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My Celiac (gluten-free/CF) child is starting elementary school this fall. Does anyone have any advice about what to tell the teacher? I don't want to scare the teacher, but I want to make sure she fully understands cross-contamination and how to keep my child safe.

Also, is there a list of SAFE gluten-free craft and art products?

Thanks!

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I would suggest sending a letter to the teacher - something she can reference if she forgets or is confused.

In your letter explain your child has a diagnosed condition and must avoid all of the following, then list out obvious no-nos. Be sure to outline likely scenarios - like birthday cake in the classroom for some child's birthday. Maybe you can keep the teacher stocked up with gluten-free sweets in case this happens - so your child doesn't feel punished that he can't partake.

After that, list things that are considered safe, but must not be exposed to cross-contamination. Explain that cc can make your child equally as sick. You may want to call it a "serious allergy" as the word allergy tends to get people to be more cautious.

Then ask for her support in keeping your child healthy and safe in your absence, and thank her for her understanding and flexibility in the matter.

Take it with you when you drop off your child and I would suggest going early - give it to her and tell her the problem and that it is mostly outlined in the letter, but briefly explain to her what Celiac is, that it is not contagious, but is very serious. Also explain to her that if your child complains of a "tummy ache" or a headache, or any kind of pain and seems to be being bratty, whiny, etc, that it is likely part of the disease - and he ingested something he shouldn't have - and not his attempt at getting attention or that he is not taking school seriously. She should tell you at the end of the day if he behaved strangely or complained of a tummy ache, etc.

You won't scare the teacher, they get peanut allergy letters all the time and they understand how serious it is to make sure the child gets no peanut products. You need to emphasize this has the same severity and can make the child very sick if not monitored properly.

She is in charge of him while you are away - so she must take the job seriously. I'm sure she will.

Good luck and don't worry - kids put dirt in their mouths and live through it. He will learn immediately what makes him sick and won't want to do it again, should he get sick at school. And educating him before school starts is key.

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I would suggest sending a letter to the teacher - something she can reference if she forgets or is confused.

In your letter explain your child has a diagnosed condition and must avoid all of the following, then list out obvious no-nos. Be sure to outline likely scenarios - like birthday cake in the classroom for some child's birthday. Maybe you can keep the teacher stocked up with gluten-free sweets in case this happens - so your child doesn't feel punished that he can't partake.

After that, list things that are considered safe, but must not be exposed to cross-contamination. Explain that cc can make your child equally as sick. You may want to call it a "serious allergy" as the word allergy tends to get people to be more cautious.

Then ask for her support in keeping your child healthy and safe in your absence, and thank her for her understanding and flexibility in the matter.

Take it with you when you drop off your child and I would suggest going early - give it to her and tell her the problem and that it is mostly outlined in the letter, but briefly explain to her what Celiac is, that it is not contagious, but is very serious. Also explain to her that if your child complains of a "tummy ache" or a headache, or any kind of pain and seems to be being bratty, whiny, etc, that it is likely part of the disease - and he ingested something he shouldn't have - and not his attempt at getting attention or that he is not taking school seriously. She should tell you at the end of the day if he behaved strangely or complained of a tummy ache, etc.

You won't scare the teacher, they get peanut allergy letters all the time and they understand how serious it is to make sure the child gets no peanut products. You need to emphasize this has the same severity and can make the child very sick if not monitored properly.

She is in charge of him while you are away - so she must take the job seriously. I'm sure she will.

Good luck and don't worry - kids put dirt in their mouths and live through it. He will learn immediately what makes him sick and won't want to do it again, should he get sick at school. And educating him before school starts is key.

http://www.socializr.com/event/foodallergies/twitterparty They are doing an online event today discussing this very issue. They may be able to help you even more.

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I would probably add that if your child needs to use the bathroom, he may have D so please allow him free access to the facilities.

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I email a letter to the teacher prior to school starting. The first day of school is zoo-like and hard to get a teacher's undivided attention for something as serious as this. In my email I let the teacher know to forward it to any other teachers that my child will have (we have different teachers for art, music, and spanish). I also carbon copy the school nurse. In my letter, I briefly describe celiac disease and the type of symptoms my daughter experiences when she's been glutened. Ask for any special considerations . . . like access to the bathroom on the run without having to ask. My son needed this at one time because he was having bladder spasms. He would run out the door and wave the letter "R" in sign language as he left and she would know what was going on.

Kids in our school aren't allowed to bring in treats (cupcakes, cookies, etc) for birthdays because of the allergy issues. However, there are certain events at our school where a snack is provided by the school. I take an "emergency snack bag" into the teacher the first day or day before (when I follow-up with an "did you get my email?") My daughter's teachers have always let me keep some goodies in one of their cabinets. Then if there is some sort of an "event", my daughter can get something out of the snack sack. I put things like tootsie pops, lunch-size bags of fritos or cheetos, skittles . . . stuff like that . . . then she's always got something as good (treat-wise not health-wise) as the other kids.

I also ask the teacher to let me know who the room parent is so that I can keep in touch during the class parties (Christmas and Valentines Day). For the parties, I find out what the kids will be having as their snack and bring in something equivalent. I also volunteer to "work" the parties so I can keep an eye on things.

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I email a letter to the teacher prior to school starting. The first day of school is zoo-like and hard to get a teacher's undivided attention for something as serious as this. In my email I let the teacher know to forward it to any other teachers that my child will have (we have different teachers for art, music, and spanish). I also carbon copy the school nurse. In my letter, I briefly describe celiac disease and the type of symptoms my daughter experiences when she's been glutened. Ask for any special considerations . . . like access to the bathroom on the run without having to ask. My son needed this at one time because he was having bladder spasms. He would run out the door and wave the letter "R" in sign language as he left and she would know what was going on.

