PANS and PANDAS

We’re observing a number of children diagnosed with PANS and PANDAS.

 

PANS, or Paediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome, occurs when children suddenly develop intense neuropsychiatric symptoms like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tics, anxiety, and mood swings. Children with PANS might undergo sudden behavioural changes, including fears, obsessions, or compulsions. They may also display physical symptoms like sleep problems, irritability, and sensitivity to stimuli.

 

PANDAS, or Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders – associated with streptococcal infections – is a subset of PANS. It occurs specifically when neuropsychiatric symptoms are triggered or exacerbated by a streptococcal infection. Its symptoms are similar to PANS, PANDAS presents with sudden and severe neuropsychiatric symptoms like OCD, tics, anxiety, and mood swings. However, these symptoms are directly linked to streptococcal infections.

 

One issue families are facing is that, due to a lack of familiarity with the condition, they have been falsely linked to Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII), a rare form of child abuse where a parent exaggerates or causes illness symptoms in their child. PANS PANDAS UK has produced a document to address this confusion. Working with Cathleen Long, an independent social worker and co-author of the British Association of Social Work’s practice guidance on FII and Perplexing Presentations, PANS PANDAS UK has written a guide for social work, healthcare, and education professionals.

 

This guide explains why many PANS and PANDAS families are unfairly accused of harming their child. It explores what professionals can do differently to ensure all children are kept safe without unfairly targeting families with medical conditions. It gives recommendations on how professionals can collaborate and assess children with symptoms of these post-infectious disorders in a trauma-informed way.

 

The guidance can be found:

 

https://www.panspandasuk.org/safeguardingandfii

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Anna meets Maya and Radica in Covent Garden. 

‘Yesterday I got to meet someone whose Autism advocacy has inspired me and really helped me as an Advocate.
Dr Anna Kennedy OBE, is the founder of the Anna Kennedy Online charity which advocates for and supports Autistic persons in the UK through various programmes, workshops, training, events and so on.
Her Autism Hero Awards inspired me to start the Autism Superhero Awards in Trinidad and Tobago. I had met with her via Zoom when we launched the awards two years ago ,so it was surreal to meet her in person. Anna’s genuine interest in what we are doing in T&T and her advice is heartwarming.
Even though I have a vision and I know what I want in T&T, everyone needs a little inspiration and she is certainly my inspiration! Thank you, Anna, for making the time to meet us.
 
Thank you for your warmth and encouragement.
 
Dr Radica Magase and Maya Nanan.
Trinidad and Tobago

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