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Back To School Worries

Back_to_schoolBy Anne Dachel

Earlier this month Fox News published the piece, 7 Reasons to Worry as Your Kids Head Back to School by Marrecca Fiore

The number one concern, according to Fox News, should be 'the anti-vaccination movement.'  Fox warned the public about the dangers we all face because of non-vaccinating parents who have been misled to believe that there's a link between vaccines and autism.  Fox featured medical consultant Dr. Marc Siegel who announced, 'The anti-vaccination movement is based on irrational fears and is absolutely destructive.'  Siegel can't understand parents who claim vaccines cause autism.  He told us that after all, 'Vaccines are pretty well regulated.' 

'Pretty well regulated'?

That will hardly end parents' anxiety over the lineup of shots at the next well-baby visit.

No, Dr Siegel, you're wrong.  The loudest voices out there aren't from 'the anti-vaccination movement.'  They're the parents who did vaccinate.  They never missed the checkups for those scheduled vaccines. 

They're also the people who saw their children lose learned skills like making eye contact, talking, and being potty trained. 

And they watched in disbelief as these same kids exhibited the signs of autism -- rocking, staring at bright lights, and knocking holes in walls.

These parents are the voices out there asking that health officials clean up vaccines by getting rid of the countless toxins currently and routinely injected into children.  The one thing that Jon and Terry Poling, Katie Wright, and Jenny McCarthy have in common is that they all vaccinated.

Why is it that anyone who asks for safe, non-toxic vaccines is 'anti-vaccination'?  Marc Siegel and everyone else out there blaming parents better understand one thing: The medical community is at fault for the rapidly eroding confidence in the vaccine program.  Health officials do nothing to address the plague called autism.  For years, as the numbers exploded, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked on, unconcerned.  The CDC can't tell us what causes autism and they're the first to say there is no cure.  They don't even know if there really are more kids with autism out there, despite counting them for years.  The only thing they're sure of is that their vaccines aren't responsible. 

Sorry Dr Siegel.  Nobody's listening anymore.  Try showing some of the concern you have over the measles for the countless children all around you with autism. 

I find it interesting that Fox News and Marc Siegel think that unvaccinated kids spreading the measles virus should be parents' number one worry.  Maybe Fox News would like to know what parents of children who have autism have on their minds every minute of the day as this school year begins.

The list would be incredibly long, certainly a lot more than seven items.  I'm starting off with a couple of things I painfully remember from when my son was in school, before I ended up home schooling because I simply couldn't handle the stress. 

Next, I'm asking parents out there to contribute, since each child is different and every parent has their own fears.

What are your reasons to worry as your child with autism heads back to school?

Teachers.  While autism may affect an epidemic number of children everywhere, often teachers have little experience with or understand of autism.  This is especially true if your child is mainstreamed.  If they don't have training in ASD, teachers may come up with their own explanations for autistic behavior.

Bullying.  The bus ride, the hallways, gym time, lunch, and recess are all times when our children may become victims of teasing, name-calling and worse. 

Changes in routine.  A fire drill, substitute teacher, or school assembly can cause our children to completely lose it.  There are endless possibilities and adults in charge can be dumbfounded as to why this kid gets so upset.

The rest is up to parents.  What's on your mind? . . .
Anne Dachel is media editor of Age of Autism.



Sadly, my daughter won't be returning to school this year. When my husband and I reflected over the last three years we knew it just wasn't an option. Three years of fighting for services and therapies, having her punished for behaviors that were clearly a manifestation of her disability, never knowing what kind of discipline notice would come home in her backpack, her being expected to suppress her Tourettes tics, being forced to stand on a circle at recess and be publicly humiliated for a harmless but impulsive action, having social skills instruction with a friend taken away as a punishment, being bullied on the playground.....yes, I think we have made the right choice in removing her from the school. We have the option of educating her at home through a public cyber charter school that is independent of the district. Now we have to convince our daughter that she did nothing wrong and that it's not her fault that she can't return to that school. Somehow we have to help her regain the self esteem that was so badly damaged over the past three years. We have to be even more creative about finding social opportunities for her. All this while facilitating the home instruction at a significant cost to our family, as I will no longer be able to work. We're already in a financial crisis because we're paying for therapies the school refused to provide. But we're left with no choice. We just couldn't send her back to that school.


