The children in Mrs. Miller’s Grade 1 class are in for a special treat. A guest speaker – Mrs. Brock – has come to school to teach them about food allergies.
Among other things, via an age-appropriate presentation, the eager students learn about the top eleven food allergens; avoidance strategies; symptoms of an allergic reaction; and basic emergency protocol. Mrs. Miller’s class is shown how to use an EpiPen®Auto-Injector and the students enjoy a cartoon about an elephant that is allergic to peanuts.
This is a beautifully illustrated educational storybook about food allergies geared to children in Kindergarten to Grade 3. It was created as an educational tool; intended to be read to young children in an effort to raise allergy awareness. The Best Audience is meant to be a dialogue between the reader (a teacher, a librarian, a parent) and the children.
The Best Audience is autobiographical through its educational message. The concept behind the storybook is rather simple: by reading this book to a class, an educator or parent will give the students the same allergy lesson that the author has been sharing with young students for years.
Diana Brock has been a Food Allergy Advocate since 1995. As the mother of a son with multiple life-threatening allergies, she recognized early on that it was her responsibility as a parent to (i) educate school administrators and teachers about her child’s special needs; and (ii) to advocate for his right to be safe at school. It is only through this education and heightened awareness that it becomes possible to engage the cooperation and empathy of the entire community.
When her allergic son started Kindergarten, his teacher invited her into the classroom to talk to the children about food allergies. Diana was awestruck by the children’s keen interest and by their willingness and sincere desire to help keep others safe.
Over the years, at the request of classroom teachers or school principals, Diana has spoken to thousands of students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 in a myriad of schools. Occasionally, other “allergy parents” would ask her to make a presentation in their own child’s classroom. This led to the realization that most teachers and even many allergy parents are not comfortable covering this subject matter with the students, even though they completely support the value of this education. Diana decided to create a book that would enable educators and parents to easily teach children about allergies in a way that children would find enjoyable.
Allergy education is important. The Ontario government agrees.
Sabrina’s Law (Bill 3) came into effect on January 1st, 2006 in the province of Ontario. All primary and secondary publicly-funded schools in Ontario are mandated to educate students about life-threatening food allergies.
“2. (1) Every board shall establish and maintain an anaphylactic policy in accordance with this section.
Contents of anaphylactic policy
2. A communication plan for the dissemination of information on life-threatening allergies to parents, pupils and employees.”
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