Children often experience teasing when growing up and it can occur at any time, any place and can have serious affects both physically and emotionally. We often associate teasing with the way one dresses, the way one talks, nationality or who their friends are, but being labeled as having a “disease” can also be cause for taunting and to be shunned.
Think of it. Johnny walks into a pizza parlor and his friends, trying to be funny and smart, move away exclaiming “ Johnny has Celiac Disease” but chances are no one in the group knows that Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition, is not contagious and therefore of no danger to anyone. Johnny is devastated, smiles the best he can, turns and walks home, depressed with his self-esteem at rock bottom. This form of bullying can have negative consequences on his school work, his behavior and unless it is recognized and addressed, could carry over into his adult life with equally serious consequences.
But the very word ‘disease’ frightens most children (and some adults too) and it’s a problem the Celiac community needs to address. Why, when new gluten free products come out or Celiac is being reviewed by the media, why do they list the disastrous ‘could-happen’ physical problems if Celiac is left untreated, and why do they always say “Celiac Disease” instead of just “Celiac.”
We know that Cancer is a disease but no one says “Cancer Disease.” Diabetes is a disease but no one says “Diabetes Disease.” And when cancer or diabetes is mentioned, there is rarely if ever a list of dire consequences if left untreated as there are when Celiac Disease is mentioned.
More on this later. What do you think?