Massachusetts School Nurse Program on PANS/PANDAS

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Presentation Details


PANS/PANDAS Symptoms and Solutions in the School Setting: An Overview for the School Nurse

  • Presenter: Gabriella True, ASPIRE President

Addendum Topic: Massachusetts Legislative Update on PANS/PANDAS

  • Presenter: Sheilah Gauch, LICSW, M.Ed

See Presentation Goals & Description and Presenter Bios below.

Presentation Resources


Please contact Gabriella True to

  • Set up a School Nurse and/or Educator Overview in-services for your school or district
  • Access PANS PANDAS School In-Service Lecture Resources
    • Including links to previously recorded School Nurse and/or Educator Overview in-services

Presentation Slides


Toolkit and Handouts


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Contact Hours


Northeastern University School Health Academy (NEUSHA) is offering 2 contact hours after completing a program evaluation. Details on how to register for the contact hours will be provided at the end of the program.

Contact Hours Fee: $10.00

Northeastern University School of Nursing is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurse Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Presentation Goals & Description


Participants will be able to identify:

  • Key elements of the PANS diagnostic criteria
  • Key concepts regarding disease course, severity, common triggers, and disease mechanism
  • Diagnostic and treatment approach of PANS
  • Strategies for working with a student with PANS
  • The school nurse’s role as part of the student’s team


Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS) are neuroimmune disorders that not only impact the physical health of a student but also cause psychological, neurological, behavioral, and developmental difficulties that ultimately affect a student’s ability to attend school and learn. Symptomology and symptom severity vary from student to student and even from flare to flare in the same student. As PANS & PANDAS are complex disorders, they require a multi-system approach to treatment. The goal of treatment is to achieve full recovery to prevent the student’s condition from becoming a chronic, debilitating illness. Treatment includes medical protocols as well as therapeutic practices. School accommodations are an essential component of a thorough and appropriate treatment protocol. Most PANS & PANDAS students require individualized school accommodations to some degree, ranging from an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to a 504 plan, to an Individualized Health Care Plan (ICHP) to non-formalized supports built into classroom-friendly strategies.

The lecture “PANS/PANDAS – Symptoms and Solutions in the School Setting: An Overview for the School Nurse” will provide information on appropriately supporting students with PANS PANDAS. The lecture will cover an overview of the PANS diagnostic criteria, including information on the disease course, severity, triggers, and the basics of the disease mechanism. The diagnostic and treatment approach of PANS will be outlined. This information will provide the basis to understand how to approach working with a student with PANS and the school nurse’s role as part of the PANS student’s team. Overview of PANS diagnostic criteria.

About the Presenters


Gabriella True, ASPIRE President

Gabriella True is the president of the nonprofit ASPIRE, Alliance to Solve PANS & Immune-Related Encephalopathies, which she helped found in 2019. ASPIRE’s founding board came together to form ASPIRE to ensure there was a strong national nonprofit coordinating awareness and advocacy efforts at the local, state, and regional levels. She has been a leader in the PANS and autism communities since 2008. She was the president of the New England PANS/PANDAS Association (NEPANS) from 2015 to 2018. Gabriella led the Connecticut PANS PANDAS Partnership (CTPPP), a Connecticut-based support and awareness group. She also sat on the PANDAS/PANS Advisory Council of the Department of Health for Connecticut. In addition to her work in the PANS community, Gabriella is also The Autism Community in Action (TACA) Connecticut Chapter Coordinator and has volunteered for over ten years. Gabriella is a parent to two children with PANS, one of whom has autism. Gabriella has a Bachelor of Arts and has worked as a merchandise planner at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Sheilah Gauch, LICSW, M.Ed

Sheilah Gauch, LICSW, M.Ed, is licensed as both a principal and school adjustment counselor through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She earned a master’s in education in organizational management from the Educational Leadership Institute. In addition, she has a master’s in social work from Boston College and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). Sheilah has been working with students with significant mental health needs for over 20 years. Prior to coming to Dearborn Academy, she worked in the Arlington, Mass., community – first as a clinician at a residential treatment program and then as a social worker in the Arlington Public Schools Special Education Department. Prior to her time in Arlington, Sheilah worked as a school-based clinician and outpatient therapist with students from kindergarten through high school. Sheilah is also the chair of her local Special Education Advisory Council (SEPAC). She has two children who have required special education services. As both of her children were diagnosed with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS), Sheilah is also an advocate for PANS/PANDAS awareness, has helped bring legislation forward, and recently testified at the Massachusetts State House on the issue.

2 comments to Massachusetts School Nurse Program on PANS/PANDAS

  1. Brenda MacLeod
    October 23, 2023

    I would like to receive the contact hours at the end of the program on 11/14/23 at PNHS.

    • Gabriella True
      November 13, 2023

      At the end of the program, there will be information from NEUSHA on how to register to receive the contact hours from them.


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