Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference, May 10, 2014

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month…what better way to spend it than at a day dedicated to food allergies.

On Saturday, May 10, 2014,  that is just where you would have found me…attending Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

What a day! I hardly know where the time went…so fast, I even forgot to run out and grab my lunch from the car!

At the morning parent session…I think I may have been one of the oldest mom’s in the group with a son with multiple food allergies ready to graduate from high school.

My table of 6 parents, including myself, consisted of a couple of mom’s with a child with food allergies entering JK, a mom of a girl in Grade 3 and parents of another child who I think was also in Grade 3.

The morning was all about “Partnering And Planning With Your School”.

The registering of one’s child with anaphylaxis in the school system was a big topic. Understanding the law and responsibilities of the school, providing resources on your child with anaphylaxis’ allergy management, creating an Action Plan and effective communication tools for parents were all covered.

Complete with a very ‘Oscar worthy’ role-play example performance!

All the information regarding the morning session can be found at The Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group (TAEG).  Click here.

I really liked the ‘electronic binder information’ they have all ready for one to download…  I wish I had that resource way back when!

The afternoon session, “Managing food allergies:  Working together for a safer future” also flew by.

Great speakers from Anaphylaxis CanadaKyle Dine and three members of the Youth Advisory Panel from Why Risk It? discussed and answered questions on bullying and Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada moderated a great discussion on food labelling.

Dr. Adelle Atkinson’s , MD, FRCPC talk on “A Buffet of truths and myths about food allergy” easily kept the attention of all with her wit and humour.

Many exhibitors waited in the hallway for us all to descend upon them during our morning and afternoon breaks and lunch.

Exhibitors…such as Allerject (I picked up some posters and an Allerject trainer for my boys’ high school), EpiPen (I picked up some posters and an EpiPen trainer for my boys’ high school), Allergic Living Magazine (I happily subscribed for another 2 years), Medic Alert, and SunButter (my favourite being the Organic SunButter I asked if they could please make a crunchy version!)...just to name a few.

So what did I learn at this event?

1)  I was inspired to pick up as much information as I could from the exhibitors to bring back to my boys’ high school to present at the School Council Meeting on May 14, 2014.

2)  It made me realize, my boys’ high school website needs to contain information about registering a student with anaphylaxis.  Adding such information would be a welcoming sight for parents registering a student with anaphylaxis…the Principal agreed.

My experience at the high school level has taught me that not all parents feel the need to inform their child’s high school of their anaphylaxis.  Shocking I know!

By including anaphylaxis information on my boys’ high school website, I hope to bring awareness and encourage all parents of high school children with anaphylaxis to notify the Principal of their child’s anaphylaxis.  Set up a meeting with the Principal, review and fill out an Action Plan and provide the high school with an auto-injector for the office.

Continuing to be advocates at the high school level sets a good example for our children with anaphylaxis…for in only 4 years, you will be passing the torch!




12 thoughts on “Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference, May 10, 2014

  1. Thanks for sharing! On behalf of TAEG, we’re very happy that you shared the link to the resources created for parents/partnering with schools. The more people who can use the resources, the better!

  2. Hi Susan-I meant to stop by earlier and comment on the awesome job you are doing for the schools in your area. This was an excellent post. I am sending my guy to high school too! He’s going from a 400 student K-8 school to a 1600 boys high school. I wanted your opinion-I want to get him a medical alert bracelet…do you know of resources that tell you what to put on it? Should you mention asthma…and mention epinephrine injector? I’m trying to picture if a student would find him at school and not have any idea what to do…it’s very large and they are free to go anywhere on the campus when not in class. Not as much supervision as grade school :). I hope you are all well! I bet it was a long cold winter-it was bad enough here at lower latitude!

    • Hi Julie- My son is 16 and attends a high school of almost 4,000–I understand big school and the big fears. Yes! Get him a medic alert bracelet–the medic alert folks are particular about the wording “anaphylaxis to [list allergens] and asthma” . I give his allergy action plan from the FARE website, complete with a photo of him to each of his teachers and the nurse’s office. Try to get him to tell his friends where he carries his injector and make sure the nurse’s office has one too.

      My son carries his epipen in his book bag. Imagine my shock when I found out this, his sophomore year, that he does not carry his book bag to the cafeteria!! How stupid was that? Happily the classroom where he does leave it is close by, but we had a long discussion about carrying it to the cafeteria. (He always brings his own safe lunch since he has many allergies.) And the nurses office is next to the cafeteria. Sometimes I fail to ask the right questions!!


      • Great advice Candace! Although, I would advise that he carry his auto-injector on his person and make his teachers aware of it’s location. Have you heard of the Allerject? Much smaller than the Epipen…my boys easily carry it in their pant pocket. My eldest tended to carry the Epipen in his knapsack, which he did carry from classroom to classroom so it was at least nearby. I also noted on his Emergency Plan where his auto-injector is located. I have also ‘assumed’ when I should have asked. 🙂

    • Thank you Julie!

      In regards to a Medical Alert bracelet…I took the boys in to ‘Medic Alert’ to choose what they would wear…Matthew a bracelet and Michael chose a necklace. ‘Medic Alert’ advised me as to what to write on each…Matthew says, “Asthma Allergic To Peanuts & Nuts Needs Epipen”…Michael’s says, “Has Epipen Allerg:Peanuts Nuts Dairy Sesame Eggs Beef Seafood Others/Asthma”. Due to space, not all Michael’s allergens could be added…in a emergency situation a quick glance at all the listed food allergies would indicate that he is anaphylactic.

      I highly encourage you to contact your son’s high school before the summer begins to start the process of communication between the principal and yourself in regards to his food allergies. Here in Ontario, it is the law for a principal to develop an individual student allergy management plan and train all staff in the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and the proper administration of an auto-injector. Starting the conversation early will help the school prepare for his arrival.

      The winter was long and cold but spring has sprung and all is well! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Multiple Food Allergies and Prom…It Can Be Done | The Food Allergy Chronicles

  4. Hi Susan,
    So happy you got to meet Juli at the Conference! And we so appreciate you spreading the sunshine on SunButter, as well as accurate, timely info for the food allergy community. Looking forward to continuing following your beautiful blog. Cheers!

  5. Pingback: I Attended My First Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group Meeting, May 27 2014 | The Food Allergy Chronicles

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