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My dd started 4yo preschool this year. We knew it would be a challenge with the gluten free diet, but I was totally optimistic and upbeat about it; "this is life so we might as well get used to it" is my attitude.

We opted to keep away from play doh as it is only offered for a few minutes in the morning as an option when kids are arriving during the 15 minute opening period. They have various centers and we discussed it with our daughter ahead of time, and she said no big deal about steering clear of play doh. The teacher seems to understand that this cannot be at her table and everything needs to be thoroughly cleaned up as to avoid cc etc. So far, the teacher has actually been great and we have had no issues there. The one day I looked around and I didn't even see any play doh as an option.

She only goes 3 days per week in the mornings, so all we have to worry about is three snack times each week. The snacks are provided on a rotating schedule by the parents, so each kid gets their "turn", but you never know ahead of time what a parent will bring. It's a private preschool through our church; there's twenty kids so everyone only gets 2 turns for snack the whole year. The teacher offered for us to skip our turn, since we bring her own every day. But I really wanted her to feel involved and figure we will just bring something yummy & gluten-free when it's our turn. We just take her own little princess "gluten-free snack sack" each day and she seems happy. I thought everything was going pretty well, until the other night. I was tucking her in, and out of the blue she says to me "mom, it's no fun having a gluten free tummy, I wish I had a gluten tummy" (then she proceeded to cry a little). :( Come to find out, the other kids had yogurt that day (which she COULD'VE had) and here she sat eating carrots, celery and dip (which she normally loves). She just felt different, which in all reality, she is. We talked it out and everything seems to be fine now. I know it's life and she'll adjust, but it just really breaks my heart.

I had wanted her to only eat what we send with her to avoid ANY possibility of a misjudgement of safe. But now I'm wondering if I should somehow allow certain things, depending on what it is that day, but I just don't know how we'd do it because like I said they don't plan ahead what it's going to be. I've thought of calling the parent whose turn it is ahead of time, but I don't want to seem like a royal pain.....what if someone just doesn't know yet what they want to bring; it just seems like that would be an annoying call to receive. Any other ideas or thoughts?

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Could you make a list of things that she is allowed to have for them to reference? Would they be willing to call you and tell you what they are having? You could also always send her a snack everyday just like you have been in the event what they are having is not allowed. That way she always has a back up and will be able to participate at times too.

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I think the easiest way around that is to make up a list of suitable snacks and get the teachers to send it home with the kids explaining that there is a child in the class with an allergy.

Long before I even knew I was celiac, I was catering for a child in my sons kinder class who was gluten-free/df. Most parents wont even be aware of other childrens dietary needs and will most likely jump onboard if they are given a chance.

The simplier it's made for people, the more chance it will be to succeed. Good Luck.

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Maybe you could also spend a little more time educating the teacher. Give her a list of snacks that are probably safe, then show her what to look for in the ingredients.

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There was a great list/resource that was posted somewhere here last year that we printed out and sent in with Ds. I hope it's ok to post it this way. I don't remember the source and don't have the original link so this is a copy of the pdf file info. You could modify it adding or deleteing items as you see fit.

Gluten-Free Snack and Candy list

Anything obviously made with Wheat Flour

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I'm sorry your daughter was sad about being different! My sons (8 and 5) are very good about being gluten-free, but do feel left out every now and again!

I had a wonderful experience with my son's preschool last year. I emailed a list of gluten-free snacks and she ended up writing a letter to the parents saying that there was a student who is gluten-free in the class and, while it is not mandatory, it would be nice to have him included in snack when possible. There were so many times when parents emailed me to see if he could have certain foods or alerted me to what special snack they were sending in for a birthday or party. I even had two moms make an entirely gluten-free Halloween party so my son wouldn't feel left out.

So, while I'm not trying to brag about his experience in preschool, I do feel like many parents will try to provide gluten-free snacks if they are aware of the need and what to send. Maybe if they know to bring yoplait yogurt instead of dannon, cool ranch instead of the nacho, tortilla chips, certain puddings, fresh fruits, string cheese, etc they would see it can be easy to include her.

