Arthritis and special education
Do students with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (o-JIA) need special education?
Maybe they do! Maybe they need accommodations under the ADA!
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (o-JIA) is an autoimmune condition that causes painful inflammation in the joints of young people. Yes, arthritis is not limited to the elderly (e.g., your editor). According to a literature review by Thierry et al. (2014), the incidence of o-JIA varied widely across 33 studies, ranging between 1.6 and 23 cases per 100,000 children, with girls more likely to be affected than boys. Said another way, 100s of thousands of children and youths are affected.
The severity of o-JIA differs from child to child. The Mayo Clinic described the symptoms in this way:
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause persistent joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Some children may experience symptoms for only a few months, while others have symptoms for many years.
Some types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause serious complications, such as growth problems, joint damage and eye inflammation. Treatment focuses on controlling pain and inflammation, improving function, and preventing damage.
As one can infer, there are different types of o-JIA. Some of the following resources will help interested readers to learn about them.
It is possible that symptoms can be so severe that they are disabling, resulting in a learner being identified as eligible for an IEP as a child with "Other Health Impairment." Alternatively, schools and parents may create a 504 plan a child.
Some Links about o-JIA
Readers might guess, the Arthritis Foundation has relevant content. Good guess! The AF provides lots of content and resources. Start with the main entry about Juvenile Arthritis. See also the full page on "Developing a 504 Plan for Your Child with JA," "504 Plan FAQs," and page listing relevant "Educational Rights Resources." The AF also provided a glossary that includes many terms related to special education. There is lots more at AF, so poke around the site.
Check out the Mayo Clinic's Web resources about o-JIA.
Nemours Children's Health site, called "KidsHealth" and sponsored by an insurance company, provided a fact sheet for schools about JIA.
The Children's Hospital of San Antonio provided a page about JIA that appears to have the potential to be of help to children and youth who want to know more about the disease.
WebMD, which may be familiar to some readers, has an older (i.e., 2009) page about JIA that includes brief notes about 504 Plans and IEPs.
Boynes-Shuck (2013) explained what she thinks teachers need to know.
Gilbert (2017) discussed what schools and teachers can do when students have JIA.
Lightner (2020) discussed IEPs and 504 Plans.
Boynes-Shuck, A. (2013, 13 March). Education and JA: Get the facts on 504 Plans and juvenile arthritis – by Ashley Boynes-Shuck. Arthritis Ashley: Living a Positive Life While Chronically Ill. https://arthritisashley.com/2013/03/22/education-and-ja-get-the-facts-on-504-plans-and-juvenile-arthritis-by-ashley-boynes-shuck/
Gilbert, A. (2017, 19 June). What teachers need to know about juvenile idiopathic arthritis. TeacherWire. https://www.teachwire.net/news/what-teachers-need-to-know-about-juvenile-ideopathic-arthritis
Lightner, L. (2020, 2 October). Juvenile arthritis: 504 Plans and IEP accommodation ideas. A Day in Our Shoes. https://adayinourshoes.com/juvenile-arthritis-504-iep
Thierry, S., Fautrel, B., Lemelle, I., & Guillemin, F. (2014). Prevalence and incidence of juvenile idiopathic arthritis: A systematic review. Joint Bone Spine, 81(2), 112-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbspin.2013.09.003