Just in time for Arguing With Relatives About Your Child's Food Allergies Day comes a Readers Respond submission by a parent who chose homeschooling for her child with celiac disease because public-school kindergarten turned out to be a health hazard. Writes Mommy of a Celiac:
"My son age 5 started public school in August. Since he has celiac disease, I packed his lunch and sent snacks to school for him every day. It wasn't long before the problems started. He caught three colds back to back, then came down with a respiratory infection that was not responding to antibiotics. His classmates were giving him their snacks and telling him they were gluten-free, when in fact they were not. This led to him breaking out from dermatitis herpetiformus on his trunk and the creases of his legs. He missed five days of school in less than six weeks. So I decided it was time to take him home to school."
From the rest of the response, it sounds like homeschooling worked out well for this child, but I can't stop thinking about those kids telling their classmate the snacks had no gluten when they did. I'm trying to put a good spin on the behavior of the very young here -- maybe they really didn't know it had gluten? maybe they just wanted to do what they could to include him? -- but it sure seems likely that the message they were getting at home was there's no such thing as celiac disease, it's just parents being overprotective, it's just crybabies being picky, I snuck someone the thing they claimed they couldn't eat one time and nothing happened, what silliness. And so a kid with a difference is essentially driven out of a kindergarten class. Folks wonder why bullying is such a problem? They should look in their own dang mirrors.
(Deep breath.) Okay. Anyone else out there have a story of choosing homeschooling for your child with special needs? Share it on the Readers' Respond page. Anyone else want to have a little tantrum about respecting our children? Add your voice to my manifesto. Anyone else need something to restore faith just a little bit? Check out the comments to my post from yesterday to read about a hospital that believes kids with autism are as deserving of transplants as anybody else.