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Kids and Celiac Disease

R.O.C.K. Raising Our Celiac Kids

The information and philosophies that you will find in the kids' section of this site are based on more than 20 years of research and experience. The kids' site is written and managed by Danna Korn, founder of R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids), a free support group started in 1991 for families of kids on the gluten-free diet. Throughout the 20+ years of offering support to R.O.C.K. parents while raising her own celiac child, Danna has heard every question in the book: How do we send them to school? How can we keep them from feeling different? How do we handle birthday parties and other special occasions? How can we talk to family and friends about this? Should the entire house be gluten-free?  Are these crazy emotions I’m feeling normal?

More than 20 years since its inception, there are now more than 100 R.O.C.K. chapters in four countries, and the number of chapter groups continues to grow as awareness of the benefits of a gluten-free diet spreads.

R.O.C.K. welcomes friends and family of kids who are on the gluten-free/casein-free diet for any reason (e.g., as part of a dietary intervention protocol for autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADD and ADHD).  Other websites that you might find useful are:, and Table of Contents:

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    One thing I have noticed since becoming a parent is how every place we go there are treats and candy. Even cashiers hand out candy at the checkout. Food is everywhere. Our kids are constantly being bombarded with sugary baked goods and salty snacks.

    Photo: CC--Damian Gadal

    We know that celiac disease afflicts almost 1% of the general population. We also know that about 12% of the general population has non-celiac gluten sensitivity, as indicated by elevated IgG class anti-gliadin antibodies in their blood. Although elevated antibodies identified by this test are often dismissed as "non-specific", they are clear evidence that the immune system is mounting a reaction against the most common food in our western diet.

    This week I have noticed many blogs/articles claiming that the only illness that can be caused by gluten is celiac disease. Yes, they state that celiac disease alone needs a gluten-free diet. I totally disagree with this distorted out-of-date viewpoint. There are tens of millions of non-celiac people who testify that gluten causes them significant harm.

    Photo: CC--jryde

    How do you know when your child has gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, or celiac disease? If gluten issues run in your family and you know there is a predisposition to having problems with gluten in foods, then you may be alert to signs that it has been passed on to your child.

    A chef speaks to customers about their order.
    This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2003 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    No matter what your reason for your dietary restriction, one of the hardest things about this diet is talking to people about why you must be gluten-free, and trying to explain the diet itself.  Responses range from complete understanding (sorry, this is extremely rare), to people who think they understand but don’t (“Oh, this is just like when I gave up liver for Lent!”), to those who don’t care an iota about your diet, to the other 95 percent of the population who really want to understand, but just don’t get it.

    Tyler is on the cover of Danna's book
    This article originally appeared in the Winter 2004 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    When Tyler was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 18 months, I wanted desperately to talk to a kid––one who could talk––about what it’s like to have celiac disease.  Do you feel jipped?  Does it make you sad?  Do you feel “different” from the other kids?!?  I was heartbroken––grief-stricken––I had a long way to go before I would evolve into the cheerleader I hope I’ve become in helping people live––and love––the gluten-free lifestyle.

    A field of quinoa, which is a gluten-free grain
    This article originally appeared in the Spring 2003 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    -Yes, there’s more to life than rice and corn!

    Variety, it’s been said, is the spice of life.  So what’s a person to do when they’re told to eliminate wheat and/or gluten from their diet?  Most turn to rice, corn, and potatoes—an adequate set of starches, but ones that are sorely lacking in nutrients, flavor, and imagination.

    Are you or a loved one in denial about a diagnosis of celiac disease?
    This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2005 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    You’ve all heard the joke proclaiming that “denial is not a river in Egypt.”  No, it’s not.  What it is, though, is a very real issue for many, if not most people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  There are a couple of types of denial—the first type affects us—while the other type affects those around us.

    This article originally appeared in the Summer 2003 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    -When “our product isn’t gluten-free” doesn’t necessarily mean “our product isn’t gluten-free”

    You’ve found a food you’d really like to eat. You’ve read the label, and it looks as though the product might be gluten-free.  You’re drooling!  You can dig in, right? Wrong. It’s a good idea to call the manufacturer to confirm that there aren’t hidden sources of gluten.

    Diagnosed with Celiac Disease?
    This article originally appeared in the Summer 2004 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    At first, a diagnosis of celiac disease can be daunting, to say the least, and for some people, even devastating.  It means giving up some of your favorite foods—pastas, breads, pizzas, cakes, cookies, and pretzels—at least as you used to know them.  So why should you consider yourself lucky if you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease?  Because you’ve been given the key to better health.

    When Friends, Family or Loved Ones Just Don't Get It by Danna Korn
    This article originally appeared in the Winter 2006 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    The gluten-free lifestyle is a big part of who we are.  So when friends, relatives, and loved ones don’t get it—I should clarify—when they seem to choose not to get it—we sometimes get a little cranky.

    This article originally appeared in the Spring 2004 edition of's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

    In the 13 years I’ve been involved in the wonderful world of “gluten freedom,” one of the questions I’ve been asked most frequently is whether or not the entire family should be gluten-free.  For parents who have kids on the gluten-free diet, this seems to be a natural instinct––if Johnny can’t eat gluten, none of us will.  But I’m not sure that having the entire family go gluten-free is the best thing––unless, of course, it’s for health reasons (I, for example, choose a gluten-free diet because I believe it’s healthier).  This is one of those questions that has no correct or incorrect answer, so I’ll share with you, for what it’s worth, my personal perspective on the issue.

    This article originally appeared in the Summer 2002 edition of Celiac.coms Scott-Free newsletter

    This article appeared in the Spring 2005 edition of Celiac.coms Scott-Free Newsletter. Celiac.

    This article appeared in the Winter 2005 edition of Celiac.coms Scott-Free Newsletter, and is

    R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids) - National Celiac Disease Support Group

    About Danna Korn

    About Danna Korn Danna Korn is the author of Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family Guide to

    A must-read survival guide for parents, friends, teachers, and care

    Im a big believer in fun, especially when it comes to eating. And just because your child is

    The key to gluten-free cooking is simple: take a little bit of homework on your part, a dash

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