Impact of PANS and PANDAS Exacerbations on Occupational Performance: A Mixed-Methods Study

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE. Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) includes pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections and involves sudden-onset neuropsychiatric symptoms, including obsessions, compulsions, sensory difficulties, and dysgraphia after infection or other triggers. Our objective was to identify problems with areas of occupation, body functions, and performance skills during exacerbations.

METHOD. In this online retrospective study, based on the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (2nd ed.), we surveyed parents of 111 children with PANS.

RESULTS. Activities of daily living, math, handwriting, extracurricular activities, free play, organized sports, community and family social participation, higher level thinking, attention, memory, sequencing, emotional coping, and energy and drive were commonly affected during exacerbations. During exacerbations, children often required assistance and adaptation to remain functional or were unable to function at a typical level.

CONCLUSION. Children with PANS present with pervasive occupational performance needs during exacerbation. Children and families may benefit from accommodations to maximize function during this turbulent period.

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