An article published earlier this month indicated that a recent UK study shows that food allergic children and their families feel isolated, stigmatized and unfairly excluded. To read the total article, you can link here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/kids-nut-allergy-teased-excluded_n_929809.html
I would have to say that overall, we’ve been lucky not to have many issues happen with our allergic child but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been there. There was the time that a good buddy at school told our child that she couldn’t have her to her birthday party because her mom didn’t want to deal with her peanut allergy. It took all of my strength not to phone that mom and have a little discussion. I didn’t in the end since I didn’t really think it would change anything except mortify my child even further.
There was also the time that one child wiped his hands down all of the bus seats as he got on the bus, telling everyone that he’d just had peanut butter. We were really pleased with how that got handled by the students on the bus themselves, many who had been riding that bus with our daughter for years and were very protective of her. Every child on that bus turned on that young man and kicked him off until he spoke to the bus driver. We then let the principal know when our child got home and told us what happened but peer pressure really made the difference that day. He never tried anything like that again.
But it’s also the incidents that aren’t so easy to quantify; when everybody else gets the birthday treat in the classroom or someone’s sharing candy with all of their friends but my child can’t take it. It’s definitely isolating, even when there is no evil intent. All kids need to learn (often the hard way) that life isn’t fair and sometimes bad things do happen to good people but there are plenty of opportunities to learn that out there without the added exclusion that food allergies can certainly bring.