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Starting Preschool...what Precautions Do We Need To Take?

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My daughter was diagnosed in May, and will be starting preschool in September. She has a twin brother, who will be in the same class. He does not have celiac (as far as we know right now...blood test was neg, but we aren't convinced).

Anyway, I was very overwhelmed at first, but now feel like we have found a new normal at home. BUT adding preschool into the mix is starting to stress me out! She will be 4 in the fall, so this is her first year of preschool and she hasn't been in daycare, so she has pretty much been with me since being diagnosed. Since being diagnosed we have only had babysitters come to our house, and we went gluten free in the house, so we don't have to worry when she is with a babysitter. The thought of her being at preschool around gluten is making me super nervous!

We will be sending her own snacks, and she will have cupcakes in the freezer there for anytime they have treats.

What other precautions do we need to take????

Does she need her own playdough?

They have a sensory bucket that they have pasta in, and they do crafts with macaroni noodles. Does she need to stay away from all of that, or can she use it but make sure they make her wash her hands right after?

What do you do for school/preschool for your child.



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We do only food from home. The first year DS was only there 2 days a week so they just didn't do play doh when he was there. With DD last year we made it and sent it in BUT you would also need to supply the tools or they will just contaminate the play doh. Also yes, stay away from pasta art or send in safe pasta.

Good communication with the teachers is key. We have done well through 2 years of preschool with 2 kids now and one going into K now!

Good luck!


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We're in the same boat. My friends have been really good at not bringing any gluten snacks to our play dates to avoid tempting my daughter since going gluten-free. My biggest concern is that she'll want to eat the communal snack instead of the food I send for her. My daughter is only 2.5. I'm stressing too!


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We homeschool, partially because it is stressful for me to trust the other environments, partially because one of my girls had extreme separation anxiety (which has been documented in Celiac kiddos). However, we do camps. Below is the note I send before my kids go to camp:

I want to confirm that you know that x and y both have Celiac Disease.

Celiac Disease is hereditary and is not communicable. Celiac Disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to ingesting gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats.

The best way to understand this is to think of a virus. Our immune systems are designed to kill a single virus. A crumb of gluten is enormous by comparison. The girls' immune systems won't miss a trace of gluten, and when their immune systems find gluten, it gets confused and damages their small intestine. This damage causes malabsorption and increases their risk of cancers and other autoimmune diseases.

From a practical standpoint at camp, please do the following:

1) Do not expose x and y to gluten.

2) Please have x and y wash their hands thoroughly before eating.

3) Please thoroughly wash any surface where they will work, play or eat if there is any chance gluten has touched that surface.

4) Allow x and y to use the restroom any time they request it.

5) Inform me of any exposures, concerns, or questions.

Thank you very much for taking good care of x and y, and all the children you work with.



Other facts about gluten and Celiac Disease:


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Our son (now 3) was in preschool full time when he was diagnosed last year, and we've had a very good experience so far. I did send in a lengthy health notice that's posted in the classrooms, pasted below. I was terrified at first of him eating other children's snacks, crumbs, playdough, etc., but with good teachers it has been totally fine. I'm amazed at how quickly he learned not to share other kids' food, and he will ask us and his teachers if food is gluten free. We're very honest with him about things which seems to have helped. He moves up to the next classroom tomorrow, where they do shared snack, and we've been explaining that he'll still eat snacks that we pack from his lunchbox. Hopefully he takes it in stride...

xxx has Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that prevents him from being able to eat any gluten. xxx needs to avoid all gluten completely. Even a little bit could be harmful for him. If he eats it, he could feel very ill, and even if he does not feel ill, he will sustain serious damage to his small intestine. Ingesting gluten also puts him at risk for severe stomach pain, and many other serious conditions such as nutrient malabsorption, diabetes, anemia and even certain cancers.

For that reason, he needs to be very careful that nothing with gluten in it enters his mouth during meals, snacks and arts and crafts. xxx is aware of his condition, but is too young to be able to avoid gluten on his own so we need your help and cooperation to ensure that he always stays safe at school.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It appears in most types of cookies, snack foods, breads and cereals. Gluten is also hidden in many foods not made with wheat, rye or barley. A gluten-free food such as corn chips or nuts may be processed on machinery that also processes gluten products, or gluten may be hidden in other ingredients such as flavorings (natural or artificial). Unless a product is clearly labeled Gluten Free, or we


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