When your child is diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), you face many challenges. However, you are not alone. A team of medical professionals will work with you to manage JIA. Of course, your doctor, specialist and other health professionals will be able to answer any further questions.
A few points to consider:
- JIA is not regarded as a hereditary disease though genetics may play a part in some forms of JIA. Having one child with JIA does not mean your other children will develop it.
- The outlook for children with JIA is usually very positive. It is impossible to predict the exact prognosis for your child but most children with JIA will no longer have active symptoms by the time they enter adulthood.
- The cause of JIA is unknown: you could not have prevented it.
- Everyone is different and what works for one child may not work for another. Over time, you will learn to understand how your child’s JIA affects him/her and recognise the non-verbal indicators of how he/she is feeling.
- The management of JIA is a team approach. Take guidance from all members of the team to make the best decisions for your child.
- Your child’s school needs to be a part of the team. Make sure that JIA appears on the school’s student medical record and that teachers and other caregivers are informed.
- The aim of any JIA treatment or management plan is to reduce the symptoms (such as stiffness, pain and inflammation); prevent joint deformity, enable your child to lead the most normal life possible and to slow or stop the progression of the illness.
- Medicines are a major part of the treatment of JIA and your child may need to take more than one type of medication.
- Many of the medicines used today not only reduce the symptoms but also slow the progress of the illness.
- All medicines have benefits as well as side-effects but without medicines, permanent joint damage and a poorer prognosis are more likely.
- Overall, your child should be encouraged to keep her/his life as normal as possible. This sense of being the same helps, increases their self-esteem and feelings of control over their illness.
Camp Freedom is a fun filled five day activity camp specifically designed for children aged between 7-17 years with Juvenile Arthritis, related rheumatologic and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Camp Freedom provides barrier-free outdoor experiences which promote personal growth and foster independence. Campers are encouraged to try new experiences in order to gain self-confidence, learn cooperation and communication, and increase personal independence and self-management in a safe and fun environment. Campers have the opportunity to participate in numerous activities throughout the week. Previous camps have included rock climbing, fishing, snorkelling, arts and crafts, canoeing, archery, disco, sports, games and much more!
Children are supervised by medical staff as well as Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA volunteers who remain onsite for the duration of the camp. All supervisors and health professionals attending the camp have Working with Children checks. Please contact Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA on (08) 9388 2199 to find out more information.