My first experience with severe allergies occurred when my daughter had an anaphylactic reaction at 6 months old. A few months and many reactions later, she was diagnosed with severe allergies to more than a dozen different foods including 6 of the 8 top allergens. After months of seeing doctor after doctor, we finally had an explanation for her severe and unrelenting eczema, the itchiness and misery that kept us both awake at night, her poor weight gain, and her reluctance to try new solid foods as we began to introduce them. I considered myself to be reasonably well educated about diet and nutrition but I soon discovered just how much more I needed to learn. Entering into the world of food allergies was overwhelming and brought with it fear and anxiety about how to protect our little girl and ensure she stay healthy and safe. Educating ourselves, teaching our friends and family members, and learning how to feed her became a full time job. Over time, we developed a routine that works for us. However, that routine is continually evolving as she grows and her needs change.
As a mom to a child with life-threatening allergies, I understand the stress and worry that accompany managing a chronic health condition. As a child psychologist, I have the training and background to understand the developmental and emotional needs of children, adolescents, and families. My goal is to combine the experiences of both and provide coaching, consultation, and counseling services to families like ours and yours.
- Elizabeth Hawkins, PhD, MPH