Blog: Project Updates


SOS: We Need You


Sustainable Online Support for Children and Adolescents Affected by Asthma and Allergies
is looking for professionals, parents, children and youth to be part of our research project.

We will delivering online support programs for: children (7-11) and youth (12-15) with asthma or severe allergies.

The support program includes 8 sessions over 8 weeks over the Internet on a secure, monitored meeting/webinar website. Each group of 12 will be facilitated by a Peer Mentor (16-22) who has asthma or severe allergies in partnership with a Health Support & Education Specialists.

Would you like to participate?
Do you know any one who would?

Please contact the Social Supports Research Program at
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033
In the mean time, feel free to read the following updates about our project and the pilot study creating the foundation for this study.

Online support a breath of fresh air

posted May 14, 2013, 1:04 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca

UAlberta researcher creates pilot project that helps children with asthma and severe allergies through online support and mentorship.

Posted by Bryan Alary on May 10, 2013


Read more on the University of Alberta's News Website >> http://www.news.ualberta.ca/newsarticles/2013/may/online-support-a-breath-of-fresh-air

New Online Support Program for Children and Youth with Allergies

posted May 14, 2013, 1:02 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca

Life with allergies can be challenging and lonely sometimes especially for children and youth who feel like their friends and classmates don't understand!

Anaphylaxis Canada recognizes the need for greater social support. So, we were pleased to collaborate with Dr. Miriam Stewart and her research team from the University of Alberta's Social Support Research Program to create an online support program for children and youth with severe allergies.

Read more on the Anaphylaxis Website >> New Online Support Program for Children and Youth with Allergies

Invitation to our National Symposium

posted Jul 31, 2012, 3:19 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 11:59 AM ]

In Phase III of our study we will be inviting program planners, service providers, policy
makers and health care professionals to attend our Virtual National Symposium to share our findings and to explore means of transferring the knowledge to influence policy and into the hands of knowledge users.

As a program planner, service provider, and policy maker we are asking you to participate in a symposium to elicit your perceptions of support and education programs for children and youth with asthma and or severe allergies at risk of anaphylaxis. If you agree to participate you will receive a report with results of the support and education program for children and youth with asthma and/or severe allergies.

Then we would ask you to participate in the online teleconference symposium to:
  1. Discuss the results of this support education program.
  2. Compare this program to other relevant support/education programs for children and youth with asthma and/or severe allergies and their parents
    • What gaps exist in programs and policies to support/ educate children and youth with asthma and or severe allergies and their parents?
    • How does this program address gaps?
  3. Recommend ways to incorporate support-education interventions into programs and policies.
    • What are your recommendations for improved programs and policies to support children and youth with asthma and or severe allergies and their parents?
    • What are strategies for ensuring support and educational programs are accessible and sustainable?
    • What role can you play?


Would you like to attend?


If you are interested in participating, please complete the application below.

KT-SOS Advisory Committee and Symposium Participants

Time Commitment


If you participate the symposium will take about 60-90 minutes of your time. This symposium will be audio recorded digitally and recommendations from the symposium will be included in a final report to funders.

Privacy


Participants will be introduced. Participants will be asked not to share confidential information, but confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

Risks and Benefits


There are no risks anticipated from your participation in this project. It is anticipated that the outcomes of this research will show social support and education from peers and professionals reduces isolation and increases children/ youths coping skills.

Voluntary Participation


Your participation in this project is voluntary. If you wish to end participation at any point prior to completion of the symposium, simply leave the group and tell the project manager or member of research team if you wish to have any contributions withdrawn. Any contribution by you can be withdrawn at the point which you indicate.

Confidentiality


Your participation will be treated confidentially, and all data will be securely stored in an electronic database located in Dr. Stewart’s offices. During data analysis, all names will be removed and replaced with a number. All data will be destroyed by deletion of the electronic files and shedding and secure destruction of paper files, five years after the completion of the research (March, 2018). Personal identifiers and identifiable quotes will not be included in any publications arising from the research.

If you wish to receive electronic copies of published papers emerging from this project, you can  check the box in the consent form.

More Information


If you are interested and would like to receive more information about the symposium, please contact the Social Supports Research Program at:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

We are also looking for health professionals to join the Advisory Committee to elicit  perceptions of support and education program resources we have created for the SOS study including: training material, powerpoint presentations, and handbooks. You can use the form above to express your interest. We will contact you in August, when the material is ready for review.

