Talking to teachers
School may present some initial challenges for children with arthritis. They may miss school due to flares or have difficulty with certain tasks, such as writing, or sitting still on the floor. Outdoor activities, including play, PE and sports may be difficult at times, and fatigue can be an issue. Children may want to take part, but dislike being singled out as ‘different’ by others. The fluctuating and often invisible nature of JIA makes it hard for other people to understand.
You can help make sure school is a positive experience by educating your child’s teachers about JIA and the possible effects it will have on your child in the school environment. As their parent or caregiver, you are your child’s best advocate.
Here are some suggestions:
- ask for a meeting with school staff and share your child’s needs
- provide the school with educational resources about JIA
- discuss with teachers what they can expect from your child
- tell school staff the signs to look out for that your child is in pain or discomfort
- discuss alternative arrangements that would help increase your child’s attendance at school
- include your child in writing a letter to their teacher about their arthritis. You can find an example here [link to template]
- If there are ongoing difficulties within the school environment then talk to your Paediatric Rheumatology team who can support you with this
Arthritis costs the economy $12.2 billion a year
48% of those with arthritis are of working age
Women are more affected by arthritis than men
People of any age can develop arthritis, including young children