School and allergies

My son's asthma attacks have increased since starting full time school and coming into contact with his allergies more often.

Does anyone else have similiar problems and what advice do you have?

Allergies to horses, cats, pollen, crop spores and house dust mites.

I am not new to asthma with 2 other asthmatic children, so no carpets in bedroom, hoovering with powerful hoover once, even twice a day, and general avoidance of triggers in the home as much as poss.

My son's first year at school has seen him have several emergency situations, numerous courses of oral steriods and a couple of hospital stays.At playschool his asthma was not good but was better than at full time school. They had flooring rather than carpets and a bigger classroom space. Interestingly, my son was very well the last 4 weeks of school hols this year, even though pollen was still high and crop spores season was nearing.

What I want to know is if anyone has asked their child's school for a statement of medical needs, or to have a asthma action plan specifically for their child's needs.

I know schools are very good at making sure staff know the asthmatic children and have my son's asthma attack action plan in several parts of the school, plus medication.

I wonder if anyone has asked their school to apply for grant to get a hepa filter hoover and/or a air purifier for the classroom for pollen season.

6 Replies

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  • Hi,

    I don't have personal experience with asthmatic children but I am an asthmatic teacher with multiple allergies and am also a SENCO which means I coordinate everything to do with special needs (including medical needs) in my school.

    I find my asthma is terrible in school at this time of year and got significantly worse when I changed schools. I found this was down to the cleaning products they used and this was easily changed when I had to have an occupational health review after a period of time off (during which time they risk assessed me!) School can be a really dusty place which is a huge problem for me - for example the projector on my whiteboard needs cleaning each week but it is so dusty I can't do it or be near it!

    It sounds like your son's school is good at understanding asthma so I would have a chat with them first and see if there are any small changes they are willing to make.

    What I want to know is if anyone has asked their child's school for a statement of medical needs, or to have a asthma action plan specifically for their child's needs.

    I know schools are very good at making sure staff know the asthmatic children and have my son's asthma attack action plan in several parts of the school, plus medication.

    I wonder if anyone has asked their school to apply for grant to get a hepa filter hoover and/or a air purifier for the classroom for pollen season.

    Does your son have a specific care plan or is he covered by the school's generic asthma plan? Most school's have an asthma policy which is suitable for most children but if a child's asthma is particularly bad and required specific treatment, a care plan would be more appropriate. This is written by a doctor/nurse and gives exact details on everyday and emergency care.

    In my experience (although I have never tried for asthma), I think a statement of medical needs would be quite hard to get unless attacks were very frequent and severe. To give you an idea, I once taught a child with unstable diabetes whose blood sugar would regularly drop and increase dangerously (she was regulary hospitalised) and needed help to manage an insulin pump. When we applied for medical hours, we were given half an hour a day for blood sugars to be checked at regular intervals. All the other care was given my a teaching assistant which was happening anyway.

    The idea of funding for an air purifier is an interesting one and I'd be interested to know how you get on. If it is proven to help and recommended by a doctor/occupational therapist then the school would have to get one to met the child's needs. It may be this is something they have to provide as part of their SEN budget or they may be able to get financial assistance for it.

    I would speak to your GP/asthma nurse/cons about your concerns and then feedback to the school. Maybe ask to see the SENCO and class teacher together to avoid repetition (I always feel sorry for the parents who go through the class teacher to get to me and have clearly told the whole story before). Tell them how you manage his allergies at home and they may make suggestions for small changes they can make in school. While teachers are trained, many of my colleagues don't really understand how variable asthma can be. It might also be possible to speak to your school nurse about your concerns too.

    I hope this has helped in some way. Do let me know how you get on as I am interested to know what they would fund.

  • Thank you for your reply. Very informative.

    By a medical statement I wasnt thinking of needing TA hours just something that shows how is asthma affects his school day and his triggers.

    I used to be a TA so have a little understanding but realise now that maybe a statement would suggest a medical need for funded hours. Not what I am

    looking at. It is things like being able to stay in when his peak flow is down and pollen is right up, or thundery weather, or very cold weather.

    I am looking seriously into the funding for a better hoover, one with hepa filter and an air purifier. I may need to get confirmation of his allergies from GP or Consultant for this. Maybe I shall be a pioneer mum on this. :) Allergy Uk had a report on the effect of classrooms on children with allergies, and the trials of approved flooring in one primary school. Not looking to go that far, but a cleaner carpet would make me feel better.

    To my mind we spend money and time making my son's environment at home cleaner than usual household cleaning but then send him into a classroom for 6 hrs a day that is cleaned differently.

    I shall let you know how I get on with this. :)

    Thank you

  • Thank you for your reply. Very informative.

    By a medical statement I wasnt thinking of needing TA hours just something that shows how is asthma affects his school day and his triggers.

    I used to be a TA so have a little understanding but realise now that maybe a statement would suggest a medical need for funded hours. Not what I am

    looking at. It is things like being able to stay in when his peak flow is down and pollen is right up, or thundery weather, or very cold weather.

    I see - this is certainly possible with a care plan - I have done it before. The school may ask for a doctor to confirm it is necessary (or every parent would ask to keep their child in at playtime for the smallest things) but they should be supportive of this. A care plan would also allow you to say at what point you want/need to be contacted etc. (Again this is only experience of it though). Schools are usually supportive when a parent asks for help and welcomes the extra information/guidance etc. Personally the generic approach to asthma annoys me slightly (hence my long post) as it is not one size fits all.

    I totally agree with trying to keep the classroom as allergen free as possible when this is done at home (especially given the number of children with asthma and allergies these days). It is so frustrating for me as an adult with some control so I can only imagine what it would be like as a parent of a small child.

    Wishing you well and let us know how you get on.

  • I was able to have a care plan at my son's primary school and it worked really well. It was very reassuring for me.

  • My daughter has a rigid care plan at her school. It involves such things as the heating system and how it's started up in the autumn. It incorporates which months her class will go swimming too. Obviously it also addresses her personal care with regards to her medical needs.

    The school in conjunction with the community school nurse have set up a TAC (team around the child) meeting which will happen every 6 wks to address her changing needs.

    All this can be done without the need to statement a child. The statementing process for a child with medical needs is nigh on impossible. I work within the system and know of a child with severe cardiac issues that requires monitoring and sometimes wheelchair, and that child is unable to get a statement. :-(

    My daughters school have applied for a statement for her needs on medical grounds (she has to have one to one every playtime and while eating) yet I will eat my hat if they manage to get one for her :-((

    Let me know the outcome and the support you manage to get.

    Good luck

    Emily

  • My daughter has a rigid care plan at her school. It involves such things as the heating system and how it's started up in the autumn. It incorporates which months her class will go swimming too. Obviously it also addresses her personal care with regards to her medical needs.

    The school in conjunction with the community school nurse have set up a TAC (team around the child) meeting which will happen every 6 wks to address her changing needs.

    All this can be done without the need to statement a child. The statementing process for a child with medical needs is nigh on impossible. I work within the system and know of a child with severe cardiac issues that requires monitoring and sometimes wheelchair, and that child is unable to get a statement. :-(

    My daughters school have applied for a statement for her needs on medical grounds (she has to have one to one every playtime and while eating) yet I will eat my hat if they manage to get one for her :-((

    Let me know the outcome and the support you manage to get.

    Good luck

    Emily

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