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readandweep readandweep is offline
 
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Heating lunch in IEP
Old 07-25-2017, 03:57 PM
 
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So I sometimes read posts on facebook pages or blogs of parents of students with disabilities.

Yeah, I know, can of worms...

Anyway, one post popped up today about packing a lunch for a kindergarten student with autism who has a very limited diet and only eats about 8 foods, 7 of which need to be heated (pizza, hot dogs, mac and cheese, etc.).

Responses included sending the same thing, like a sandwich for often years on end, sending the same thing, but reinforcing when they choose a hot lunch they like.

Another was telling the teacher they need to heat the child's lunch every day and demanding the heating of lunch every day be included in the IEP if the teacher is not "compassionate" enough to do this when asked.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

IME, half of lunch issues is being overstimulated or wary of the lunch room itself. Another quarter is the need to control adults around them by dictating what they want and/or will eat. The other quarter just want the same sandwich for lunch every day and parents don't want the kid to be different.


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Heating student lunch
Old 07-25-2017, 04:58 PM
 
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If the student is old enough and eats in the classroom, this would be a good learning opportunity to teach them how to properly use a microwave for their meals.

If the student joins the lunch room, then perhaps the parent can invest in a thermos type container to keep the lunch warm. I don't see how writing this in an IEP is an indicator of an education plan. There could be a goal on how the student can learn the life skill of preparing their own food, but there should not be an accommodation of the teacher having to heat up the lunch each day. If the teacher does it out of the kindness of their heart, and if they have time, then fine, but it should not be an expectation nor written into the IEP. I would ask for specific data needed to back this up before writing it in the IEP.
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depends on reason
Old 07-25-2017, 05:17 PM
 
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For me it would really depend on the reason. If it is for medical and safety reasons, such as only being able to eat certain textures without choking I thing it should be in the IEP. However, in this case I don't think it needs to be in the IEP. I've had students with autism who are very picky eaters, including one boy who ate the same kind of sandwich every single day, but it didn't need to be in his IEP. The foods listed would be fine in a thermos if student insists on only eating them hot, but that should be the parent responsibility.
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Old 07-25-2017, 06:18 PM
 
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No to putting it in the IEP. But if you put it in the IEP the district would be required to provide a microwave for your classroom or in an area that is safe for the student to use. So, MAYBE to putting it in the IEP.

BUT YES, to teaching the skill of using the microwave.

Last edited by teachingtall; 07-25-2017 at 06:19 PM.. Reason: Changed my thought...
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:26 PM
 
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I'm not a big fan of this idea at all. I think the parent should send in food in a thermal container that keeps it warm if that's the option needed. Many kids are happy with foods at room temperature (my own kid with ASD likes room temp foods). Sounds like some are arguing that it should be an accommodation in the IEP (since it's obviously not a goal, unless the child learns to do it himself), and I wonder how that would impact the other responsibilities of the teacher (particularly if a microwave isn't readily available in the classroom). It doesn't seem like this would be a need in order for the child to benefit from his education, since he does eat at least one thing that doesn't need to be heated up. Provided it's healthy, I'd be more inclined to send him with that, or room temp other things.


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Old 07-25-2017, 07:31 PM
 
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That's a tough one. I can say that contractually, we wouldn't be allowed to put in an IEP that the gen ed teacher would have to heat the student's lunch, because that time is also the teacher's duty-free lunch. I likely wouldn't even be able to do it because since I work with 4 grade levels, it's unlikely that I'd have the same lunch time as the student. If it seemed absolutely necessary, I guess we would have to assign the student a para for lunch, although that seems like kind of a waste of resources to me, assuming the student can get through lunch on his own without the para after the food is heated.

I would almost think it would be better for the student to have to eat the same thing every day at lunch to hopefully force them to branch out and try other things. However, my caveat is that I truly have very little experience with autism- I've only been a mild needs teacher and students on the spectrum tend to be in "moderate needs" programming at minimum. So I'm not sure what I'm suggesting is reasonable.
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:49 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it if heating meals isn't an option for other students.

I have a middle school class, and a student with autism who will only eat food brought from home. In the cafeteria at my school there *is* a microwave available for student use. Mom wanted us to heat it up for him... nope. Kiddo can use apps to create movies, he can learn to use the microwave. Printed out the steps with a few visuals, laminated, taped to the microwave. Problem solved, life skill checked off. He is allowed to go to the cafeteria a few minutes early, because waiting in line is really not his thing.
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Prepping student lunches
Old 07-27-2017, 09:15 AM
 
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My district does not allow anyone but kitchen staff alter food, even the stuff sent from home. They will microwave food that needs to be heated and will use the blender to puree foods for students who cannot chew. For the life of me, I don't know why parents do not send food prepped. I put my son's hot lunches in a thermos. They were still hot when lunch rolled around. That could be a recommendation to the parent. I would not put altering food sent from home, or even school lunches, on the IEP in case the child gets sick or chokes. Check with your district's policy on prepping food for students. If they don't have one, they should.
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Thanks
Old 07-27-2017, 09:53 AM
 
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I should clarify that this is not something I a personally am dealing with. It came up in a Facebook group.

I am glad my first reaction was not off base. Unless it is medically necessary or educationally relevant - no!

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Old 07-27-2017, 03:17 PM
 
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I had 1st and 2nd graders and a child looped with me. One student with Downs would only eat certain foods, ravioli, spaghetti, beans and rice, and only if heated. He would just starve. So yes, if a teacher won't heat the food then it should be in IEP. That child had texture issues and no amount of bull headedness from a competent adult will fix that.

Another of my students would only eat applesauce. So that's all mom sent. of course by the end of 2nd grade she was eating cheerios and other soft foods.


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we had
Old 07-28-2017, 08:51 AM
 
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a child arrive on the first day with a bag of chicken nuggets from a big box store! He was from one of our other sites (for younger kids) and they had been cooking him his nuggets. We had no idea and it seems neither did the Prince! His parents were called and so was the supervisor of the other site. No one heats anything--mom/child wants it hot--use a thermos. God forbid it was made to hot and the child got burnt. We were even told to remove all classroom microwaves and mini fridge--we had gotten permission because we used to do a lot of Life Skills cooking. NYC wanted to lower it's carbon foot print so only in the staff lounge.
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I think
Old 07-28-2017, 10:01 AM
 
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a sanitation license may be involved here. That's why we have lunch room help. Sorry but in this world of litigation, it wouldn't be me responsible for the lunch. Too many ways to get burned (pun intended)
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Old 07-28-2017, 03:25 PM
 
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Unless there is a dr note with a specific medical reason, I don't see how that would be appropriate for an IEP. Teaching him to use a microwave is a good idea though as long as he understands the buttons might look different on models.
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