In the mean time feel free to download and distribute the Sustainable Online Supports Newsletter, SOS, Volume One created for program planners, service providers, policy makers and health care professionals like yourself.

Downloadable posters have also been provided, should you choose to help promote the study to clients or patients. 


Asthma-riginal | SOS


Why Peer Mentors?

posted Jun 29, 2012, 2:51 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 12:12 PM ]

Peer Mentoring
Parents and caregivers may wonder, why have an online support program lead by Peer Mentors? Many may wonder, “What is their role? Can I trust the care of my child in the hands of others who are only a few years older than my own child?”

Parents love their children, caring for a child with a chronic condition can be emotionally taxing. The burden of care shifts when a child enters school, and parents must entrust the care of their child to teachers hoping they will understand the nature of their child’s condition. This same trust must be extended to the Peer Mentors leading the online support sessions.

How can you trust someone you do not know, and will never meet in person?

Although security measures have been put in place, every person involved in the study must clear a security check with local policing authorities, parents with children with chronic conditions have additional cares and worries when it comes to their children feeling included and supported despite health.

Following are quotes from participants, parents and peer mentors from the pilot study, a previous study where the online support program involved 30 children from 9-12.

The Importance of Peer Mentors

Mentors believed that talking as a friend, a slightly older role model reinforced what professionals or parents had said.  One Peer Mentor said, “I think the support we provided is different than parents—its more on a friend level, it’s not necessarily that we talk about different things, but we take it or approach it differently.”

“The reason kids and teenagers can talk differently than to their parents, it kind of like we are going through the same things, still learning. We know what it is like in school—you are closer in time—and you talk to parents differently than you would talk to friends. There are different connections. Your parents are there to guide you and teach your. Your friends are there to have fun or for comfort. So they gained confidence from a friend to do what is right,” another Peer Mentor added.

Yet another Peer Mentor commented on the importance of getting to know the parents of participants in his group and how it motivated him during the sessions, “The one parent session was neat because I got to hear what concerned the parents for their child and after listening to certain things like preparing for junior high or preparing them for risky personal experiences and you could base your sessions on what the parents wanted for their kids and it was kind of the same as the kids wanted. I think that if we had them at the beginning, it would have been even better. They would help you to get what the parents want out of it.”

Peer Mentors gave feedback that has been integrated into this study.

With this in mind, one Peer Mentor saw room for improvement, “I think that talking to the parents first would have been really great because what happened in my parent session, I realized how important each PowerPoint was. What parents in my session told me was how worried they were about preparing their children for the real world and letting them go off on their own.  Some parents are overprotective and sit in on some of the sessions. I think it is important that it is just kids and mentors. I think for the meetings to reach their full potential, that the kids don’t have their parents there. They feel empowered to ask questions or are comfortable to talk about things they wouldn’t if their parents were there. It is important to have a separation. We can translate from parents and give it to the kids.”

So, parents, in this study you can anticipate a call from your Peer Mentor!

Peer Mentors provide support through personal experiences.

  A female Peer Mentor commented, “Like there are 300 or 400 kids in my school and I am the only one with severe allergies. They got to learn from my experiences.”

Building on that theme another observed, “I know that [a participant, 10 year old boy with allergies and asthma,] asked something simple like playing tag at school and he wasn’t sure he should. I think he was curious about that and he was able to ask because we are closer in age than his parents and second of all because we were talking online and it was not face-to-face he asked me that question. So I think that this support program provided an anonymous place and different way of solving a problem.”

Parents also learned from the experiences of Peer Mentors.  “I think the mentors tried really had. [My son] will be in Grade 6 next year, and there will be school trips. I really worried about that, and [the Peer Mentor] is in the debate club and I asked how he handled it and he said the first time he packed all his food and it was inconvenient. Now he just asks the chef or the waiters and after that he looked after himself. He has the confidence to go and see the chef. I have some confidence that [my son] can do that now,” a mother beamed.

How did the Peer Mentors provide support?

