Association for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

ME Resources - A Guide for Parents

ME is most common in young adults from the early 20s to the mid-40s, however, the condition can also be developed by teenagers and even children. In the UK, about 25,000 children are estimated to suffer from this condition. Most children who have been diagnosed with ME are 13 to 15 years old but the illness can also be developed at a much younger age. Needless to say, ME diagnosis means a major change in the child’s life but it also means a major change for their parents.

Finding Proper Treatment

Because ME is so complex and difficult to understand, there are very few medical experts for the condition in the UK. As a result, finding proper treatment is one of the greatest challenges for parents of children with ME. To make sure that the child is getting the best treatment possible, parents are recommended to consult several experts, preferably those specialising in ME. But they are also recommended to get in contact with other parents who can provide an invaluable insight into the issue and offer tonnes of very helpful information as well as parent-to-parent advice.

Helping the Child to Cope and Adjust to Changes

Before being diagnosed with ME, most children enjoyed all sorts of sports and activities, playing with their friends, taking part in a range of after-school clubs, perhaps learning to play a musical instrument, etc. ME can make a child virtually unable to do anything, even go to school. For that reason it is of utmost importance to help the child cope with their condition and adjust to changes. Different children react very differently which is why it is a good idea to talk to other parents about their experience and above all, be patient and understanding.

Financial Concerns

Having a child with ME usually means that one of the parents has to stay at home to care for the child which can be a major financial burden for the family. Things have started to change and some families may be eligible for financial help or benefits. However, most parents complain that they didn’t receive any financial support. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to check with relevant institutions.

Good Outcome for Children

There is no cure for ME but most patients eventually get better although full recovery is very rare. But not in children who are more likely to recover completely. However, it is important to be aware that there are also children who suffer from relapsing ME symptoms for the rest of their lives. It is recommended to be optimistic and encourage the child to positive thinking but at the same time, not to encourage any false hopes.