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Food allergies on menu at PAIIR class

What’s for dinner? If you’re a parent, this can be a tough question. If you’re a parent of a child with food allergies, this can be an even tougher question. Parents Are Important In Rochester’s (PAIIR) Living Against the Grain class helps answer that question, offering parents of kids with food allergies the opportunity to share challenges, strategies and even dinner recipes.

"Food allergies are more prevalent than they used to be, or maybe they are just talked about more," says Diane Hedlund, licensed PAIIR parent educator and mom to a 6-year-old daughter with food allergies. Diane says she hopes the class will serve as a place for parents to discuss strategies for dealing with everyday situations, like modifying your cooking habits and recipes, deciphering product labels and determining if your child will be allergic to the birthday cake being served at this weekend’s party.

"It can be kind of a lonely place when you find out your kid has a food allergy," Diane says. "My hope is that we can foster connections between the parents so they can turn to each other for support outside the classroom and that we can provide some resources, information that they can put in their pocket and use in their everyday lives — recipes, allergy-friendly restaurants, where they can find things online."

The parents-only class (kids meet separately with an early education teacher) offers plenty of time for parents to share their family’s food allergy story and get tips on everything from where to buy foods locally, safe food storage systems and snack ideas. Diane notes that the food allergies covered may include gluten, milk, soy, bananas, pears and nuts, but that the class content will be largely determined by the participants.

One or both parents may attend. Class is $22.50. Add a second child for $18. Call to register. PAIIR may be able to help with fees or transportation.

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Family Time is written by Lindy Lange, editor of www.ROCHESTERfamilies.com.

If you go

What: Living Against the Grain

Where: Northrop Education Center, 201 Eighth St. N.W.

When: Mondays, March 9, 16, 23, 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Phone: 328-4020

On the Web: www.rochesterce.org/paiir

PAIIR facts

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• The PAIIR spring newsletter arrives in mailboxes the week of March 6. It offers a variety of parent/child (birth to kindergarten enrollment) classes that begin the week of April 6.

• PAIIR Readiness Preschool (PReP) offers early childhood education for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds. PReP meets September through May and offers 2-, 3- and 4-day options. Space is still available for the 2009-10 preschool year.

• The PAIIR Transportation Fair is Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This free, annual, "must-do" family event features a variety of vehicles (city buses, semi trucks, snow plows) kids of all ages will want to check out, climb on and explore.

Inside

• More family calendar — Page XX.

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