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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.
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.
So a few weeks back, I had my six-year-old daughter, Julia, tested for food allergies. She's always had a bit of a weak stomach, and I'd noticed it was worse when she had chocolate, but then she'd drink chocolate almond milk every day (a switch we made after she showed herself to be a bit lactose intolerant) with no problem. So I just wasn't sure: Is this a dairy issue? But she eats cheese just fine. Is it a chocolate issue? But her granola bars have little chocolate chips and she's never had a problem. Is it some additive or processed ingredient? What about those completely-devoid-of-redeeming-value orange fishy crackers and Cheeze-Its that always make her vomit yet which she continues to eat when I'm not around to remind her not to? Is it the "cheeze"? I couldn't quite put my finger on it, so in we went for the blood work.
Let's skip over that part, because if you have a kid and have experienced a blood draw, you know that it really, truly is more painful for the parent than the child 90% of the time. So we did that.
If there's one thing Kansas City is known for (aside from gorgeous medical alert jewelry, of course!), it's barbeque! With Memorial Day coming up next week, followed by three months of sunny BBQ and picnic weather, we've got grilling on our minds over here at Lauren's Hope. Planning a fun BBQ takes more than just knowing Dad's secret steak rub recipe or finding out Mom's secret potato salad ingredient. It takes planning.
Summer is (finally!!) almost upon us after a particularly long winter, and for many, that means it’s time to start traveling. For people with tree nut and peanut allergies, this can be particularly challenging because airlines still serve peanuts and some meals that may contain nuts. Although allergy advocates are working to change the airline status quo, in the interim, the onus for safety falls squarely on the traveler.
One in every 133 Americans has Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack itself in response to gluten exposure. This means people with Celiac cannot eat anything containing gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Some people with Celiac Disease also find that they cannot tolerate trans-dermal (through the skin) exposure to gluten, either, which means they must be vigilant about checking the ingredients in every soap, shampoo, lotion, and cosmetic before using it, as many of these common toiletries use gluten as a binding agent.
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