Teal Pumpkin Project
Who else has recently heard of “The Teal Pumpkin Project”? While I do love the color teal, I wanted to know more about what this new movement was and whether I should join others in painting one of my pumpkins teal. In 2014, the Food and Allergy Research & Education organization (FARE http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project#.VhQFbnpViko) launched “The Teal Pumpkin Project” to raise awareness of food allergies and prompt inclusion of all trick-or-treaters during the Halloween season. The goal for “The Teal Pumpkin Project” is to respect people managing food allergies. Currently, they are asking that people go to their site and pledge their support by having non-food items available for those for whom candy is not an option. This does not mean that you don’t pass out candy–all it means is that you have alternative options to candy available. Some other options include: glow bracelets, pencils, markers, crayons, erasers, bubbles, whistles or stickers.
When I think about the children we work with in our clinic, this would be a benefit for several of them. At JLD Therapy, we work with children with a variety of abilities, some of whom have severe feeding issues such as allergies, swallowing disorders, tubes or extreme pickiness. While the original idea behind this movement is for children with food allergies, there is a huge population who don’t have allergies who are unable to eat candy for a variety of reasons. Many children with special needs are on special diets that eliminate items such as gluten or casein from their diet, which can make candy selections limited.
According to FARE, 1 in 13 children in the US have at least 1 food allergy, but this number has significantly increased. About 80% of children with disabilities have feeding challenges and can be extremely picky eaters. While for many parents the idea of their child not eating their weight in candy on Halloween might sound great, if you are the parent of an extremely picky eater, you might wish your child could partake in this holiday like other children.
Whether you child is suffering from food allergies, extreme picky eating, or other feeding challenges, the idea behind The Teal Pumpkin Project is great. All children should have the opportunity to participate in this child-driven holiday and be able to go home with some type of treat, regardless if whether or not they will be able to eat the traditional sugary treats.
For more information, check out The Teal Pumpkin Project http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project#.Vh7w9XpViko!