‘Back to School’ is a challenge for everyone involved, especially a child who must live gluten free. I was an elementary teacher, administrator, and counselor for 38 years. I did not know what celiac disease was at the time (very few educators did) but I can share some thoughts that might be helpful.
~~~> Be sure that the teacher understands that hand sanitizers are no substitute for hand washing. Hand sanitizers kill germs and gluten is a protein, not something that can be killed
~~~> Remind the teacher that your child can’t afford the risks involved in trading food items with other children. Most kids can trade food with other kids in order to stave off hunger pangs in the afternoon. Kids who live gluten free must find other options, with help from their teachers and parents.
~~~> Meet with your child’s teacher and the principal before the year starts. Summarize your meeting in a letter or memo. Here is a sample letter you might wish to adapt to meet your specific situation. There are two points in the letter that deserve special emphasis:
◊ “He will not become immediately ill, such as in a severe allergy, and will not need immediate medical attention.” Educators are justifiably concerned about situations like peanut allergies which can have lethal consequences. You child and the other students may upset when they over-react.
◊ “He may also need to go to the bathroom. Please allow him this privilege. He has never abused …” Be absolutely sure that you can honestly say that to the educators involved the meeting
This video presents a creative solution to a problem that children on special diets face regularly. The exact ‘treat’ being used is totally unimportant. Work with your child to find something that will work. If done with appropriate flair, this can make the child feel privileged rather than ‘left out’