Modified Diets for Special Settings

Modified Diets for Special Settings


What school nutrition options are available to a student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) who is enrolled in a School Food Authority (SFA) but is receiving instruction at home?

Local Education Agency (LEA), Child Nutrition program provides meals or snacks only to enrolled students receiving instruction at the school campus. The student may be eligible for financial assistance with meals, foods, formulas, and a feeding aide through insurance and/or Medicaid. Schools provide administrative outreach for Medicaid. Contact the school or social worker for more information about the Medicaid program for students with special health care needs.

  • Information for Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Families, N.C. Health Choice, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
Early College Program

What dietary accommodations are made for students enrolled in the early college program?

Students enrolled in an early college program are eligible for dietary accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) until the age of 21 for any special needs accommodation that s/he may have received in lower school grades. Eligibility remains constant throughout the early college program experience. The student of early college age should be encouraged to exhibit self advocacy to ensure that his/her individual needs are met. If dietary modifications are necessary for this student, a completed Medical Statement for Students with Special Nutritional Needs for School Meals must be secured. For students with a disability, the medical statement must be signed by a licensed physician. For students without a disability, the medical statement must be signed by the licensed physician or a recognized medical authority, which includes a physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), U.S. Department of Education

Multidisciplinary Teams

How do we form a multidisciplinary team in our school district to make important decisions about the dietary accommodations needed by students?

Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or school districts should create a multidisciplinary team to establish a local process for providing dietary modifications for students. The Exceptional Children’s (EC) office or the EC administrator in an LEA’s central office would be the best initial contact. Participants in these central teams may include registered dietitians, speech‐language pathologists, occupational therapists, registered nurses, social workers, Child Nutrition administrators, the Exceptional Children administrator, and the LEA’s Section 504 coordinator. Once formed, this team should draft an implementation plan and train local school staff on policies and procedures for assisting students requiring dietary modification.

When should the Child Nutrition administrator be involved in decision‐making for individual students?

The Child Nutrition administrator should always be directly involved in decisions for students who require a modified diet prepared by the Child Nutrition staff.

  • Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in School Nutrition Programs: Guidance for School Food Service Staff. Alexandria, Va: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Nutrition Service; 2001.