Transition workshop for adolescents with celiac disease

In total 12 teenagers and their parents participated in this event which was organized by our German project partner Medical center of the Ludwig-Maximilian’s University (KUM) in collaboration with the interdisciplinary, social-pediatric center (iSPZ). The main aim of this workshop was to allow the young people to do the next step in becoming independent of their parents and to take care of their celiac disease themselves. In three different sessions referring to gluten-free diet (Sandra Fleissner, iSPZ), medical facts (Dr. Andrea Sustmann, iSPZ) and psychological issues (Lisa Bohata, iSPZ), the teenagers were not only told about all aspects of celiac disease but also involved and asked for their own experiences, questions, fears and scoping strategies. In this interactive setting, the exchange between the adolescents themselves was also an important goal which worked out very well. In parallel, their parents were offered the same sessions to discuss their situation in dealing with teenagers with a chronic disease, which makes the anyhow difficult phase of puberty often even more challenging. In between the sessions, a gluten-free buffet was offered which was highly appreciated by the adolescents as they had the unusual opportunity to just enjoy all foods on the table without considering potential forbidden, gluten-containing ingredients or cross-contamination. Eating together also had an important social function and supported the exchange and discussions in between the teenagers, learning that their peers with celiac disease do also face the same problems in daily life, which was felt a relief for many of them. Finally, the last session was given by the German Celiac Disease Society (DZG, Ulla Hirschmann and Sofia Beisel) who presented not only their association and their own youth organization, but also presented important facts e.g. what to consider when applying for a  private insurance despite having celiac disease. Finally, Dr. Katharina Werkstetter (KUM) presented the Interreg CE project Focus IN CD and its most interesting outcomes as the e-learning and the preliminary version of the celiac passport.

The overall feedback of the participating patients and their parents was very positive and supports to continue with this workshop and to furthermore disseminate it to other centers and countries.