You will need to spend some time explaining coeliac disease to your child and their siblings in language they can understand. The coeliac handbook, which you will receive when you join the society, contains valuable advice for children and parents.Some hospitals have special leaflets available for explaining coeliac disease to children.
Explaining Coeliac Disease to Children
First of all make sure you’re up to speed yourself.
Explaining Coeliac Disease to Others
You’ll need to talk to your child’s nursery/creche or school, relatives and caregivers and those taking responsibility for activities your child participates in. It is a good idea to have something in writing so that it can be circulated to everyone who should read it. Download a letter for your child’s school or creche here. You should also let people know about:
The basics of coeliac disease
Use our information on coeliac disease to help explain the condition to other caregivers.
Arrangements for food during the day
Let them know if your child will be taking in a packed lunch. If the creche or school are preparing gluten-free meals the information in the Caterers section of the website may be useful.
If your child cannot read labels for themselves it is important to stress that they should not be allowed to take food from other children. You may want to arrange to provide some gluten-free treats for times when treats might be given out at school. If there is a tuck shop they might find a copy of the Food List useful to determine which branded food is gluten-free.
Most play doughs are not gluten-free. If a gluten-free alternative is not available it is important that your child is carefully supervised.
The Society has produced a leaflet which can be used to help explain what your child can and cannot eat and some basic facts about coeliac disease is available to members. There’s also a section where you can add a few notes specific to your child.
You can read a recent article from one of members explaining life post diagnosis for his coeliac twin girls here.