Back to School Tips for Celiac Kids

Helpful Tips to Ensure that your Celiac Child has a Full and Safe Learning Experience at School

Navigating celiac disease is hard enough as an adult, but, for school aged children, it can be a scary experieince to go to school and have to worry about contamination each and every day. It can cause additional stress for both child and parents, so having a plan in place will help make this time of you and your child’s life a little easier.

Here are 6 Helpful Tips to Ensure your Child’s Safety at School:

  1. Establish a good line of communication with the Principal and Teacher right from the start of the school year. Celiac disease is considered a disability in the U.S under several laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), therefore, by law, schools are required to accommodate your childs needs in order to have a successful school experience.

2. If your child attends a public or a school that receives government funding, they are eligable to have a 504 Education Plan that is tailored to a child with celiac disease. Find detailed steps to a 504 Plan in the ROCK School Packet on the National Celiac Assocition website.

3. Inquire to see if your child’s school has a wellness policy. Public and government funded schools are required to have a wellness policy in place that has instructions for classroom parties and food incentives. (BONUS TIP): Join the school’s wellness committee to help make a greater impact on policies.

4. Prepare packed lunches that you know your child will eat. Knowing your child’s likes and dislikes when it comes to packing school lunches can mean the difference of accepting food from other children that may contaminate them and not. *There are typically other allergies such as peanuts and shellfish, so some lunch suggestions might be: ham soldiers (ham cut into 1/4 inch strips), rolled lunch meats like turkey, chicken or ham, sandwiches on gluten-free bread, cut cheese with gluten-free crackers and cucumber. There is a wide variety of gluten-free bars, cookies, muffins, gluten-free pretzels and fruit snacks, apple sauce and of course, what lunch isn’t complete without and apple. (For snack brand ideas visit our main page and search snacks.)

5. Teach your child about sharing, and not sharing, their lunches or snacks at school, events and celebrations. Doing this at home will give your child the empowerment to be in control of their health and help to create the foundation for good self-esteem when it comes to what they can and cannot eat in social settings.

6. Ask the teacher if they would be willing to have parents notify them (so that they can let other parents know) if they would like to bring in treats for their child’s birthday or other celebration. This gives you the opportunity to prepare a treat of the same or similiar kind for your child to take to school on that day. If the teacher is resceptive, your child will not feel left out when treats are passed around to all of the other children, that he/she cannot have. *Some schools have moved to a non-food celebration policy, so ask your school about this policy.

Learn more back-to-school tips and about ROCK Kids on the National Celiac Association website.

**Disclaimer: This post is for information purposes only.

Resource: National Celiac Association School Packet