I’ve had a few questions and comments recently about PANDAS. I wanted to put together a collection of resources for PANDAS and PANS so that families, teachers, therapists, grandparents, and caregivers can easily find everything they need to know about this disorder. The links below are sites that describe more about PANDAS and PANS, including diagnostic information, signs and symptoms of PANDAS, information on clinical trials, and places to find more help. PANDAS/PANS can be a confusing diagnosis, happening overnight and with dramatic and substantial outcomes. Use the information below as a starting point when looking for information on PANDAS.
This information is not meant to be a diagnostic tool or means for intervention. It is essential that concerned individuals seek consult from the child’s pediatrician. This information is strictly a collection of information and a starting point when seeking out resources.
What is PANDAS?
PANDAS is an acronym standing for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections. The disorder appears suddenly following a strep infection like strep throat or scarlet fever and results in obsessive compulsive disorder, behaviors, tics, and similar symptoms.
PANS, or pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, refers to children with sudden onset of obsessive–compulsive and other neurobehavioral symptoms, including children with PITAND (pediatric infection-triggered autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder), children with PANDAS, and children with exacerbations that are due to environmental or metabolic triggers.
Symptoms of PANDAS and PANS
There is not a predictable sequence of symptoms, but a child with a diagnosis of PANDAS/PANS may present with the following symptoms:
- ADHD symptoms (hyperactivity, inattention, fidgety)
- Sensory defensiveness
- Attention difficulties
- Age-inappropriate behaviors
- Choreiform movements
- Separation anxiety (child is “clingy” and has difficulty separating from his/her caregivers; for example, the child may not want to be in a different room in the house from his or her parents)
- Restricted eating or changes to eating patterns
- Mood changes, such as irritability, sadness, emotional lability
- Trouble sleeping, night-time bed-wetting, day-time frequent urination or both
- Changes in motor skills (e.g. changes in handwriting)
- Personality changes
- Joint pains
- Changes in occupational performance and performance skill deficits
- Separation anxiety
- Oppositional behaviors
- Marked deterioration in handwriting
or math skills
- Urinary frequency/enuresis
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Sleep problems
- Slow processing speed
How to Help a child with PANDAS/PANS:
Find hands-on and creative ways to address attention and executive functioning skills.
Try these sensory-based tricks and tips to help with meltdowns.
Books about PANDAS and PANS:
Childhood Interrupted: The Complete Guide to PANDAS and PANS is a guide for parents of children who are experiencing PANDAS/PANS and are seeking information related to behaviors, treatment interventions, therapy, support, and interventions.
A Child’s Introduction to Understanding PANDAS is a book that parents can work through with their kids as they struggle to explain what exactly PANDAS is and how it’s affecting the child. This workbook is a resource for identifying a individualized strategy plan using the book’s journal sheets and strategy plans.
Intervention. OT Practice, 14-19.
PANDAS—Questions and Answers. (2016, Sept) Retrieved from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/pandas/index.shtml