Caitlin’s story

Caitlin's story for the Paedriatirc Rheumatology Network. Photo courtesy of Kelly Brito via Unsplash.

My name is Caitlin Holder and I suffer from Systemic Arthritis which impacts my everyday life.

School was difficult to manage at times, as it took time to learn what I was capable of.

With management and support from the school therapy team, teachers and my head teacher we created a plan which allowed me to complete school with equal opportunity to my peers.

Feeling as though you can manage school is essential as it has a huge impact on the rest of your life.

The main issue I had was with handwriting my notes; it caused immense pain that often took several hours to recover from. My school was really helpful and gave me permission to use my laptop, and teachers gave me work on a USB. This meant I could prepare for upcoming classes and catch up on ones I missed in my own time.

Using the laptop meant less strain on my hands and I was able to rest more especially as my medications make me really tired. In class I was allowed to get up from the desk and go for a short walk around the classroom. I also used ice packs to cope with stiffness and pain.

During exams, I was given extra time to complete the paper, used ice packs and took rest breaks to better control my energy throughout the day and to reduce my pain.

Feeling as though you can manage school is essential as it has a huge impact on the rest of your life. I’m now at university and much better prepared for what lies ahead.

Caitlin Holder, November 2017