Master’s/Law Degree Depending on the organization and work environment, conflict resolution counselors, (arbitrators or mediators) may find work with a Master’s degree. However, most require a combination of a law degree and master’s degree in psychology. Arbitrators often deal with legal issues and many employers prefer to hire an individual with both degrees. The median annual salary at $57,000. Ph.D. or Psy.D. Degree The following disciplines require a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree in order to practice and for state licensure. Requirements will vary by state, but additional training and experience may also be required to obtain a license. * Clinical Psychologist * Pastoral Counselor * Sports Psychologist * Health Psychologist * Child and Developmental Psychologist These disciplines deal with the psychological and medical needs of clients. These individuals often work in conjunction with a client’s medical doctor or as part of the client’s total healthcare team. The median annual[...]

Halloween and Food Allergies


Halloween is a scary time of year for parents of kids with food allergies. I remember my first couple of Halloweens after my daughter was diagnosed food allergies; I was a mess! It seemed easier just to leave the country than to subject my child to so much stuff that she couldn't have.

Here's a real life situation... a regular size milk chocolate bar that we buy for making s'mores (think summer camp outs) is fine, but the miniature versions you find during the holidays contain nuts.

It's not just that a big part of the Halloween celebration includes candy, it's that the candy given out at Halloween often times has different ingredients than what we buy throughout the rest of the year.

I used to assemble a bag filled with "safe" treats, fun stickers, books, crayons and other fun little things. As my daughter got a bit older, after she was done "goin' beggin," we simply swapped out the unsafe candy with the treats I bought. The other kids still enjoy this today because they get to trade in some of the less liked candy that we just don't buy during the rest of the year.

Now, when my children are tired of trick or treating and are satisfied with their trades, we put the remaining candy out to those kids still trick or treating (basically the teens running around the neighborhood). They hit the jackpot when they see a big bucket of treats like Snickers bars!

So, instead of smashing your pumpkins after everyone went in, the teens think you are the coolest house on the block!

Get Him Back


In addition to parenting issues, I've had my fair share of relationship issues as well. And, while we were apart for a period of time I was able to get him back.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are apart from your man, I have some great news you can learn how to get him back.

And you will be amazed at how simple the process is.

No doubt, it is a very devastating time for you and it is hard to think clearly. You think that you can reason with your ex – I am here to tell you that is doing nothing but pushing him further away.

In order to win him back you must have a plan and know how to react and when to contact him.

Learning how to seduce your ex may seem like you are going against the so-called norm but let me tell you this stuff really works.

It is all about understanding male psychology (yes, I know, a bit of a crazy subject).

I invite you to check out my website on how to get him back.

There are also ways to calm yourself and relax during this difficult period in your relationship. Just keep in mind that he will be back in your arms shortly.

At this point you will know so much about male psychology, how relationships ultimately work and what men REALLY want – that not only will you get him back …

You will have a stronger and healthier relationship than ever before.

- Lisa

Remember to check out FAAN for your back-to-school needs


Just a reminder,FAAN has great resources available free of charge to help with getting your child back to school safely.

Definitely check out this site, whether your new to food allergies or have been dealing with them for years!

Having difficulty contacting your child's teacher?


Parents who have dealt with their child's food allergies during the back-to-school frenzy may know all too well the feeling of being lost in the shuffle. During the weeks before school starts, teachers are incredibly busy readying their classrooms, attending meetings, and getting everything in order. The office staff is busy fielding questions about everything from what time school starts to parents wanting to change their child's teacher. It is little surprise that trying to contact the appropriate staff to discuss your child's food allergies can prove to be a daunting task.

With food allergies being so prevalent among children and with its awareness at an all time high, hopefully most schools have at least a generic food allergy management plan in place. Even so, most parents will want to speak with their child's teacher before the first day of school, just to review their child's specific needs.

It's definitely easier when your child is a returning student. It can still be difficult though to contact your child's teacher and arrange a meeting before the first day of school. One way to effectively contact the teacher without spending hours at the school waiting to see her in person, is to leave a note with the office staff. Ask to make sure your child's teacher receives your note as soon as possible (this is where your reputation comes into play, hopefully from previous encounters the school knows you as a friendly, reasonable parent who is easy to work with).

I keep the note short and simple, and I hand write it on a colorful piece of paper (more likely to catch their attention).

I write something like:

Hi. My child, Mary Smith, is in your 3rd grade class this year. Mary is allergic to tree nuts and eggs for which she has an Epi-Pen available. I would like to meet with you briefly before the first day of school to go over Mary's allergies.

