Recently in a parent’s conversation someone asked, trying to understand autism, what does autistic behaviour look like. Here were some of the behaviours that parents noted:
And then someone makes an unusual comment. Yep sounds like our son.. he has PANS/PANDAS though…
Autism is a life long condition defined by 2 criteria:
According to the raising children’s network, around 75% of autistic children have at least one other co-morbidity. That is a disability or psychiatric condition additional to it. The most common are ADHD, intellectual disability, bipolar disorder, epilepsy and tics. OCD is considered prevalent in autistic populations, but currently there is no tool to assess it in autistic children, due to overlapping symptoms of stereotypy.
PANS & PANDAS is a neuro-immune mediated psychiatric condition that, currently in Australia, is not formally recognised by the DSM-5 (diagnostic manual of mental disorders). The condition is, however in the ICD (international classification of diseases). It is also described on to the American NIHM (National Institute for Mental Health) website. It’s not life long. But it is degenerative if not detected early. It’s treatable. Symptoms can be eradicated. And its criteria has a much bigger scope than autism. According to NIHM, a PANS child only may have 2 criteria in the list, or all of them:
So what is the difference between autism with co-morbidity and PANS/PANDAS? Spotting it in autistic child with co-morbidities is difficult, but their best trajectory in life depends on it.
Diagnostic overshadowing is a real and well-documented occurrence, where new and arising psychiatric and neurological symptoms are thrown under the autism diagnosis. An onset of a blinking tic, face grimacing, compulsive anxious behaviours, a return to nappies, extreme outbursts of rage and anxiety may actually be a developing new condition of PANS/PANDAS alongside autism.
If any of this information sparks a resonance with your situation, and you'd like to discuss with me, please make a booking and include potential PANS/PANDAS when completing your initial patient health and wellness form.