Juvenile Arthritis

Welcome to the Arthritis Foundation Massachusetts JA Webpage!

We hope you find the following information useful.  Please help us make it useful! If you have a question about what is already here or a suggestion about a resource to add, please contact us at ma.info@arthrits.org.

What we do

The Massachusetts Office is here to help families of children teens with arthritis to:

Connect with other families for support and fun
Find specialized medical care
Learn about juvenile arthritis and how to manage it
Find resources to help them work with their children’s schools

The office offers educational, recreational, and networking programs for families of children with arthritis several times a year. Click here to see what is is coming up. Arthritis Foundation Walks also provide a great way to meet other families, entertain the kids, and get a little exercise while helping to raise funds for Massachusetts.

The Juvenile Arthritis Alliance is a council of the national Arthritis Foundation devoted to serving the special needs of children and youth with childhood rheumatic diseases and their families. The JA Alliance provides information and support through educational and social programs including a yearly national family conference.

We can put you in touch with families who have experience in dealing with the challenges that arthritis can bring. Call for a referral to a parent who can be matched to your specific questions.

The Massachusetts Office also provides support for families interested in attending the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference and for children attending Camp Dartmouth Hitchcock.

Finding a Specialist

Doctor and Child

We encourage parents to consult a pediatric rheumatologist when juvenile arthritis is diagnosed or suspected. Your child’s pediatrician is the first stop for a referral to a pediatric rheumatologist or a clinic. Board-certified pediatric rheumatologists practice at the following medical centers:


Children’s Hospital Boston

Children’s Hospital Boston suburban outpatient clinics (Lexington, Waltham, Peabody [must verify last one])

Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center

Massachusetts General Hospital


UMass Memorial Medical Center


Shriners Hospital for Children

Baystate Pediatric Rheumatology, Baystate Hospital/Baystate High Street Health Center Pediatrics

Cape Cod

Cape Cod Hospital

Online information and networking

A working knowledge of your child’s form of juvenile arthritis and its treatments can help you make informed decisions with the help of your child’s physicians. The Internet is an excellent source of information—but we urge you to use the Internet carefully when researching information. A few points to remember:

Consider the source and focus on quality and well documented web sites.
Assure yourself that posted information comes from trusted sources. We recommend starting at these sites.

Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthywebsurfing.html (MedlinePlus)

Juvenile Arthritis Facts and Resources

http://www.arthritis.org/disease-center.php?disease_id=38 (The Arthritis Foundation)

http://www.arthritis.org/ja-alliance-main.php (The Juvenile Arthritis Alliance, part of the Arthritis Foundation)

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/juvenilerheumatoidarthritis.html (National Institutes for Health Medline Plus)

http://cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/childhood.htm (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

http://www.carragroup.info/ (Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance)

Bulletin boards and chatlines

http://community.arthritis.org/Groups/Parents_and_Parenting (Arthritis Foundation/RA Connect)

http://community.arthritis.org/Groups/kids_get_arthritis_too (Arthritis Foundation/RA Connect)

Facebook groups with JA discussions:



If you are seeking the support of other parents or children on-line, remember that each child has a unique experience with the disease. Medications and treatments that are useful to one child may not be the correct course of treatment for your child, and writers’ observations may be based on personal experience rather than tested science.

Exercise and recreational activities

Isabella Physical activity is a key factor in controlling arthritis of all kinds, including juvenile arthritis. Many children can participate in regular physical education and recreational activities. For children with physical limitations, we recommend that you consult with your doctor or allied health professional to discuss activities that are recommended and ones to avoid. This information should be passed on to teachers and instructors. Ask about the qualifications and experience of instructors and coaches. Adaptive programs are available in many areas of the state. To name a few: swimming and aquatic exercise, horseback riding, and skiing.

Call us at 617-219-8218 or 800-766-9449 ext. 118 for suggestions on finding programs near you.


Many children with juvenile arthritis and other rheumatic diseases don’t know others who share these diagnoses and their effect on daily life. Created to fill this need, sleepover camps for children offer a one-week summer camp experience for children with rheumatic diseases. There are two such camps within driving distance of Massachusetts. Camp Dartmouth-Hitchcock http://chad.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/rheumatology/rheumatology_camp_dh.html and the Arthritis Foundation New Jersey Chapter’s Camp CHAT (Children Have Arthritis Too) http://www.arthritis.org/chapters/new-jersey/juvenile-arthritis.php. The Massachusetts Office offers financial aid for both camps.

Call us at 617-244-1800 or 800-766-8449, ext. 119 in the spring to ask for financial applications.

Camps which do not specialize in arthritis can also provide safe and nurturing experiences for children with arthritis. Discuss any limitations your child might have with camp personnel before enrolling your child.