Ten Things Children with Food Allergies Want You to Know

Ten Things Children with Food Allergies Want You to Know
©2011 Gina Clowes

1. I long to be included.

I would like to look, act and eat like everyone else. I’d like to buy my lunch and sit wherever I want. I know I can’t, but I’m happy when someone cares enough to provide a safe potato chip, cookie or Popsicle for me. It’s nice when I can have something similar to what the other kids are eating and I love it when I can eat the same thing as everyone else. Whenever it’s possible, please think to include me!

2. I’m scared I could die from my food allergies.

I’ve heard my parents and teachers mention “life-threatening” food allergies and I remember having some reactions where I felt very sick and really scared. I saw how frightened my parents were too. Sometimes, I could use a little reassurance that I will be okay.

3. I feel like I’m the only one sometimes.

If you have a support group or know another way for me to meet other children who have food allergies, I would really like that. It would be nice to know that I’m not the only kid who has food allergies. Having another friend with food allergies in my classroom or to eat with me at lunch would help me too.

4. I get confused when grown-ups offer me food.

I know I’m supposed to be polite and listen to grown-ups, but my parents have told me I should only take food from them. When you offer food to me (especially candy), I’d like to take it but I’m unsure and don’t know what I should do.

5. If grown-ups kiss me, right after they’ve eaten something I’m allergic to, I’ll get itchy spots.

If your dog licks me, I’ll get itchy spots too. I don’t feel quite brave enough or know how to tell you this, but I’m hoping you will remember; if you’ve just eaten something that I’m allergic to, I may get hives so please don’t kiss me right after you’ve eaten that particular food.

6. I’m embarrassed when people fuss over what I’m eating.

I know I have to eat my own safe food, but it’s easier for me when I’m not singled out. Sometimes, I feel very embarrassed when grown-ups ask me a lot of questions. More than anything, I just want to fit in.

7. I hear all adult conversations about my food allergies.

My ears perk up when I hear grown-ups mention my name or my food allergies. Please don’t pity me or act terrified because that will cause me to feel frightened. Food allergies are just one part of me. Instead, let me overhear you list all the wonderful things about me!

8. Sometimes I’m sad about having food allergies.

It’s hard to be the only kid in the class not having a birthday cupcake and having to eat something different from my box of “safe treats”. What makes it worse, is knowing this will happen a lot throughout the year because there are 20 or more other birthdays in my class. I know it’s not the end of the world, but from my perspective, it’s pretty tough at times.

9. I’m watching you! You may think that I’m too little to notice, but I know when you forget my EpiPen® and return home to get it.

I watch you every time, when you’re reading the list of ingredients on my bag of Skittles. You are my role model and I’m learning how to manage my food allergies from you!

10. I will do about as well as you do.

My parents and other grown-ups “can-do” attitude will help me cope with the challenges of living with allergies and ensure that food allergies don’t stop me from being everything I was meant to be!

Excerpted from the eBook Ten Things Children with Food Allergies Want You to Know.
(link to ebook) http://www.allergymoms.com/10things.html

Reprinted with permission.

©2011 Gina Clowes www.AllergyMoms.com