Seriously, Celiac Disease: Understanding the Basics of Communication

July 8, 2015

Seriously, Celiac Disease: Understanding the Basics of Communication

Having the right conversation is key to helping genetically at-risk relatives to understand their risk of developing celiac disease.

Over the last few months, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has been focused on raising awareness of the importance of celiac disease screening for genetically at-risk family members. We launched our Seriously, Celiac Disease campaign on April 20, 2015, and have since had the opportunity to show our community members how to have an effective conversation with their family members about getting screened. We’ve released a national video PSA, helpful discussion guides, a webinar and a podcast, and held many social media events to help you feel educated and empowered to have these important conversations.

Throughout the Seriously, Celiac Disease campaign, one thing has been clear – from having an effective conversation with your at-risk family members to asking your doctor to test for celiac disease, it all comes down to the basics of communication. What does this mean? We need to find the balance of being informative and caring, while staying mindful of people’s emotions, concerns and questions about celiac disease and their genetic risk.

People engage in conversations to share experiences and knowledge, learn, listen and more. This means that we should approach the topic of family screening as an open dialogue, not a one-sided conversation. Each party needs to have the opportunity to voice their questions and concerns and to be listened to without interruption. And, don’t close the lines of communication just because you’ve said what you wanted to say. Stay open minded, respectful of others’ choices and leave room for the possibility of future discussions.

Through NFCA’s Seriously, Celiac Disease campaign, you’ve learned what you need to include in your conversation to have the greatest impact on your at-risk family members. Just don’t lose sight of the big picture – we’re all human. We all have family dynamics that we need to navigate and emotions can sometimes make this difficult. When you do have a conversation with your relatives about celiac disease screening, do your best to read the situation and gauge how your family is receiving information. Adapt your conversation based on their body language and verbal feedback. When in doubt, ask questions and try to understand how you can best help your family process this new information.

Watch our Seriously, Celiac DiseasePSA to see what the conversation should look like and be sure to download our free resources for talking to your family about celiac disease screening if you have not already. You can also listen to our new podcast featuring Anne Lee, EdD, RDN, LD, Professionals Manager of Dr. Schar USA, to learn how family members can get a conversation started with their doctor about celiac disease screening.