Moving on: Higher education

At the end of high school, some students know exactly what they want to do with their lives, while others don’t. There are also those who know what they want to do, but just don’t know where to begin. There are many choices for you to consider. Start early! High school is a good time for you to be thinking ahead. The sooner you start looking into your options, the more time you have to decide what you are interested in.

Tips for further education

Preparing for post-secondary education:

• Explore your options. Focus on the universities, TAFE colleges, or programs that best match your interests and needs.

• Access supports. In university, you will have a wide range of courses to choose from. You may have to meet certain requirements to take them. Speak with your school guidance counsellor to find out any requirements and how to apply. Some universities also hold information sessions at local high schools and can answer your questions at that time.

• If necessary, find out about each university’s policy regarding special consideration for admission for students with disabilities. This would include health conditions like JIA.

Transitioning from high school to post-secondary education

Adapting to a new environment

In most post-secondary schools, class sizes may either be larger or smaller than what you were used to in high school. Contact with your instructors may also be different. You may be able to communicate with instructors through email, scheduled appointments or by telephone. Policies and procedures are also different so take some time to learn them.

Changing expectations

When you transition from high school to a post-secondary school, you will be expected to be more independent. Although help will be available, completing homework or studying for tests will be left up to you.

Registering with the office for students with disabilities

Students with health conditions are entitled by Australian law to have reasonable changes made to classroom settings, test/exam formats, as well as having access to other learning aids that will make learning easier. These are called accommodations. They are set up through the office for students with disabilities on your campus.

Register with the office for students with disabilities on your campus as early as possible. Setting up accommodations can take time.

Register even if your condition is not bothering you right now. They will be able to help if you need a note taker in the future, or if you have to miss classes or exams because of illness. It is a good idea to notify your school about your health condition as soon as possible. If the school is aware of your condition ahead of time, you may find that they are more supportive if you need to make up an exam or assignment.

You will require documentation from your doctor to register. Check with your school to find out what information you will need.

Remember that all of your medical and accommodation information will be kept strictly confidential.

Options for accommodations and support

Accommodations will be set up according to your individual needs. Your contact person at the office for students with disabilities may speak with you about:

• course load: What is manageable based on your energy level

• classroom accommodations: Note taking, text books

• test/exam accommodations such as identifying a need for extra time, breaks, special furniture to make it easier for you to sit for prolonged periods, special voice-activated computers and writing aids

• planning ahead to deal with flare-ups: This may include flexibility in assignment or exam schedules during disease flares

• funding options for disability-related educational costs.


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.