Also, do you have a box of back up snacks at school in case someone brings in cookies for a snack or something that might make her jealous?

I agree with the poster who said that a little teacher education would help. Our assistant teacher last year knew to call to double check a snack and see if he could have it.

Good luck! I hope the rest of her year goes well!

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I agree with the other posters. Give the others parents a chance to be aware and care for your little one. I'll bet most will happily comply more often than not. If some chose not to, well, some folks are like that and she'll always have her special bag to pick from.

If there had been a kid like that in my kid's preschool, I would have been all over that! Not only would it have been gluten-free, it would have been spectacular! Give other's a chance to show their generosity and caring.

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awww-I'm sorry=( Does the classroom have a small fridge where you could keep a couple of snacks that she could choose from so she feels like she has a bit of a choice. We havent had to experience that because my baby is only 15 months, but I feel so sad for your little girl.

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My daughter was 10 when diagnosed and now she is 13. At first she was a little bothered about it, but now she is alright with her friends eating things she cannot have. We went to our State Fair and she watched her friends eat corn dogs and funnel cakes and she was great about it. I was so proud of her. :)

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Thank you all for your posts and suggestions. Yes, there is a fridge there, and we already do have a couple of alternative things for her to have: pretzels, animal cookie/crackers, sandwich cookies, but I think I'll send more. There have already been twice where kids with birthdays have brought in "treats" and she had her special stash, thankfully. I did have the list that was posted above with safe gluten-free items, and gave it to the teacher before school started. I would love it if she would have put a note together to the other parents suggesting some possibilities for snacks, but since she did NOT, I feel a little weird about asking her to. I should probably just tell her about what happened (with her crying at bedtime) and discuss openly what possibilities we could explore. Again, thanks for all your help, it is so nice to have people who understand.

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Just wanted to vent again....ditto on my heart breaking for dd, and so much for the teacher being "great". Yesterday was their thanksgiving teepee (SP?) party which parents were invited to. I went in with her and am bombarded with "we are having cornbread and popcorn today (apparently to honor the Indians??), can she have those?" (as if she just remembered Elle couldn't have gluten when she looked at me walk in the door). The cornbread was prepared at home by the teacher, who when I commented "no, but I could have made her some had I known" she said she "didn't even think about it". WELL YOU SHOULD'VE!!! Also, the popcorn was in a big bag purchased from a local store with no ingredients listed....is that even legal? I didn't want to assume anything even though I thought most popcorn was probably OK, so I just said she brought an apple. DD didn't even seem phased (bless her heart), she's used to it I guess by now. I mean she sits there every day with a different snack than everyone else and the one day the teacher knew ahead of time what the snack would be, she "didn't think" to let me know so I could prepare a safe gluten free alternative?!? Am I being overly sensitive?

Also, something from a past conversation is now particularly annoying to me now that I think back on it. During lent (before Easter) apparently they all make soft pretzels to signify something (not sure what) and when we were discussing another craft project that would normally contain gluten (noodle necklaces), she mentioned the pretzel thing coming up later in the year and she said "I don't know how we'd do that, so you might just want to keep her home that day". I didn't say anyting at the time because we might be on vacation then anyway, BUT now I feel like I should make a stink about it. This is a private preschool, we pay a great deal to have her attend, is this how she should be treated?

The thought that I keep going back to is that the teacher has a grandson who attended the school a few years ago and I guarantee if he had gluten issues, she would not even consider making gluten cornbread or soft pretzels, she'd come up with a new project that was safe for him. Just because she's done the same projects for 20 years or whatever doesn't mean she should have such a closed mind. What do you all think I should do?

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Hi Elle's Mom, just wanted to say I hear ya! My 4yo son doesn't have food every day like your daughter (thank goodness!) but on Monday I got a call - as we were leaving to take him to school - that one of the teachers was picking up donut holes for the kids, could Austin have one? Uh no. Well, we have pretzels, can he have those? Uh no. I ended up bringing him something. For me, it wasn't so much the fact that everyone was having donut holes, it was that she called as I was leaving out the door. I might not have had anything to whip up in less than a minute. Thankfully I did but that's not the point!

