An In-Depth Look at PANDAS (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in Children

autistic girl at doctorsIf you are a parent looking for an in-depth look at PANDAS in children, you have come to the right place. If you are reading this material, it is quite likely that you either suspect that your child has this, or you have recently been informed by your child’s pediatrician that they have this condition. It is likely that you are confused, fearful, and emotionally distraught over this. It is normal to feel this way. This is especially true when it comes to PANDAS. There is a relatively new condition that has emerged, and there is not a lot of information surrounding the condition. However, in this helpful and informative guide, I will provide you with that in-depth look at PANDAS that you have so desperately been searching for.

What is PANDAS?

PANDAS is a word that is set up in an abbreviation form to describe an “Autism Spectrum Disorder”. It stands for “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections” according to the “National Institute of Mental Health”. Children who are diagnosed with this disorder typically receive the diagnosis after having suffered from conditions such as Scarlet Fever, and the uncomfortable condition of Strep Throat. In most cases, children who experience this medical condition have typically experienced a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Hyperactivity, or even a type of Tourette’s. However, not all cases have had children who have experienced this condition preceding the onset of PANDAS.

The Symptoms Exposed

The symptoms that a child experienced when they develop PANDAS are often the first clue that something is not right. Children will literally become a completely different person in the matter of hours, or just a day. Many would describe the onset of symptoms as exceptionally unexpected. The following displays some of the symptoms that may be experienced. Keep in mind, though, that the symptoms are prevalent to the individual case of PANDAS. Not all of these symptoms have to be present for a diagnosing determination:

  1. The child may start to display symptoms that are common to the condition called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This includes participating in certain tasks or behaviors and allowing those things to interfere with basic day to day living. The child may become irritable because of the fact that they feel that they need to engage in certain activities and/or rituals before doing other things that they enjoy. They may feel “scared” of germs, display a high need to ensure that certain things are organized, and work very hard to keep this organization, and more.
  2. The condition may result in the development of another condition that is called “Separation Anxiety”. This means that they “latch on” a particular parent or person, and may constantly be underfoot when that person is around. When the person attempts to leave the presence of the child, the child may become quite upset.
  3. Sleep complications are often quite common in the child that experiences PANDAS. The child may be restless, or fall asleep later than usual.
  4. You may discover that there are changes when it comes to the handwriting of the child, and how they can do other tasks, such as cutting. This is because PANDAS may result in a decline in skills that are considered to be “fine motor”.
  5. You may also notice that the child complains of hurting. Typically, the pain is located in the areas of the joints. If your child experiences this after having an infection such as Strep Throat, it should alert you that PANDAS could be a potential culprit.
Treatments

There are many different treatments that pediatricians and psychiatrists attempt to use when it comes to soothing the symptoms associated with PANDAS. You should know and understand that it will be treated in much the same way as similar behavioral conditions. Therapy that focuses on the behavior may be considered an option. In addition to this, certain medications may be prescribed in an effort to treat the symptoms. Medications such as fluoxetine and those used for similar conditions may be prescribed.

Summary
Here, you have received an in-depth look at PANDAS in children. If your child has recently been diagnosed, it is important to know that you do have a challenging road ahead of you. As with any diagnosed medical condition, it is important to research the topic and learn as much as can be learned in order to better understand the condition. Not only will this help you to understand what it happening to your child with PANDAS, it is also an effective coping mechanism.

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February 5, 2009

Dan @ 12:47 am #

Thoughts Regarding Autism Spectrum Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Of these rare neurological dysfunctions, Autism is the most common of these passive developmental disorders. Autism is a disability caused by a brain development disorder of unknown cause, yet some suspect the cause is some sort of neurological dysfunction- possibly with a genetic predisposition.
Usually, symptoms of the disease present themselves before the toddler reaches the age of three. Before Autism was more understood, others labeled them as childhood schizophrenia or as having a psychosis or mental retardation.
Out of over two dozen diagnostic criteria utilized for these disorders, eight must be present to be considered autistic, according to the DSM. As with all passive developmental disorders, the person expresses language, social, and behavioral difficulties.
Treatment includes what are called psychotropic medications that delay the progression of the disorder, as well as relieve some of the symptoms of one who is autistic. Behavioral therapy is common as a treatment regimen as well. Boys get Autism much more than girls.
Then there is the controversy between many who claim that thimerosal- a preservative containing mercury, which is a neurotoxin that was used in vaccines until 2001, was the catalyst for autism in children.
Over 5000 lawsuits have been filed because of this belief, and some have been successful for the plaintiff. Yet most agree the correlation between thimersal and autism is void of scientific merit. Furthermore, the cases of autism have not decreased since the preservative was discontinued in 2001.
Aside from Autism, the other four passive developmental disorders are known as autism spectrum disorders.
Asperger’s Syndrome is more common than autism, and the symptoms are milder, as there is minimal delay in language abilities, if at all. What is expressed with Asperger’s syndrome is mild autistic symptoms. In time, the patient may express atypical personality disorders, though.
While intelligence is within normal limits with the Asperger’s patient, social interactions and abilities preset difficulty for such a patient. As with Autism, medications and behavioral therapy are treatment regimens with one with this syndrome
Rett’s Syndrome or disorder presents with not only atypical behavior, but also suffers from restricted physical growth and movement. There is cognitive and social impairment as well. The disorder affects mostly girls, and the cause is due to a gene mutation.
Childhood Disintegrative disorder is rare, and is 10 times less common than autism. The disorder has a late onset with mild autistic symptoms. The disorder affects mostly boys, and regression is sudden and possible with this disorder. Skills lost with this disorder may be language, social, self-care, as well as play or motor skills. Decreased function or impairment with this disorder may include social skills and behavioral flaws. Central Nervous System pathology is a suspected cause of this disorder.
Finally, there are passive development disorders that are not otherwise specified. This may include atypical autism, for example. Yet as with the rest of types of these disorders, the symptoms vary in their frequency and intensity, as well as the range of abilities of these developmental disorders vary widely as well.
Medicinal treatment along with cognitive and behavioral therapy prove to be most beneficial for all the different types of Passive Development Disorders that unfortunately exist for unknown reasons,

Dan Abshear

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