From diagnosis to daycare, this mom is determined to keep her celiac child safe.
Jaime Lipson, mother of 4 ½-year-old Aden, who suffers from celiac disease, speaks out about his disease and addresses the process of her son getting diagnosed and what she does to keep him safe at daycare. Read her answers below to get the story of Aden.
When was he diagnosed with celiac disease and what were some of his symptoms?
Aden was diagnosed with celiac via blood test in May of 2010 when he was 3 years old.
Describe the process of getting diagnosed: How many doctors did you see?
Aden was not gaining any weight or growing in height for a significant amount of time (6 months or more). At first, we saw a pediatric gastroenterologist who did not think it was necessary to test Aden unless he showed more clear cut signs of celiac (bloating, losing weight, pain, etc.), since he was under the age of 2 at that point. Then he began having trouble going to the bathroom and would cry because he was so constipated and in pain. With my history of celiac disease (I have had it since 2004), I suggested they give him a blood test. The test came back positive and we began meeting with the celiac group at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. After going on a gluten-free diet, Aden did start to grow in height, but he was not gaining as much weight as they would have liked, so they suggested giving him a colonoscopy and endoscopy to make sure nothing else was going on. After those tests came back clear, we decided that he was just a skinny child and would stick to the gluten-free diet.
How do you discuss your child’s need at daycare?
I explained to his daycare teachers and providers that he had a disease (not an allergy), and they would need to take extra precautions to make sure that he washed his hands more often and that he did not come in contact with anything containing gluten. I explained to them what does and does not have gluten. They even went the extra step to buy him gluten-free play dough. His caregivers were wonderful and made sure to call me if they had any questions. I told them they could call me whenever they questioned a food that he could/couldn’t eat. I would rather be safe than sorry.
I also keep a box of gluten-free snacks in his classroom that is clearly labeled with his name and each snack box/bag says gluten-free. At snack time, Aden knows he can pick whatever he wants from his snack box. I pack him a lunch every day as well.
As far as advice for other parents, it is really all about communication. I explained to Aden everything that I explained to a teacher. It is hard to tell a 3-year-old that he can’t eat the same things his friends are eating, but Aden has done very well with his diet and knows to always ask if something is gluten-free (if it doesn’t come from Mommy or Daddy). There are a lot of kids with different allergies who can’t eat certain foods, so he doesn’t feel much different than a child with a peanut allergy. He knows that some of his friends can’t eat peanuts and he can’t eat gluten.
What food do you make most for your son?
Aden is a picky eater so he eats a lot of the same foods every day. For lunch, I pack him a turkey and cheese roll up (turkey wrapped in cheese) with fruit and yogurt. He loves Tinkyada spiral noodles and would eat them every night for dinner if he could. He also loves mac & cheese, hot dogs and Bell & Evans chicken fingers. For breakfast he usually eats a Vans waffle or Rice Chex.