Did you know your child with Cerebral Palsy may be eligible for the School Nutrition Program? Typically, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services funds five school nutrition programs targeted toward assisting school-aged children that come from families experiencing financial hardship. While not all children with physical disabilities come from homes with financial strain, there are other stipulations in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, that may qualify your child for these programs..
School nutrition programs are required to accommodate children with special dietary needs such as food substitutions or alternative preparations. Services available through IDEA include:
- The purchase of special foods, supplements, or feeding equipment
- Consultation services of a nutrition professional
- Assistance from a special education teacher, or other health professional to feed the student
- Aid to help student develop feeding skills
In addition, the public education system offers these five school nutrition programs for children who are eligible based on household income:
- School Breakfast Program – offers nutritional breakfasts at no or low-cost
- National School Lunch Program – offers nutritional lunches at no or low-cost
- Summer Food Service Program – offers meals and snacks as part of the summer school activities at designated community centers. The program is also offered at approved community sites in low-income communities where school-aged children are not necessarily required to be enrolled in school activities.
- Special Milk Program – offers state-approved pasteurized, fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk free or reduced cost
- After School Snack – meals with at least two of the following components are served to eligible students who participate in after school enrichment or educational activities such as mentoring or tutoring programs:
- fluid milk
- meat or meat alternative
- vegetables or fruits
- whole grain or enriched bread or cereal
If you are interested in applying for this program and you have a child with an Individualized Education Plan, ask educators to include the nutrition needs as part of the IEP document.
If you would like more information on these programs, visit School Nutrition Program.
MyChild™ has developed the School Nutrition Program Guide for families who wish to learn more. This guide not only provides information on the program, it provides a valuable contact list to help families who have a child with Cerebral Palsy connect with the nutrition service programs within their state. To order Kit No. 391WO – The School Nutrition Program Guide, visit http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/, call the MyChild™ call center at
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