Are there other issues to consider?
Yes. Remember that when dealing with food allergic children, keeping them safe at all costs is not the correct approach. Food allergic children are known to experience considerable anxiety due to their condition. They suffer limitations, isolation and exclusion every day. They also suffer teasing and bullying.
It is advised that schools create a policy for the care of food allergic children that aims not only to ensure their safety but also
- To give allergic children a positive psychosocial environment by ensuring inclusion and acceptance.
- To create an age appropriate awareness, understanding of food allergy amongst peers.
How does school staff access adrenaline autoinjector training?
At the current time, there is neither a legal nor formal requirement for adrenaline autoinjector training in Irish childcare, education or work environments.
There’s no reason why an adult, who has been trained in the use of an adrenaline autoinjector that’s been prescribed by a doctor, cannot act as the trainer for work or school staff.
There is a link from our website site to all 4 adrenaline autoinjectors that are available in Ireland, to their training pens and educational video clips.
An Irish school was fined heavily in 2014, on the basis of discrimination against a food allergic child, for enforcement of unreasonable arrangements.
We are aware that many schools have documents in place. It is our understanding that they are not a reflection of individual teachers’ reluctance to come to the help of a child in need, but a legal requirement of their institution, for which there is no formal or policy based/national requirement.
We do not advise on whether or not to sign.
Existing legislation already covers any person from liability if they offer to assist a person in a life-threatening medical emergency. Signed parental waivers do not improve this cover.
Emerging legislation will allow schools go further and keep generic adrenaline autoinjectors, rather than relying on individual families to provide multiple kits. Staff will need prescribed training. This will improve safety at school significantly as the generic autoinjectors can be used by trained staff for children who develop a severe reaction for the first time and do not have their own AAIs.
We strongly recommend a meeting between parent and teacher to ensure that all elements of the child’s emergency plan are in place: adrenaline pen, trainer device, management plan etc.
Special needs assistant (SNA) applications
The SNA scheme was put in place to provide for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs to cater for a minority of students who have significant need for care support and who would not be able to attend school without such additional support.
There is no indication that a child with food allergy requires an SNA in order to be able to attend school and to take part in education.
However, where a child has significant care needs arising from a disability or medical condition, plus a food allergy, they may qualifiy for SNA based on their disability or medical condition.
Domicilary Care Allowance (DCA) applications
The DCA scheme is intended for a child with a severe disability who requires ongoing care and attention, substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age.
There is no indication that a child with food allergy requires a DCA in order to deal with activities of daily living.
However, where a child has a disability so severe that it requires them needing care, attention and supervision substantially in excess of another child of the same age, plus a food allergy, they may qualify for a DCA.
Eligibility for DCA is not based primarily on the medical or psychological condition, but on the resulting lack of function of body or mind necessitating the degree of extra care and attention required. As such it is not possible to say if a particular child or any particular condition/disability will qualify for a payment under the scheme. Each application is assessed on an individual basis taking account of the evidence submitted.