I am astounded by the number of daycares I've contacted who rejected my child because "her allergies are too severe" or because "they have other kids that demand their attention". I have talked to almost every daycare in our city, and the ones who have spots available, are not interested in taking in a child with severe food allergies. Some daycares accepted her but were unable to keep her safe. Others accepted her for a short duration and kept her safe but then kicked her out because "she was too much work".
I am equally frustrated by the number of allergy organizations out there that claim they seek to improve the lives of allergic Canadians. The AAIA, which holds itself in a position of dispensing accurate information about allergies and asthma, has failed to answer my questions about the status of allergic children under the Disability Act and programs for special needs children. They really haven't done much to improve my quality of life nor that of my daughter's except for providing me with some allergy brochures. The only organization in Canada that seems like it is actually trying to make headway for allergic individuals is Anaphylaxis Canada. They still were unable to answer my questions, but at least they put the effort in trying to research the information with me. The information they provided was not very useful and led to a lot of dead ends, but they get credit for trying. Both the AAIA and Anaphylaxis Canada suggested a number of ideas until I stated I live in Nova Scotia. There is a fair bit of support in other provinces such as Ontario, but when it comes to places like Nova Scotia, we live in the dark.
Equally stupified, are the people at Community Services, who interpret the letter of the law when it comes to allergic children. My little girl, who lives with severe life-threatening allergies to dairy, eggs, and peanuts, is not covered under the disability act of Nova Scotia, because
a) she is not mentally challenged and does not have an intellectual disability (yes, those were their words) and
b) she does not have a physical disability in the sense that a body part is non functional or partially functional
In short, they think she is a special needs child but the law does not allow for any type of accommodation under that specific criteria. There apparently is some sort of dispensation process that is available only to daycares who wish to take in kids with special needs, but it's done on a case by case basis. The application process and use of the funds are determined solely by the child care centre. The funding is not specific to any one child or diagnosis, i.e. if the child were to move to a new daycare centre, the funding remains with the old daycare centre. In other words, the day care centre decides how and when to use those funds and for whom.
With the exception of one or two, daycares in Nova Scotia are unequipped to handle allergic children, and those that are, do not understand the nature of allergies and cross contamination. I am told that Ontario had the same problem a few years ago, and was not interested in putting the effort to keep allergic children safe. But Sabrina Shannon changed all that, for Ontario. I'm afraid that things in Nova Scotia will follow a similar course and will only change if someone dies of anaphylaxis.
I just hope it's not my daughter.