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Top 16 Answers: What is a 504 Plan and Do I Need One?

When you have a child with severe food allergies, heading back to school means so much more than just buying a new backpack. It means taking every step to keep your child safe, and that might include getting a 504 plan. To help you get started, we talked to a food allergy mom who is uniquely qualified.
Debby Beerman, an attorney and mother of three food-allergic children, walked into her first 504 meeting armed with legal documentation, printouts of policies and a secret weapon — her mother. For more than two decades, Madge Beerman worked as a special education case manager and counselor in the Chicago Public Schools system and sat in on every 504 meeting for her school, listening to countless discussions between parents and administrators about students’ disabilities. Now retired, her mother runs her own consulting business as a special education advocate for students with disabilities. Like her mother, Debby is a mom on a mission to keep kids safe in the classroom and help others with the 504 process.  

How to Prepare a Babysitter

The people we trust to take care of our food allergic children hold a special place in our heart, particularly babysitters. Whether you are hiring a sitter for the first time or it is already part of your regular routine, we all need to thoroughly prepare our sitters. Spokin's checklist and 60 second auto-injector videos make leaving easier – knowing you've covered all the bases. Save this resource in the Spokin app for easy access and sharing. Online babysitting services like Sittercity make it easier to find the perfect child care provider for families with specific food requirements. Sittercity pioneered tech-enabled child care in 2001, and connects millions of families with local babysitters and nannies every year. They're building a platform that radically simplifies the way parents and caregivers connect and manage their trusted relationships, and Sittercity's search functionality allows parents to narrow down potential candidates by their family's specific requirements. See Sittercity featured sitters from around the country who have experience preparing specific meals for families with special needs. We are grateful to Sittercity for the special offer of 50% off a 3-month membership for Spokin app users — redeem your coupon code in the Spokin app!

Oral Food Challenges

The topic of food challenges is very personal to me. My 13-year-old daughter, Natalie, has multiple life-threatening food allergies and has experienced seven food challenges. She's passed five and has an upcoming appointment to face pecans for the third time after trying twice before (she doesn't like to say "failed").

In light of the recent devastating loss of a 3-year-old boy, we felt compelled to cover the topic. While the "how" that we are all searching for remains unknown, we have collected answers to the most common food challenge questions to move away from fear and take a step toward knowledge.

Spokin's mission is to help people with food allergies live the fullest life possible. We want you to have that magic moment when you open our app and discover food allergy "wins" — wiping out the tremendous amount of time it takes to find safe food, restaurants, camps, etc.

Our mission drives us to build a resource that is committed to, quite simply, life. The recent tragedies drive us to double down our efforts. If you have ideas of what you wish the Spokin app could do to make your life easier, please email me at [email protected]We are building Spokin for you and, near and dear to my heart, our kids. 

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