Here is what one mother had to say about how her son’s Peer Mentor provided support. “I think it just helped him realize that (pause) he doesn’t need to hold himself back because before he would be like, ‘Oh! I have asthma I’d chance.’  And then hearing these other kids and hearing [the Peer Mentor’s] story saying you know like, ‘His allergies are pretty severe.  And he’s still able to do things and go places.’  So I think [my son] isn’t so withdrawn anymore about it-- that you know it’s not really a big deal.”

An eleven year old girl added, “As I said, this year before the group started I wasn’t invited to some birthday parties and one of the boys got really mad at me when I asked him to put away a peanut product.  So I thought some of the things that were happening to [my peer mentor] were just like mine, where some kids brought peanuts in and he told them to wash their hands. That definitely helped me a lot because I know it was something I could do.”

Without any doubt having Peer Mentors lead the Online Support Sessions during the pilot was key to the studies success.

What did the Peer Mentors perceive?

All of the Peer Mentors saw an increase in confidence in the children in their groups, a confidence that based on self-acceptance. This was evident when one male Mentor shared his astonishment, “A lot of the kids in my group were surprised that there were as many kids out there with the same kind of asthma and allergies. They were stunned that Olympic athletes had asthma and allergies.  It changed the way they would go about things, they were more confident. They would tell the waiter or themselves to talk to the waiter and emotionally they were more open with the group and they would talk in the group if something was bothering them.”

 Another agreed, “They talked about fitting in, not being singled out, sharing feelings with others and even feeling special.  Some mentioned that in the support group they could be themselves; they didn’t need conceal their condition, or worry about their social facade.”

Why Peer Mentors?

Not only are Peer Mentors friends that reinforce what parents and professionals say, Peer Mentors provide support by sharing personal experience as role models that children can emulate. Not only do these experiences help the children participating in the study, but they also help parents. Peer Mentors actually prefer to have contact with parents, to learn more about the experiences of the children in their group so that they can provide even better support: informational, affirmational and emotional. The result is children who have an increased level of self-acceptance fostering confidence at both at school and in the community.



For more information contact the Social Supports Research Program:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

Asthma-riginal | SOS

The Ugly Duckling: the Asthma and Allergy Version

posted Jun 29, 2012, 2:30 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 12:13 PM ]

Beautiful Swans
Hans Christian Anderson wrote the classic, The Ugly Duckling, about a duckling that simply did not belong. Becoming an outcast among peers, this duckling was lonely and rejected by others. In a quest for belonging, this little duckling travelled in different circles until one day the ducking came across some friends discovering that it was not a duckling but a swan. Encircled by other swans, this Beautiful Swan felt a sense of belonging.

Hans Christian Anderson understood the pain of being rejected and excludes by peers, the need for belonging, and the support felt among peers. His story characterizes the experiences of children participating in the Online Support Sessions.

We present, The Ugly Duckling: the Asthma and Allergy Version, using quotes from the children in the pilot study.

 “Other kids make fun of me because I can’t run as fast or I can run but I can’t run for as long. If I didn’t have asthma, I could beat them around the track 10 times, but because I have asthma, I am not so fast and stuff,” one Beautiful Swan shared. She admitted that being in the group with other kids with asthma was healing. “It kind of made a difference. Now they understand that… It gave me a lot more friends and they can’t make fun of me because we have the same problem.”

The mother of another Beautiful Swan admitted, “I didn’t know that it was important for her to talk to other children with asthma and allergies. I see how she benefited and there is a little boy her age that has allergies. I am going to make sure they can play.”

In seeing the transformation in her daughter, the mother of a Lovely Swan shared, “They have this common bond and they feel special.”

An Awakened Swan revealed, “I kind of feel special, I feel really, really special because we are important. I feel a lot more important to the world than I did before. It was kind of before, it’s like ‘She has asthma and allergies so let’s not play with her.’ But now, it’s like I don’t care, its ‘Whatever!’” She added, “It’s a lot easier to play with my friends because I’ve talked to them about it so I think that it really made a difference in my playground life.”

An older Beautiful Swan witnessed transformations in another cygnet, “Because of the role playing and talking to others they were able to apply it in real life, because for sleepover [role play], one of the girls never went for sleepovers and [after the session] she went for sleepovers!”

