Helping Kids Cope With Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA)

Help your child deal with the challenges that come with an SJIA diagnosis.

It's natural for parents to want to protect their children—even more so when they have a chronic illness. But it's important for kids with SJIA to maintain regular schedules and routines as their health allows. Here are some important ways you can help your child build strength, independence, and self-reliance:

Provide choices

It's important that children with SJIA feel they have some control over what happens to them. Some things in your child's life aren't negotiable, such as taking medications, going to school, and eating nutritious meals. But others may be more flexible. Give your child options whenever you can. For instance, offer a variety of healthy foods to choose from or let your child decide what to do and where to go on a family outing. Allowing your child to take part in some decisions related to his or her care, such as which medicine to take first or medication delivery method, is another way to encourage independence and a sense of control.

Keep the lines of communication open

Reassure your child that having SJIA is no one's fault. Explain SJIA in age-appropriate terms and answer all questions honestly. Understanding SJIA and how it affects the body can make the disease less scary. Good communication works both ways, when your child talks, really listen and respond to his or her concerns.

Support activities with other kids

Most children thrive when given the chance to pursue friendships and activities with their peers. Meeting other kids living with SJIA can be especially helpful. The Arthritis Foundation offers various opportunities for connecting with families who know what it's like to live with juvenile arthritis, including SJIA. For kids between ages six and 16, a week at an Arthritis Foundation juvenile arthritis (JA) summer camp can be a life-changing experience. It's often the first time they’ve met children who live with the same challenges and limitations they do, and the friendships are often instantaneous and long-lasting. To learn more about JA camps, contact your nearest Arthritis Foundation office.

Encourage physical activity

Although medication is the mainstay of treatment for kids with SJIA, exercise and physical therapy play important roles in managing joint symptoms, too. When your child’s systemic symptoms are under control, participating in team sports and other physical activities not only helps to keep joints strong and flexible, it also gives kids self-confidence, helps them develop social skills and can lead to lasting friendships. Your child's doctor or physical therapist can provide guidance on appropriate types of sports, physical activities and range-of-motion, and therapeutic exercises.

Stay in the Know. Live in the Yes.

Join the Live Yes! Arthritis Network. Tell us a little about yourself and you will receive emails packed with the latest information and resources to live your best life and connect with others.

I Want to Contribute
I Need Help
  • Donate


    Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life.

  • Volunteer


    Join us and become a Champion of Yes. There are many volunteer opportunities available.

  • Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Take part to be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis.

  • Partner


    Proud Partners of the Arthritis Foundation make an annual commitment to directly support the Foundation’s mission.


Ways to Give

Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life. Whether it is supporting cutting-edge research, 24/7 access to one-on-one support, resources and tools for daily living, and more, your gift will be life-changing.

Make a Donation

Help millions of people live with less pain and fund groundbreaking research to discover a cure for this devastating disease. Please, make your urgently-needed donation to the Arthritis Foundation now!

Become a Member

Become an Arthritis Foundation member today for just $20. You'll receive a year's worth of Arthritis Today magazine, access to helpful tools, resources, and more.

Make a Honor or Memorial Gift

Honor a loved one with a meaningful donation to the Arthritis Foundation. We'll send a handwritten card to the honoree or their family notifying them of your thoughtful gift.

Gift Planning

I want information on ways to remember the AF in my will, trust or other financial planning vehicles.


Volunteer Opportunities

The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community. We can only achieve these goals with your help. Strong, outspoken and engaged volunteers will help us conquer arthritis. By getting involved, you become a leader in our organization and help make a difference in the lives of millions. Join us and become a Champion of Yes.

More About Volunteering


Give Just 10 Minutes.

Tell us what matters most to you. Change the future of arthritis.

By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

Your shared experiences will help:

- Lead to more effective treatments and outcomes
- Develop programs to meet the needs of you and your community
- Shape a powerful agenda that fights for you

Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 

How are you changing the future?

By sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

Get Started


Meet Our Partners

As a partner, you will help the Arthritis Foundation provide life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections for people with arthritis, the nations leading cause of disability. Join us today and help lead the way as a Champion of Yes.


Our Trailblazers are committed partners ready to lead the way, take action and fight for everyday victories. They contribute $2,000,000 to $2,749,000


Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.


Our Pioneers are always ready to explore and find new weapons in the fight against arthritis. They contribute $1,000,000 to $1,499,999.


Our Pacesetters ensure that we can chart the course for a cure for those who live with arthritis. They contribute $500,000 to $999,000.


Our Signature partners make their mark by helping us identify new and meaningful resources for people with arthritis. They contribute $250,000 to $499,999.


Our Supporting partners are active champions who provide encouragement and assistance to the arthritis community. They contribute $100,000 to $249,999.