PANDAS and PANS: What Is It, and How Can Educators Help?

By Kathryn Welby, Ed.D

Merrimack College

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Kathryn Welby, Ed.D. from Merrimack College. Educators are talking about a mysterious neuroinflammatory disorder impacting children’s academic and social success when sudden cognitive and behavioral shifts in children are perplexing, impacting students' academic and social journey in ways we are just beginning to understand. Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) and the broader category of Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) present unique and challenging conditions often misunderstood in educational settings. These disorders are starting to get some attention as more and more students experience sudden and severe behavioral and cognitive changes triggered by infections. PANS and PANDAS impact a child's academic and social life, prompting interventions and school support. Educators can be essential in identifying and supporting students within school environments. This article focuses on defining PANDAS and PANS and how educators can help.

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