Food Allergy Consulting for Families

Consulting: We uplift and guide parents and their families to look beyond food allergy limitations, and see opportunities. The discovery that less anxiety, managed stress and prepared and confident parents and child means…there’s a new way to live! …More

Childcare Food Allergy Management: Being in your care always feels best, but it is time for the beginnings of independence to take root. We collaborate with you and your childcare provider/preschool to establish confidence, create appropriate accommodations and a partnership based on mutual responsibility and trust. …More

School Advocacy and Food Allergy Management: We assist you and your school in the development of a food allergy management plan that meets your child at his/her developmental stage and maturity level laying the stepping-stones for self-advocacy. …More

School Food Allergy Management Violation Resolution: No matter what has transpired in a 504 violation, it’s a terrifying and angering experience simply because your child is at his/her most vulnerable outside of your care. We will resolve the issue, revise and strengthen your 504 Plan and establish a system of checks and balances as a reoccurrence safeguard. …More

Training: When we know better, we do better. Whether your child is newly diagnosed, or you’re a seasoned veteran you’ll learn how to better care and advocate for your child. Attend or schedule an in-service, food allergy training for your childcare provider, preschool or school. …More

Food Allergy Family Consulting

If Food Allergies Have You At Your Wit’s End, We Offer A New Beginning

Dealing with food allergies can push you to the limit. Suddenly your life becomes considerably more complicated. Many decisions become challenging, like how to participate safely in school curriculum and activities, share in the fun at birthday parties and family gatherings or take a family vacation. Maybe it’s even more simple, like what can I make for dinner? Perhaps fear and anxiety about anaphylaxis has become commonplace while you yearn to decrease stress and increase your family’s quality of life.

“My experience with Kristin has been both fact-based and heart opening simultaneously. She provides a custom tailored set of “tools” to cope with food allergies and stress in the real world!” – Khrysti, Boca Raton, FL
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While research indicates that food allergy has a profound psychosocial impact on children, adolescents and their families, there’s a way to strengthen your acceptance of your new reality — A Gift of Miles. Kristin Beltaos, consultant and licensed trainer, offers food allergy consulting and support designed to help navigate food allergy management, balance a parent’s worry of perceived risk versus actual risk of exposure, develop a solid support system and build a healthy, optimistic mindset that is handed down to your child with food allergies.

Take advantage of Kristin’s firsthand and professional experience to move forward, make your life easier and see the joy again. With Kristin, you acquire a partner that will help you sift through your child’s diagnosis and educate you on how to take care of your child’s medical, physical, social and emotional needs. Leverage her expertise and benefit from her support to deal with family, friends, childcare providers and school staff so that they understand the seriousness of the allergies. Make the investment to discover your true strength and parenting potential that will nurture your child to grow into an inspiring self advocate.

A Gift of Miles consulting helps people like you every single day. We uplift and guide parents and their families to look beyond food allergy limitations, and see opportunities. The discovery that less anxiety, managed stress and prepared and confident parents means…there’s a new way to live!

We work with you sensitively and confidentially, using methods that are tailored to your specific situation and needs. Below is a sampling of topics covered in our work:

Food Allergy Fundamentals
Acquire the basics: how to grocery shop, read ingredient and manufacturing labels, find recommended cookbooks, understand cross contamination, learn where allergens can hide, etc.
From Home to Childcare or Preschool
Being in your care always feels best, but it is time for the beginnings of independence to take root. Learn how to partner with your provider or preschool to establish appropriate accommodations and create a partnership based on mutual responsibility and trust.
Understand Anaphylaxis
Obtain the knowledge to confidently interpret your anaphylaxis action plan, become confident using an epinephrine auto-injector, balance the perceived risk and fear of exposure with the actual risk, etc.
Transition to School: You’ve Hit the Big Time
Your child is getting bigger and so is his/her world. Discover how to advocate in partnership so that your child is provided a safe and least restrictive learning environment where safety, happiness and inclusiveness is a priority.
Empowering Your Child in Self Advocacy
As your child ages, so does his/her independence. Learn how to meet your child at his/her developmental stage and maturity level to teach the necessary skills on how to care and self advocate.
Marriage and Parenting an Allergic Child
Accept that one parent will take the lead and always know more about food allergy education, while the other is involved, supportive and appreciative. Know that you are great parents and spouses. Recognize that how you care and your parenting styles, even though they are different, are positive contributions to your family. Nurture one another and take the steps to ensure a strong marital connection.
Create a Kind and Empathetic Support System
Support and connections make your life easier. Learn how to create a strong support system for you and your family. Associate with like-minded people who “get it.” Learn to ask for what you need and deal with those that disappointment you and your family, etc.
Find a New Normal with Family Rituals and Holiday Traditions
Our everyday family rituals and holiday traditions bring us comfort, but when food allergies enter the picture, many of these food-centered rituals and traditions need to evolve. Learn to let go, start anew and develop rituals and traditions that are just as or more meaningful.
Growing Together With Your Allergic Child
Learn how to loosen the reigns, foster safety, independent thinking and communication with your child.
You Are More Than the Challenge You Manage
While you’re busy keeping all the balls in the air, never forget to care for yourself. We’ll establish a self care plan that keeps you accountable and feeling mighty fine!

And so much more!

Whether you’re in Minnesota, national or international, find the support and assistance that will help you find, create and flourish in a new normal.

Consulting is available in person, via telephone and videoconferencing.

Take that first step today…

Childcare Food Allergy Management

Your Food Allergic Child’s Transition to Childcare Feels Scary; We Establish Protection and Partnerships

You’ve enjoyed being at home with your little one; but it’s time for you to make the leap to childcare or preschool and you’re scared. That’s how it feels too…like a leap, a leap of faith. So many thoughts are racing through your head: How will I be without her? Will they know how to care for her food allergies? Can they keep her safe? Will they know what to do if she has a reaction?

“Kristin’s personal and client experiences make her a valuable asset to this education process and community!” – Inez D.
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When your child has food allergies it is stressful and expensive. In a national study published in JAMA Pediatrics, caring for a child with a food allergy increases the yearly cost of raising a child by approximately 30%. Whether you’re going back to work by need or choice or your child is simply ready for preschool, let’s face it, doctor visits, emergency room visits, hospitalizations are costly. Additionally, this study only accounted for medical costs, add in the price of alternative foods and that number is even greater.

As you comb through the many childcare home providers, childcare centers and preschools you’ve managed to find, ”the one,” where you feel the most comfortable. The center or preschool you have chosen may address food allergies in a variety of ways: a food allergy policy could be in place, food allergies are addressed on an ad hoc basis or there is no food allergy policy. No matter which scenario you encounter, you need the staff to understand your child’s specific needs.

Abandon your leap of faith feeling and feel confident, by partnering with Kristin Beltaos, of A Gift of Miles, so that your child’s transition into a childcare or preschool is a safe and collaborative one. Kristin will begin by learning about your child’s food allergies, other medical conditions and your worries. Next, she will evaluate your preschool or center’s current food allergy policy, provide guidance on next steps and complete a customized accommodation plan that accounts for food allergy safety and inclusiveness.

A Gift of Miles consulting helps people like you every single day. We uplift and guide parents and their families to look beyond food allergy limitations, and see collaborative opportunities and partnerships with those that will care for your child.

We work with you sensitively and confidentially, using methods that are tailored to your specific situation and needs. Below is a skeletal outline of our process:

Client Consulting
Childcare Provider Meetings (Kristin can attend meeting(s) in-person, via telephone or video conference)
Assessment of Learning Environment
Development of Food Allergy Management Plan
Negotiate Accommodations
Plan Approval
Childcare Provider Inservice Training

Whether you’re in Minnesota, national or international, find the support and assistance that will help you transition to this new chapter in your and your child’s life.

Consulting is available in person, via telephone and videoconferencing.