As far as your situation, could you schedule a sit-down with them and explain what you need? If it doesn't work, is there another preschool you like/know of? After all, as you said, you're paying for this school. Though you also have to look at the effect on your daughter in switching schools mid-year.

Good luck, wish I could help more!

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Sorry to be Debbie Downer here but just pulled our twin daughters out of school due to issues........I am homeschooling them now........

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I don't think you'll get anywhere by saying, "I pay for this. Do a better job or else!" What I have seen happen in cases like this is the school politely informs you they won't be able to meet her needs. The issues weren't celiac, but academic. Private schools have the right to say they can't provide for your child's needs. If you were a public school, you could get a 504 and they would be bound by law. Not so in the case of private schools.

What about this? Would your daughter, with your help, be able to do a presentation for the teachers of the school? She could talk about how sick gluten makes her. She could share what you do at home to protect her health. Maybe make and share a recipe? It would serve the two-fold purpose of empowering your daughter and educating caregivers. These people are part of your community. Take the fear away and replace it with knowledge. They will share it with others.

It's work, and I know you are busy. But you have an opportunity here to grow your daughter, the staff and even you!

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@missy'smom - thank you for that list. I'm glad to have it as an adult that love's kids snacks!

And I for one like TrillumHunter's idea. As an adult, your daughter will have to get used to explaining things (though hopefully there will be more understanding and education for celiacs then), and this would be a way to share with her friends and hopefully gain allies in the kids. If the kids are saying to the parents: but can _____ have some our snack too? It will help the parents see the importance of selecting treats carefully. Or, at the very least, maybe bringing a special treat for those who need the gluten free option, while providing glutenr treats for everyone else. (I hate for others not to enjoy their cake even though I can't! :))

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My kids really like the Eating Gluten Free With Emily book (ages 2 and 4). Maybe an idea for read aloud in school? My son would never talk about it in front of a crowd. I've offered the book up to my parents just for a very simplistic explanation too.

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My kids really like the Eating Gluten Free With Emily book (ages 2 and 4). Maybe an idea for read aloud in school? My son would never talk about it in front of a crowd. I've offered the book up to my parents just for a very simplistic explanation too.

WE do have that book! She likes it a lot too, and I know they have 'bring someone special to read' a book of your choice, during reading month (not until march though maybe?) and the thought actually had crossed my mind about encouraging her to choose that book when it's her turn. But since she's only four, and she is actually somewhat shy, I do not think she'd be up for doing a presentation, not at this point anyway. Maybe when she is in high school, if she goes to either public or private high school.

About the homeschooling; we actually do homeschool our older dd who's 6, and plan to do so for Elle too starting next year. I don't know if we'll do it forever, but for now we're playing it year by year. I can definately see many advantages to it. We have chosen to have her go to this preschool because it is connected to our church and I wanted her to have some group interaction with other kids her age, and to be exposed to an organized group setting. The fact that the teacher was, in this case, so ambivalent to her needs when it is supposed to be (in my mind) more like a close personal family environment, it's just very disappointing. I just don't understand the lack of concern.

My husband is actually treasurer of the preschool and I was thinking about going to the next board meeting with him and proposing the school provide the snacks, instead of the kids/parents. I know they have the budget so they can't use that excuse. The more I think about it, does anyone else find it strange that a private school require kids to take turns bringing snacks?

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Another thought I had about this while I was thinking on it tonight. Please don't take this the wrong way. But often people enroll children who have low-level asbergers, mental deficiencies, etc. in regular schools and preschools, as often these children do not need specialized schools, just a little patience and extra attention. MY POINT, not that your daughter has any of these issues, is that the schools are expected to make certain allowances to all children have access to education and the social experience. Your daughter's dietary needs are no big deal: if she were diabetic, would she not be treated like the other kids, yet still have a certain level of attention paid so she doesn't have medical problems? Of course.

