My 8 y/o son has seen my walking get worse as my MS has progressed. I know it's difficult for him to have his Mom be 'different.' I remember being 8 and have a pretty good idea of how that feels. Over the past 9 or 10 months I have tried to explain to him what MS is. I do it slowly in terms that I hope he can understand. I don't bring it up clear out of the blue. I wait for him to ask so I know he's ready to receive information about it.
Over the last month or so he's heard me talking to my husband, Andy, about how "so and so" just found out she/he has MS. He's starting to learn that I'm not the only one that has this disease. I think that this makes him feel a little better in some way.
Over the weekend he had to go to the pediatrician for a throat culture. She overheard me talking to a woman in the office about my trip to Chicago and she asked me about it. After our discussion she said that she asked because she has a lot of family members with MS. He didn't say anything at that moment but a couple of days later he mentioned it. I think that hearing his doctor say she has MS in her family really had an impact on him. Then he asked me if MS stood for anything. I said "Multiple Sclerosis" and then told him what those words meant. He then asked me who else I know that has it and I rattled off a list. He was shocked by some of the names I gave him. "But he doesn't have trouble walking!" I told him that it affects everyone differently.
I'm hoping that this knowledge lets him feel more comfortable about it. What I'm really hoping, of course, is that he can feel better by watching my walking progress while my disease 'goes away!'