Take that first step today…

School Advocacy and Food Allergy Management

Your Food Allergic Child’s World is Growing, Establish Protection and the Foundation for Self Advocacy

“We can’t imagine anyone going through this process without Kristin as their advocate. She is worth her weight in gold.” – Solomon and Mary, Big Lake, MN
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Whether your child is starting kindergarten or a new grade, your eyes may mist over just thinking about the first day of school. When you have a child with a food allergy it can bring worry along with so many unanswered questions. If your child is starting kindergarten or a new school you may be wondering: Does the school have a food allergy policy? Are teachers and specialists trained on the signs, symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis? Does the school have food in the curriculum, celebrate classroom birthdays or have school-wide celebrations with food? Will my child sit at an allergy lunch table? Will my child feel left out?

If your child is starting a new grade at a school, your questions might be: Will this year’s teacher be vigilant, collaborate and be a good communicator? Will curriculum projects include food? What are the field trips this year?

There are two U.S. laws that protect children with a food allergy, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504 Plan) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are also state laws that protect children with food allergies, i.e., In Minnesota, the Minnesota Human Rights Act is a law that protects children with food allergies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture categorizes life threatening food allergies as a hidden disability, children who are at risk for anaphylaxis and attend a school that receives federal funding are eligible for a 504 Plan, which is available under a federal civil rights law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

In addition, children with food allergies are also protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Private schools, that do not receive federal funding, or even private childcare centers are also covered under ADA. Please note that some private religious schools are exempt from ADA.

Many schools may offer an Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP or IHP) in place of a 504 Plan. Do not accept this offer. An IHP is a document based upon the nursing process. It is an informal and reactive plan that addresses what a student may need medically during the course of a school day. In addition, an IHP does not acknowledge food allergy as a disability or include the accommodations necessary to accomplish a safe, least restrictive (inclusive) learning environment. Finally, IHPs do not offer a complaint process in case the plan isn’t followed. Children with food allergies are better served with a 504 plan.

No matter where your child is in his/her academic career, having a 504 food allergy management plan is a necessity. It’s the agreement or contract between the school and parents regarding how a child will be cared for and provided equal opportunity.

If your child attends a school where 504 is not an option, we still are able to establish a food allergy management plan so that school staff, parents and child have a clear understanding of the set of accommodations required to keep the child with food allergies safe.

Overall, how food allergy is addressed varies from district to district and school to school. Some districts and schools proactively address the needs of their food allergic student body while others are still using food in the curriculum and seasonal activities, i.e., gingerbread houses and peanut butter bird feeders, etc. It’s important to know where your school is on the spectrum.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the National School Board Association have published comprehensive policy guides for protecting students with life threatening food allergies; however, these are voluntary guides and therefore not mandatory.

All of this may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. When you decide to work with Kristin Beltaos, of A Gift of Miles, she’ll assist you in the development of a food allergy management plan that meets your child at his/her development need and that slowly establishes the building blocks for self advocacy. Kristin can be involved in whatever capacity you need. Some parents want Kristin involved from beginning to end and in every aspect of the process, including drafting the plan for your school. Others may need to a more cost-conscious approach, asking for review and revisions to a plan written by the school or only be involved in areas that require direct interaction with the school.

A Gift of Miles consulting helps people like you every single day. We uplift and guide parents and their families to look beyond food allergy limitations, and see collaborative opportunities and partnerships with those that will care for your child.

We work with you sensitively and confidentially, using methods that are tailored to your specific situation and needs. Below is an outline of our process:

Client Consulting
School Meetings (Kristin can attend meeting(s) in-person, via telephone or video conference)
Assessment of Learning Environment
Development of 504 Plan
Negotiate Accommodations
Plan Approval
School Inservice Training

Whether you’re in Minnesota, national or international, find the support and assistance that will help you transition to this new chapter in your and your child’s life.

Consulting is available in person, via telephone and videoconferencing.

Take that first step today…

Note to International Clients: The laws mentioned above only apply in the United States. Kristin is happy to assist international clients with food allergy management plans detailing the necessary accommodations to keep your child safe, happy and included.

