This post briefly reviews Bollinger, et al., “The Impact of Food Allergy on the Daily Activities of Children and their Families” in Annals of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology 96, no. 3 (March 2006): 415-421. (abstract available here)
A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Maryland Hospital for Children conducted a survey to ascertain the impact of children’s food allergies on the life choices of 87 families whose children were patients at the hospital. Caregivers responded to a 32-item questionnaire probing into several domains, one of which was education.
They found that the child’s food allergy affected the educational choices of 34% of their sample. 10% of respondents chose to homeschool their children due to the food allergy. Not surprisingly, the more severe the allergy, the more likely parents were to take such measures.
Most of the study concerns itself with other matters, but this is the first documented evidence I’ve come across that gives us a figure, however tentative, for food allergies and homeschooling. While one study is not enough for us to be able to say with confidence that 10% of children with food allergies are homeschooled, it is a beginning. Hopefully more studies of a similar nature will be done to help us ascertain if the sample here is typical of the food allergic population nation-wide or not. For now we can add food allergies to the growing list of reasons parents pull their children out of formal schools to teach them at home.