June '08 Monthly Bulletin
(meeting held: 6/18)
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Guest Speakers:
Doreen Cordova, Esq. Cordova & Associates, P.C.
Patrice Bagdanoff, School Nurse with Babylon Elementary

Special Education and 504 Plans
A School Guide for Parents of Children with Food Allergies
Demonstration on how to administer epinephrine (by Nurse)

Presentation by Doreen Cordova, Attorney

Handouts included: Everything you need to know about 504 Plans, Section 3 Tools for Effective Management in Schools, Medical Management Plan, Section 4 Laws School Responsibilities Under Federal Law, Quick Reference Emergency Plan, Managing our Child's Documents.

Questions & Answers

Q1. If my child has an IEP (Individual Education Plan) does he need a 504 Plan?
A1. Yes, You can incorporate a 504 Plan into an IEP. 

Q2.  How long does it take to get the IEP paperwork after a CSE Meeting?
A2. Up to 6 weeks.  The end of school year is a busy time (annual reviews), transition time so it takes longer.  However, you need to get a draft to review before school starts in September.

Q3. My school says my child doesn't need a 504 Plan, just an IHP.  What should I do?
A3. They are incorrect.  They must do a 504 Plan.  The 504 can be simple.  Used to prevent discrimination.

Q4. Does the 504 Plan have to be specific (i.e. morning care, aide to shadow at lunch)?
A4. Yes.  Request a 504 Meeting.  Here is the link to a 504 Plan.  Call a team meeting at the beginning of the year (the day before school starts) so everyone knows to follow the 504.

Q5. Is an IHP (Individual Health Plan) a legal document?
A5. Yes.

Q6.  Is there a difference between Student Action Plan and a 504 Plan?
A6.  Yes.  You need a 504 Plan to protect your child's rights.  Every teacher, substitute teacher and nurse have to know about your child's medical plan.  You cannot have an Individual Care Plan without a 504 Plan.  In other words, do not walk out of your 504 Plan meeting without and IHP.  Very little money supports the 504 Plan.  You will need a Doctor's letter to the school district.

Q7.  Is IHP form written by the Doctor?
A7.  Yes.  Need documentation.  Sample was handed out.

Q8.  What if my child is in a private school, daycare or parachocial school -- does he qualify for the 504 Plan?
A8.  No.  504 Plan is for schools that accept Federal Funding.

Q9.  Do schools have to follow guidelines for managing "Peanut Aware" Schools?
A9.  Guidelines are not mandated.  A school can recommend that a child not bring nuts or nut products to school but it cannot guarantee a peanut free school due to the fact that peanuts, shells and peanut oils, etc. are hidden in so many products that kids have come to love. Therefore, schools cannot guarantee that the school is peanut free.

Q10. 504 Plan need the principal's approval?
A10. Approval not needed.  Start with the PTA.  Bring statistics.  Go to PTA Board Meeting.

Q11.  What should I do if I need help to attain the 504 Plan for my child in school?
A11.  Contact Doreen (see above).  No one is turned away.  I work on a sliding scale.

Q12.  Is a lot mandated by the state - do they feel the same way as local districts?
A12.  States wants to protect your child.  Go to Office of Civil Rights  (OCR) if the district doesn't do the right thing.  Don't go asking for the world.  Make it reasonable.  SEPTA (Special Ed PTA) should cover food allergies.

Q13. Do you have to have an individual aide for your child with a 504 Plan?
A13. No, it is all based on the individual child's special needs.

Presentation by Patrice Bagdanoff, School Nurse

Handouts included: Welcome To Babylon Elementary School.  A Guide for Parents: Children with Food Allergies & School Practices.


Babylon Elementary School became "peanut aware" five years ago.  Two parents approached the school and asked "What is your plan for Peanut Allergic Kids?"

Babylon Elementary School follows the FAAN's School Program guidelines which explains how to manage food allergies in the classroom, on field trips and more.  Check your district's peanut policy on the internet.  There are on-line federal guidelines for Health & Wellness committee.

