What About School?
What Can I Expect?
Children and teens with JSpA and their families should be aware that the disease may affect school life. Parents and teachers can help plan appropriate educational goals and activities to maintain as normal a routine as possible.
Teachers may be helpful in watching for the side effects of medication. The physician must watch for such problems and work to come up with medications that will not impair the child’s school performance.
Youth with JSpA may experience some difficulty in dealing with other peers. They may need help in learning how to handle being different and the stress of any special activities such as getting up to stretch during class, or taking medication during the school day. Special preparation for physical education may also be required. For example, a child with JSpA who has been sitting all day may need to do stretches before participating in physical education.
Finally, fatigue may be a factor, decreasing the child’s ability to do homework. Careful attention to a balanced schedule of school, exercise, and rest can help manage fatigue.
Special Accommodations in School
Attending school can be difficult at times when you are living with juvenile spondyloarthritis. However, accommodations can be made to make things a little easier. Youth who have JSpA may qualify for protections under the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is enforced by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
For those kids & teens that require even more specialized educational instruction, they are protected through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is enforced by the US Office of Special Education, State Education agencies, and other enforcement agencies.
For protections under either of these, written plans are required, which must be developed and implemented by public schools to allow for accommodations or provisions to be made to the child or teen’s education plan.