Asthma and allergies are chronic diseases that often need daily management and care. When a child with asthma or allergies goes to school, parents and schools need to work together to ensure the child receives appropriate care. What is the best way to work with your child’s school to help prevent asthma episodes or allergic reactions?
Every student with asthma or food allergies should have a school health care plan. A school health care plan lists your child’s common symptoms, medicines, and what to do if they have symptoms. It may also outline what school staff should do to prevent asthma episodes/attacks or allergic reactions.
Three of the most common types of school health care plans are:
- Emergency care plan (ECP)
- Individual health care plan (IHP or IHCP)
- Section 504 accommodation plan (also known as “504 plan”)
An IHCP outlines what the school will do to create and maintain a safe school environment for your child. For example, an IHCP will detail what school staff will do to reduce the risk of trigger or allergen exposure, recognize asthma symptoms or an allergic reaction, and give the appropriate treatment.
A Section 504 plan is a contract between you and your child’s school. It addresses how the school will accommodate your child’s asthma or allergies.
If the school already has a solid plan in place for managing asthma and allergies, your child may not need a 504 plan. However, if your child is eligible for a 504 plan, you could request a 504 plan to make the terms of the management plan legally enforceable. (In some cases, your child may not qualify for a 504 plan.)
You as the parent/guardian can work in partnership with school personnel and your child’s doctor as appropriate to develop the contents of your child's IHCP or 504 plan based upon their unique health and safety needs while at school.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s (AAFA) School Zone answers questions you may have about 504 plans, such as:
- What is a 504 plan?
- Does my child need an individualized health care plan or a 504 plan?
- How is the IHCP or 504 plan set up?
- What happens if the school doesn’t follow my child’s 504 plan?
- Does a child need a 504 plan in college?
If you are considering a 504 plan for the next school year, now is a good time to start the process. It can take some time to set up a 504 plan. Follow the steps on our 504 plan article to get started.
It is important to stay up to date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other patients who manage these conditions for support.