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Childhood MS

Childhood MS

Although rare, Multiple Sclerosis can develop in children and teenagers under the age of 18.


MS Diagnosis in children can be difficult, as some of the symptoms experienced can be attributed to other childhood conditions. Additionaly, a child may not always report symptoms, and may not be able to accurately explain how they are feeling, which can make diagnosis more challenging.

Symptoms of MS in children are similar to those experienced by adults, and like MS in adults, symptoms vary from person to person, therefore it is impossible to say precisely how a child will be affected by MS. Problems with movement and mobility are common in childhood MS, for example symptoms such as poor coordination and a tremor. Memory and cognition problems are also a common feature of childhood MS.

The tests used to diagnose MS in children are very similar to those used for adults. See the Tests for MS page for more information.


Although research into treatment for childhood MS is ongoing, in some cases DMDs, or disease modifying drugs can be used to treat Multiple Sclerosis in children. For more information please see our treatments & therapies page.

Living with childhood MS

An MS diagnosis in a child can be a distressing and confusing experience for the whole family. Attending school can often be challenging for children living with MS, due to symptoms such as fatigue, and learning can be more difficult if memory and cognition are affected. Discussing your child's condition with the school and your child's teachers is useful so they can understand how MS has an impact on your child's development and learning ability. There is support available to assist your child in attending school.

Many parents will wonder how to deal with the condition, and how to best support their child. Family discussions are important to ensure that all family members understand MS and how it affects people. For more information and support, families can speak to their child's doctor, or there are helplines available. Details are available on our useful contacts page.

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