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Interview with Dr. Brenda Banwell about MS in the pediatric population - part 4

Banwell & Vartanian MS AAN 2014 part 4

Interview by Dr. Timothy Vartanian, Director of the Judith Jaffe Multiple Sclerosis Center, with Brenda Banwell, Director and Chief or Neurology at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.

Quality of life of children with MS involves managing the child’s environment. Challenging is the very different perspectives of the patient and its environment, starting with the parents. Especially with very young children it is important to use the proper level of communication. Teenagers often do not want to get all the information, and one should accept that. Health privacy should also be addressed, as it is the child’s disease, and they (especially teenagers) are not always comfortable with their parent sharing a lot of information on their disease with others (e.g. neighbors, colleagues, relatives). It would be wise for parents to ask the teenager permission to share information with others, this will help to maintain a good parent-child relationship. We do try to have the child involve school – at least to allow education of the teachers. Finally, depression and anxiety can be part of the disease and it is important that the patients and their environment know this. We encourage early involvement of psychiatric support if any symptoms occur.

Dr. Banwell concludes by stressing that clinicians contact the multiple specialist patient organizations that have specialized information on how to deal with pediatric MS.