Advice for Teachers

Many people think arthritis only affects the older generation. But 1 in every 1,000 young people in the UK has arthritis. Arthritis in young people can be complex. Its severity varies from one person to another, and someone’s symptoms can alter greatly from day to day.
A caring and friendly school environment, and staff with positive, understanding and compassionate attitudes, will make a big difference for a young person with arthritis. The key is a genuine ethos of inclusion so that a young person with arthritis has an equal opportunity to participate fully in school life and reach their potential.
The ARUK have more information for teachers which can be found here.

"When I feel nauseous, I tell teachers that it's because of my medication"

Jeremy, twenty-four

Tips and Advice for Friends

Watch videos from other young people about advice for friends…

"Don't be afraid to tell your friends about your condition so that they can support you"

Abbie, Fifteen

Tips and Advice for Friends

Zoe, Abbie Jeremy and Astrid talk about what friends need to know

Some advice for friends and teachers
This film explains how friends and teachers can help support someone with arthritis

Here are some tips which young people have said are useful to share with friends:

Do

  • Help me catch up with homework and/or lectures using Skype or Facetime.
  • Let your parents know about my condition and speak to me or my parents about what you can do if there are any problems. Let your parents know about my condition if I am staying over.
  • Understand that my symptoms can be unpredictable, so it’s hard to know which days I can or cannot do things I need to take each day as it comes as some days I’ll be fine to do things and other times I won’t be able to do everything.
  • If I’m more tired in the mornings, plan activities in the afternoon when I’ll be able to take part.
  • Make alternative suggestions and be flexible when planning activities, but please also be considerate if I can’t attend
  • Ask me questions about my condition–this shows me that you care and helps me to explain things better through conversation.
  • Learn the signs of when I’m having a flare so that you know what to do or say.
  • Help me if you can see I’m limping or in pain, such as offer a seat when I’m having a flare –  Transport for London ‘Please offer me a seat’ information.
  • Encourage and support me to do things and notice my improvements – this will help me realise how far I have come and motivate me.
  • Arrange to meet somewhere convenient for me e.g. near my house o or where I can sit down if I need to.
  • Walk slowly! Sometimes friends don’t realise they’re speeding away at a pace that can be difficult for others.
  • Please visit me if I am in hospital – caring is probably the best thing that you can do, especially if it’s a surprise!

Don’ts

  • Don’t treat me any differently from before, but be a bit more considerate or sensitive if I’m having a bad day.
  • Remember I can still and want to do most things –  it just needs some planning.
  • Don’t stop being my friend. Your support is vital.
  • Don’t say “Isn’t arthritis only for old people?” or “You’re too young to have arthritis”. Rheumatic conditions can happen to anyone at any age. Adolescents can also suffer from these conditions and sometimes need to go to hospital

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