Please call me on my cell phone so we can set up a meeting time.

Ann Marie
(cell phone #)

I find that if you are respectful of their time, most teachers will call you back promptly. And if you know your child's teacher, it never hurts to add that you'd be happy to bring them a Starbuck's. : )

A different way to carry Epi-Pens


With so many back to school sales, this is a great time to stock up on some tricks for living with food allergies.

Small pencil cases make great Epi-Pen holders. You can find some small enough that they'll fit two Epi-Pens and some single-dose Benadryl packets perfectly, or buy a bigger pouch to fit an inhaler too.

I buy solid color pencil cases (usually soft cloth or neoprene) and in permanent marker or fabric paint, write in big letters Epi-Pens followed by a red cross. The red cross alerts people that the pouch contains medication. I also put in a piece of paper with the important information: child's name, allergies (i.e. anaphylactic reaction to tree nuts), your name and contact phone number.

A pencil case fits easily into a backpack, a shoulder bag or a purse, so it adapts easily to whatever you or your child happen to be carrying at the time. Which helps increase the compliance with having Epi-Pens available at all times. Happy shopping!

Summer's here!


Summer is finally here! A great time to relax… more homework, no more tests, no more packing lunches or thinking about class parties or where there might be food. For those of us with children who have food allergies, the end of the school year is a welcome break.

Remember though, while you’re relaxing at the pool or beach, you still need to be vigilant about your child’s food allergies. With summer comes the ice cream truck, summer camps, vacations, sleepovers and amusement parks; all of which include food in some form or another. It’s still a good idea to keep special allergy-free treats at home; so when the ice cream truck comes around or your neighbor brings out a freshly baked batch of cookies, you’re well prepared. It’s even fun to once in awhile be that neighbor who brings out a freshly baked batch of your child’s favorite treat! Your child will appreciate it more than you know.

In a way, having play dates with friends from your child’s class is easier because they’ve spent the school year learning about your child’s food allergies and how to help keep her safe. Your child’s friends and their parents may feel less intimidated by the food allergies and Epi-Pens because they’ve seen all year long how food allergies can safely fit into everyday life. It’s still a good idea to review your child’s allergies and what to do in case of an emergency with the adult in charge, even if they’ve heard it before.

And for more summer fun, you can help arrange non-food activities, like water balloon fights, lemonade stands, outings to parks and beaches and even a quiet afternoon watching a favorite movie. It’s a perfect time of year to celebrate your child’s success in safely managing his food allergies for another school year. Well done!!

Time to Stock up with allergy free foods


With a possible swine-flu pandemic coming our way, it may be a good time to stock up on allergy-free food! For quick and easy allergy free snacks and meals, it's helpful to bake and cook in large quantities and then freeze the food in individual size containers. That way when you need a fast fix, you can just pop something out of the freezer and into the microwave. Presto!

Eating Out with Food Allergies - a close call


A recent news article caught my attention, and I'm sure those parents dealing with their child's food allergies will agree with me: eating out can be a scary thing. We teach our kids that their food allergies do not need to keep them from doing things they really want to do, yes, like eating out with friends. So many times we've all talked with chefs, wait staff, looked up ingredients on line, etc. etc. For our family, we tend to eat out only at a handful of restaurants, so we can be as confident as possible with trusting another person in preparing our child's food.

The news article referred to a close call that happened at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.

"Earlier this summer, Sharon Brigner's son Brandon was one of many children who had an extremely close call. On June 11 at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in northern Virginia, Brigner told that her son had a severe allergic reaction to egg after eating several mozzarella sticks that unknowingly contained the food he was allergic to.

Brigner said this week that the reaction happened despite her son's nanny asking the manager of the kid-friendly restaurant twice whether the food contained egg, and being reassured by the manager that it did not."

It's true, as FAAN says, "We're all in this together." We can check and double check, and in the end, it's all about educating those around us.

An Interesting Editorial about Peanut Allergy


I just read an interesting editorial on the "War On Peanuts." Here's an excerpt: "Officials [in North Carolina] recently sent letters home to parents asking that they no longer pack peanut-butter sandwiches or cookies in their kids' lunches." They go on to say, "We're all for keeping kids free of lethal food reactions. But in the case of peanuts there appears to be an overreaction. Some parents have even gone out and bought peanut-detector dogs for their kids....CDC data show food allergy deaths are extremely rare, with peanut-related deaths almost nonexistent." They claim that although the numbers are increasing, overall, the percentage of children with true food allergies still isn't that big. The author continues, "Punishing other kids for such an extreme minority is, well, nuts. The health benefits of peanuts to the other 99% far outweigh the risks."

