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.
What 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?