Children with Celiac Disease: Managing What a Child Eats in School

Communicating with the lunch staff: One school's way to ensure a child's gluten-free diet

A registered dietician for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Amanda Vallee, states that almost 50% of the students in their school district have food aversions and are asked to avoid gluten. The school developed a Special Dietary Needs Form that is filled out by the student’s parent or guardian and taken to the district’s medical professional’s department.

"There are many parts of the form, including checking off the foods to be avoided, a section to provide foods to be substituted and places for the parent or guardian and medical professional to sign," said Vallee.

After completion, the school nurse scans the form into the school’s nutrition system. The kitchen staff now knows which students are unable to eat gluten and they can prepare foods especially for these children.

This procedure is just for one school district, but it is an example of how schools are becoming aware of food restrictions. Parents need to communicate with the school to make sure that the lunch staff at the school knows about a child’s food complications.