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How are parents affected when a child is diagnosed with MS?

Families of children with multiple sclerosis (MS) are often isolated as they cope with this uncommon childhood disorder. They experience feelings of isolation, not knowing anyone else with a similar experience. Unfortunately, when the family tells others about the diagnosis, such as teachers and school administrators, coaches and other family members, they may face disbelief, such as “MS doesn't happen to kids.”

Parents often feel guilty about their child's MS. As with other childhood diseases, they often question what they may have done to cause their child's illness. It's important to know that while the exact cause of MS is still unknown, we know it is not caused by the parent's actions.
 
Parents may also be affected by a difficult or delayed diagnosis for their child. Healthcare providers don't always recognize the signs of MS in children. And sometimes, young people don't tell their parents about a symptom. All of this can cause a delay in seeing a doctor and getting a diagnosis. Parents often say they feel guilty that they didn't get their child into treatment sooner.

All parents have hopes and dreams for their child's future. Parents of chronically ill children are likely to have feelings of worry and sadness over what the future will bring. In children with MS, it is difficult to predict the course of the illness and the effects of MS on the child’s future. Planning for the future may be more complicated for a family affected by MS. Each family will be affected differently.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.