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Last Halloween was my daughter’s first big holiday since being diagnosed with a chocolate allergy. I was more than a little nervous about her school parties, expecting a call from the nurse at any moment. Thankfully, she navigated the events (with the help of her terrific teacher) without incident, and our trick-or-treating went off without a hitch as well.
Much of this is due to the fact that Julia, then 6, was already well aware of her allergy and comfortable self-advocating. She always asks whether foods have chocolate in them and takes the extra step to explain that it’s an important question, as she is allergic. Of course, that’s all well and good when a child self-advocates this way. But many children do not or cannot, which can make Halloween more than a little intimidating for their parents.
This Friday is the 4th of July, and throughout the US, that means BBQs, picnics, sun, swimming, fireworks, and so much more. It's a day of recreation and relaxation, and it's a time to celebrate with family and friends. Of course, all of that celebrating can get out of hand quickly. But a little preparation and some safety savvy can help everyone have more fun while staying safe.
Whether you're cheering or groaning over the end of the school year, it's here, and for parents of children with chronic health conditions or special needs (as, let's face it, with everything else for us), there's extra work to do. As the mom of a third grader with severe, nonverbal autism and the mom of a first grader with a chocolate allergy, I'm not just wrapping up the year and looking forward to summer vacation. I'm doing year-end IEP meetings and coordinating with summer camp personnel to make appropriate arrangements for their care all summer long. Don't get me wrong. We have a healthy dose of FUN planned for the summer, but making that happen ... well, it just takes a bit more planning when you're a special-needs parent.
Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time for blooming flowers, budding trees, freshly cut lawns, itchy noses and tight chests. Spring is the peak season for those living with Asthma and Allergies, so it’s a great time to spread awareness about the diseases that affect over 60 million Americans.
Lately, we've talked a bit here on the Lauren's Hope blog about creating an allergy-friendly or chocolate-free Halloween: wearing medical alert jewelry while trick-or-treating, talking with teachers and caregivers, planning special food and non-food treats, and so on. For kids with food allergies, epilepsy, type one diabetes, special needs, and chronic health conditions, there are a lot of considerations this time of year, however, there are lots of things we can also do to keep everyone -- those with medical conditions and not -- safe this Halloween.
Those of you who follow the Lauren's Hope blog may recall me writing earlier this fall about my six-year-old daughter, Julia, and how she was recently diagnosed with a chocoalate allergy (specifically, a cacao allergy). When I tell people Julia is allergic to chocolate, the most common response from adults is something completely reasonable and calm like this: "Chocolate? She's allergic to chocolate?! I would DIE." So, I've learned to phrase it differently, especially when Julia is within earshot. I say, "Julia is allergic to chocolate, and boy, removing it from her diet has made her feel so much better! And she's trying lots of great new flavors now!" or something similar, and that's helping my daughter stay positive about it while giving adults the cue that I'd appreciate them doing so too.
A few weeks back, we shared some information about asthma here on the Lauren's Hope blog. As we usually do when we post about a specific condition, we asked our fabulous readers to write in and share their own stories with us. This time around, we heard from Jennifer McGlothlin (right), who explained that she wears Lauren's Hope medical ID bracelets because she lives with asthma that doesn't quite present the way most people expect.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Although bullying is in the news regularly these days, many people aren't truly clear on what constitutes bullying and why these anti-bullying programs are in place.
Halloween is a fun time, filled with treats and crafts and excitement. For adults and children with chronic conditions such as food allergies, type one diabetes, autism, or epilepsy, however, Halloween is sometimes a little scary, and not in the fun way. Protecting our kids and ourselves from the very real dangers of this fun season can be a real challenge, which means planning ahead is essential.
In the US alone, at least 25 million people live with asthma, a chronic lung condition in which the passageways through which air normally travels to and in the lungs become inflamed and constricted. This chronic condition causes a sensation of tightness in the chest of varying severity, and it also creates shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and gasping. While asthma generally presents in childhood and continues throughout a person’s life, some people do develop asthma later in life.
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