I think its huge! I wrote my son's pregnant pediatrician about it and I'm waiting to hear what she thinks.


Rachel, why o why isnt that DTAP insert including Autism headline news?

Anyone? FIRST time I saw any drug company even list it! WOW! This is a huge thing isnt it?!?!?

Mom to Ethan, Alex, and Megan


The package insert for Tripedia DTaP list "autism" as a possible adverse reaction. You can read the insert online at:



Did you know that cats are now showing signs of Autism too? It is called "Feline
Hyperesthesia Syndrome" which is just another fancy word for Autism.


So, what does the vet world suggest for treatment? Anti-seizure and anti-anxiety medication.

The only thing that has changed is that we have added more vaccines to the list for our feline friends.

Media Scholar

John Stone wrote: "They certainly know all the hate and fear buttons. If vaccination works why should vaccinated people fear the unvaccinated?"

Why is it that medical authorities don't describe these cases of Measles as "trace" or "residual" similar to the way they describe the various level amounts of ethylmercury STILL remaining in vaccines?

Are the cases of Measles being reported not to be expected in groups of children with immature immune systems traveling abroad? According to a number of reports, the virus was either acquired OUTSIDE the United States or someone entering US soil then suddenly becoming infectiously contagious which is really strange. Some level of common sense reminds us that infants and toddlers require modifications in lifestyles including foreign travel.

The reporting also reminds us that Measles genotypes differ depending upon which part of the world one puts one's boots on the ground. We simply aren't being told whether or not the strain being acquired and infecting these children is, in fact, a strain the MMR injections are noted to be protective against.

What about the unvaccinated plane companions? Close quarters on an international flight is certainly the best confines in which a disease, particularly a highly aerial contageous one like Measles, can truly be all that it can be. How often did the folks re-breath cabin air "contaminated" by measles virus? The results are staggeringly negative contamination.

Therefore, please explain the logic of hounding parents of unvaccinated children in all parts of America for what it clearly a slight track of Measles of unknown genotype, isolated to a handful of children, centered around exposure recent international travel, with absolutely no contageous spread among any of the hundreds of flight companions, and in light of the fact that the United States is one of the more "sanitary" countries on earth.

Are we nuts enough to believe that after at least a half-century of international air travel that suddenly anything resembling a doomsday spread of "killer measles" could happen at any time. If it didn't happen *before* the glorious MMR why is it going to happen with it now heading past peak uptake and into steep decline?

The only logical conclusion is authorities are leading the public to believe that these "carriers" where somehow not contageous until they reached their destinations.

Come to America all ye Measles-laded nations. Give us your tired, your poxy, and non-specifically disease carriers.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Its extremely interesting to note in parents letters that there are so many undiagnosed kids with autism and children with less severe, but , of course, very troubling symptoms.This is what I see in my nursery school - about one in 7-10 kids. But one finds so little mention of this anywhere.
And next time someone like Dr. Siegel tells you how perfect vaccines are, you can tell them this: One of the rare adverse events, listed on the insert of a Hepatitis B vaccine? Yes, thats right, the manufacturer admits it - Its multiple sclerosis. So would you rather risk getting MS, when your chance of getting Hep B disease is slim. And what if the rare adverse event isnt so rare? It isnt just kids that are victims.
If Dr. Siegel wrote about the "Pandemic" he's probably a lost cause. My daughter told me that all the doctors in her hospital, thought, right from the start, that the bird flu was a hoax.
However, for the genuine, well meaning doctor, I think it is up to the autism community to provide them with info on all the research- which no one is ever going to give them- and they are too busy to read their journals- not that their journals are likely to tell them about the research that we all know about.


