Your child's teachers, school nurse, cafeteria staff, and
physical education teachers can become helpful partners as your child copes
juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)) at school.
If you can, meet with your child's teachers and help them learn about
JIA. Work with them to develop creative ways of dealing with your child's
limitations and making the best of his or her abilities.
If your child has trouble walking distances, see
whether your child's classes can be scheduled to minimize walking and stair
climbing. It may also help to have two sets of books for classes. One set can
be left in the classrooms, and the other can be kept at home so your child
doesn't have to carry them to and from school.
If your child gets
stiff sitting still during class, encourage him or her to wiggle around and
stretch during the class. Help the teacher and other students understand that
this isn't just "fidgeting." Ask that your child be allowed to get up and walk
around a bit during class if possible (perhaps to collect homework or pass out
If your child has trouble writing neatly, he or she
might try using a larger pencil or pen. Wrapping foam around a pencil to make
it easier to grip may help. An older child may be able to use a tape recorder
to take notes. Ask for the teacher's acceptance and understanding of occasional
Ask your child's physical or occupational
therapist for other ideas. There are many ways to modify activities and school
work. The Arthritis Foundation website provides information for parents and teachers about managing JIA at school.
Be aware of your child's rights
under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other federal
and state laws regarding the education of children with disabilities. The
Arthritis Foundation is a source of information about these laws.