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Special Diets

The Food and Nutrition Department is dedicated to providing a safe eating environment for every student. We provide diet modifications for students that, due to a disability or food allergy as defined below, need special diets.  Please see bottom of the page for Diet Modification Form.


A. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, “a person with a disability” means any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities or major bodily functions, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Please refer to these Acts for more information at http://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/sec504.htm and http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adaaa.cfm, respectively.

B. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
A child with a “disability” under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is described as a child evaluated in accordance with IDEA as having one or more of the recognized thirteen disability categories and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services. The IDEA can be found in its entirety at http://nichcy.org/wp-content/uploads/docs/IDEA2004regulations.pdf.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the IDEA and its implementing regulations. 

C. Medical Practitioner’s Statement for Children with Disabilities
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations 7 CFR Part 15b require substitutions or modifications in school meals for children whose disabilities restrict their diets. A child with a disability must be provided substitutions in foods when that need is supported by a statement signed by a medical practitioner. The practitioner’s statement must identify:
  • the child's disability;
  • an explanation of why the disability restricts the child's diet;
  • the major life activity operation of a major bodily function affected by the disability; and
  • the food or foods to be omitted from the child's diet and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.

This form may be used to obtain the required information from the medical practitioner.

“Practitioner” is defined by Wisconsin State Statute 118.29(1) (e): “Practitioner” means any physician, dentist, optometrist, physician assistant, advanced practice nurse prescriber, or podiatrist licensed in any state. Unless the documentation to support the required dietary accommodation has been signed by one of these practitioners, the school is not required to accommodate the request.

D. Other Special Dietary Needs
ECASD food service staff MAY make food substitutions for individual children who do not have a disability. The school must have a completed Diet Modification Form on file from any medical authority certifying the student as having a special medical or dietary need. Such determinations are only made on a case-by-case basis and all accommodations must be made according to USDA’s meal pattern requirements.

For more information, please see the USDA guidance: Accommodating Children with Special Needs: Guidance for School Food Service Staff at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Guidance/special_dietary_needs.pdf.

Diet Modification Form

If you have any questions concerning allergies or special diets contact the nurse at your child's school.