Great article - and what a bunch of dangerous, ignorant reporting at FOX. thank god I started homeschooling. enduring the stress of the school day left my son completely clobbered, constantly ill, and unable to function during his non-school hours. We get a lot more accomplished now. I do worry about his lack of 'socialization' - but what he was experiencing in school was not socialization, it was isolation.
its very natural for kids to seek out and pick on those that are different. There just aren't enough adults around during the school day to help kids redirect this instinct.

Alison Davis

With three affected sons, there are plenty of concerns about going back to school, but not an "anti-vaccination movement". Huh? Here they are:

Worrying about Dr.'s Diet Orders being followed.

Making sure vaccination exemptions get filed properly.

Concerns with being vigilant about strep in school and PANDAS kicking up again in my boys.

Dealing with Exceptional Children's teaching staff shortages and hence, non-compliance with IEP modifications and accommodations.

Fretting about having only one year to get a high school program started for my eldest.

Worrying about money for treatment running out.

Trying to find a part time job where I can send them off to school and pick them up after school for their speech and OT therapies.

Being so anally organized I can devote all time from the moment they get home until they lay their heads down to make sure they've eaten well, had treatments and therapies, had enough breaks to keep them calm, and completed all school work. Oh, and keep communicating with teachers via phone and email.

Concerns about it already being necessary to have IEP meetings and Parent/Teacher conferences underway and scheduled!

Lisa Clark

Dr. Marc Seigel wins the solid gold booby prize. I would like for once to hear an honest answer from the CDC , and the medical community about why they paint us anti vaccine. I know back in the day disease was terrible, and that vaccines helped eriadicate them. Why does it have to be their way or no way at all? This is the way it is, like it or not? What happened to compromise, and compassion?

Paul Shapiro

"Changes in routine. A fire drill, substitute teacher, or school assembly can cause our children to completely lose it. There are endless possibilities and adults in charge can be dumbfounded as to why this kid gets so upset."

The above is quoted from the article. At 12 years old, the bells of a fire drill at school spoofed my grandchild, and he refuses to attend school since. My daughter and her vaccine damage son live in Las Vegas, and the best that that she can get the school district to provide is a teacher coming to the home one hour each weekday. That has being going on for four years now; he is now sixteen years of age.

Dear Dr Siegel. of Fox News, What are you smoking? I am sure your opinions would change if a child close to you was vaccine poisoned. You just don't donot know enough? Like most Doctors,you are ill equiped to to reason on their their own regarding this topic,so you have drunk the FDA?CDC Coolaid.

Julie Swenson

“The anti-vaccination movement is based on irrational fears and is absolutely destructive,” Siegel said.

Hmm....I'm pretty sure the 'destructive' part came in the form of those supposedly safe vaccines that my immune-compromised little boy was forced to endure. I guess I was 'irrational' when I called my pediatrician's office in a panic, watching my then-12 month old baby fall into a 3-day sleep and 104 degree fever, after screaming inconsolably for hours after his shots?

Was my pediatrician 'irrational' when he told me that my baby's symptoms were perfectly normal? Probably, but what did a first-timer like myself know? "Relax", he said. "It happens all the time. He'll be fine." Well, I have not relaxed since then, and probably won't ever again. Will any of us, knowing what our kids went through to save the ‘herd’ from measles? Thank God the herd is safe! And we only had to sacrifice our precious children for such a noble feat.

The community has nothing to fear from my autistic child. He is fully vaccinated. The community really has very little to fear anyway....what healthy, well-nourished American child is at true risk of dying from measles? For the love of God...I 'll take the chance with measles any day over autism....as so many of us would.

Jane Milota

Awesome article Anne. My precious 12-year old son started middle school this year. We live in a quiet low-crime area. I am scared out of my mind because I keep hearing stories about lock-down, police with drug sniffing dogs and lockers being searched. I hope and pray that my HF child will not be pressured into doing drugs. He is a follower because of not understanding social behavior. None of the worries I have had in the past comes even close to dealing with pre/teen issues. Through my work (managing a fastfood restaurant) I deal with teenagers and young adults all the time and they all say that middle school is the toughest. All I can do is make sure Christopher understands that he has a safe home and that he can (and should) tell me if something is wrong. Elementary school is ill equipped for these kids but it gets worse in middle and high school. Services are officially a thing of the past for us now.


