Children & Celiac Disease Part 2: Helping Children Manage a Celiac Disease Diagnosis

Written by Linda Arnold - Edited by Daniel Saraga

The grieving process

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As with other forms of loss, children and adults diagnosed with Celiac disease will experience grief when giving up some of their their favourite foods. During this period of adjustment you may see signs of sadness, denial, confusion, anger, irritability, loss of appetite, physical complaints, loss of concentration, depression, and withdrawal from friends. Occasionally, as part of the denial process, the child may take risks with food and other products known to contain gluten. This is especially true in the teens and also some adults. It is important to remember that such action may impact present and future health. All research indicates that even a small amount of exposure to gluten can invoke an undetectable immune reaction increasing the chances of future health problems.

It is important for children with Celiac disease to be able to share their feelings and frustrations they experience. By sharing, other children will learn about differences and similarities in people.

Family and friends striving to help newly diagnosed children may also be experiencing grief. Patience and understanding are needed to move those involved from these feelings of loss to acceptance.

How will this disease affect attendance?

Depending on how recently the child has been diagnosed attendance can be an issue. It is also understood that children may come in contact with wheat/barley/oats/rye during the school or day care day which may cause some disruption.

Read Children & Celiac Disease Part 1: Educating Teachers and Caregivers
Read Children & Celiac Disease Part 3: Eating Gluten Free at School

Reference for this article:

The Canadian Celiac Association
The American Celiac Sprue Association
Moms with kids

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta