Those of you who follow the Lauren's Hope blog regularly (and who doesn't?) may recall that I shared a personal story earlier this summer when my 9-year-old son, Will, was diagnosed with Severe Feeding Aversion (that's him, at left, in the hospital) and underwent surgery to place a Microvasive G-Tube. This feeding tube works by way of a port on his abdomen, allowing us to give him all the nutrition he needs while he undergoes long-term feeding aversion therapy, a form of occupational therapy that addresses the behavioral, sensory (texture, smell, temperature, etc.), social, cognitive, and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) issues surrounding feeding.
For many children and teens, going back to school or heading to "Meet The Teacher" events is a bit intimidating and overwhelming. Kids feel nervous or anxious about a new school year, and for shy children in particular, those first few weeks of learning new names, places, and people can be truly challenging. For children with health care concerns such as Type 1 Diabetes, food allergies, asthma, or chronic illness, this can be harder, as even confident teens are often uncomfortable simply walking up to a new teacher and saying, "Hi. My name is Sally, and I have a peanut allergy." That's not the first conversation they want to have, even though it's such an important topic. They don't want to be defined by their diagnoses or thought of as, "The Diabetic Kid." Their health care status may not be information they want to share in front of other people right away, but they do need to communicate it to the teacher.