Chris, you typed things that I've never allowed myself to think. My prayers to those worries never becoming a reality for your life.

And yes, definitely bullying, and even simply ostracizing, is a bitter to swallow for them to be part of the educational system.


My five-year-old daughter is nonverbal and not toilet-trained. I will flat out admit I worry about her being molested or hit or abused by a teacher, another adult, or an older student and she will not be able to tell me what happened because she cannot speak. This is probably the biggest thing on my mind when it comes to sending her to school :( That someone will hurt her and she cannot tell me.


I'm with Kim below. My mostly-recovered but still kinda Aspy son went to mainstream K last year; his occasional meltdowns were unremarkable compared to the ten out-of-control, undiagnosed kids in his class of 20. It was a nightmare; I'm hoping that 1st grade is better, but I also worry that if he gets in a more "normal" class his behavior will suddenly draw more negative attention. My sweetheart daughter is starting K at the same school, smart as a whip but has IEP due to balance/motor coordination issues. I worry that if she gets some of those ADHD kids in her class they are just flat out going to run over her on the playground and her teeth are going to get knocked out. I am MUCH more afraid of the vaccinated kids than the unvaccinated ones.


Abuse is my number one concern. My child was abused in public school. Most of our kids can't tell us what's going on in school. Now every day since the abuse happened, I have to will myself to put my child on the bus another day and trust the system.


I know this is an invitation to parents of children with autism. My son does not have autism. He is a CNS dys, apraxic, sensory guy with PDD (not PDD NOS).

New pre-k teacher's first words to me:

" I am very strict, and will ot have any problems with your son."

Teachers who see all kids the same.

Teachers who do not keep him away from color dyes in food.

Yes, I know he needs to be potty-trained, it is on the list.

Forcing your correct point is not going to lessen his melt down.

No stickers on clothes...it's his "thing", but they want him to have his lunch number "on" him.

My son doesn't speak, I need more from his teacher than "He had a good/bad day".

Sensory again, PLEASE do not force him to wear his shoes all day, he will be such a better student if he's cut a little slack.

Okay, back to work ,this is my short list of problems with the new school year.

Avery King

Hi Carolyn M,
The link goes to a 1-page pdf from ARI that explains the importance of the diet and keeping on it, that you can download and print. It even has a space for your number so you can fill it in and give it to teachers, caregivers, etc.
That might help communicate to some of the people who need to know. Hope it helps.


Carolyn M.


Thanks for the advice regarding the letter. I have gotten one from my daughter's DAN doctor. I intend to photocopy it and send in the copy on Tuesday. It is strongly worded and I hope it will be sufficient. I do appreciate having the benefit of your experience.


The whole school experience has a huge negative effect on an autistic child who understands that he is different and is not able to keep up with his grade's curriculum. This also extends to the child's inability to behave all the time in a socially acceptable way and all this together brings down my grandson's self-esteem.
He would love to never have to go to school again.
I hope someday Dr. Marc Siegel will have to eat his ignorant and compassionate lacking words.

John Stone

They certainly know all the hate and fear buttons. If vaccination works why should vaccinated people fear the unvaccinated?

Lin Wessels


Very well said. I very much doubt any other could have said it better!

Our concerns returning to school (in the 1st Grade level):

1. Bullying. How quickly some learn to take advantage of the less advantaged!!

2. Teachers and staff who just don't get it! This includes bus drivers, cooks, servers, custodial, etc. They all affect the outcome of the day in one fashion or another.

3. AEA (Area Education Agency). This is our federally funded special education DICTATOR here in Iowa. They are constantly looking for an out and a way to reduce services. We battle with them perpetually and our son has suffered and lost a great deal as a result of their incompetence! (Note – this should be number one as it is always our number one concern each and every year!)

I’m quite certain there are and will be more, but these are the largest at the moment.