Ten years ago, when my child was first diagnosed with food allergies, I would have been livid reading this editorial. The author is too flippant about food allergies. When my daughter was first diagnosed, I thought peanuts should be banned from all of her environments, including daycare and extended family's homes. The information I had at the time paralyzed me with fear. Now that we've lived with food allergies for awhile, I have a different perspective. Peanuts are a part of everyday life, and isn't it my job as a parent to help my children learn how to manage their food allergy in everyday life? I can't control their environment forever, but I can equip them with common sense about food safety.

Reading this editorial actually made me feel kind of embarrassed. Was I the parent who completely overreacted? Did I make people think that I needed a peanut-detector dog? (if there is even such a thing!) I wish I had my perspective now back when my child was first diagnosed. I'd be a little more relaxed but still vigilant. I'd educate and work as partners with people instead of request a removal of all peanut products.

I still feel strongly that I am doing a lot of things right to keep my children safe and teach them how to manage their own allergies. I wonder though if in another ten years, I'll look back again and wonder if I should have done things a little differently. This is where it's helpful to band together with other parents dealing with child food allergies. We can lend perspective to those who have a more recent diagnosis, and we can learn from those more veteran than us. It feels better to know that we're not alone!

Watch Out for Hidden Allergens


I start this blog entry with...UGH! Those of us dealing with our child's food allergies have heard over and over, check and double check ingredients of every food you buy every time you buy it. Campbell's is a well-known company and I generally trust their labels. I was a bit discouraged though on my most recent trip to the store. Campbell's has a new line of soups out called Select Harvest. It's marketed as a healthier choice, without MSG or artificial flavors. Be careful! Their Chicken Tortilla soup contains peanut oil. It's listed in the middle of the ingredient list, but it is not in bold type nor is there a warning statement anywhere else on the label. I know Campbell's did their job by listing it in the ingredients. I just thought that by now, bigger companies would at least put the top allergens in bold letters, if not have a separate warning statement.

It's a good reminder that it really is important to read every label every time.

Halloween and child food allergies


With Halloween approaching, I'm sure many of us who have children with food allergies are getting anxious. It's worth checking out FAAN's article on which candy is safe to eat. The article also has a couple of other links to check out.

Happy trick-or-treating!

Tips for Staying Sane at Halloween


Halloween can be one of the most challenging holidays for those children with food allergies. It's not just that a big part of the Halloween celebration includes candy, it's that the candy given out at Halloween often times has different ingredients than what we buy throughout the rest of the year. For example, a regular size Hershey milk chocolate bar that we buy for making s'mores (think summer camp outs) is fine, but the miniature Hershey milk chocolate bars in stores around Halloween contain traces of nuts. For those of us veteran parents, this probably seems so obvious that it's silly. But I remember my first couple of Halloweens after my daughter was diagnosed food allergies; I was a mess! It seemed easier just to leave the country than to subject my child to so much stuff that she couldn't have.

At first, I put together a Halloween goodie bag filled with safe candy, Halloween stickers, festive coloring books, crayons and other fun little things. As my daughter got a bit older (and I got a bit wiser), we just exchanged the off-limits candy with safe treats at the end of the night. My non food allergic children still enjoy this ritual because they get to trade in some of the "boring stuff" for M & M's, Milky Ways and other candy that we just don't get during the rest of the year.

What we've started doing recently is when my children are done trick or treating and are satisfied with their trades, we give the rest of the candy out to those kids still trick or treating. It's usually a bit later in the evening so the preteen crowd is out and about. They act like they've hit the jackpot when we give out handfuls of Snickers bars and Reese's. Everybody wins.

And truth be told, my daughters with food allergies don't really care that much about the candy anyways. They are in it for the costumes and the fun.

Halloween Tips


If you are one of those parents struggling with keeping Halloween fun and safe, there is a good site that's worth checking out. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) has a checklist for Halloween fun for children with food allergies. It's a one pager that only takes a minute to look, but it may give you a few ideas.

Happy Trick-or-Treating!

Cherrybrook Kitchen comes through again!


I love Cherrybrook Kitchen!! This company makes great allergy free mixes. My favorite part is the wheat free products! They have new wheat free products that my daughter LOVES! Mini vanilla and mini chocolate chip cookies. Great for lunch boxes! And they have super easy cake mixes that taste good too! If you haven't already, check out Cherrybrook Kitchen.