While on a gluten-free diet, it is unlikely that a student with celiac disease will exhibit any noticeable symptoms of disease. A strict gluten-free diet is a medical requirement for the child’s health. Gluten, even in small amounts, damages the intestine.
If a child ingests gluten, he or she may exhibit one or more of the following:
- Bloating, cramps, or foul-smelling gas
- Irritability or short-term memory problems, which may interfere with school performance
The severity of these symptoms will vary, but are not likely to escalate to a state of emergency requiring medical intervention. Parents should be notified if gluten is ingested.
Similar symptoms may exist between undiagnosed celiac disease and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It would be prudent for classroom teachers to observe students with behavioral and/or learning problems with this in mind.