This is part 3 of 4 in a series centering on the challenges of raising a gluten-free child. Then keep watching for future posts, as I incorporate answers from my daughter about her life with celiac at home, school, and with friends. I hope to relate our experiences and help people who are wondering about the very same issues.
Gluten-Free In Class
Lunch was a different issue. In kindergarten the tacos didn’t last very long before they went off the menu. So for the next few years, Emma only did cold lunches. But as second grade wound down, Emma started to ask about hot lunch and the possibility of getting it again. That’s when I went to work and met with the district’s nutrition department to get some lunch help for Emma and other kids in her situation. After about 15 months (some of which felt like a battle), we received a gluten-free menu in the fall of 2008. “I can have lots more things,” Emma said. “I don’t have to be different and not have to bring a cold lunch every day.” It was a long process and I think both the school district’s nutrition department and I learned a lot and we earned mutual respect for one another.
Life at school has calmed down a bit and both the cafeteria and Emma are probably starting to get in a “groove” with the gluten-free menu. Her teacher is asking parents for specific gluten-free treats when they are needed for class parties. So while it has been a journey, and some of it has been difficult, it has been an important experience from which all of us can learn and hopefully help others out along the way.
Here are links for you to read parts one and two of this occasional series. Our final part is when Emma looks to the future of this disease, what may be next for her and what she can do to raise awareness.