Do you have a child with life threatening food allergies? If you’re beginning to navigate the school system and are worried about protecting your child from an allergic reaction, it’s time for a written plan. There are several different plans you should have written up, including an emergency care plan, a 504 Plan, and an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP.
The IEP is crucial to making sure your child’s food allergy does not get in the way of their education. Children with a life-threatening food allergy who are enrolled in schools that receive money from the federal government may qualify for an IEP. This is a program of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In order to qualify for an IEP, your child’s disability (their food allergy) must affect their learning.
Qualifying for an IEP can be tricky at times due to the legal definitions of disability. Contact your school district’s Special Education Director to determine whether your child is eligible. It can take several months to determine whether your child is eligible, but many parents find that an IEP offers children with severe allergies the most protection. It is intended for those students whose disability is affecting their ability to learn in the classroom.
An IEP is designed to make sure your child’s unique educational needs are being met. The plan is tailored to each student’s needs, as identified during the IEP evaluation process. It is designed to help teachers and other school employees who come in contact with your child to understand his or her disability and how it affects the learning process. It may include a health plan and a plan for accommodating your child’s allergy within the school building. These plans are reviewed yearly to ensure that they still reflect your child’s needs.