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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:

Childhood Arthritis Backpack Program

Arthritis 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 schoolchildren who have 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. The Arthritis Society then delivers backpacks to these families. 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 teddy bear 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.

MediKidz Online

This comic book aims to teach children about juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and living with the disease.

Family Days

Family Days give opportunities for families to connect with other families living with childhood arthritis, participate in fun activities, and hear from health care professionals.

Please view our events page to register for our next Family Day in your province.

Visit Events

Childhood Arthritis Camp – 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  

Applications may be submitted via:

  • E-mail: Amina Gazi - [email protected]
  • Mail: Education, Programs and Services - The Arthritis Society, 393 University Ave, Suite 1700, Toronto On, M5G 1E6

Arthritis Camps

For thousands of Canadian children, summer camp is a quintessential rite of passage. 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. The Arthritis Society provides camps to children living with arthritis in BC, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.

Camping together with a common condition means that children feel understood and accepted. It allows them to be defined not by their disease, but as kids. In addition to barrier-free, traditional camp activities, camp provides important tools and resources related to positive self-esteem and effective disease management, facilitated by experienced counselors. And on-site medical staff ensures that campers’ health needs are met.

Other Resources

  • The Juvenile Arthritis Resource Centre 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.
  • You, Your Child & Arthritis

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.