“Don’t simply DO things for us when we are kids, TEACH US. How to read a food label, speak up, ask questions in restaurants, and teach our friends to use an auto-injector . We need to know how to do these things and become vigilant ourselves.”
My youngest son, Matthew is allergic to peanut/tree nuts. He has just successfully completed his first year of high school. By the time he graduates…he needs to have completed 40 hours of volunteer work. Matthew chose to go back to his grade school to volunteer for 3 days at the end of his final exams.
On his first day, Matthew was kept busy taking down all the graduation decorations. He did, however, take the time to demonstrate for his Grade 8 teacher, Mr. G, his new auto-injector…the Allerject.
Mr. G was notably impressed and advised Matthew to demonstrate the Allerject to the school’s new principal, Mr. O.
Mr. O was also very impressed with Matthew’s demonstration of the Allerject…he wondered if Matthew and I could attend the end of the year staff meeting on the Friday morning to give a quick presentation.
Matthew accepted on our behalf…but was quite hesitant that he should actually do the demonstration.
I thought this was a great opportunity for Matthew to take advantage of the above Tip #1 from Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel. So I encouraged Matthew by explaining to him that I would give the background story…he would do the demonstration…and we would deal with any questions at the end.
Mr. O gave us a wonderful introduction…my background story ended with Matthew’s big intro…”What if the auto-injector talked?”
Matthew did a great job.
There were many questions from the staff. One of which stood out to me…”How do we know if a student has the Allerject or not?”
It was a great opportunity for me to reiterate the importance that all students with anaphylaxis should be known to all staff.
All anaphylactic students’ pictures should be up in the staff room with all their anaphylactic allergies, type of auto-injectors, signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, as well as the protocol for an anaphylactic reaction.
All in all I thought it went well…”You did a great job mom…just maybe you went on a little too long but I think it was okay.”...thanks Matthew.
P.S. Matthew has been volunteering at his grade school, church and selling tickets for his friends’ swim team…he has completed 39 of the 40 hours required for him to graduate high school…way to go Matthew…I think you will make it!