Did you know…all Ontario Schools and Public Health Units will have received educational material regarding the latest auto-injector Allerject?
Anaphylaxis Canada, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Education, have updated their Anaphylaxis Support Kits with packages containing resources to inform and educate our educators on the Allerject. Click here for the announcement at Anaphylaxis Canada.
Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, stated, “The health and well-being of our students is a top priority for the Ontario government.” “Together with our partners, we are committed to making our schools healthier places for students to learn and grow.”
I am more than thrilled!
The resources in Anaphylaxis Canada’s Support Kit support Sabrina’s Law…passed May 2005, Bill 3 and effective January 1, 2006. Sabrina’s Law “requires that every school board in Ontario establish and maintain an anaphylaxis policy”...it also “requires that principals develop individual plans for pupils at risk of anaphylaxis.”
Ontario publicly funded schools, school boards and public health units received their first bilingual Anaphylaxis Support Kits in 2011…they will receive Updated Packages, whereas, new schools and public health units will have received the full packages.
The bilingual Anaphylaxis Support Kit includes epinephrine auto-injector training devices (EpiPen and Allerject), awareness and instructional posters and videos, a presentation for school personnel, as well as, related materials and other information.
Educating our educators on anaphylaxis is key to the safety of our children with anaphylaxis in their journey through the education system.
I truly believe the next step is to include the students themselves…our children with anaphylaxis’ classmates.
I know from experience with my two boys with multiple food allergies…the importance of educating their classmates on their food allergies and explaining, in age-appropriate language, the causes, signs and symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis.
I believe…de-mystifying auto-injectors and developing an awareness of anaphylaxis early on has many benefits. 1) It would increase a student’s understanding of a classmate with anaphylaxis. 2) Develop an appreciation of their classmates living with anaphylaxis. 3) Build a support network of educators and students for classmates with anaphylaxis.
I am every so grateful for the continuing compassion, empathy and support from my boys’ classmates and educators throughout their education journey.
Classmates are on the ‘front-line’…they are the most likely to witness the onset of an anaphylactic reaction. Students educated on the causes, signs and symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis would be prepared to administer an auto-injector in the event of an anaphylactic reaction…saving precious time.
A recent article, “It’s Hard Not to Stare children’s book opens discussion on disabilities” by Andrea Gordon in the Toronto Star supports my theory of capitalizing on educating students early to embrace all their classmates, regardless of their differences. Click here to view the article.
Author Tim Huff’s latest children’s book, “It’s Hard Not To Stare: Helping Children Understand Disabilities” and his first book, “The Cardboard Shack Beneath The Bridge”, both touch on this very concept.
Tim Huff’s goal…”to demystify the unfamiliar, build empathy and prevent the kind of judgement and meanness he has witnessed during his decades working with the disabled and as an outreach worker on the street with youth.”
Tim Huff, co-founder of Street Level…”a national advocacy network on homelessness and poverty issues “ states, “If we teach children to be compassionate when they’re young it spills over to everything and affects their character.”
He goes on to say, “At a time when bullying is rampant, it makes more sense to build on the positive by instilling compassion and dealing with kids’ questions or uncertainty about the unfamiliar, rather than simply outlawing behaviours through numerous anti-bullying programs.”
I totally agree…perhaps a children’s book focusing on anaphylaxis should be next in the works!
Now there is some food for thought.
P.S. Upon learning of Anaphylaxis Canada’s Updated Packages…I photocopied their media release to give to my boys’ high school principal.