PANS & Eating Restrictions
This section on Restrictive Eatings at School is part of a larger section on Restrictive Eating seen in PANS PANDAS. Make sure to read the entire section too.
Strategies for School
You can include accommodations and goals for restrictive eating in an IEP. Feeding therapy is a related service for an IEP as per case law and guidance from OSEP. Feeding therapy at school is essential if the family does not have a private feeding or cognitive-behavioral therapist. However, if one has a private therapist, communication between the doctor, therapists, the school, and family will be critical. Some families and private feeding therapists may feel that providing support rather than goals and working on goals outside of school may be more effective. The key is to be consistent in approach. Eating disorders and the therapy can be stressful enough, then the addition of other PANS symptoms can be overwhelming. It may be more appropriate to focus on socialization, fun and provide a break during lunch rather than implementing feeding therapy as well during that period. Also, it may be more effective to master strategies at home before generalizing to the school environment. Again, strong communication between home, school, and providers is key.
- Communicate with family, providers, and therapists about specific therapeutic strategies
- Be flexible about the time it takes to eat – May need longer breaks
- Do not draw attention when a student eats the same foods repeatedly
- Allow frequent snacks to ensure adequate calories
- Be flexible on healthy food school policies if a student is self-restricted to foods not on the list
- Do not pressure to eat more or take a bite
- Provide anytime pass or alternate activity if a student’s restrictive eating prevents them from participating in food-related activities
- Provide anytime pass to access the bathroom
Learn more about PANS PANDAS in the school setting. PANS PANDAS is a medical condition in which symptoms affect a student’s ability to attend school and learn.