Recently, Nick News released a video that let children speak about how their allergies and asthma affect their every day life. Their candid interviews give parents and educators a window into their lives and their feelings surrounding others reactions to their disease.
Although the video starts out with a news reporter and feels like one of those old educational programs that a teacher would show to the class, it quickly redeems itself by focusing the rest of the video on the children. The overall video is 22 minutes. However, it is broken up into 7 sections each lead by a different child sharing his/her experiences with allergies. The video covers two children with nut allergies, two children with multiple food allergies, one child with insect sting allergy, one child with allergy induced asthma, and a segment led by Dr. Robert Wood discussing allergies in children. The following are some notable quotes from the kids in the video.
- "Food allergies are a hassle and really annoying."
- "People don't understand that food allergies are a big deal."
- "With a peanut allergy you can't really understand what people are going through because there are no physical signs on the outside."
- "Once when playing basketball, I had a serious reaction."
- "My mom use to send a note to school that said please don't bring anything with nuts in it and kids would say ahhh, thanks a lot Alegra."
- "At birthday parties there is cake, and I can't eat that stuff so I am just sitting off to the side."
- "Normally, I can trust adults, but most adults don't understand how serious my allergy is."
- "I just have to stay alert."
- "It's hard to tell people because you never know how they are going to react."
- "My friends watch out for me. The more people that are aware of it. The safer you are."
- "I'm just a normal kid who just happens to have allergies."
- "There are a lot of stereotypes about asthma. In movies, a person who has asthma is weak, mostly a nerd or a geek. You don't have to be a nerd to have asthma."
- "I have to be conscious of my allergies, but they don't run my life."
I watched this video with my child who has peanut and egg allergies and severe asthma. As a mom, I was very moved by the candor of the video and of course the content. However, I wanted to see what a preteen thought about what the children were saying. Was it true to life or a just a scripted educational video for allergies?
My 11 year old really related to the comments from the children about feeling segregated and different. How intentionally and unintentionally friends will make comments about food that make her feel like she is a problem. How nerd stereotypes about asthma make taking her rescue medicine an embarrassment. She commented that the video was long, but accurate. It made her feel good to see others dealing with the same issues successfully, but it also made her feel sad that others are going through these issues too. She knows how it feels and it can be tough to and embarrassing to explain. Kids just want to fit in. It can be tough on a kid that is singled out due to their allergies without support from parents, teachers, and friends. Understanding and support by those around a severely allergic child is often the key to a child's self esteem.
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