Educator Resources

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Supporting Children With Neuroimmune Disorders in The Classroom With Therapist Eileen Devine

​Steeped in neuroscience, yet easy to understand through a neurobehavioral lens, this one hour webinar will clearly articulate why traditional classroom behavior management systems don’t work for children with neuroimmune disorders and what children can do instead.

This webinar is for parents as well as teachers.

Eileen Devine, LCSW is a therapist who works with parents of children with special healthcare needs through her private clinical practice.

She has over a dozen years of clinical experience, with a special emphasis on working with families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other brain-based (neurobehavioral) conditions that have challenging and confusing behavioral symptoms.  She is an instructor for the Post-Master’s Certificate in Adoption and Foster Family Therapy through Portland State University’s Child Welfare Partnership where she teaches other clinicians how to use the neurobehavioral model in their work with families. She also has the great fortune of facilitating dozens of other trainings and workshops for parents and clinicians each year on a variety of topics that are relevant to the experience of being a parent of a child with a neurobehavioral condition. In addition to this professional experience, Eileen has the lived experience of parenting a child with significant neurobehavioral challenges. Her goal is to support parents and caregivers of children with these frequently understood brain-based conditions on their unique parenting journey so that they, their children, and their family can thrive.

Understanding PANS / PANDAS in an Educational Setting

Shara Virlan, educator, reading specialist, and parent of a child with PANDAS presents on being an advocate for your child with a neuroimmune disorder, when and how to request a special education referral, the difference between an IEP and 504 plan, and accommodations and modifications that may be helpful for your child. [30 min.]

PANS in the Classroom

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A young boy writing on a chalkboard the following text: PANS in the Classroom Helping to Educate the Educator Research from top experts at Stanford has found that caregiver burden in families of children with PANS is excessively high and equivalent to diseases deemed to be devastating. Several parents of children who have had both cancer as well as PANS have stated PANS was far more difficult for their families and a PANS parent who lived through civil war shared that PANS was more difficult for her. You can help alleviate some of this burden by being a true partner to help the child be successful in school. This starts with valuing the parent's input on what the child really needs and what strategies are a good fit. Logo of tree with pink fruit.
While outside on a sunny day, a young girl holds a chalk board with the following words: PANS in the Classroom Helping to Educate the Educator "Your understanding of PANS and your attitude about it has the power to make or break my year. Because PANS is invisible, it is easy to forget that it is a very serious brain based illness. Please remember on the most challenging days how much I hate these symptoms and how much I wish I didn't have to struggle this way too." Neuroimmune Foundation logo of a tree with magenta fruit.
A young girl holding a pointer and standing in front of a chalkboard with the following words: PANS in the Classroom: Helping to Educate the Educator "Peer relationships may be a real struggle for me especially if my flares involve behavioral problems, social anxiety, or lashing out at others. You can help by facilitating an environment where kindness and inclusion are taught and valued. Please talk to my parents or to me if I am old enough to see if we are open to helping educate the class on PANS." Neuroimmune Foundation logo of a tree with pink fruit.

Accommodations and Modifications

Accommodations and modifications that are appropriate for many children with PANS/PANDAS may include:

  • Attendance modifications which may include flexible arrival and departure times, daily delayed arrival, excused absences at the discretion of the parent.
  • Bathroom breaks per student’s discretion as urinary frequency is a common symptom in children with PANS/PANDAS.
  • Provide a quiet space for student to regroup throughout the day as needed.
  • Provide self-regulation tools for student (bean bag chairs, sensory tools, shoes off, aromatherapy, dim lighting, etc).
  • Encourage and promote proper handwashing amongst students and regularly disinfect desks and frequently used items in the classroom.
  • Notify parents about increased infections within the school such as strep throat without identifying information regarding impacted students.
  • Provide flexibility around deadlines during flares or regressions.
  • Allow typing instead of written work if handwriting skills are impacted.