PANS Impacts Multiple Areas of Learning

PANS PANDAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms occurring concurrently.

PANS PANDAS symptoms impact multiple areas of learning, specifically academic, cognitive, behavioral, and physical. PANS PANDAS is essentially a spectrum disorder; some PANS PANDAS students will be affected more severely than others and some will have a small concentration of symptoms while others will exhibit many symptoms across all domains.

“Our special education processes, often, rely on the assumption that students will make progress throughout the year. In contrast, students with PANDAS or PANS may demonstrate rapid shifts in their social, emotional or academic functioning as their systems react to, then recover from, illness. Teachers may, understandably, be baffled that the student who was passing math last week is now failing the class and acting out daily. Frequently, students with PANDAS or PANS experience such heightened anxiety that it is difficult to attend school at all, and their immune systems may not be able to tolerate exposure to peers during the height of cold and flu season.”

Little Known Disorder Underscores Education Needs Patricia Rice Doran (Baltimore Sun-2014)

Academic/Cognitive Symptoms

  • Loss of math skills
  • Decline in handwriting skills (dysgraphia), Margin Drift
  • Inability to perform fine motor tasks
  • Reduced concentration
  • Perfectionism (Erasing through paper, Needing to start over)
  • Work refusal
  • Poor Short-Term Memory
  • Reduced memory: working memory and holding information
  • Avoidance of High Sensory Environments (Art, Music, Cafeteria, Physical Ed, etc…)
  • Decline in creativity
  • Difficulty with decision making
  • Reduced ability to focus
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Time management problems
  • Difficulty in planning & prioritizing
  • Visual and spatial processing difficulties
  • Processing delays
  • Selective Mutism
  • Loss of Focus on a Single Task

    Physical/Sensory Motor Symptoms

    • Restricted food intake: fear of contamination, choking, sensory
    • Tics: Vocal and/or motor
    • Urinary frequency and involuntary urination
    • Unusual gait
    • Balance issues
    • Hair pulling and skin picking
    • Balance issues
    • Dilated pupils
    • Stomach pain
    • Fatigue and looking tired
    • Hallucinations
    • Selective mutism
    • Frequently sick
    • Low tone
    • Chapped Hands or Lips/Mouth

    Social/Behavioral Symptoms

    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
      • Obsessive Thinking (Inappropriate Thoughts/Rigid Thinking/Perfectionism)
      • Compulsions (Unable to stop disruptive behaviors)
    • Eating Issues (Limited Menu/Fear of Choking/Anorexia)
    • Anxiety (Separation Anxiety/School Refusal)
    • Aggression (Oppositional Defiance/Rages)
    • Age Regression/Immaturity (Tantrums/“Baby Talk”)
    • ADHD (Fidgeting/Outbursts/Poor Impulse Control)
    • Sensory Issues
    • Age regression

    Executive Functioning

    • Difficulty with Working Memory and Holding Information
    • Poor Organizational Skills
    • Time Management Issues
    • Difficulty Planning/Prioritizing Attention on a Single Task
    • Difficulty Making Decisions


    Remember the Student’s Perspective
    One of the pitfalls of writing a list of accommodations for a student is that the student’s perspective is often forgotten. Imagine being a student who enjoyed going to school as much as the next student, understood the curriculum, had friends, feels healthy, and had a full life outside of school too. Then imagine losing all of it in a blink of an eye. It is terrifying, disturbing and disorienting. Schools must support the student’s emotional well being as well as academics. Make school a safe place for these children. Understand the student’s limited capacity and that any participation and effort should be encouraged and applauded.

    Learn more about PANS PANDAS Accommodations

    PANS PANDAS Symptom Accommodations

    PANS PANDAS General Accommodations

    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.

    PANS PANDAS at School