Kids in our school aren't allowed to bring in treats (cupcakes, cookies, etc) for birthdays because of the allergy issues. However, there are certain events at our school where a snack is provided by the school. I take an "emergency snack bag" into the teacher the first day or day before (when I follow-up with an "did you get my email?") My daughter's teachers have always let me keep some goodies in one of their cabinets. Then if there is some sort of an "event", my daughter can get something out of the snack sack. I put things like tootsie pops, lunch-size bags of fritos or cheetos, skittles . . . stuff like that . . . then she's always got something as good (treat-wise not health-wise) as the other kids.

I also ask the teacher to let me know who the room parent is so that I can keep in touch during the class parties (Christmas and Valentines Day). For the parties, I find out what the kids will be having as their snack and bring in something equivalent. I also volunteer to "work" the parties so I can keep an eye on things.

Children's Hospital Boston celiac support group has some good resources for school.

http://www.childrenshospital.org/clinicals...sublevel19.html

You should probably get a letter from your doctor and then meet with the principal, school nurse, and teacher and write up a 504 plan and a careplan. It's important to have that in place because the teacher may be out sick or at a meeting. The website above has templates for these you can use to start with. Teachers may have good intentions but they can be awfully busy with lots of kids and forget. It's especially hard with a younger kid. I found that verbal conversations with teachers can be forgotten, so be sure to get it all in writing. Try to do it before school starts the beginning of the year is really hectic.

Here's a list of art supplies:

http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/lofivers....php/t7904.html

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We sent in a snack box last year. Teacher kept it somewhere in the classroom. Put kiddos' name on a shoe box with some stickers and labeled it "name"'s snack box. Kept enough shelf stable, individually wrapped items for several times and he brought it back home and we refilled it as needed. Kept at least one chocolate item(because people always send in choc. things), small individual bag of chips(cheetos or a white cheddar popcorn that comes in small bags), freeze dried fruit pouches, applesauce cups, Envirokids bars, maybe ocasionally one candy-skittles, M+M's, Enjoylife makes packets of 2 cookies-snickerdoodles or choc chip. Ian's makes pouches of mini cookie "buttons" also several flavors. Fruit leathers are good additions too. Sometimes you can find the gluten-free pretzels in small bags. I always keep my eyes out for coupons or sales at the healthfood store or Whole Foods and pick up a few treats and stash them away when the opportunity arises.

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Thanks for the advice. I have a meeting planned with the teacher before the beginning of the school year. So I wanted to get everything organized first.

Is supplying the safe arts and crafts list too much?

I was planning on leaving a snack box in the class with a non-perishable lunch in case of emergency as well as other snacks and candies.

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I am a teacher and I appreciate all the responses you are getting! It is true that you are right to do this before school. Every parent wants to meet the teacher on the first day and tell them about their child's special needs. Asking to involve the principal, and school nurse (or secretary-whom ever your child will see when they go to the office sick) would be extremely valuable.

Absolutely have it in writing! If your child's school is like ours they are out of the room, for Music, Library, PE, recess, lunch, etc. That is a lot of people who need to be aware of your child's condition. In this day and age we are very strict about protecting the privacy of children, so make sure that you express that you are OK with any adult who will have contact with your child being aware of this condition.

A 504 is a good idea, but until that can be put into place, make sure to include the part in your detailed letter about what you want them to do when she is sick. For many kids who don't have a temperature we try to have them rest for a bit and then see if they can make it the rest of the day. That might not be the best plan for your child, so be sure to include your wishes there.

While you are at it, if you haven't already, be sure to start empowering your child to be their own advocate. Make sure that they are in on the discussions and meetings, have them express to the teacher what it is like for them when they eat something they shouldn't. Allow the child and teacher to begin to build that trusting relationship so your child feels most comfortable with that new adult in their life.

I also appreciate it when a parent brings in a good book about their child's condition, then I don't have to go try to find one with the most current info, and one that best fits for that particular child! After all, we teachers love to read!!

Good luck, and remember we are there because we love your children and we will do everything to protect them and keep them safe while in our care!

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I'm not sure if this was mentioned (so much good advice here!) but I would give the teacher a box of gluten free cereal for graphing/counting/sorting projects. I teach first grade and have used cereal for those types of things in math. Emphasize the teacher should give your child the gluten free cereal FIRST, before she hands out the gluten cereal to the rest of the class. It's common sense to us but the teacher might not know how important that is. Good luck!!

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I am a teacher, too.

The advice others have shared is great! You may also want to contact the cafeteria manager in the school to discuss if ANY options in the cafe would be safe in case there's a forgotten lunch or desparate desire to be a "buyer" --- if that applies to your school.

Also, if the school has a guidance counselor the can serve as a great liason to other staff members in addition to the school nurse.

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I thought of something else! I have a frozen lunch in the freezer at school for my son incase we forget his lunch or something would happen to it. It's Amy's frozen mac and cheese. It would be simple for someone to pop in the microwave and not have to touch (no CC risk). Even though I teach at his school, I still let his teachers know about the emergency lunch along with the nurse and principal.

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I teach older students, but I wanted to add that the advice you are getting is great! I get students with diabetes and allergies all the time, and I always appreciate getting notes from parents on the first day discussing those issues. In high school, teachers have a lot less to do with food, but it's still important to know these things.

I second the advice to discuss gluten-free activities. I imagine play-doh and paste could be an issue.

Good luck!

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