Everyday Eating with Celiac Disease

Living with Celiac Disease

Dealing with Teachers and Camp Counselors June 16, 2011

Frustration is the word!!!!!!  Although my 5 y/o daughter, Kait, has not been officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease, she had gastrointestinal issues since she was a baby.  We took her to a pediatric gastroenterologist and it didn’t seem to help.  It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Celiac that we thought perhaps Kait had the disease as well.  As soon as we started the GF diet with her, her issues were gone!  So the challenge now has been sustaining the GF diet away from home.

When I registered Kait to a Pre-Kindergarten program in Georgia, I made it clear to the staff, that Kait cannot eat anything or touch anything that has gluten.  I provided her meals and snacks.  However, there were a couple of days during the week where it appeared she had gluten.  Kait was in pain and was distended.  When I dropped her off the next morning, I noticed a bag of Rice Crispies and bowls filled with the cereal.  I asked Kait what are they used for and if she plays/eats them.  I discovered that it is common for the teacher to use cereals for different fine motor and math skills.  I was not happy!  I wrote a note to the teacher and spoke with the director about this issue.  I then received a note back from the teacher saying there is no “gluten” listed in the ingredients.  Oh my….teachable moment is the nice thing to say.  From that point forward, I made a list of items/ingredients that contain gluten and then I told her  that it would be best to not give her food unless I provide.

A month or so later, symptoms of gluten consumption surfaced.  Again, I went to the teacher about it to find out what happened.  The Assistance Teacher gave the children jelly beans.  OMG!!!  What don’t they understand when I say, “Do not give my child anything to eat unless I bring it?”  Well, the teachers learned the consequences.  Poor Kait was doubled over in pain and had significant bowl issues that resulted in screams of pain and a lot of tears.

Now that we’ve entered summer, my Kait is now in summer camps.  This entire scene repeated itself with the camp counselors.  We’re only 2 weeks into the camp season, and already, I’ve emphasized 3 times that she is not to be given ANY food unless I provide.  Grr!!!!!

I guess this is going to be my future whenever Kait starts school each year and attends summer camp each summer.  What a battle!!!!!  I’m going to have to creating a 1-pager cheat sheet of what it means to be on a gf diet.  Oh well….


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