Does Your Child Need a Special Diet?

Children with special diet needs can have school breakfast and lunch made for them. By law, changes can be made to your child's school lunch breakfast and lunch at no extra charge, if he or she has special needs or a medical condition.

Is your child eligible?

If your child needs diet changes to do major life activities, he or she is eligible. A major life activity is defined as caring for one's self, doing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

What kind of condition would make your child eligible?

Here are some examples of developmental disabilities or medical conditions which effect major life activities:

*Seizure Disorder
*Spina Bifida
*Severe Obesity
*Cerebral Palsy
*Severe Food Allergy
*Down Syndrome
*PKU (Phenylketonuria)
*Metabolic Disorders
*Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
*Cystic Fibrosis
*Feeding Difficulties
*Prader Willi Syndrome
*Conditions requiring tube feedings

What kind of meal changes can be made?

Here are some examples:

*Texture Changes (pureed, ground, chopped, thickened liquids)
*Increased Calories
*Weight Management (calorie controlled)
*Tube Feeding
*Food Restriction (milk & milk products, eggs, other)

How can you get special school meals for your child?

Follow these steps:

  1. Get the form called "Diet Order". You can get it from one of the following:

    *Our Diet Order Form download page
    *The child nutrition director for your child's school
    *The schools principal's office
    *Your local health department nutritionist
    *A Developmental Evaluation Center nutritionist

  2. Fill out Part I of the diet order. Have your child's pediatrician, the family physician, or the health departments physician fill out Part II of the diet order and sign it.
  3. Take the form to the principle's office at your child's school. Copies will be given to you, your child's teacher, and the school food service manager.
  4. If your child has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Accommodation Plan, ask that a statement about the dietary change be put in the plan.
  5. Help the school make the dietary changes by answering any questions and working with them to meet your child's needs. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to meet with the school food service manager and a dietitian to plan your child's menus. If you have a meal plan from a dietitian, you can attach it to the diet order.

If you have any questions about the special school meals for your child, call the Child Nutrition Program at 1-800-662-7030 extension 5-1920.

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