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Reminding Teachers

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I sent a lovely letter to each of my daughter's teachers on the first day of school to let them know about Celiac Disease, what Victoria might need to do (leave class for the bathroom) if glutened at school, and to give us some notice if there were to be any food occasions at school.

Each teacher replied and thanked me for letting me know and assured me no food or drinks except water were allowed in the classroom and they would let me know if and when a food occasion was going to happen.

It is her first year of middle school (6th grade) and we've had nary a glutening at school this year. Totally awesome! She has been in great health and high spirits. She's a great student and LOVES her school.

Anyway, she comes home from school yesterday and told me they are having a "cake and cookies day" in choir. Thankfully we didn't have any after-school activities that day, so I whipped up a batch of gluten-free cupcakes last night. I can't help but feel a little let down, though, that her teacher didn't let me know. I know it must be hard to remember all the students and issues and this particular teacher had actually missed a day or two this week due to illness--food poisoning, of all things ;)

I want to send a gentle yet firm reminder that I had asked to be given some notice so I could have a little time (more time than one night, that is) to get together an alternative snack for her. I feel lucky she's old enough and aware enough to tell me about food occasions so she didn't miss out. Either way, she had fun frosting the cupcakes! SO yummy! God bless Pamela's!

The advice part: How firm should I be about this? I don't want to be the bad parent but at the same time, anything I can do to help teachers be more aware of food issues in the classroom, I'm happy to do. I've endured so many years in "non-peanut schools/classrooms" that I feel gluten deserves some attention!

Thanks for letting me vent!

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If it's the 1st offense, I wouldn't be too firm about it. I would email the teacher (or however you communicate easily with them) and tactfully explain the situation that occured and ask to please be informed a few days in advance so your dd can participate, with all the kids they have, he/she probably overlooked it. If it happened again, then I would get more assertive. Also, maybe see how your dd feels about it. Mine doesn't seem to be bothered when stuff like that comes up. She knows that if someone brings treats in to school and we have no notice, I will make her something special for dessert that evening, and I usually let her choose.

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I agree with celiac-mommy. Speaking as a teacher and a parent with a Celiac child, I can see both sides. I wouldn't be too hard on her the first time but if it happens again I would get upset. As a parent, we want our kids to be able to participate. I get so angry at "food parties" that some teachers think are necessary to reward their students. Could you give your daughters teachers some treats to keep on hand? I gave my son's teacher a package of Hershey bars for unexpected birthday treats or things like that.

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I am a teacher with celiac disease, and I would still have trouble remembering to tell you ahead of time, especially if the event was in choir and not in my classroom. It is scary the number of tiny little details I have to remember about my kids each day--who has allergies, who never gets breakfast, who gets meds at noon, who was absent yesterday, who will forget their homework without an extra reminder, who gets good behavior points. Having a supply of treats for emergencies really does help. It was the first thing I made sure of for my two peanut allergy students.

I'm glad you are educating the teachers at your school! Mine are pretty aware because of seeing me not eat at all the staff parties...

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Guest Mommy2aiden

I am sending my sons teacher a bag of gluten free cookies, a few juices he can have, and a few little candys ( like the mini bags of M & Ms's and other gluten free candie) just in case it is ever a issue. However, so far him teacher has given me almost 2 weeks notice for partys.

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I am a teacher with celiac disease, and I would still have trouble remembering to tell you ahead of time, especially if the event was in choir and not in my classroom. It is scary the number of tiny little details I have to remember about my kids each day--who has allergies, who never gets breakfast, who gets meds at noon, who was absent yesterday, who will forget their homework without an extra reminder, who gets good behavior points. Having a supply of treats for emergencies really does help. It was the first thing I made sure of for my two peanut allergy students.

I'm glad you are educating the teachers at your school! Mine are pretty aware because of seeing me not eat at all the staff parties...

I'm really going to work the education angle rather than the scolding angle. I don't see how that does anyone any good. She's in middle school so she changes classes for each subject. I can totally see how it just doesn't occur to people that food occasions are a lot more work for some. I don't let her keep candy in her locker and since she doesn't have a "homeroom" I just make sure she has about $5 in her bookbag so if she needs to hit the vending machine or school store for a quick fix emergency food occasion she can take care of it.

