Food Allergic Kids and Middle School Home Ec

At the beginning of the year, I met with my allergic daughter’s principal and the home ec. teacher to discuss how my daughter could take part in the Foods portion of home ec.  We ended up putting off the final details since her rotation for foods wasn’t happening until spring.

Now we’re scrambling because she is scheduled to start home ec. classes shortly so principal, teacher, parents and child are meeting next week.  I am torn with what to do.  My liberal side wants to have my child be able to partake in the classes and feels that special needs can and should be accommodated.  My conservative side says not to.  My child wants to participate but isn’t sure that she’ll feel safe enough to eat the food that she creates due to the potential of cross contamination from other classes in there.  I don’t know if we’ll be able to overcome the cross contamination or comfort issues.

I know that if she participates but then doesn’t feel comfortable eating the food, she’ll hold it together at school but will completely fall apart at home due to the unfairness of watching everybody else eat their delicious creations; and rightly so.  Her art teacher said he’d love to have her back in art during the food portion (she’d then do sewing with the rest of the class) and she is happy to know that she’s got an alternative she loves.

So… do we  work hard to make the entire room allergy friendly and she feels safe OR do we work hard to make the entire room allergy friendly and she’s still not comfortable?  Does she eat the food or doesn’t she?  Does she do the food portion at all?

A friend once told me that parenting doesn’t get easier as children grow up, it’s just different and she was right.  I no longer have to worry about my daughter putting something in her mouth like I did when she was an allergic toddler but now the emotional and social ramifications of segregating are a much bigger part of the picture.