When your child with asthma or allergies (or both) starts school, you will probably have a lot of questions, such as:
Since asthma and allergies are very common among school children, many schools have plans in place to manage these conditions. But each school is different. And each child’s needs are different. Proper planning and a partnership with your child’s school can help you and the school staff create a safe and healthy learning environment for your student.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends you take certain steps to prepare for each school year. Make them part of your yearly school routine. And you may not need to do every step each year as your child gets older and becomes more independent. Use these steps as a guide as you work with your child’s school.
You and your child’s school both want your child to have a quality education in a safe environment. Forming a partnership with your child’s school is key when it comes to successfully managing their asthma and allergies.
Start by communicating with the school about your child’s asthma and allergies in writing. Ask for meetings with key people in the planning process. This often includes the school or district nurse and the primary teacher or sometimes the principal.
Throughout your child’s schooling, you will be working with the school and district staff. Approach it with a positive mindset and tone.
It’s also important to teach your child, in age-appropriate ways, how to manage their condition. This may mean learning how to recognize when they are having symptoms, knowing how to wash their hands, or taking other steps to prevent allergies or asthma.
SA³MPRO™: Comprehensive Asthma Educational Resources (Visit AAAAI.org)
Back to School With Food Allergies and Asthma (Visit YouTube)
Putting everything into place for your child’s care at school can take some time.
Each year, start preparing for the next school year early. Spring is usually the best time to start, especially since some prep will probably continue into the summer. If your child will need accommodation, start that process at the beginning of the calendar year (January or February) when possible.
Here are some of the steps you’ll want to take during the spring and summer to prepare:
At the end of the school year:
Every student with asthma or food allergies should have a school health care plan. A school health care plan lists your child’s common symptoms, medicines, and what to do if they have symptoms. It may also outline what school staff should do to prevent asthma episodes/attacks or allergic reactions.
Three of the most common types of school health care plans are:
The school health care plan will be created and updated in a partnership between the student’s parents/guardians, the school staff (typically school or district nurse), and the child’s primary care (e.g., pediatrician) or specialist care clinicians (e.g., allergist). Work together to decide which type of care plan is best for your child.
When you meet with the school, discuss:
Anaphylaxis Action Plans (Visit kidswithfoodallergies.org)