Symptoms that affect performance at home and school require more intervention. For example, about 30% of children report fatigue that is so severe it disrupts their ability to function. Identifying the source of the fatigue, adjusting medications and teaching energyconservation techniques are ways to manage this symptom. Modafinil and amantadine are two drugs that have been used to combat fatigue in adults and children with positive results.
Cognitive impairment is another symptom that requires management. Not only can it harm academic performance in a young student, but it can also hinder selfconfidence and selfesteem. Educating school personnel, providing special accommodations (such as reduced work load due to fatigue) and teaching compensatory strategies to assist with memory loss are all strategies that have been effective in minimizing the effects of cognitive impairment in children.
The psychosocial impact of MS on a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing should not be underestimated. Early assessment leading to individualized intervention and support is vital in delaying disease progression and aiding in adjustment.
Studies suggest 2%-5% of all people with MS have a history of symptom onset before age 16. As doctors become more familiar with recognizing the symptoms of MS in children, it is speculated that the pediatric MS population will increase.