Back-to-school stress and MS

Back to school can be a stressful time for parents and students alike. And MS can add extra challenges to the mix. It's important to know you're not alone, and that there are things you can do to make it easier.

For young people with MS, back-to-school stress is about more than just shopping for supplies and clothes, dealing with homework, and meeting new people. They may also have physical and cognitive issues that can affect their school experience. Physical issues may include coordination, bowel and bladder control, and fatigue. Cognitive problems, such as difficulty thinking, remembering, or concentrating, can also be an issue. Both physical and cognitive issues can add extra challenges when re-adjusting to schoolwork.

Young people with MS may also be concerned about how they will fit in socially and explaining their condition to peers so they will understand. Does this sound familiar? If so, see "Caitlin's story: Tips for kids and teens" for suggestions on how to make it easier.

Kids aren't the only ones with back-to-school stress. For parents, this time of year means buying school supplies, getting the family organized for the morning rush, ferrying kids to school and activities, helping them keep up with their homework, and providing emotional support. And even though you may be happy to get a bit of peace and quiet during the day or relieved to be back to the usual school-time routines, you may also miss your kids.

For parents with MS, MS symptoms of fatigue, cognitive issues, coordination problems, and bowel or bladder issues can make an already stressful time even harder. If this sounds like you, see "Marie's story: Tips for parents with MS" for a few tricks to help you through. If, like some adults, you are making your own way back to school, see "Randy's story: Tips for adult students."

Whether you're a parent or young person with MS, don't worry if the thought of going back to school is giving you butterflies! The tips in this health feature are designed to help make your back-to-school journey easier.

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