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

Your child has the right to accommodations at their school

Celiac disease sufferers have particular needs at different times in their lives. Because of these special dietary needs, those with celiac disease are considered disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The basics of the 504 Plan states that children can qualify if they have difficulties eating (as well as walking, breathing, sleeping, communicating, standing, bending, or lifting). Your child has the right to specific accommodations in public environments, from pre-school to high school. These accommodations are developed to give your child the chance to grow developmentally and socially.

Children who are in a public-school structure or a private school receiving federal funds have access to the 504 Plan. This plan is the federally known method of detailing with all accommodations the school needs to follow. Section 504(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on a disability, and this includes certain diseases. The law requires schools to accommodate a child’s gluten-free diet and needs.

The goal of 504 education plans is to educate students in regular classrooms and give them the privilege of the services, education aids, and accommodations that they need. If the school determines they cannot meet these plans or requirements, they must find an alternative way to fulfill the needs of children with celiac disease.