In discovering that they were Beautiful Swans, the children wanted that sense of belonging to continue.  “Everyone didn’t really like the last day,” admitted one Lovely Swan, “cause we had to leave and it was really nice and warming to meet new people.” Our hope is that in creating Sustainable Online Support these friendships and relationships will continue for some time to come.

In determining whether or not your child or teen wants to participate in this study, please watch this story as animated by Disney, or get the book out from your shelf or library. (If you have a teen you can leave out the book with a note.) Although it may be a painful experience, spend some time having them talk or reflect on their experiences with asthma and/or severe allergies. Then ask them if they would like to be part of a group where they will discover others like them, learning that they are not ugly ducklings but beautiful swans.  


For more information contact the Social Supports Research Program:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

Asthma-riginal | SOS

Kids Want to Attend!

posted Jun 29, 2012, 2:10 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 12:14 PM ]

Kids want to attend!




As parents and caregivers we know time is limited. Time is even more precious for parents with children with chronic conditions, with the uncertainty of whether or not a child will be healthy enough to attend school let alone extra-curricular activities. The questions arise: Is this a worthy investment of our limited time? Will my son/daughter really want to participate? See for yourself.





Vignettes, as reported by parents

  • We had a birthday party during this just a few hours before [one session] and I said, “Okay, you know we are going to pack up and go if you want to do your group.”  And he said, “Okay yes!” And he went around and told everybody that he was part of this and it was important and he’s really proud of it!
  • The drive was all from her to be ready and down there. She would be bathed and in her pyjamas so she could go to bed right after, which normally is hard for us to get her to do
  • She loved it. She was really keen, she always wanted to be home for it so we would change our weekend schedule because it was important to her. She loved the relationships she developed with the other children.  It was nice to see her reach out to a community affected by similar health issues and talking to people who knew what it is like living with the constraints that she has to live with.
  • We have a busy, busy schedule, but she still was able to meet with the group and put some time into the stuff she had to do.

The answer is, “Yes!”

Based on these comments, from parents after the pilot study, the answer is an overwhelming “Yes!” Yes, this study is a worthy investment of your limited time! Yes, your son/daughter will want to participate!


For more information contact the Social Supports Research Program:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

Why Club Penguin?

posted Jun 29, 2012, 2:06 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 12:12 PM ]




During the recruitment stage of our pilot study for children and youth with asthma and allergies, some parents questioned the reasoning of using an online game, Club Penguin. Perhaps out of concern for their child’s online safety, or an avoidance of encouraging addictive gaming behaviour, these parents asked, “Why Club Penguin?”


An online game site was used for two reasons:

  1. To provide an application for what was being learned from the PowerPoint presentations, and,
  2.  To provide a space where kids could socialize and play together without worrying about triggers.

Applied Learning

Following is a dialogue between a mentor and three children. This interaction happened while playing Club Penguin following the presentation on identifying triggers. Notice how one child became aware not only of his triggers but also the triggers of his peers. (Note: names have been changed.)

Mentor:  Okay, perfect.  So, we're going on to the next slide, and you're going to have a minute to find the most triggers that you can, okay.  So, ready, set, go.

Jon:  Oh, I found one.

Mark:  Ah..... (pause) ah.....

Christian:  Oh, there's that.  Oh my, I found so many triggers now.  Oh, there's another one I never realized that.

Jon:  How are finding all this stuff?

Christian:  Oh, there's another one, there's another one, another one, another one.  Ah, another one.  Oops, there's another one.  Another one.

Mentor :  Okay, so, what triggers did you guys find?

Christian:    Um, I just found that the trees um, like [Mark] is allergic to grass, he might um, actually be allergic to the trees. Are you?

Mark:  Ya.

Christian:  We also found the, the animal bed might um, have fur in them. So we are all allergic to that.

Jon:  Good point.

Christian:  Alright, your turn [Jon].  What did you find?

The other reason for using an online gaming site was to provide a safe place where the kids could be kids.

Kids being Kids

Most children said the support group was fun; they learned in the group sessions and then got to practice those skills in Club Penguin. Being able to talk to others in their support group over the headsets, while playing on Club Penguin helped the children to get to know one another.  One child said he and his friends now call each other and talk on the phone while they play.   Several mentioned that they thought it was like a private club. A Peer Mentor familiar with online games commented, “Playing in Club Penguin likely enabled the children to get to know one another more quickly.  Being able to talk on the headsets while playing was superior to just playing the game alone online.”

Another added, “Club Penguin was familiar grounds for a lot of them. Incorporating games and role playing helped kids to get involved as a group… It was great.”  

Agreeing a third contributed, “The idea of adding Club Penguin made it less of a formal type of setting and made it feel kind of child-friendly. More relaxed and fun. It mellows it out, which is important.”

The strongest support came from another Peer Mentor who noted, “It gave them a place that made them feel normal because their penguins didn’t have to walk around with an EpiPen belt or asthma puffers. It was connecting where they could have fun and compete with each other. We had a lot of friendly, fun competitions where they didn’t have to think about allergy, which is good.”

Even parents supported the use of Club Penguin.

What parents had to say

She enjoyed the different things that [the Peer Mentor] went through. You know the different exercises where they pretended [on Club Penguin] they were in a restaurant and had to order food and that sort of thing that they could do with their peers that were in the same situation, and then learn for each other’s experience. 

Online Game Sites

Online game sites provide an way to apply for what learned during the sessions, and, provides a space for kids to be kids without worrying about triggers. Where Club Penguin will be used for the children, 7-11, a more appropriate game will be used for the youth, 12-15.

As a token of appreciation participants will gain access to their membership to the online game site a few weeks before the intervention. This will allow them to become familiar with how to play the game. Their membership will continue throughout the sessions and continue for a month after the sessions are over so that friendships that have been built can be maintained.

Concern for children’s safety online, and for the potential for addiction, is very real and should be taken into consideration. With all things there are pros and there are cons. In these situations the pros have outweighed the cons.

 

For more information contact the Social Supports Research Program:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

Asthma-riginal | SOS

Promoting Self Care

posted Jun 29, 2012, 2:00 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 12:15 PM ]




As a parent, and caregivers, raising children in our time is difficult, stressful and worrying. These elements increase when our children have to self-medicate. We have an additional worry about whether or not our children will be taking care of themselves, taking their medicine or avoiding allergy triggers, when we are not around.




During the pilot study we saw that children were more aware of what they could do and shouldn’t do. They said that when other children described the negative consequences of not avoiding asthma or allergen triggers, it reinforced the need to comply with suggestions from their health professional or parent. Several children gave examples of how they were more careful about prevention (allergen avoidance), complying with medication regimes, and were able to tell others about their condition. Others emphasized that now they felt more comfortable to ask about taking food to a friend’s home or the hockey coach for a break if they were out of breath. Two girls related how tips from each other were taken seriously.  Another shared, “I keep my puffers with me so it’s in my bag and I take it before gym class if I have a sore throat so I make it through the whole thing and if it gets tight again I take it in the middle and I learned to keep it beside my bed when I’m feeling sick and that really helped.”

One parent breathed a sigh of relief, “He’s actually taking a responsible about taking his own medication without us having to remind him all the time about it. Huge difference; huge cause we are not huffing at him all the time.”  

Children have enough burdens on their shoulders, just growing and adapting to the world around them. Adding one more element, taking medicine and avoiding triggers, adds additional stresses to the lives of parents, teachers and the children themselves that others do not experience. Hearing stories from Peer Mentors and other children participants proved to be an important part of relieving some of these stress.  



For more information contact the Social Supports Research Program:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

For Children and Youth with Asthma

posted Jun 29, 2012, 1:51 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 12:16 PM ]

Right to Breath

During our pilot study 30 children from across the country participated in 8 on-line sessions. These children had asthma, and may have also had severe allergies and were at risk of anaphylaxis.  Here are some direct quotes from children, peer mentors and parents about the impact of the study on their individual lives.


