For Kids With Special Needs, Summer Camp Isn't Out of Reach

Thanks to Camp Celiac in North Scituate, R.I., campers who suffer from the genetic, digestive disorder celiac disease will never have to find out because they are served gluten free ice cream sundaes and poposicles.

"This camp is just a remarkable experience for the kids," said Tanis Collard, the president of the Celiac Support Group for Children, Inc., which runs the camp. "If they go to camp with non-celiac kids they would probably have to eat at a separate table so they didn't have to risk food contamination."

Celiac disease, which affects nearly one percent of the U.S. population, has been proven by recent studies to be five times more prevalent today than it was 50 years ago. Individuals afflicted with celiac disease are unable to eat foods that contain gluten, a protein often found in wheat, barley and other grains without damaging the lining of the small intestine, resulting in the inability to absorb key vitamins and nutrients vital to a healthy body.

Camp tuition is $350 for each camper and includes all of the gluten-free food served during the week-long session. This year Collard expects about 169 campers ages 7 to 16 and staff to attend the August session.

"At Camp Celiac, campers don't feel different and for five days they feel like a normal kid who doesn't have to think about everything they eat," said Collard

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