Teaching about Allergy
Explaining to other children about a child's allergies can be done by the child and teacher, or it may be useful for the parent to go and talk to the class. Children are naturally inquisitive and will want to know why a child has to avoid certain things, so it is easier to be open and discuss any issues surrounding the allergy that the children should be aware of. Teachers and school nurses can work together to make sure that any information is appropriate for the age of the children in the group.
Circle time is a good environment in which to introduce the subject of allergies to other children and to talk about how to help an allergic child deal with their allergy. It can be useful to explain about situations where a child can and cannot take part, for instance, other children can often think that they are being kind by offering sweets, etc., to an allergic child so that they are not left out. They may also not understand why some children cannot take part in activities, such as sport, and it can be helpful for teachers to explain this to classmates, even quickly when starting an activity where one child cannot take part for medical reasons.
There are various books available to help explain allergy to children and further information on these can be obtained from Allergy UK. The most important thing is that each child, even an allergic one, feels included and secure, and that the other children do not feel they have to be kept apart. It is easier if these situations are dealt with from an early age then as the child grows up, their confidence also increases and they may find it easier as they get older to cope.
As an allergic child gets older, very often their friends will be able to offer a great deal of support to them, so it is important that they understand as soon as possible about an allergic condition.
Last updated: March 2012