How Parents of Students with PANDAS or PANS Perceive the Educational Process

Patricia Rice Doran, Ed.D.
Towson University

Elizabeth O’Hanlon, Ph.D.
Howard Community College

Abstract

This qualitative study examined parent perceptions of the educational process for their children who had been diagnosed with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) or Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). In recent years, PANDAS and PANS, conditions in which an overactive immune response causes neurologic and psychiatric complications, have received increasing research and public attention. While the impact of these conditions on school performance has not been systematically studied, it is hypothesized to be substantial, given the intense and disruptive nature of symptoms. This study analyzed data from interviews of twelve parents of children with PANDAS or PANS in order to describe their perceptions of the educational process. Results indicate that parents saw substantial overlap between home and school functioning, that PANDAS and PANS were extremely stressful to the nuclear family, and that parents reported declines in student attendance, academic performance, and behavioral functioning.

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