How you can help: Go through your school’s administration to see if homework demands can be lessened. If your child is in public school, this can be a part of her 504 plan.

“The school could make accommodations where, for example, the child does five math problems per night instead of 30,” says Jones.

If the administration is unreceptive to your requests or if your child is having trouble with one particular class, she might have more luck going to the individual teacher, says Gini Falconer, a San Francisco mother whose daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when she was 18 months old.

“Some teachers are more flexible than others and they make their own agreement with the student if there is mutual respect and the child is doing well,” she says.

Sarah’s teachers required that she complete all homework assignments, but allowed her to have extra time to complete them if she notified the teacher beforehand.

If you can’t get homework reduced, help your child prioritize homework assignments. Make sure she studies for tests and completes papers, but if her homework seems more like busywork, let it slide, if necessary. “Sarah has accepted this,” says Gini. “If things start to back up toward the end of the trimester, she will make her own decision on whether it is worth the effort to do every assignment.”

Taking Tests

Tests can be intense and involve a lot of writing. If your child’s hands are affected, it may be difficult for him to write all of the answers – even if he knows them well – in the time allotted. Fatigue and pain can make it difficult to concentrate.

What you can do: Ask your child’s teacher or the school administration (in a 504 plan) if tests can be taken on a computer or if the child can be given extra time to complete the test. Make sure your child gets to bed early the night before a big test and takes his medications. But be careful to avoid starting a new medication right before a big test, says Gini. Shortly before her SATs, Sarah, now a high school senior, started to become forgetful, disorganized and had trouble functioning in class, says Gini. They later learned that her forgetfulness had been a side effect of methotrexate.

Carrying Books

For each class your child takes, there’s probably at least one, usually heavy, textbook. Hauling those books to and from school every day can be a pain — literally.

What you can do: Request more books. As part of her son Ian’s 504 plan, Susan Mead of Lockport, Ill., was able to get an extra set of set of books for him to keep at home, so the 13-year-old wouldn’t have to lug a heavy backpack on the school bus. If getting to the locker to retrieve books or carrying them from class to class presents a problem, ask your child’s teachers about keeping a textbook in the classroom for him.