Helping Families Manage Food Allergy in Schools

Tips and Tools for the Allergist and Nonallergist

Matthew J. Greenhawt, MD, MBA


July 25, 2011

In This Article

A Summary of Legal Protections for Children With Food Allergy

The following discussion is a quick-and-dirty primer of the legal protections for children with food allergy. The take-home message is 2-fold:

  • A section 504 plan is part of the Rehabilitation Act and not the ADA. However, to obtain a 504 plan a child must be considered disabled under standards defined in the ADA.

  • Although food allergy has been considered a disability under the ADA in many cases, having a food allergy does not automatically imbue disability status. It should be kept in mind that food-allergic children are not necessarily entitled to qualify as disabled. Children who can obtain a section 504 plan are entitled to legal protection to enforce the plan. Accurate and precise documentation of the extent of the allergy is crucial to helping with this process.


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