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!

 

 

 

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Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference: Are You Going?

Did you know that today is the start of World Allergy Week…April 7-13 2014?

The World Allergy Organization’s focus this week is for people to join them in their mission to ” increase awareness of Anaphylaxis – When Allergies Can Be Severe And Fatal.”

Did you also know that May is Food Allergy Awareness Month?

Perfect timing…there is a School Council Meeting tomorrow night.

At the School Council Meeting, I am planning to speak about Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Community Conference at the Delta Hotel in Markham, Ontario on May 10th, 2014.  Click here for more information on this fantastic event.

I am so excited to be attending this year…my first time! Hard to believe, but for some reason or other, I have had previous engagements that have prevented me from attending…this year I am free!

Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Community Conference is a full day conference divided into half-day sessions. “Patients, families, educators, healthcare professionals and other members of the community interested in learning about food allergy and anaphylaxis management” are all welcome.

What a great opportunity!

The morning session will consist of workshops for parents (Partnering and Planning With Your School-An Interactive Workshop For Parents) and youth, ages 13-21 (Teens Talk Allergies).

The afternoon session is open to all members of the community.

Afternoon program will include:

– Anaphylaxis Canada Update, Beatrice Povolo, Anaphylaxis Canada
Food For Thought: A buffet of truths and myths about food allergy, Dr. Adelle Adkinson, MD, FRCP
– Anxiety Alert! Understanding Anxiety in Kids With Allergies, Dr. Suneeta Monga, MD, FRCPC
– When Food Is A Weapon-Food Allergy Bullying, Kyle Dine & Youth Advisory Panel Members
– Panel Discussion: When things go wrong with food labelling, Speakers TBD -Evaluation & Wrap Up, Laura Harada, Anaphylaxis Canada

Click here for more information regarding the afternoon session.

In the morning session, I am hoping to ask some questions about students with food allergies planning on a post-secondary education.

As my eldest son, Michael with food allergies to dairy, egg, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nut, sesame, mustard and raspberries is in the process of choosing one out of three universities to attend in the fall of 2014…I am looking for some guidance.

Questions:

1)  Tips on choosing a food allergy aware university.
2)   What type of residence is recommended for a student with multiple food allergies where cross-contamination in the cafeteria limits food options? (All students in residence must obtain a meal plan)
3)  Do universities pair students with food allergies together?
4)  Will a letter from an allergist influence the type of residence a student with food allergies is assigned?

Where else can you go to talk food allergies without those around you cringing, second guessing you and/or turning a deaf ear?

As they say, ‘raising a child takes a village’.  Attending a conference such as Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference provides parents and youth with the tools to navigate and educate the ‘village’ in which we are raising our child/children with food allergies to be the best that they can be.

How awesome is that!

Are you going?

What questions will/would you ask?