I believe we need to increase awareness and understanding of children with Celiac Disease, especially in public environments like their schools.
My sister works in a child care facility, and one of the more disturbing trends I hear about is how so many employees and parents of non-Celiac children don’t appreciate the severity of celiac Disease symptoms. It is almost as if children with Celiac Disease are a nuisance to them.
“Oh gosh, we have to make special pancakes for the Celiac child — oh how inconvenient!”
I believe gluten intolerance in children deserves more serious attention and understanding. And as a diagnosis of celiac disease symptoms in children becomes more and more common, this will become more necessary.
I understand why this happens; it’s a familiar phenomenon for anyone suffering from a relatively unknown health condition, and unfortunately it may even be a familiar phenomenon for those of us just dealing with the pubic in general. I prefer to focus on the best qualities of humanity, but I still can’t help but feel disturbed when I observe how often people simply act impatient and inconvenienced when they must slightly adjust their actions and behaviors for other human beings around them.
I’m writing this around that late year festive season, a season which is supposed to be one of caring and giving. Yet I can imagine all the heavy sighs and eye rolls from parents who feel inconvenienced because they’re politely asked to be careful how they distribute holiday treats with peanuts or gluten to a classroom of children, some of whom may have been persevering celiac disease symptoms.
The shame of this is that it could be treated as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience. Children are still forming their tastes; this is a ripe opportunity to broaden their pallet and encourage them to eat a wider variety of healthy foods. Instead of thinking in terms of excluding one child from the others, why not make it a healthy and tasty learning experience for all the children in the class?
I’m not saying I advocate imposing the gluten-free diet on all the other children simply because one child suffers from gluten allergy symptoms, but why not consider — at least every once in a while — celebrating the gluten-free diet and treating it like an opportunity for your children rather than a nuisance for your children.