Starting the School Year with a Celiac Child

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Our eldest daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease over 5 years ago. If you’re not familiar with Celiac, it’s an auto immune disease in which “the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. Gluten is a group of proteins present in wheat, rye and barley and their cross bred grains. The damage to the intestine can lead to a variety of symptoms and result in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health” (Canadian Celiac Association).

When our daughter started Kindergarten, I have to admit I wasn’t totally prepared for how challenging it could be. I spoke to the teacher at the beginning of the year, and she was extremely supportive and kind. But there were things that I didn’t think to mention, that cropped up through the year! The following year, when our daughter started Grade 1, I felt much more prepared. I wrote a letter to the teacher, and gave her a few extra copies to distribute to the lunch monitor, other teachers, and to leave on file for substitute teachers. I gave it to the teacher on the first day of school, and she was very appreciative for all of the detail and information.

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Stuffing my Pockets with Gluten Free Treats: What it means to support your Celiac child

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May is Celiac Awareness Month. Celiac Disease is defined by the Canadian Celiac Association as:

a common disorder that is estimated to affect about one percent of the population. It is a condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. Gluten is a group of proteins present in wheat, rye and barley and their cross bred grains. The damage to the intestine can lead to a variety of symptoms and result in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health.

Our 6 year old daughter was diagnosed 2 years ago and although they say it’s the only disease that is treated by diet alone, it’s not always easy. The diet is very strict, and it’s lifelong: even a crumb of gluten can affect someone with Celiac disease. Sometimes it can feel very stressful and overwhelming.

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