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Question-air freshener-remember the word allergy

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:06pm
Here is a reader question...

How are you able to deal with air fresheners and smells at school? We think our son reacts to those things and only put together the connection after a full semester of daily air freshener and decreasing self-control and behavior last spring.

This year, we're trying to be pro-active, but I just don't know how to deal with the smells. Is it a simple, "My son is allergic to air fresheners." Or do you go into a long explanation about why.


Dear Sara,
I use the word "allergy" a lot! It is not to be deceptive at all. It's just that people don't usually understand the word sensitivity. A sensitivity usually implies that the kids is sensitive and the parents are loony. People understand the word allergy to mean that he can not have it-which is the truth. In Andrew's case it is easier because he also has asthmatic reactions with fragrances. There is a physical symptom that people can see.
Normally I would just say plain and simply, My son can not be in a room with air freshener or any artificial fragrance including perfumes or candles. Then if you need to elaborate later you may. If the teacher is not complying, ask for a 504 plan. As I understand it, most schools would love to accommodate you if possible before needing to get a 504 because 504s means more paperwork for them but no extra funding. Ask them if they will be able to accommodate your needs or if you will need a 504 in order to make it happen.
We still have smells, other people's hand sanitizer (my kids bring their own) is probably the biggest smell left. Mrs. B is great to prop open the door as much as possible though so it's not as bad as it was. The clorox while wiping down the lunch tables, but they try to leave a bit early so they don't have an empty table next to them. The math teacher hasn't taken out her candle yet and I think she melts it when he's not there because there's still a smell in the room. It's just been for the last few weeks and coincidentally Andrew has been leaving the room halfway during math to use the restroom and he told me that his tummy hurts in math. He loves math and does very well so I can believe him on that one. I'm thinking it's the smell. I have had to run to the restroom many times while on the detergent aisle at the store. I wonder if anyone else gets the queezies when near chemicals.
Now you could say that right? If you continue to use air fresheners around my son he'll poop on your floor. Ha ha ha.
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