It’s that time of year again! The hustle and bustle of a new school year is upon us. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when sending your MCADDer to school:
- Plan a meeting with school personnel. School personnel should include (at a minimum) the school principal, school nurse, your child’s teacher(s) and teacher’s assistant(s). Take written information about MCADD so that these individuals that care for your child each day understand the disorder and properly care for your child. They should understand what the disorder is, the necessity of timely snacks/meals, signs and symptoms of a metabolic crisis, and what to do in the event of a metabolic crisis.
- Explore a 504 Plan. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a Federal Civil Rights Law that prohibits discrimination against a child with disabilities. It ensures that a child has equal access to education by providing the child accommodations and modifications in the classroom. An example of an accommodation for an MCADDer is allowing the child a snack in the classroom due to his/her medically fragile status, when other children are now allowed snacks. Another example is keeping milk or juice at his/her desk rather than being limited to only water like other students. Asking the teacher to record the child’s lunch is also an accommodation that is helpful to the parent, especially for a young child just starting school.
- Medical Supplies. Keep a glucometer and glucose gel with the school nurse, or if permitted, in the child’s classroom.
- Emergency Protocol Letter. Make sure that your school personnel “team” is aware of the emergency protocol letter for your child, and has it handy in the event of an emergency. Because many individuals in the medical field are not familiar with MCADD, the emergency protocol letter is necessary to ensure that your child receives the best treatment possible in the event of an emergency.
- Snack “Stash”. Keep some of your child’s favorite “go to” snacks, juice drinks and candy in your child’s classroom in the event of a metabolic emergency.
- Milk. Let your child take a thermos of milk to keep at his/her desk to sip on throughout the day.
- Lunch. Pack some items for your child to eat at lunch, even if he/she likes what’s on the school menu that day. Take this precaution in the event the school lunch menu were to change to something that your child won’t eat.
- Food Record. Don’t hesitate to ask school personnel to record what your child eats during the school day. This will help you gain a comfort level that your child is eating adequately while at school. If the records don’t provide you with this assurance, it enables you to speak to your child’s teacher and provide specifics about what he/she needs to do for your child. Knowing what your child has eaten during the school day also helps with knowing how quickly your child will need to snack after he/she comes home from school.
- Max the Monkey has MCADD by Laurie Bernstein. Consider lending your child’s teacher a copy of this book. It’s great for young children, and can help them understand the special accommodations that are made for your MCADDer.
Best of luck for a happy, healthy 2018 – 2019 school year!!