After dealing with food allergies for nearly three decades, I’ve communicated my condition to a wide variety of people and have fine-tuned how I approach the subject with others. At the end of the day, you want to be taken seriously and typically get assurances – such as a safe meal, school policy or a worry-free night with a babysitter in charge.
When having these conversations, and making requests, I generally follow these five tips that help in effective communication and dialogue with others.
- Know your Audience: Are they well-versed in allergy? Are they nervous or over-confident about allergies? Use your best judgment on their level of understanding and their willingness to help.
- Adjust your Tone Accordingly: Depending on your audience, choose a tone that you feel is appropriate. Sometimes a hard-line approach explaining severity is needed for an over-confident waiter, sometimes using humor works when at a dinner party with friends.
- Discover, Don’t Dictate: Everyone knows someone with an allergy and have probably been in situations handling them before. Find out what they know/what they typically do in these situations. If inadequate to you, suggest that you would be more comfortable with an extra precaution. Giving them a voice to start with, makes them an empowered part of the conversation and solution.
- Work with Them, not Against Them: If you feel the situation is hopeless, don’t give up, but don’t burn your bridges. Sometimes the subject of allergies and accommodations may be very new to people, and no obvious solution comes to mind. Offer to help come up with answers, as you likely won’t be the last person they encounter in the same situation.
- Say Thanks: So simple, but so often overlooked. If you have a good conversation and they try hard to understand your needs, thank them for their effort and let them know your appreciation. You have just made that person much more allergy aware and showing your gratitude helps reinforce their new action/attitude. You are changing the world for the better!
Originally blogged at Itchy Little World.
I am so happy to announce that my “Kyle Dine & Friends” allergy awareness DVD is now on Amazon.com!
Getting a DVD on Amazon.com is no easy feat and I wish there was an easy guide to do so…they do a good job at ensuring no pirated films are sold on their site.
Please take a minute and write a review on the Amazon page. Even just a 5-star rating helps boost the customer credibility. I really appreciate your help!
I have worn a medical ID all of my life and am pretty savvy by now at snapping bracelets on and off. Nothing ever prepared me for the fun that would come with trying to get bracelets on a crew of various sized puppets! That’s exactly the scenario I faced while filming an allergy awareness video for kids!
My cast for Kyle Dine & Friends – Allergy Awareness with Music, Puppets and Games involved 9 puppets and myself. Flimsy foam arms were all over the set with bracelets falling off as puppeteers jolted them in motion. We quickly found the solution for keeping bracelets on their little flimsy wrists – tape!
The end result was perfect: a series of characters flaunting their beautiful medical IDs graciously donated to the project by Lauren’s Hope. One of the main puppet characters is named Suzie, and she sported a really cool beaded bracelet [shown above]. I rocked the paracord bracelet and loved that the smooth fabric didn’t scratch my guitar while playing!
One of the songs in the educational video is called “Cool Bracelet” and is aimed at normalizing food allergies, and the precautions needed such as wearing medical ID. In the video, I explain some of the features of why these bracelets are so cool and that you should look for them if you ever see someone feeling sick or in distress. What other piece of jewelry can help you out in an emergency? Plus look really funky!
Unlike my puppets, I don’t use tape to keep mine one, but I wear mine so much you might be fooled! As someone who has experienced anaphylaxis before, I don’t take the chance with my condition and feel more secure when I’m wearing my medical ID.
I thank Lauren’s Hope for joining me to help spread food allergy awareness!
This has easily been the best week of my life. Early Friday morning, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Zora Josephine Dine was born Oct. 2nd weighing a tiny 6 pounds, 4 ounces.
We brought her home yesterday and surprised my wife with the finished nursery. Our first day at home was filled with comfy cuddles and many kisses.
After such a crazy year of touring and producing the DVD, I couldn’t me happier to slow it down and spend quality time with my new little family of 3!
Did you know that October is Eczema Awareness Month?
