SPRINGFIELD- Eighth birthdays are extremely important to children. It’s supposed to be a day full of cake, presents and friends. However, this wasn’t the case for Charlie on his eighth birthday.

He woke up on his birthday with unusual symptoms. The little boy who loved participating in talent shows and putting on skits was now scared of performing in front of crowds and talking to his friends. There was an immediate change in his personality.

PANDASpassedThe next two months of Charlie’s life were the hardest time for his family. He instantly displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Charlie didn’t want to be touched or hugged. He feared his food and was deathly afraid of water to the point where he couldn’t shower or brush his teeth. When triggered, Charlie would go into fits of rage.  He suffered from hallucinations to the extent he was unable to recognize his mother or father.

Charlie’s mother was faced with a difficult situation, either being forced to institutionalize her son or place her other two children in the care of a loved one. After two months of looking for answers, a doctor diagnosed Charlie with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed a measure to create an advisory council to make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on awareness and education among doctors, school-based health centers and mental health providers.

Early detection is key. After observing Charlie, his mother Kate Drury was quickly able to diagnosis her younger son with PANDAS when he displayed early symptoms.

“No one wants to see young children suffer.  I have three young children at home, stories like Charlie’s display the immediate need to educate medical professionals and the general public on the PANDAS symptoms,” said Cullerton. “It’s our duty to ensure our children don’t suffer. The faster we diagnose children affected by PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment.”

PANDAS is potentially a lifelong disease that is estimated to affect nearly 175,000 children and adolescents in Illinois. It has even been found in adults.

Senate Bill 1684 passed the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

toy safety

Petition: Do Not Tax Retirement Income

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

shamrock

CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463