Explaining Sucrose Intolerance to My Child’s Teacher
My son Jarrod is in first grade and has sucrose intolerance. I was devastated when I heard about what happened at school yesterday.
Upset and withdrawn after school, he finally told me at bedtime that he had diarrhea during recess and had to change clothes in the nurse’s office. The other kids were teasing him, calling him awful names like “stinky” and “poopy pants.”
I was fuming because I had recently talked with both his teacher and the school nurse about his disease. Unfortunately, that information didn’t get passed on to the other teachers or staff who have been working with him. I decided to channel my frustration and energy into a letter to the teacher that she could share with her team to explain what happens to children with sucrose intolerance and to ask for their help with Jarrod. Here’s the letter I sent.
What I Told My Child’s Teacher About Sucrose Intolerance
Dear Mrs. Umbridge,*
As you are aware, Jarrod had an unfortunate incident on Tuesday when he had an episode of diarrhea during lunch recess. Since then, the other kids are calling him awful names and won’t sit with him on the bus. They are also bullying him.
To try to straighten this out this situation for Jarrod’s sake, I want to share information about his medical condition that could help the other classroom teachers and playground monitors. Jarrod has sucrose intolerance, also called congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID). He was diagnosed by a gastroenterologist when he was 2-years-old. Sucrose intolerance is a lifelong disorder, not something he will grow out of. People with sucrose intolerance don’t have enough of the digestive enzyme necessary to break down sucrose (table sugar) into glucose and fructose. When Jarrod eats foods containing sucrose, he suffers symptoms such as explosive diarrhea, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Jarrod told me he swapped his lunch dessert for Suzy’s cupcake. Then at recess, he knew his tummy was in trouble, so he asked to use the bathroom. The playground teacher told him to wait, and that she didn’t really believe he needed “to go.” I know many kids try to fool around inside the school when they should be outside for recess. But given Jarrod’s condition, I am asking all teachers to let him go whenever he needs to, no questions asked.
I have reminded Jarrod that he can’t eat cupcakes, but it’s tough for any child to refuse treats. For Jarrod, it’s an absolute necessity. As he grows up with CSID and learns to be responsible for what he eats, we must help him out. I’ll do my part at home by packing him a lunch that I know is problem-free. I’m asking you and his other teachers to please keep an eye on what happens during lunch at school. I will provide you and the staff with a “safe foods list” for reference.
I sincerely hope this helps teachers and staff at the school understand that Jarrod has a medical condition that requires he follows a careful diet every day. I also hope you will shut down the name calling and bullying as you would for any other situation. Finally, I look forward to working together to help Jarrod manage his disease when he’s at school and am happy to address any questions that may come up.
Sherri M. A CSID Mom
*names changed for privacy
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