Protecting Your Child With Celiac Disease in School
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Sep 10 2011

Protecting Your Child With Celiac Disease in School

My second child – Princess R – has celiac disease. She was diagnosed at 2 years old and now that she is 4 she will be entering the school system next week – kindergarten! At her age it can be difficult for her to grasp exactly what celiac disease is. The long list of foods to avoid and the complicated issue of cross contamination is one that will take some time before I feel she can safely advocate for herself.

While her school is completely nut free and aware of allergens, celiac disease is still not well understood in the school and certainly the kids who don’t have to worry about celiac will not understand. Last year when Big P began school on the second day he ate a full-gluten cupcake and though he does not have to eat gluten free all documents given to the school and instructions to the teachers was that he was to not eat it … and yet he had.

That can not happen this year with Princess R. I have been trying to brainstorm some ideas on how to protect her better. Her older brother will be in the same classroom and I have spent a lot of time this summer talking to both of them about gluten and celiac disease. Big P has grasped it a lot better then Princess R has so I am hopeful that will help.

MedicAlert BraceletWhat I have done for Princess R that I hope helps is I bought her a medic-alert bracelet. Like the ones you see people with serious allergies or medical conditions, this bracelet has the medic symbol and with all her information on the back (name, birth date, phone number) the front in clear lettering says, “I am on a strict gluten free diet”.

There are still somethings I am going to have to work out before she starts. Making sure that if snacks are brought in from parents there will be treats for my kids and I will have to make sure there is some celiac-friendly playdoh in the room for her. Can you tell I’m a bit nervous?

Do you have any tips for how to better prepare myself, my daughter and her classroom?

Article Written by:

Devan McGuinness is a gluten free mom to 3 kids and an advocate for celiac disease and the gluten free lifestyle. Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and her second child diagnosed in 2009, Devan is passionate about advocating for safe food and awareness for fellow Canadians with celiac disease, gluten allergy and gluten intolerance. A go-to person for the newly diagnosed, Devan eases the minds of those faced with the new life-long diet and even has a trick or two for the gluten free veterans. Tweet me at @AccustomedChaos or join me on Facebook.

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Comments

  1. Kayli says:

    Just something to think about….if someone is wear a medic alert bracelet paramedics and emergency people will look at that and delay providing treatment until they know how to handle the condition. So if your child were to be in an accident they may postpone providing lifesaving measures until they identified what celiac is and what they can do. I understand that you are doing it for school purposes but I just wanted you to be aware of it before you use the bracelet. In the end it is your decision I just wanted to let you know. My son is in kindergarten and I have spent many hours at his school educating staff. I feel that has worked well for us. They more people know about it the more apt they are to be careful and vigilant about what they give all children. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks so much for the advice Kayli! Her bracelet just says that she is on a gluten free diet – not that she has celiac disease so i feel pretty safe that as long as they can verify what they will be giving to her is gluten free (which they need to anyway) she will be ok. Last year when my son went his teacher had celiac disease so i was comfortable – i will take your advice & make sure i spend some time with their new teacher and school educating. Thanks!!

  2. Barb says:

    Our schools require kids to be at least 5 before they start kindergarten. I don’t know if another year would make a difference on her ability to navigate the system or not. I was undiagnosed until I was 61 after about 30 years of being sick in one way or another. I have an only child but she does not have celiac and she is 30 now. I’m in awe of those of you who manage the schools so well. I’m a retired teacher myself.

  3. Debbie says:

    I wasn’t sure from you post if you plan to make or buy gluten-free treats or rely on the other parents that are providing snacks. We made goodies and kept them in the school freezer for those events that happened and the teacher didn’t know or forgot to tell me. My son thought it was cool that he was the only kid allowed in the kitchen. He felt special. I made ALL the playdough for the class. Tiring but worth my time to make the first year of school a success. After that year we decided homeschooling would be best for our family. Good luck with the new year!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] can also find me this week over at celiac-disease.com where i address my concerns for Princess R starting school and what that means in terms of her having celiac disease and being safe. If you […]

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