Advocating Made Simple – Small Steps to Creating a Safer World

Advocating Made Simple – Small Steps to Creating a Safer World

by Daniella Knell

‘Food Allergy Awareness Week, 2005’ lit a food allergy advocacy fire in me which I didn’t know existed. At the time, I was living in Utah and the local food allergy network group had put out a request to all members asking parents to read a food allergy story during this week at their children’s learning facility. With two children under the age of 3, each with multiple food allergies, I decided there was NO time like the present to begin educating their peers and teachers.

NOW I’d like to challenge YOU to take YOUR first step. The 2016 Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) is May 8-14th.  Making a difference isn’t nearly as hard as we think. A little preparation BEGINNING NOW will have you ready in NO TIME!

Here are a few easy guidelines which I follow when preparing presentations for pre-schoolers and early elementary aged school children. 


Preschool children have very SHORT attention spans. Think NO MORE than 20 minutes of food allergy basics.  Read your favorite food allergy story.  Maybe have a puppet assist you.  Books with rhyming prose and colorful pages will appeal to this age level.  The following key points taken from the FAACT PowerPoint K-3 Food Allergy Facts for Kids Presentation is perfect for this young group: Follow School Rules; Don’t Share Food or Drinks; Wash Your Hands; After Eating; Get Help Right Away; Be Kind – Don’t Tease; Be Considerate – offer non-food rewards; AND Spread Awareness.

Kindergarten through 3rd grade are better able to pay attention for up to 30 minutes. I find listening to stories is still appealing to kindergarten and first graders. All ages enjoy will illustrated books, but I find this age really enjoys a ‘relatable storyline’. This is the perfect time to begin introducing the FAACT's Food Allergy School Curricula Programs.  The older the kids are, the more they enjoy videos, ‘search and find’, ‘fill in the blank’ and more educational activity pages. Maybe even create your own like I did. Have your food allergy kid help you! They will feel pride and excitement in helping to educate their peers.


  • 'FAACTs for Schools' Program – Many parents, let alone teachers, don’t realize the gold mine of resources available with FAACT. Take a little time to familiarize yourself with the lesson plans, flyers, school letters for parents and PowerPoint presentations. YOU will become the ‘resource’ many teachers and other school families are needing. 
  • The Bugabees & The Bugybops by Amy Recob are two of my favorite books for preschoolers.
  • The entire No Biggie Bunch Book Series by Heather Mehra AND The Princess and the Peanut by Sue Ganz Schmitt are great for kindergarten and first graders.
  • The FAACT PowerPoint K-3 Food Allergy Facts for Kids Presentation is a GREAT tool for sharing information to kids who are JUST learning about food allergy basics. 
  • I have found FAACT’s Allergy Detectives Art Activity to be a fabulous, engaging and educational tool for kids who already have the food allergy basics learned. 
  • Coloring pages are a GREAT teaching tool for any of these grades. Just type in ‘food allergy coloring pages’ in your favorite search engine and you will be amazed at the fabulous resources which appear. Let the kids know that ‘they may know more about food allergies than their family and to share what they learned at home’. Ask them to tell you the next time they see you if they ‘IF they found everything’ or ‘IF they’d like more challenging worksheets about food allergies’. You will be amazed at their excitement the next time they see you.
  • Binky Goes Nuts - PBS – Many young kids are familiar with the Arthur series character, and the video ‘Binky Goes Nuts’ does a good job in helping them understand what is happening with a peanut reaction. The highlighted website is a useful addition if you have purchased or seen the story ‘Binky Goes Nuts’.    There’s an entire page dedicated to ‘peanut allergy’ which includes ‘tips for kids’, ‘tips for grownups’ and further resources.


Share about FAAW 2016. Share simply what you’d like to do (read a story; share and talk about a handout; watch a video or Power Point). Explain how long it will take.


You’ve gathered your materials. Prepared your resources. You are NOW ready to speak with the teachers, school nurse, Principal or whomever you need to about presenting your FIRST ‘food allergy awareness presentation’. 

I truly believe one of the greatest gifts we can give our food allergy children is a network of support, tolerance and understanding. Teachers may only be around for year.  Friends may be around for a lifetime. Here’s to taking your first small step towards to creating a safer world for our food allergy kids!

5. READY.  SET.  GO!


Daniella Knell is the owner of Smart Allergy~Friendly Education. She’s passionate about inspiring kids and adults to live their lives with food allergies without constant fear.  She believes that education and knowing the resources around you are the keys to navigating your food allergy journey safely.  As a mom of two with six of the top 8 allergens, she understands the challenges of managing and traveling with life threatening food allergies.  Whether in her Boise community, as an ambassador for SunButter or on a plane where she works as a flight attendant, you can find her publicly advocating for greater allergy awareness and education. You can follow Daniella’s latest product and resource finds at Smart Allergy~Friendly EducationFacebookLinked InTwitter or Pinterest.