So no, I don't think you are being overly sensitive, but I do think this needs to have some different light shed on it so it falls in line with what is expected, and what the school should do. Pose it at the next parent teacher meeting or talk to the teacher, or maybe the person in charge of her, and help them understand that this is just as much an issue for your daughter as it would be if she were diabetic or had some other health issue. They need to make the allowances that are reasonable, and I don't think considering what they are feeding a child is too much to ask. God knows, they SHOULD be thinking of each child individually as well as the entire class as a whole.

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God knows, they SHOULD be thinking of each child individually as well as the entire class as a whole.

I think this is the key point that I need to get across to her without seeming ???? can't think of the right word ???? (you know what I mean though).

Did the Indians even eat cornbread??? And even if they did, I believe they also practiced smoking pipes of all sorts, so should the kids be given pipes to smoke to celebrate thanksgiving at their party? Of course not, because we all KNOW smoking is unhealthy, and we would never dream of letting kids smoke, it's insane. Hopefully someday this light will also be shed onto gluten and it's unhealthy nature.

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Just for the record, they probably did eat a type of corn bread and it was probably gluten-free naturally. :) It WOULD be possible for her to make it more authentically and be safe for gluten-free kids. But, that's past, isn't it?

My kids went to a private, church nursery school and we provided snack and made play-dough. Plus, we did a fundraiser. That's not so uncommon.

Good luck with this. I do think if you can do this right, it could be a great gift to your community.

Have a great Thanksgiving and don't let this linger too much on your mind as you celebrate the day, okay? :)

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Good luck with this. I do think if you can do this right, it could be a great gift to your community.

Have a great Thanksgiving and don't let this linger too much on your mind as you celebrate the day, okay? :)

Thanks I'll try. I sure am thankful for this forum:) Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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My son did this (although he was 10) with the help of his teacher and school counselor, his classmates wanted to know why he got to eat other stuff. It was a great time. The presentation included some xrays and 'scope pictures, but mostly centered on this pile of gluten-free yummies we brought in to share. I printed and laminated 4x6 card of the "gluten-free basics" and the reverse had a list of common food he could eat (but we had a plastic box of food for him in class, just in case) ; we used to give a copy to every teacher at the beginning of the school year but now he just brings one if somebody asks.

He's almost 17 now. His friends always make sure to bring something gluten-free for him, or let him go first, or just don't eat. They keep un-informed people from contaminating his food. (You know how pranks in cafeterias can go!) This year, a girl in his lunch period was passing out cake for her bday and she had bought a bag of gluten-free pretzels for him -- and this is just an acquaintance. It is part of him, but no longer his defining trait.

My point is just that food becomes less and less of an issue as they grow up, and as more people know about her issues. It will, in time, become just another part of her, no more or less exciting than a diabetic child, peanut allergy, or ADHD student (they all get accomodations too). Perservere, advocate, smile relentlessly!

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Do you have a list of who brings the snack each day? You could call the parents a few days before to ask what they're bringing so you'd know if it's safe or not. And if it isn't, you could try to provide a similar gluten-free version.

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My kids are teens and grown, but we attended a very similar preschool. I vote with two of the answers given:

1) Educate the teacher further - minimally provide a list of approved snacks to the teacher - this will help not only your child, but any other gluten challenged pre-schoolers they may have in the future....imagine how nice it would be to hear one of your daughter's teachers say "Oh yes, I've had another student that can not eat gluten and understand the danger to your child."

2) Let the other parents know as a group -- making individual phone calls could be unwelcome. If you have the classes email addresses, I'd send a very clear and detailed email. If you don't have email addresses - ask the teacher to send a flyer home with everychild. Again, provide all important details in as few words as possible and include the CAN eat list - many understand peanut allergies of children so you could compare to that. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the response you receive. Not everyone will send gluten free, but many will do so very happily.

I think your daughter will begin to feel more special and her classmates will learn an important health issue at a wonderfully young age!

Good Luck!