At her school last year, the librarian had Celiac Disease and was good friends with my daughter. Whenever they would do a teacher lunch sponsored by the kids (each grade sponsored a teacher lunch potluck one day a month) we always brought her a gluten-free lunch. :)

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I am a teacher with celiac disease, and I would still have trouble remembering to tell you ahead of time, especially if the event was in choir and not in my classroom. It is scary the number of tiny little details I have to remember about my kids each day--who has allergies, who never gets breakfast, who gets meds at noon, who was absent yesterday, who will forget their homework without an extra reminder, who gets good behavior points. Having a supply of treats for emergencies really does help. It was the first thing I made sure of for my two peanut allergy students.

I'm glad you are educating the teachers at your school! Mine are pretty aware because of seeing me not eat at all the staff parties...

I totally agree. There is SO much information to remember about each student. I would suggest doing a stash of snacks somewhere. Maybe the office would allow them to be kept in there since she doesn't have a "homeroom.". Or even in the nurse's office......

Your daughter is old enough to help her teacher's remember that she can't have gluten. She needs to be an advocate for herself. She can speak up and say "hey that sort of leaves me out when you have cake and cookie day". Maybe that would make a larger impact.

-Jessica

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I totally agree. There is SO much information to remember about each student. I would suggest doing a stash of snacks somewhere. Maybe the office would allow them to be kept in there since she doesn't have a "homeroom.". Or even in the nurse's office......

Your daughter is old enough to help her teacher's remember that she can't have gluten. She needs to be an advocate for herself. She can speak up and say "hey that sort of leaves me out when you have cake and cookie day". Maybe that would make a larger impact.

-Jessica

So what do you recommend for a school that knows my 7-year-old son has Celiac Disease that just can't get it right? In two weeks I have had THREE gluten experiences. Two have been with Clay that I told them over six weeks ago was full of Gluten. Now they have sent home a note for the Thanksgiving lunch with all gluten foods for parents to bring in for their feast. I can not go out and buy an entire Tgiving dinner for my son to take to school so he can participate.

We have been trying to work with his school since August when he was diagnosed. His health care plan was written but not fully accepted by me due to the VERY limiting ridiculous things. The counselor at his school is great but there is a real piece of work at the school coop who has stepped in.

My son is the first child diagnosed at his elementary school and this is a learning experience BUT the school has refused to do an inservice where we can actually educate them on Celiac Disease. Instead the director at the coop states, "I'll pass out information to all the teachers".

Yeah great passing out that information sure has been effective... NOT

My son has had two full days of abhorrent behavior because he was glutened by these educators who don't understand Celiac and have not taken the time to understand it.

I thought I was going to blow a gasket today when I got the list of requested foods for his class Fall party/Thanksgiving feast.

After the clay incident, I would have thought they would be a bit careful, but NOPE we are still using the same clay (which he now has a horrible rash on both legs, diarrhea and a stomach pain). Wonderful....

They also put on that tgiving feast list, Apple Jacks to make necklaces AFTER I resent a list of items that we CAN NOT use in the classroom with him.

I have been nice. I have tried the working with his teacher route. Working with his counselor, principal and the Director at the coop but they do NOT get it.

Anyone live in Noblesville, Indiana here? My son is the ONLY diagnosed Celiac child at his school but I find it really hard to believe in a school system the size of ours that he is the only child in the school system.

We were trying to put together lunches at school since under Article 7 he is entitled, but the school has come up with SIX options and they think that's enough????? I supplied a 48 page listing with LOTS of options and the Director of the Coop does not feel they need to offer more? I filed my dissenting opinion on the 14th and now he's being even more difficult to deal with. They didnt even give in to getting ONE tray that is disinfected and guaranteed gluten free.

At times I wish my child did have a peanut allergy so they could see what they do when they give him stuff they should not. The affects of what they are doing are obvious through a change in behavior, mood, rashes, diarrhea, etc. but most of that happens in the evening after exposure. Although last week he did have a rough day after they glutened him the day before so they got to see a bit of it.

He does NOT have anyone at the school that fully understands his situation and its getting harder every day to take him there knowing that none of them get it. When he got glutened by the clay I was told that the resource teacher was in there and she was aware of his restrictions? Well she may be aware of his restrictions for gluten but she was obviously unaware of what's in the products that she's putting out there for him.

I am also really curious if some of the ADHD kids in our school have Celiac or have ever been tested since ADHD tendencies are some of the behaviors of Celiac kids.....

Sorry to vent but I have had a really rough few months and am looking forward to going to a hearing to get this all out there once and for all.

I have an advocate for my son who was a special needs teacher for 20 years as well as being a presidential award winner and she is even frustrated at the school's lack of attention to this.

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