Today I accompanied my daughter to preschool orientation at the local MRDD school that she attends. While the children are off in their classrooms meeting their fellow classmates, we parents attend an informational meeting run by the school principal. Unlike a lot of meetings we adults routinely attend that are a complete waste of time, this "informational meeting" was actually informative. What a shocker!
The principal was welcoming; the speech therapists and occupational therapists were enthusiastic; and the adaptive PE teacher was almost over-flowing with excitement about the coming year...all things you hope to see in people who will be working with your child day-in and day-out. Then the school nurse started her presentation and my great mood went right out the window with the mention of two small words: communicable diseases.
She was showing all of us parents a sheet that might come home with the kids at some point during the school year if our children have been exposed to a communicable disease. She said that the only reason this EVER goes home is for strep throat/scarlet fever because childhood vaccines have gotten rid of the risk for the "major" communicable diseases...at least that used to be the case. Sadly there is a growing number of people who are deciding not to vaccinate their children. It is no wonder, with the Jenny McCarthy's of the world spouting off about vaccines causing Autism. First of all, let's pretend vaccines caused my two children to have Autism (which there has been NO scientific proof to support this claim) - do you know what is worse than Autism? Polio! But don't just take my word for it - the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) also explains why vaccines are necessary.
Some people ignorantly believe that their decision to NOT vaccinate only impacts their child but that is so short-sighted. My little nephew is only 3 weeks old - too young for vaccines. What if he is exposed to an unvaccinated child who is contagious with a communicable disease? My sister didn't have a choice yet about vaccinating her child - why should someone else get to willfully endanger her child?
So as I sat there in the informational meeting this morning, I wondered whether the nurse's presentation would be different in a few years. Will future parents have to sit and listen while the nurse explains what they should do when the communicable disease sheet comes home with a check mark next to Pneumococcal?