Monday, September 13, 2010

Take Over Tuesday: Meet Morgan Self Advocating on Food Allergies

Morgan's Mom Nicole commented on my post about peanut free schools. She has an amazing website
where I learned about her family's story. I asked her and her son if they would be guest bloggers. They both agreed! First up is Morgan. He an an amazing young man who is living life with food allergies.

Morgan is 14 years old and is in 9th grade in high school. He is anaphylactic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish and shellfish. He is severely allergic to dogs, cats and other furry animals. He gets eczema from food dyes and is allergic to grasses, weeds and trees. He is currently receiving allergy shots and is seeing a huge decrease in his seasonal and pet allergies!

When your done here, Check out Morgan's Corner on

Self advocating on food allergies

My mom says that I started asking if a food had peanuts in it from the time I learned how to talk. I don’t remember that. I do remember wanting to learn how to spell peanuts so I could read labels and find the word. I remember my mom telling me that “Sooner or later, you're going to live alone and when you do, I'm not going to be with you. (Let's hope not at least.) Let's start now on working on how you can deal with food allergies by yourself.”

In preschool, my mom took care of everything. She made sure that no one brought in peanuts or nuts. And she made sure I had a safe snack to eat every day.

In kindergarten, I stayed all day at school, which means I ate lunch there too. That’s when food allergy signs started on the lunchroom table. My teacher and my mom talked to my class about food allergies and about not eating unsafe foods around me. Also, everyone had to bring in safe snacks for the snack bucket, but I still brought my own snacks. I knew what my food allergies were, and I knew not to eat foods other people tried to give me.

In 1st grade, I learned more about self-advocating. I was at school one day and my class had to go to another classroom. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to go into other classrooms at school because pets could be there, or kids eating peanuts. My teacher felt that the other classroom was probably unsafe, pet or food wise. I had to stand out in the hallway for a few minutes, being left out of whatever went on in the classroom. I came home, crying, and told what happened to Mom. She suggested that I needed to talk with my teacher. I wrote up a letter of how I felt when the incident occurred. The next day, I came in to school and I read the letter out loud to my teacher. My Mom was there as parental support. It was just us three. Both the teacher and I cried at the end. She said she never wanted to hurt my feelings, and I wanted her to not leave me out in the hallway ever again.

I learned in 2nd grade that I had to start to take care of myself, and that my mom wasn't going to be there all the time. One day in the lunchroom, no one sat by me at my peanut free table. I didn’t like that at all. I asked if I could get rid of the big sign that said, “Peanut Free Zone” and just be able to sit at the same place with no peanuts around me, but also no sign. We talked about this at my 504 meeting that year. By the way, I started to go to all my 504 meetings with the teachers and my parents from kindergarten on. I always was asked what was working and what wasn’t working. And what wasn’t working for me was to have a BIG sign that said “Peanut Free Zone.” So, we agreed to remove the sign, but that I would still sit right in front of the cafeteria monitor just to make sure no kids brought in my food allergens.

In 3rd grade, I started doing a PowerPoint presentation I created for the class. I continued doing this in 4th and in 5th grade. There were just a few slides. I talked about what my food allergies are, what the class can do to keep me safe (don’t bring in peanuts, nuts, sesame or fish) into the classroom, don’t sit by me at lunch if you’re eating those foods, and don’t get upset if I ask you to move if you are eating those things. It really helped.

In 4th grade, I got to go on field trips on my own. Before that, my Mom came on every field trip. I wanted to go on field trips without her. I carried my own EpiPen and other medicines in a fanny pack on the field trips. Everything worked out fine.

In 5th grade, I started to carry my own EpiPen at school. The law in Colorado passed, and I could start doing this. There was still a medicine box in the office at school with my Benadryl and eye drops in it, and an extra EpiPen just in case.

In 6th grade, I brought in all the Peanut/Nut Free Zone signs for my classrooms. I talked with the principal about the peanut free tables in the lunchroom. My Mom didn’t come into school at all for that. We (Mom and I) had a meeting with all my teachers at the start of the school year, and talked about no foods being in any of my classrooms.

In 7th grade, the process happened again, but this time my classrooms were spread apart, unlike the Pods in 6th grade (classes in one group/area). This year, there were more dances and parties, but food was no problem since I had already dealt with my teachers.

In 8th grade, it was the same as 7th, just my classes were a bit farther apart. Lunch was no problem in any of the middle school grades since I had made my friends aware of my food allergies.

The step from Middle School to High School was more of a leap than a step. At my high school, people can eat lunch anywhere on campus: hallways, courtyards, even classrooms. This created a problem for classes after lunch- thankfully only one class each day is after lunch. Even then, people can eat anytime and anyplace. This includes during class time and during free period. My choir teacher simply just said ‘No food allowed’. It has worked quite well and I haven’t had any problems. Other teachers have been sort of lenient on food, but the class that does allow food is a freshman class, so I have been with these friends for 3 or more years, and so they understand my food allergies.

9th grade is a blast! I had met with my teachers in the spring time before school ended and before school started in the fall. Every one truly understood my hidden disability and is very helpful and supportive. I really feel the leap was much easier with all my teachers understanding!

Guest Blogger Disclaimer: The information shared by the guest blogger does not represent the opinions and policies of No Nuts For My Peanuts and it's creator. As always seek proper medical attention for any issues, medicine dosage's or questions you have regarding your health and allergies. Always read labels before eating or serving any food to anyone who has food allergies.



  1. Sorry folks. There was a glitch on the original post and part of Morgan's post was missing. Read from 7th grade on to finish!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I look forward to showing my 7-year-old son as lately he's been feeling like he's the only kid who has to deal with food allergies (his are to peanuts, tree nuts and dairy).

  3. Thanks for posting this. My boy has a severe peanut allergy. He just started kindergarten. His teacher is wonderful and very aware (her nephew has a severe peanut allergy.
    but we haven't done the 504 thing yet and I'm really not sure how to get it going. I thought the nurse was going to call me but I guess that didn't happen.
    I've never thought about dealing with it in upper grades. I guess I'm still in denial. /sigh

  4. Thanks for this post. My kids' school is striving to be peanut/tree nut free b/c of a few kids having severe allergy. This will be helpful information for me to be aware of.

    I found you from Mama's Little Nestwork and became your newest follower! Hope you have a great night.


  5. Hi Jinnia, I tried posting on your blog but I don't think it worked. Here is what I wanted to say:

    Thanks for finding me on Momma's Little Nestwork and for your efforts to help the food allergy kids in your school and for caring. It's parents like you who make a difference in their already challenging lives. So in the spirit of your post "The Therapy of Thanks" I am thankful for parents like you who care about others even though it may be inconvenient.

  6. HeartBabyHome. I get it. Denial is a strong defense mechanism that I too have to fight sometimes. I have found that dealing with it head on makes it easier and gives me some control back. Feeling proactive makes a huge difference. You are lucky that your son has such a wonderful teacher.

    Tricia I hope this helps him realize he's not alone.

  7. i am a mother to a 3 year old boy who is severley allergic to all nuts and cats. Also he is allergic to dogs, eggs and food dye. he get eczema very bad and the bottoms of his feet are always raw. I would say it's easy to just skip things where there could be a danger. But my ultimate goal is to educate people in my area. I want to start a FAAN walk in my city. Do you have any tips? The two of you are an inspiration!

  8. Try contacting FAAN walk directly at

    The Walk we are doing in Westchester is their first one. A little girl and her family go it going I believe. I want to do one in my county next year. So I will keep you posted on how I do it!


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