Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Disability and Equity in Education

First Advisor

Dr. Terry Jo Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Angela Elkordy

Third Advisor

Dr. Virginia Zeitlin


This phenomenological study focuses on five mothers' experiences of the phenomenon of living with a diagnosed food allergy in the family. Attention is given to the contexts or situations that have typically influenced or affected their experiences, including the impact of the diagnoses, travel and restaurants, friendships, sibling relationships, and anxiety. There is a major emphasis on these mothers' experiences advocating for the needs of their children in schools, including their strategies, concerns, and frustrations. Policies related to food allergies are reviewed from the contemporary and historical perspectives, with recommendations for policy change. The lived experiences of food allergy mothers surfaced in this research provides insights into the ways in which a diagnosis of a food allergy can be both a life altering and life threatening situation. Examples of proactive strategies to keep one's child safe, while educating others, are presented from the perspectives of mothers who are experienced advocates for their children.