Sam’s MAMA

Thank you for everything you do, Anne and AoA!! We appreciate you!!!


well i've got a few worries i'll share, some for my son with autism, and some for my NT child...
how long will my son be on the bus? the new school he has to attend is clear across town because 4 lbs. of mercury were spilled in his last school. if the bus ride ends up being too long to tolerate, how will I afford the gas there and back everyday, and THEN there and back AGAIN to pick him up and take him to therapies?
now that he's at a new school, will he tolerate the uniform colors and clothes? this could be months of struggle.
(ok, i realize there are ways to accomodate these things in the IEP, but I do not want to continue to let him have special rules when i know he CAN wear a blue shirt)
i'm also another mother concerned about food...will they be as diligent with a 2nd grader and his food, or will they let anything happen at the lunch table? i have to monitor this closely.
THEN on the other hand are my fears for my little one going into Pre-K, she is typical. Have you seen these preschool classrooms lately? They are FILLED with undiagnosed children with multitudes of distracting behaviors including aggression, excessive screaming/crying, inability to sit for any length, inability to understand social norms, sensory issues that cause all of the above and more. And when she gets in kindergarten and above, and they are diagnosed, in our state there are 7 in a classroom with a range of issues. How can the typical kids OR the special ed kids LEARN in a busy classroom of 14-20 kids with 7 with autism and other problems? There is a huge problem here, let's get serious and call it an EPIDEMIC, and unless someone addresses this soon we will no longer have any teachers to teach any of them.


Bullies would be number one. Not only children but adults. Last year my child’s teacher thought it was okay to place children in groups (grade 5), give them a project without defining each child’s role and then have the children assess each group member’s contribution. (This is a mainstream class.) My son had no clue what to do nor did he think to ask for help. Consequently he scored low on the project to which his teacher added his comments to the page: “ Your group found it hard to work with you. I hope you learn something from this”. (BTW, this is a Catholic School.)

My son also had issues with another child and it took us the better part of five months to get some intervention. This child had threatened to shoot my son on at least two occasions. His biography in the hallway declared how much he liked to go to the shooting range: we had to ask the vice-principal 2-3 times to have that bio edited. To my knowledge, his parents were never called by the administration on that issue. When a counselor was finally arranged, as nice and well-meaning as he was, he did not have any experience with autism/Asperger’s and consequently had no success.

The other huge issue is with those teachers and parents that view accommodations for children with special needs as privileges, giving them an advantage over other children as opposed to leveling the playing field.

And how come parents only have to worry about un-vaccinated children and not all the un-vaccinated or immunity-has-long-gone-waned adults? This year my youngest child’s classmates will be lined up for the Hep B Vaccine. I think I’m going to have him wear a “the only shot I need is a shot at the future” t-shirt.


Real quick to Carolyn M (I'll follow with my own list of fears and worries later):

Get your DAN doctor to write a note that explains that your daughter's diet is medically necessary. That should take care of her teacher(s) allowing her to eat *verboten* foods. I have letters like that on file for both of my boys.

I even took it a step further in having the notes also call out how gluten/corn/soy/dairy in school supplies will negatively affect them (playdoh, glue, permanent and erasable markers, etc) and that they should only use the school supplies I sent in with my kids.

Funny how school personnel becomes really cooperative once they get a letter signed by an MD.. as now infractions and their results may become a legal issue.

Anne Dachel

I also found Dr. Siegel's email address:

Some of you may also wish to write to him about 'The anti-vaccination movement'
and about YOUR CONCERN for school.
Anne Dachel
Media editor

Media Scholar

Well...he wrote "Bird Flu: Everything you need to know about the next Pandemic". He has the credibility of a big, fat goose egg.

Carolyn M.

I also have worries about teachers. The main one right now is whether they understand how important it is that my daughter not be allowed to consume anything that is not on her diet (GF/CF/SCD)? She is VERY gluten-sensitive, and she does not yet connect eating gluten-containing items with how horrible she feels afterward. Even though I send all her food to school with her, a previous teacher (granted, at a different school) allowed my daughter to eat gluten on several occasions during a school year - and did not believe that the meltdowns that followed for several days after each incident were the result of her consumption of gluten.

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