Examples: there are no food rewards, no edibles for activities, art teacher had to evaluate all materials that had peanut/corn/egg bases, gym teacher found peanut shells in the beanbags.  Custodian discovered almond oil in the pink and white soap.

Demo of epi-pen.  Advise to call 911.  You should call EMT/fire dept. that responds to the school to find out if they carry epi-pens on the ambulence.

Q & A

Q1. How can we bring more awareness?
A1. PAK is available to speak at Septa or PTA meetings.  See our School Program.  At our school, the psychologist goes to open house night and speaks to the parents on this topic.

Q2. Have you received resistance from other parents?
A2. Yes.  You have to work at this gradually.  Start by sending home a letter before school starts.  The first year there was resistance but now it is second nature.

Q3. Ever witness bullying?
A3. Not amongst the kids.  More with the parents.  All the kids watch the FAAN Allergy videos and read the FAAN allergy kids books.  Even the principal reads these books to the kids in the cafeteria.     

Q4.  Are you familiar with Boces policies?
A4.  It is very general.  Schools look at policies and decide whether to implement them.

Q5.  How does your school handle peanut allergies?
A5.  Nurse sends home letter about the student's allergy.  No peanut butter is sold at this school, the "lunch buyers" sit with the peanut allergic kids.  Therefore, a "peanut free" table is not required.  Recess occurs before lunch.  The "lunch bringers" who possibly have PBJ sit at a marked table that is wiped down so there is no mix up.  The school asks parents not to send in PBJ. Suggested snack list includes Fruits and Vegetables.

Q6.  What if you are just starting school?
A6.  Be very vocal in a nice way.  Get involved.  This is never going to be easy.

Q7.  What happens if the teacher is absent?
A7.  The subsitutes plans should be specific to your child's medical condition.  Everyone in contact with your child should be trained by the school nurse, especially aides.  The aides at our school use walkie talkies at recess to be in touch with the school nurse.  The nurse takes a digital picture of the allergic child and puts it on an index card with the Action Plan on the back.  This card is kept at the nurse's office, back of caferia, gym, art, music and front office.  The NY State Nursing Association is working on this and has come a long way.

Q8.  Are epi-pens in the classroom?
A8.  The law states that unless a child is self directed and carries the epi pen on him self or his para it should be in a locked box with ALL staff having a key.

Feb 7, 2008

Process and Procedure for use of EPI-PEN

The NYC Department of Education developed a new comprehensive plan to address the identification and treatment of food allergies in New York City schools.

The school nurse and the principal or designee must ensure that, for students with an Epi-pen MAF, an Epi-pen is available at all times. This includes times when the nurse is not present or when the student is participating in a school activity away from the school building. All trained staff should know where the device is stored and have access to a locked container when necessary. For outside school activities, such as gym class or a class trip, the Epi-pen should be carried in a hand-held emergency kit in the possession of the trained staff member. The Epi-pens should be kept in close proximity to the student whenever exposure to an allergen is likely (e.g., classroom, lunchroom, playground, etc.)

In cases where a student may carry and/or self-administer the Epi-pen, the student should keep the device (ideally, two) with him or her at all times. The student should bring the Epi-pen(s) to all off-site activities (e.g., class trip, work-study).

Q9.  Who administers Benadryl?
A9.  Only the nurse, as needed.

PAK is not a professional or medical organization.  It is a group of parents sharing information and supporting each other.  The discussions, meeting minutes, handouts, guest speakers, agendas, and other products of our support group do not constitute medical/legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Always discuss individual health questions and medical issues with a qualified personal physician.

In regard to Guest Speakers, the purpose of the presentations is to provide a variety of opinions on the spectrum on allergy issues. By no means is PAK adopting the views of its speakers, or endorsing them as medically accepted in the community. It is up to the guests to weigh the persuasiveness and acceptability of the presentations, based on their own knowledge and research.
Does your child have severe food allergies?
You've come to the right place.