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Support for Childhood Arthritis

Support for Childhood Arthritis

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It is estimated that as many as 24,000 Canadian children aged 18 and under live with a form of arthritis. The Arthritis Society offers numerous resources to help families live better with childhood arthritis. In this section you will find information on:

Taking Charge of Your JIA

Screenshot of one of the pageThis online interactive resource helps youth 12-17 learn about juvenile idiopathic arthritis and steps they can take to help manage their condition. Through quizzes, activities and reflection questions, youth will learn about different therapies available, exercise, nutrition, sleep, building a positive mindset, talking to your doctor, talking to your teachers, and dealing with bullying.

Taking Charge of Your JIA

You, Your Child and Arthritis

Photography of kids running - first page of the PDF "You, Your Child and Arthritis"You, Your Child and Arthritis [PDF 695kB] is a valuable resource for families of children with juvenile arthritis (JA). This guide provides the information a parent/guardian needs to understand their child’s disease and to feel comfortable caring for them. It also covers the different types of juvenile arthritis, current treatments and other important elements of treatment, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy. In addition, there are important sections for parents learning to cope with a child who has a chronic disease.

Childhood Arthritis Backpack Program (ages 4-10)

backpackArthritis can rob young people of their childhood. The Arthritis Society’s Childhood Arthritis Backpack Program hands back childhood and helps kids be kids. Launched in March 2013, the program delivers a backpack filled with information and tools to families of children ages 4-10 who have been newly diagnosed with arthritis, helping them lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Each year, families of children diagnosed with arthritis receive backpack vouchers from paediatric rheumatologists and rheumatology clinics across Canada.  If your child has been newly diagnosed, please speak to your pediatric rheumatologist to receive a voucher.  Once a family submits their voucher to the The Arthritis Society, we then deliver a backpack to the newly diagnosed child. The backpack was selected based on the recommended guidelines of the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation, and has been reviewed by a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist. Each backpack has broad straps, padding, and waist support to minimize strain on the vulnerable joints of young people with arthritis.

Each backpack includes:

  • an instructional video for parents and caregivers about how to fit, pack, and safely wear the backpack
  • an awareness video for teachers
  • a plush animal with a removable warming and cooling pack to ease sore joints
  • a family informational resource about helping young people live well with arthritis
  • pencil grips and zipper pulls
  • an award-winning children’s book that explains chronic pain
  • an illustrated booklet that shares the experiences of other children living with arthritis

The Childhood Arthritis Backpack Program helps newly diagnosed children and their families learn to manage arthritis.  If you have questions about the program, please email


Summer Camps for Children with Arthritis

For thousands of Canadian children, summer camp is an opportunity to make friends, have fun outdoors, and develop wonderful memories. Unfortunately, children with arthritis are often unable to attend more traditional camps, which do not have the facilities, specialized health care staff, or the modified activities to accommodate their abilities.  Each summer, the Arthritis Society runs camps across the country for children living with arthritis.  

Camping together with a common condition means that children feel understood and accepted. It allows them to be defined not by their disease, but by who they are. In addition to barrier-free, traditional camp activities, Arthritis Society camps provide important tools and resources related to positive self-esteem and effective disease management, facilitated by experienced counselors. On-site medical staff ensure that campers’ health needs are met. 

Check out Camps

Childhood Arthritis Camps – Travel Grant

The Arthritis Society offers grants of up to $500.00 to help families participate and travel to camp. This grant is intended to help families who may not otherwise have the means to travel to the event and provide them with opportunities to connect with other families living with childhood arthritis.

Download application form [299 kB]  

Applications may be submitted via:

  • E-mail: Mickaela Collins -
  • Mail: Mickaela Collins, Arthritis Society, 204-400 York Street, London, ON N6B 3N2

Other Resources

  • The Juvenile Arthritis Learning Hub is mainly for the parents of children and teenagers who have childhood arthritis. The material in this site has been written in collaboration with members of the arthritis team at The Hospital for Sick Children and various other health care organizations.
  • The Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program provides teens with information on different types of JIA, managing symptoms, and coping with JIA management now and in the future

Kids get arthritis too!

Told almost entirely through the voices of children and teens living with arthritis, this video provides teachers and administrators with a better understanding of how arthritis affects students. The video offers suggestions for how to make school a more welcoming place for students with childhood arthritis.