  • Every meeting I learned new things about how to manage my asthma. First our mission for the week and we shared our ideas and what we do for asthma—like when I’m in hockey, I sometimes wheeze and stuff so my mentor told me about what she does. Well my asthma has been better and I haven’t been reacting. (Nine year old boy with asthma)
  • Sometimes my friends at school, you know, not tease me but ask all these questions about my asthma and what we talked  about in the group is what to say and it’s been helping. (Nine year old boy with asthma and allergies)
  • I learned that there were more people that had asthma than I thought there was. It thought there were not very many but there’s more. I feel special, like I fit in somewhere. Asthma makes you really, really slow. You get out of breath quick. It is comforting to know that someone knows what it is like to have asthma.  Eight year old boy with asthma and allergies
  • It just helps you every time you can’t breathe well, they gave me ideas on how to control my asthma. Mostly with allergies, they gave me ideas to control asthma. (Boy aged 8 with asthma and allergies)
  • They gave me support because for example I had asthma and she gave me examples of how she was playing sports and she had to take her inhaler and it supported me a lot with my asthma (10 year old girl with asthma and allergies)
  • I think he realized that his asthma isn’t as serious as other kids’ asthma is. And he realized that it could be a lot worse.  And you know not, it’s not something to fool around with.  This is actually a serious issue for him and a lot more serious for other kids. (Mother of an 8 year old boy with asthma and allergies)
  • At the 7th session [Mentor] showed us two slides about Olympic Athletes that have asthma or allergies and they all medaled. So it helped me because I know that people can be really good even great though they have asthma and allergies. It made me feel like an athlete. (Girl aged 9 with allergies)
  • We shared information that was helpful. The biggest one was that I was not the only one with asthma and a peanut allergy at the same time.

Peer Mentors and Parents Comments

  • Most were surprised by how many elite athletes had asthma and allergies and said they now believed that being an athlete was a realistic goal.  (Peer Mentor)
  • He was asking more questions and it made him more aware of being diligent with his puffer and being more aware of the condition.  (Mother of a 9 year old boy with asthma)


For more information contact the Social Supports Research Program:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

For Children and Youth with Severe Allergies at Risk of Anaphylaxis

posted Jun 29, 2012, 1:49 PM by kkara@ualberta.ca   [ updated Apr 17, 2013, 12:17 PM ]

Food Allergies
During our pilot study 30 children from across the country participated in 8 on-line sessions. These children had severe allergies and were at risk of anaphylaxis. Some also had asthma.  Here are some direct quotes from children, peer mentors and parents about the impact of the study on their individual lives.



  • First of all, the meetings were GREAT!  I think I learned how to deal with my allergies better and feel more comfortable knowing there are other kids like me dealing with them.  It really is a hard thing to have an allergy.  Sometimes we may feel left out at birthday parties or special restaurants.  It might even make you feel angry.  But, I learned through these meetings that it’s not that bad to have an allergy at all! (Girl aged 9 with allergies)
  • I understand that I’m not the only one with asthma and allergies and I shouldn’t like feel alone.  I learned that other people have to carry the EpiPen®® around, know, give demonstrations to their class and you know help other people understand and it’s not just me that doing that. (10 year old girl with allergies)
  • I think this would be good for all kids. If they were sometimes left out or if they couldn’t do anything fun, they couldn’t eat things off the shelf. If they did what we did, it would really help them to know that they could read labels and eat other stuff and know what to do if anything happened (10 year old boy with allergies and asthma)
  • I liked learning how Olympic athletes have asthma and what they had to do before their sport to prepare. I also learned more ideas as to what to do or say when you go out to eat when you have an allergy like mine. I feel I know how to deal with my allergies better than ever, and I know how to stay away from things with allergens or to always check the label on foods that I am not sure if it contains Tree nuts. (Boy aged 10 with allergies and asthma)
  • I was really surprised to find a lot of people had much worse allergies than me.
  • We shared information that was helpful. The biggest one was that I was not the only one with asthma and a peanut allergy at the same time.

Peer Mentors and Parents Comments

  • This had a very positive impact on them. They tend to be very shy and wary on the phone, so they didn’t say that, but when they talk to their friends, they talk about it. They are both very cautious around food, and [seven year old daughter] tends to be timid, so to hear that someone could go to restaurants, go to Disneyland, and there were safe places to eat and they didn’t have to worry about it was a great relief to them. It makes travel possible. The comparison was good. (Mother of 2 daughters, aged 7 and 9, with allergies)
  • She enjoyed the different things that [mentor] went through, you know the different exercises where they pretended they were in a restaurant and had to order food and that sort of thing that they could do with their peers that were in the same situation, and then learn for each other’s experience. (Mother of a 10 year old girl with allergies)
For more information contact the Social Supports Research Program:
  • E-Mail: ssrp@ualberta.ca
  • Toll Free: 1-877-492-8033

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