There are a number of students with Moreton School and approximately 12,000 children and young people across the UK living with JIA. JIA is a long term condition affecting children at a time when life should be an adventure!
JIA is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune or defence system attacks the body’s own tissues, which can damage the joints and cause fatigue, pain and other symptoms.
First signs of JIA:
- First signs can include sore wrists, limping or swollen fingers or knees.
- Symptoms can develop suddenly or slowly over time
- Stiffness in the affected joints – this can affect co-ordination in young people.
- Some children will alter their movements to avoid pain
- In some cases children can develop a high temperature
What does a Bad Day look like?
An increase in symptoms is often called a “Flare up” which brings with it increased joint pain and swelling, and general tiredness.
A Flare up can happen following an infection, or after a particularly stressful situation.
Most young people with JIA will not need to take medication whilst at school. For some painkillers like ibuprofen may be the only medication needed. These can reduce fever, pain and inflammation.
Steroids are often used as an injection into the joint to reduce inflammation quickly.
Disease modifying drugs (DMARD’s) such as Methotrexate works by suppressing the disease process, and is only a once a week medication.
Physiotherapy helps with joint flexibility and muscle tone, and an occupational therapist may be required to assess the needs of the child with regard to writing, sitting comfortably or any support in class.
What we can do at Moreton
Once diagnosed, we can create a detailed personal care plan for our students, to include daily care and any specialist arrangements.
Close links can be maintained between home and the school with regards to medical appointments and the effects on student attendance.
Pupils will be encouraged to participate fully in the Moreton experience to alleviate any feelings of being different or singled out.
The option to work on laptops can be made available during Flare up days when mobility and pain are particularly bad, and alterations can be made to allow additional time to move between classes, or to move regularly within the classroom to avoid joint stiffness.
School lockers are also available to prevent the student needing to carry heavy bags or books.
Help and advice
The following sites are a great source of further support or information for families and young people.
British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology is a specialist forum for Adolescent Rheumatology professionals – BSPAR
The CCAA offer practical help and support and various educational and recreational opportunities for children with JIA.
Aims to equip families of kids with arthritis with research based information about how to live with arthritis
Supporting children, young people and families affected by juvenile arthritis within the West Midlands
Supporting young people with arthritis.
Provides information on paediatric, rheumatic diseases.
Support and advice to parents of children with a serious disability.
A guide for people aged 13 – 20 with arthritis
Set up to help children with bone conditions
A group for young people with JIA in County Durham, set up by Jordy who has JIA. For up to date information on meetings, click on the link above and join their group.