by Amanda Painter, South Chapter Coordinator
I wrote before about food allergy moms making a positive impact with the companies they founded. You can read that blog here. For this blog post, I want to highlight young people who are making a positive impact (and also happen to have food allergies). These teens have gone above and beyond everyday management of their food allergies and developed resources that benefit the food allergy community.
First, I would like to share with you, Morgan Smith. Morgan (currently a college sophomore) has written three e-books:Traveling Tips for Teens with Food Allergies, The College Survival Guide for Teens with Food Allergies and Morgan's Corner Collection: A History of Living with Food Allergies. Each of these books is a must read!
Traveling Tips for Teens with Food Allergies provides step-by-step guidance for trip preparation that empowers teens to be in control. The planning tips in this book include everything from choosing an airline to outlining where to find meals. Morgan shares ideas to help ease anxiety about traveling, and checklists to make the entire process thorough and seamless. Morgan also shares snapshots of his travels; the successful parts, and the ones where he had to troubleshoot on his own due to a change in plans.
The College Survival Guide for Teens with Food Allergies is an absolute must for teens heading to college soon (and a great resource for their parents too). College selection is one of the most important choices an individual makes in their life. When you add managing food allergies to the mix, there are many more issues and items to contemplate. Morgan shares the steps he took to decide on the college that was right for him. This survival guide suggests what to consider when examining housing and kitchen accessibility, what accommodations to request and the process for doing so.
Morgan stresses the importance of personal preparedness and covers social situations that need consideration, including dating, roommates and parties. The book gives us a glimpse into his day-to-day life; that is of great importance for both teens and their parents. It will help assist in discussions and preparedness on how to manage certain situations.
Parents will be glad to know that Morgan also reminds the readers that they need to check in with their parents!
Morgan's Corner Collection: A History of Living with Food Allergies is a documentation of Morgan's journey. In these pages, you will find Morgan's perspective and advice on managing food allergies from elementary school to traveling abroad in college. Topics range from dealing with teasing/bullying to managing holidays and staying safe at school.
Morgan is clearly living and thriving while managing food allergies. He is a remarkable example to others on how food allergies shouldn't hold you back. With proper planning and preparedness, you can follow your dreams and experience all that life has to offer.
You can purchase Morgan's e-book and read more about him on his website: Morgan's New Corner.
I can't write about Morgan without mentioning his parents. Nicole and Robert Smith set an excellent example for Morgan (and his sister). The Smiths are creators of AllergicChild.com. I encourage you to visit this website. It is an exceptional resource for those managing food allergies.
Next on the list is Cyrus Moassesi. Cyrus (currently a college-bound high school senior) is the creator of Food Allergy IceBreaker. This site provides talking points (and many other resources) for individuals that do not have food allergies but are affected by them. He covers many situations from play dates with little ones to peer-to-peer teen conversations. It can be challenging and awkward to ask others about their food allergies. By using these icebreaker suggestions, individuals show that they are interested in learning how to support someone with food allergies. Cyrus has many other accomplishments for his young age. You can read more about those on his website.
I also must add a couple of lines about Cyrus' mother, Caroline Moassesi. Caroline is a fierce food allergy and asthma advocate, setting a fantastic example not only for Cyrus but other advocates like me. Her passion is inspiring. I recommend checking out her Grateful Foodie blog.
My last must-read resource developed by a teenager is the book: Living with Life-Threatening Food Allergies: A Teenager's Guide to Doing it Well. Elisa Stavola wrote her book while in high school. This guidebook is full of practical advice on handling everything high school has to offer. From dating to sports, Elisa shares her tips and personal experiences, encouraging readers to be in control of their food allergy management. You can purchase her book on Amazon here.
Each of these individuals is an impressive example of how to make a positive impact. They are inspiring a community with the resources they share. I encourage you to check out their resources to assist you or those you know in the food allergy journey.
These individuals also set a wonderful example of self-management and self-advocacy skills. I want to take this time to emphasize how vital it is to teach children at a young age to self-manage and self-advocate. Building these skills in children at an early age will allow a successful high-school and college experience (and the rest of their lives). You will not always be with your child to navigate their journey for them. Read more here about teaching self-management.
I asked Morgan Smith to share a few words with our readers about his journey. This is what he had to share:
"Food allergies are entirely manageable. It's a mix of planning and self-advocacy: planning will help set-up the structures you need to succeed at school, on trips, and elsewhere in life, but self-advocacy will assure that you will always remain safe. It's important to never be afraid to speak up about your food allergies and voice your concerns with friends and strangers alike. People are a lot nicer and accommodating than you may think! Growing up with food allergies is just a long journey to develop these skills and, to me, life with food allergies is no different than life with brown hair or blue eyes - it's a fact of life. It's always better to have fun in the meantime!"
Again, excellent advice. Be sure your child (or yourself) is still having fun while confidently managing their food allergies, and utilize the above resources to assist in your journey!
Disclaimer: FACET has not been paid to recommend these resources.
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