Once you learn you have multiple sclerosis (MS), it may take you some time to adjust to your symptoms and to know what to expect from your disease. The same goes for your children. They might be even less sure of what to expect than you are. They might also feel scared, sad, angry, or helpless about your diagnosis.
The most important thing to do is to talk to your children about how MS affects you and see what they’re thinking. Open communication can help you ease their fears, answer their questions, and let them know how you feel.
Most of the nerves in your body are covered with a protective layer called myelin. It’s a lot like the insulation on electric wires. It helps messages from your brain move quickly and smoothly through your body, like electricity flows from a power source.
Demyelinating disorders damage myelin. When this happens, scar tissue forms in its place. Brain signals can’t move across scar tissue as quickly, so your nerves don’t work as well as they should. As a result, you might have trouble talking,...
Before you sit down with your child, think about her age, maturity level, and how much you think she can understand about your disease. If you have more than one child, it may be helpful to talk to them individually so you can make the discussion right for each of them.
Don’t be surprised if your kids already know that something is up before you talk about it with them. Children of all ages are good at knowing when things are different. But you may want to ask them how they would like to learn more about MS. They can start by reading a book alone or with you, watching a video, or going with you to a doctor's visit.
Children's Reactions to Multiple Sclerosis
Sometimes normal emotions like fear, sadness, or guilt may lead to changes in a child’s behavior. Here are some signs to watch for in your child: