I have worked in Maine schools as a mental health therapist and psychology professor for the last 12 years. Currently, I work with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, ADHD, PANDAS or PANS. These conditions are linked to an overburdened immune system and neuroinflammation (J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017).

Maine recently passed a law that will prevent children from attending all schools (public, private and parochial) if they are on an alternative or delayed vaccine schedule, even if they choose to delay a single dose of a single required vaccine.

In my experience, many parents are choosing to delay vaccines if their child has an overburdened immune system or neuroinflammation due to neurodevelopmental disorders. Neurodevelopmental disorders rarely qualify for medical exemptions to vaccines.

Classroom populations are rapidly growing with children who struggle to meet the demands of a traditional classroom due to neurodevelopmental disorders. Medication management is being pushed onto children with neurodevelopmental disorders as young as 4, as a solution for being successful at school.

I consistently sit with emotional parents who feel powerless in helping their child. Parents are reporting that they feel pressured to be “compliant” with medications and vaccines. Parents have a right to delay medications and vaccines without coercion.

Mandating vaccines for the right to an education is discriminatory to children with neurodevelopmental disorders. I urge Mainers to protect school freedom, high-needs children, and parental choice with a “yes on 1” vote on March 3.

Dr. Elizabeth Ward Ph.D., LCPC

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