Addressing school issues. Your child's
teachers, school nurse, cafeteria staff, and physical education teachers can
become helpful partners as your child copes with JIA at school. 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. If your child gets stiff sitting still during class, perhaps the
teacher can encourage him or her to wiggle around and stretch during the class.
If your child has trouble writing neatly, he or she might try using a larger
pencil or pen. Ask your child's physical or occupational therapist for other
ideas. Be sure to learn about 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.
Inflammatory eye disease can develop as
a complication in children with JIA. Make sure your child has regular eye
examinations with an
ophthalmologist. The eye disease associated with JIA
often has no symptoms, although blurred vision may be an early symptom.
Children with oligoarticular JIA need the most frequent examinations, but children with RF-negative polyarticular, enthesitis-related, and psoriatic arthritis also have an increased risk of eye problems. Talk to your doctor about how often your child should have an eye exam.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a serious disease, but a better understanding of the forms of the disease, early treatment, and better medicines are all helping to improve the long-term outlook. The outlook
is even better when you and your child actively manage your child's health.
With greater understanding of the disease, you and your child will have less
fear, make better decisions, and have better results.
Take good physical care of yourself so that you can help your child
through the more difficult periods of illness. Consider becoming involved with
a support group of families who live with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Your
local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation can provide classes and support group