Sunday, June 17, 2012

CD versus the Nut Free Classroom

We reside in a small community within a very small public school district.  Cafeteria service doesn't begin until the 6th grade.  We notified our district when our son was diagnosed with CD at the very end of his Kindergarten year. When school began in the fall we were told that there was a child with a nut allergy in the class and, therefore, no peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, kiwi or any food manufactured in a facility that also processes nuts was allowed.
Well, when you eliminate foods with all additives and preservatives containing gluten, foods naturally containing wheat or gluten, foods manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat AND add all the peanut allergy restrictions - there isn't much left to pack in a 6 year old childs' lunchbox!  It was an extremely challenging and difficult year with my son coming home ravenous each day.  Due to this restrictive diet he didn't gain a single pound for 6 months - and he was already underweight for his age.  
After countless meetings, beginning the FIRST week of school, with the classroom teacher, school nurse, assistant principal, principal, a pediatric allergist and finally the District Superintendent, we came to a mutually agreeable resolution - the LAST week of the school year.  Our son was granted a 504 Plan designed to ensure and protect his rights in the educational setting.  It isn't a completely comprehensive document, but it is a step in the right direction.  I'm hopeful that his next school year, as a 2nd grader, will prove to be more inclusive, more accommodating and full of educational and dietary nourishment.
If your child has Celiac Disease, I highly recommend obtaining a 504 Plan for him/her.  This document will stay with them as they age, protecting their rights in the regular classroom, art room, cafeteria, science lab and on school field trips.
Enjoy Life Foods have a fabulous product line of gluten-free nut free foods!

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