My oldest child was diagnosed with PANDAS at 6 and a half years old after sudden onset. At the height of her symptoms, my youngest was turning 2. I noticed immediate changes in the younger child, who was still learning about the world around her and mimicking behaviors. She went from previously being a very inquisitive, though mostly a compliant child, to one who got very angry very quickly. She got physical and started throwing toys and disregarding directions, especially those involving safety. These were all things that she personally witnessed her older sister did. Initially, due to her size and the age difference for her safety, we separated them as much as possible. This was really hard because as much as my PANDAS child appreciated the alone time, the younger one just did not understand why she couldn’t be with everyone at the same time. There was definitely a lot of tension and built-up resentment in the beginning months, and it took a long time for them to build a relationship together.
While treating our oldest for her outbursts, we found homeopathy was the best course that worked for her. So we worked with that same doctor to help our younger child to cope with her big feelings. Once they were both in a better place, they were slowly able to spend more time together unsupervised and rebuild their relationship. Covid lockdowns were a bit of a blessing in disguise, as neither of their schools were quick to provide work in the first few weeks. Having mom working from home and removing a separate toxic piece of their relationship (a family member providing childcare that didn’t understand PANDAS that was driving a wedge between the 2 kids), we were finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
They are now 9 and almost 5, and while they still argue as siblings will, their relationship with one another has actually never been better. They’ve had to rely on one another much more than they would have under normal circumstances and it has forced them to create a much better bond. As we work through flares that pop up, they get their alone time away from one another, and we address the causes of the flare, but it’s been much easier to get everyone back to center.
– PANS PANDAS Mom