I am really excited to announce my first song about the condition! “The Eczema Song” was created with The Eczema Company and has the most adorable music video. We had a blast filming it during the summer in Montreal!
Eczema is a condition that I have had as long as I’ve had food allergies. It flares up occasionally, and fight it with creams. Just like the song says “I won’t let it win!”
The Kyle Dine & Friends DVD uses Music, Puppets and Games to fill a Resource Gap of Allergy Education in Four Languages
TORONTO (September, 2015) – With food allergies affecting the lunch boxes of roughly two students in every elementary school classroom, it’s hard to believe that there has never been a video to teach students what food allergies are all about. Anaphylaxis is not a particularly “child-friendly” term, but when conveyed with music, puppets and games, allergy educator and entertainer Kyle Dine has found the winning formula with his Kyle Dine & Friends DVD.
After performing allergy awareness assemblies at over 600 schools for nearly a decade, Dine wanted to reach even more classrooms by putting his messages on video. The need for such a resource became very apparent through an instantly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $30,000 – 150% of his original goal.
As the prevalence of food allergies is growing steadily, so has the demand for Kyle Dine’s “You Must Be Nuts!” schoolwide assembly. Dine knows how eager educators and school administrators are to have a “just press play” tool that can educate students about food allergies at any time in the school year. “I visit over a hundred schools a year reaching tens of thousands of students and am excited to think that this video will reach even more,” admits Dine. “This video can be shown in classrooms and contains the same topics presented in my school assemblies along with quizzes and a teacher resource guide.”
The 2-disc DVD set includes two separate shows aimed at children aged 4-7 & 8-11 respectively. “The videos are consistent with my assemblies which are split between kindergarten to grade 2, and grades 3 to 6 with age-appropriate messaging,” notes Dine. The content covers common allergens, symptoms of allergic reactions, emergency procedures, and reinforces key school policies such as no sharing food and hand washing. Conveying such big topics isn’t easy, but Dine gives credit to his cast of zany sidekicks; “The songs are effective at reinforcing key messages, but the real superstars are the puppets who make learning fun and engaging for kids!”, Dine chuckles.
The most impressive feature of the video is the inclusion of overdubbing in three languages – Spanish, French and German. Dine is most excited about how accessible allergy education will be with this video. “Not only can it reach classrooms where English is the primary language of instruction, it can also be a tool for schools who would not regularly bring in outside speakers.”
Kyle will be serving a community and educational market that’s eager for resources that help raise awareness and spark conversation. “Teaching children about food allergies in this fun and interactive way may help them develop a sense of empathy and understanding for others,” added Gina Clowes, Director of Education, Food Allergy Research & Education, FARE.
With support from renowned allergists, healthcare professionals, principals, teachers, families, support groups and global organizations, such as Food Allergy Canada and Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Kyle Dine & Friends will fill a widespread educational gap. Kyle features a mix of his new and classic kid-tested songs and his most beloved characters, such as Suzie Symptoms™, Chef Allergie™, Miss DeLabel™, and Pierre the Peanut™. The end result is a resource with important educational messages that kids will soak up on keeping their friends with allergies safe, while having a ton of fun in the process!
The Kyle Dine & Friends video can be purchased for $25.00 at www.foodallergyvideo.com.
ABOUT KYLE DINE
Kyle Dine is a trusted food allergy educator and musician who performs engaging allergy awareness assemblies in elementary schools across North America. He educates students about allergies, anaphylaxis and what they can do to help keep others with allergies safe. His two CD releases titled “You Must Be Nuts!” and “Food Allergies Rock!” contain empowering and educational messages for children with food allergies. He has multiple food allergies himself and has worked with Food Allergy Canada since 2008. His next school tour will take place from January to March 2016. For more information, please visit www.kyledine.com and find him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Watch the official trailer for Kyle Dine & Friends – Allergy Awareness with Music, Puppets and Games