Children with Arthritis

Arthritis that occurs in children is classified as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). Juvenile means that the arthritis began before 16 years of age, idiopathic means that the cause is not known and arthritis means that one or more joints are inflamed – that is, they are swollen, painful, stiff and you may not be able to move them as far as normal.

There are different terms when referring to arthritis in children. These include Juvenile Arthritis, Juvenile Chronic Arthritis, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Still’s Disease, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. In general, there are five main types of JIA, these are systemic onset, oligoarthritis or pauciarticular, polyarticular, enthesitis related arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

The causes of arthritis in children are unknown. Research suggests that for some types of JIA, genetics may be involved. However, these conditions are not regarded as hereditary.

Bones and Joints School Website

Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA (funded by a Telethon grant) have created an online bones and joints school website that supports families, encourages students and provides resources for teachers to get onto the long-term path to health.

For famillies, the website details suggestions on how to intergrate knowledge about health into everyday life together with colouring-in exercises, activities around the home, discussion topics and links to fun websites.

Basic information is provided for students to assist with assignments and homework and links are provided for further study.

There are also revision sheets to assist students to learn relevant vocabulary and even a friendly character, Calcious the Bonosaurus, who helps the students learn.

The website was created by Literacy Teacher Ms Trina Glover and Medical Professional Melanie Galbraith.

Visit the website

Parent to Parent

Register your interest for the Parent to Parent night by emailing

Camp Freedom

Camp Freedom is a fun filled 6 day activity camp specifically designed for children aged between 7-17 years with Juvenile Arthritis, related rheumatologic and other musculoskeletal conditions.

Camp Freedom provides barrier free outdoor experiences which promote personal growth and foster independence. Campers are encouraged to try new experiences in order to gain self-confidence, learn cooperation and communication, and increase personal independence and self-management in a safe and fun environment. Campers get to participate in numerous activities throughout the week. Previous camps have included rock climbing, fishing, snorkelling, arts and crafts, canoeing, archery, disco, sports, games and much more!

Children are supervised by medical staff as well as Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA volunteers who remain onsite for the duration of the camp. All supervisors and health professionals attending the camp have Working With Children checks.

Camp Freedom takes place at the beginning of October each year.

For enquiries please contact Arthritis & Osteoporosis WA on (08) 9388 2199
or email


 camp freedom

To view previous Camp Freedom photos click here.


JIA Hydrotherapy

Aquatic exercise encourages range of motion, strength and fitness, with less stress on joints and is a beneficial form of exercise for children and teenagers with JIA. Classes are suitable for beginners and experienced participants; participants must be competent swimmers. Benefits include increased muscle strength, improved joint range of movement, improved co-ordination, balance and agility. Water exercise has been scientifically proven to enhance wellbeing.

The JIA Hydrotherapy Program is available to participants between the ages of 7 and 17 years, who are competent swimmers and able to enter and exit the pool unaided. This program is led by Physiotherapist, Kathryn Pickering, who has worked with adolescents with inflammatory arthritis over many years in both private and public hospital settings as Rheumatology Senior Physiotherapist at Royal Perth Hospital.