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 is a scary experieince to go to school and have to worry about contamination every day. It causes additional stress for both child and parents, so have a plan in place to help make things a little easier.

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

Establish Communication

  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.

Education Plan

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.

Wellness Policies

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. The policy includes instructions for classroom parties and food incentives. (BONUS TIP): Join the school’s wellness committee to make a greater impact on policies.

Safe Eating Habits

4. Prepare packed lunches that you know your child will eat. Know your child’s likes and dislikes when it comes to packing school lunches to avoid accepting food from other children that contaminates them. *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. For snack brand ideas visit our main page and search snacks.

Empowerment Creats Control

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

Develop A Relationship with the Teacher

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. There are 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