504 plan and celiac disease

Episode 8: Do you need a 504 plan with Celiac Disease and being 100% Gluten-Free?

Are you setting up your child for success when it comes to celiac disease? 🤭😯👩‍🏫

In this podcast I go over specific steps that you can take to empower your child and anyone else that works with your child so they can be healthy and safe. ❤️

I share key details, such as: how to teach your child how to eat in case of an emergency, the importance of educating your children’s teachers and 10 other steps that are critical to success. 

Listen to the podcast below to get more tips and tricks on how to keep your child safe while educating people surrounding them so they can live a healthy and happy life ❤️

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Also the show notes are below so you can follow along and share with a friend 🎉


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What I first thought of a 504 plan

I was told it was my right

That I was entitled to it

And for all those that know me… know that I do not feel entitled to anything. I am not the victim. 

I will not play into that role.

 What I learned since then learned that a 504 Plan is…
  • to protect our child
  • to educate staff
  • to hold them accountable for their treatment towards our children
  • to help plan for the year
  • prepared for emergencies and every day life
  • to make sure that staff and students have a positive attitude toward my child
  • to make sure my child doesn’t take advantage of the situation either.

What is a 504 Plan 


(a lot of what I am referencing and quoting is from BeyondCeliac.org)

A 504 plan stems from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This section prevents discrimination against public school students in grades K through 12 because of disabilities.

A 504 plan is meant to “remove barriers” to learning by providing a specific outline on how to make accommodations or modifications on a student-by-student basis.

Do you have to have a 504 Plan?

This decision is entirely up to you as a parent or guardian. Some parents find that informal discussions and accommodations have been sufficient for having the child’s needs met at school.

However, having a formal 504 plan in place is valuable, especially as teachers and staffing may change. The 504 plan guarantees by law that your child’s needs are met throughout their school career and not just in certain classrooms.

You can choose to utilize your 504 plan accommodations at any time and having them in place before you need them can save important time and resources if your child develops symptoms from gluten exposure or if you are having trouble with consistent accountability.

How do you get a 504 plan started?


To get started, you’ll need to contact your child’s school. The 504 plan team should include:

  • Primary classroom teacher
  • The school counselor or psychologist
  • School nurse
  • Director of food services
  • 504 plan coordinator
You’ll also need a doctor’s note to show that your child has been formally diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’).  This note should outline the accommodations required to maintain your child’s health, enabling him or her to have equal access to public education.
What information is included in a 504 plan?

Generally, you’ll need to provide information about your child’s diagnosis and needs, including:

  • Year of diagnosis
  • Amount of time on a gluten-free diet
  • Details on why a 504 plan is needed (including how a restricted diet affects a major life activity)
  • Child’s developmental level and needs (Are they self-reliant in managing the diet? Do they need strict supervision? Etc.)

A 504 plan will specifically outline all of the details of how your child’s celiac disease needs to be managed in the classroom. For example, you and the 504 plan team can develop an action plan for:

  • Navigating school lunches
  • Snacks
  • Birthday parties
  • Art class

The plan will lay out specific accountabilities. Having a 504 plan in place will also make it much easier to apply for disability accommodation in college.

 Goals of the 504 Plan:
  1. Adhering to all aspects of the 504 plan to avoid gluten.
  2. Assisting the child to maintain a stable physiological state void of gluten reactions through preventative measures.
  3. Recognizing the signs of a reaction and treating it promptly in all school contexts.
  4. Striking a balance between safety and social normalcy, providing the same opportunities and conditions as the child’s peers, and offering encouragement to the child.
  5. Encouraging open and ongoing communication among adults about food intolerance issues and doing so discreetly and in the appropriate forum.

Food Allergy Education, Awareness and Reaction Prevention

The basic question to be answered and discussed in this section of the 504 plan: What kind of training needs to take place to promote education, awareness and reaction prevention in the school context?
Types of Education, Awareness and Reaction Prevention:
  • Label reading
  • Proper hand washing
  • What is cross-contact and how can it be avoided?
  • Effective table and desk washing with appropriate chemicals and materials
  • Positive role modeling (Example: A positive role model would not make statements to parents and students such as, “We cannot have a holiday party because of “Suzy Celiac” and her food allergies. A positive role model would say, “We are going to have a holiday party and we will make it fun and safe for everyone.”)
  • Promotion of positive self-esteem for the child with celiac disease

Promotion of peer support for child with celiac disease

play dough, paper mache, fruit loops and other gluten-containing food, pasta, flour, paste, and stamp adhesives.

Parent and Food services will work together to arrange procedures when student is ordering school lunch or bringing food from home that will require heating in the cafeteria (for example, warming in the oven on a separate foiled cookie sheet).

Field Trips

Nurse or Medical Department

Other Topics to Be Considered in This Section

• Safety snack box provided by the family to be kept in classroom

• Birthdays

• After school events such as pizza night: consider utilizing one of the many companies now providing gluten-free options (don’t forget to double check cross-contact policies!)

. Holiday parties\• In case of reaction: access to bathroom.• Emergency kits: If your school has kits for emergencies or evacuation, then what supplies will be provided for those on a gluten-free diet and by whom?

Sports, Music and Extracurricular Activities

Dances, Proms and Catered Events



12 points from our personal 504 plan

1. Separate seating away from gluten food during lunch if desired (student is aware of disease and is good at self advocating)

2. Unlimited access to the restroom with no delays

3. School to provide gluten free play dough in the classroom to prevent contamination.

4. All adults that come in contact with student during school day, recess, lunch/snack time, shall be trained about accommodations.

5. Student to wash hands prior to eating snacks or lunch.

6. Parent to provide gluten free food for emergency backpack in the event of an emergency

7. Parent to provide a gluten free snack for unexpected parties/events (this will allow student to participate safely)

8. Approved snacks include anything gluten free such as: Hershey kisses, starburst, plain m&m’s etc.

9. Teacher to provide 24 hour notice for class parties/events that include food so parent can provide alternate snack

10. Teacher/school will ensure accommodation plan will be in sub- folder and teacher leaves notes on lesson plans to ensure proper notification.

11. Teacher will remind her every 2 hours to use the restroom as needed (parent will remain in constant communication with teacher)

12. Eating areas need to be disinfected before lunch

 If Chanelle forgets her lunch, I have advised her teacher to use the emergency food that I have provided for the class emergency backpack

New Printable Available! 

Personalized Celiac Disease Information Sheet- available in Word or PDF format in my e-shopYou can add your Child’s picture to and add some info as well as their favorite safe gluten-free treats!

This is going to be so helpful to the teachers and staff. You can download it one time, edit and add your information and then print it multiple times for the teacher, nurse and other staff members.

I promise it will be so helpful not only for them, but to help you feel heard and have peace of mind that you have provided them with the information needed to ensure your Childs safety!

504 plan and celiac disease
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