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My celiac grandson lived with me for a few years. When he was 10 our small town local school was very cooperative. Each child was responsible to bring a snack in rotation, and a calendar was sent home so the child would know their assigned day. Also a list of the names of each child and their home phone # was included. I was invited to visit the class during the first days of school and explained about celiac. I gave an information sheet to the teacher. I also had a talk with the school nurse, as well as the school's dietition. I received a full month's menu for lunches as well.

We worked it out so well, the parents could call me at home an ask about a snack, and I always sent extra snacks along, because I found out the kids liked my grandsons snacks better than their own. They were jelous of him rather than the other way around. I sent extra for the teacher and school nurse as well, and they would promptly call and ask for the receipes. :D

My grandson had his pizza on "pizza" days, and I had given the cook frozen gluten free buns for sloppy Joe's or hamburger day, they kept in the freezer for him, etc. So the boy was never left out or felt any true difference. The number of children in the class averaged out to having to bring a snack about 2x a month, and then I found my grandson being assigned to 3x a month. Called the teacher about that, and she said the kids had voted to have my grandson bring the snacks more often because they liked his better. :D

I finally started bringing them once a week, and the children made sure their caretakers sent gluten free for my boy. I found out each child's birthday, and always sent enough gluten free cupcakes for the class. Being a stay at home grandmother helped, also the class size was about 18 kids and the 5 books of Bette Hagman, the Gluten-Free Gourmet, were invaluable.

Kay

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    • Fmbm, Most fortified foods contain the Alpha form of Vitamin E. It (E) and Vitamin A used to be recommended for Lung Cancers but when the Alpha form of E showed no benefit upon a follow up study Vitamin E has fallen out of favor. Try a whole food source when possible.  Sunflower and Sesame seeds and raw Almonds are all good sources of Vitamin E. Here is a good article on the benefits of Sesame seeds for Vitamin E. http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2009/01/sesame-seeds-increase-absorption-of.html If you take Vitamin E as mixed (all the tocohpherols) or a Gamma form you are more likely to benefit from taking Vitamin E. Here is the National Institute of Health page on Vitamin E. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/ Fbmb (be careful) Life extension magazine are trying to sell you their vitamins but they usually have good research. If you want to read about why mixed (gamma and alpha) forms are better together then read this article. http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2011/1/Critical-Importance-of-Gamma-E-Tocopherol-Continues-to-Be-Overlooked/Page-01 luckily most food forms are naturally balanced .. . while fortified foods typically only has the alpha (synthetic forms) and that is because it is the form measured easiest in the blood though as I understand it gamma is the more potent form in the body. I had a friend who swore by it (Vitamin E) in megadoses for his cholesterol but Vitamin E in the Alpha form at least didn't seem to help mine. But I did find raw almonds (or just Almonds) and Sesame seeds helped. Walnuts are also a source of Vitamin E and they are heart healthy too if you can  afford them. ****this is not medical advice but I hope this is helpful. Posterboy,  
    • My understanding is that some wheat has lower amounts of gluten.  If you have Celiac, that doesn’t matter.  But if you don’t have Celiac but have another issue - like a FODMAP problem- that might be OK.  
    • Thank you so much. This has been very helpful. I will pursue with PC. Appreciate your insights.  
    • What is the difference between American flour and wheat flour from Finland? When we lived in Scandinavia my wife could eat bread with wheat flour. We moved to Texas six years ago and my wife became severely intolerant to wheat. She can't have the smallest crumb without a reaction. She gets bumps and severe abdominal pain. Anyway, we decided to have some wheat flour shipped from Finland. My wife has baked bread and cakes with the flour from Finland now, and has not had a reaction as yet! Yes, she is still careful. She is afraid to overdo it and suffer, but so far she has been doing OK.  She has also met others that have been able to tolerate European flour, but not American. My wife has also tried other European flour, but still experienced problems, so there seems to be something different about the Finnish flour. It contains gluten, but I believe that the gluten content may be slightly lower, while the flour is top quality and makes awesome bread and cakes.  Also food grown in Finland are some of the most wholesome you can find anywhere.  I am interested in finding out if anyone else have a similar experience. My wife is continuing to bake with Finnish wheat flour and seem to be able tolerate it.  
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