Simulating common symptoms of MS can be a fun way for children to experience what having MS might feel like. It keeps the kids engaged in learning and helps develop a sense of empathy and compassion.
It’s very helpful to explain while conducting these activities that a person with MS can’t just take these props off whenever they want to. A person with MS has no control over when the symptoms appear, how severe they are, or how long they last.
SIMULATIONS for COMMON MS SYMPTOMS:
Some raw elbow macaroni in the shoes does the trick to simulate this common symptom of MS. Just put some of the macaroni in the toe area of both shoes and have your child walk around a bit. His/Her toes will begin to tingle in no time!
By securing some regular ankle weights to your child’s ankles and forearms, you can easily simulate the common MS symptom of heavy limbs and/or abnormal fatigue.
This is one of the most effective simulations. Have your child put on a pair of cotton or wool gloves and then ask him/her to turn to a specific page in a magazine, book, or newspaper. It quickly becomes a frustrating request for the child because he/she can’t feel the pages – just like someone with MS who experiences the symptom of numb fingertips.
Another very effective simulation is to have your child wear a pair of reading glasses (get a cheap pair with increased strength from the Dollar Store). Almost immediately s/he will want to remove them and if you insist they keep them on, they will eventually start getting a headache, feeling dizzy, or even nauseous. Remember to emphasize that a person with MS doesn’t get to just take off a pair of glasses when struggling with the symptom of blurry vision.
Do all of these simulated symptoms at once and the participant really starts to get the idea of how challenging and uncomfortable (to say the least) MS can be!