School Food Allergy Management Violation Resolution

When School’s Food Allergy Accommodations Go Awry, We Resolve and Restore Confidence

Even after all of the best food allergy management planning, expect a snag or two. Most issues are misunderstandings or miscommunications. These are an easy fix that require an email, telephone call or short meeting with the teacher, principal and/or 504 coordinator. Stay the collaborative and creative parent you are, and partner to resolve these types of issues.

“I was so relieved when I found out that Kristin would attend our school meetings and advocate for our son, I no longer felt alone!” – Daniella and Paul, Minneapolis MN
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On the other hand, when your child’s specified accommodation is not received on a consistent and conscientious basis, then a more direct and formal approach is necessary. What might a violation look like? Perhaps your teacher is having your child sit out in the hall during snack time. Maybe unsafe curriculum projects are continuously being used in the classroom without notice or accommodation. It could be that a student, teacher or school staff member is repeatedly harassing your child about his/her food allergies.

No matter what has transpired in a 504 violation, it’s a terrifying and angering experience simply because your child is at his/her most vulnerable outside of your care. In addition, it is always our hope that adults will behave as mature and responsible individuals, and when that doesn’t happen, it creates a mistrust that is not easily rebuilt.

Partner with Kristin Beltaos, of A Gift of Miles, so that you are able to utilize an advocate that is objective and not emotionally tied to the situation. She will resolve the issue, revise and strengthen your 504 Plan and establish a system of checks and balances as a reoccurrence safeguard. Leverage Kristin’s expertise, so that you’re able to focus on your child and family’s healing.

When a school violation is severe or a school continues to be uncooperative, and a 504 is in place, there are other avenues, i.e., contacting a representative from your state’s board of education, or filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. No matter the approach, Kristin is with you every step of the way: communicating, guiding and keeping your child’s rights a priority.

A Gift of Miles consulting helps people like you every single day. We uplift and guide parents and their families to look beyond food allergy limitations, and see collaborative opportunities and partnerships with those that will care for your child. We work with you sensitively and confidentially, using methods that are tailored to your specific situation and needs.

Whether you’re in Minnesota, national or international, find the support and assistance that will help you transition to this new chapter in your and your child’s life.

Consulting is available in person, via telephone and videoconferencing.

Take that first step today…

Note to International Clients: The laws mentioned above only apply in the United States. Kristin is happy to assist international clients with food allergy complaint management.

Training

Food Allergy Training: When You Know Better, You Do Better.

“Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou said that and she was right. So often in training sessions people will say, “I had no idea that there was so much to learn about food allergies.” This means there’s a great lack of awareness about the intricacies in caring for a child with food allergies.

“I appreciated how clear, thorough and attentive Kristin is in our chat sessions and reflection papers which made me feel like she really cared about comments. Keep up the great trainings!” – Theresa, Rochester, MN
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Luckily for you, you’ve found Kristin Beltaos, of A Gift of Miles, who is a licensed trainer with the Minnesota Center for Professional Development teaching continuing education to early childhood and school age providers and educators on how to keep food allergic children safe, happy and included. Her trainings sessions offer the ability “to know better and to do better” for children with food allergies and their families.

Leverage her vast knowledge and courses, available at your location of choice, Think Small classrooms and Eager to Learn online classrooms. Another option is to hire her to train your childcare center, school, pre or post school care program, religious education group, etc. It’s a win/win situation as you are able to acquire piece of mind while many attendees are able to earn In-service hours.

A Gift of Miles consulting helps people like you every single day. We uplift and guide parents and their families to look beyond food allergy limitations, and see collaborative opportunities and partnerships with those that will care for your child.

Childcare providers, district and school staff and parents learning side-by-side, there’s nothing better! All courses can be changed to fit your time allotment; however, the shortened course may not be eligible for In-service Hours or CEUs. View a current course list and calendar, or to schedule a training, contact me today!

NOTE: For those taking a course for licensing purposes, please check with your licensor for approval. Registrants outside of Minnesota are welcome to register. Whether you’re in Minnesota, nationally or internationally, find the support and assistance that will help you transition to this new chapter in your and your child’s life.

Consulting is available in person, via telephone and videoconferencing.

Take that first step today…