All parents — especially those whose children require a gluten free diet — have “issues” (to put it delicately) when their children return to school. This is especially true for newly diagnosed youngsters. Hopefully you have already read my article “Gluten Free School Supplies”. Here are some suggestions about how to work with the school to optimize the situation for your child:
This newsletter was written by Danna Korn, founder of R.O.C.K (Raising Our Celiac Kids) and author of Living Gluten Free for Dummies. The newsletter contains some great information and the article on R.O.C.K will give you information about the organization and contact information for local groups.
Children’s Hospital of Boston publishes a list of questions that will help you work with school personnel to help celiac children be successful in school. The site includes a video of a meeting between a teacher and a parent covering many of these questions.
I hate to criticize this marvelous site, but I think they omitted the obvious first question: “Have you ever worked with a child who has been diagnosed with celiac disease?” Be patient if the answer is no; that would have been my answer on the day before my own diagnosis. I would have had to admit that I had never heard the term before. That was 8 years ago but….Be assertive, it’s hard to say how much the school can and/or should do to accommodate food sensitivities. Most teachers and administrators are willing to help but depend on you for information and assistance.
Here’s information about some books that might help you work with your celiac child this year:
- The Gluten Free Lunch Book fills an obvious need. Your child will probably not be able to eat the food served in the cafeteria. A personal suggestion: get a few of those plastic containers that are the size and shape of a sandwich. Most gluten free bread is too crumbly to survive a trip to school inside a baggie.
- Kid’s With Celiac Disease is written by Danna Korn, As a dietician, the parent of a celiac child, and head of R.O.C.K, she speaks with authority.
- The Gluten Free Kid: a Celiac Survival Guide is appropriately named. Survival is indeed an issue.
- Incredible Edible Gluten Free Food for Kids. I chose this book based on its cover. I hope the recipes inside are equally appealing to children
If you’re interested in any of these books, click on my “Successful Celiac’s Guide to Books About Gluten Free Living”. (If you can’t find the books listed, congratulate yourself on being one of the first people to read this article. I wrote this on 7/26/08. I’ll get the library page fixed before the end of the month.)
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ideas that should be part of this article. Teachers: I’d love to hear you thoughts about working with gluten free children.