The Daughter Chronicles

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mia begins to get ready for kindergarten

Yesterday (the 9th) we had Mia's MET meeting. Whatever is an MET meeting, you might ask? It's her Multi-disciplinary Evaluation Team meeting, which means that a bunch of teachers and therapists get together to discuss into which kindergarten program we should put her. Nothing was decided yesterday, but we got a preliminary idea of what is available to her next year.

The participants were her pre-school teacher, her speech therapist, her physical therapist (her occupational therapist couldn't make it), the school psychologist, the Traumatic Brain Injury specialist for Mesa School District (who knew they had one?), a district demonstration teacher, and a kindergarten teacher (whose name was Jan Hammer, which made me think of the guy who wrote the theme music to Miami Vice). They had been evaluating Mia over the course of a few weeks and months, and they had the options for us.

Mia's evaluation didn't tell us anything really new, as we already are aware of her problems. The school psychologist threw a number at us - 69 - that we thought might have been her IQ, but we weren't sure. She did say that it's kind of pointless doing an IQ test on someone so young with such a disability, because it can change up to 15 points by the time she's seven, which is when it usually stabilizes. So we're not sure if that number was her IQ or if it was the result on one of the battery of tests they had her take. It doesn't really matter, I suppose.

We heard about the options for her schooling. We don't want her in a regular classroom, because they go much faster than she could handle. We do think she should be in a regular classroom for some of the more social stuff, and that's an option. Mia has done much better now that Norah is beginning to do more things, and we think that she would learn a lot from "normal" kids if she were among them for a while, at least.

We don't have all the final options, but they did mention that there was a class where they teach kids to use a keyboard instead of teaching them to write, and we got a bit worried about that. There's a class where they teach a normal kindergarten curriculum, just much more slowly. We'd like Mia to be in a class that is as close to regular as possible, because the former option doesn't sound very good. We need some clarification, but it sounded as if they were going to teach the kids on a keyboard and never teach them to use a pencil and paper. For kids with muscular dystrophy, this makes sense, as they will never have fine motor skills. The problem with Mia is that no one is sure how far she'll progress. I have been going to a support group for dads of kids with disabilities (a post for another day!), and most of the kids have autism or muscular dystrophy. From the little I've gleaned from those meetings, it sounds as if they have a pretty good idea of where the kids will always be. That's not the case with Mia - she could go very far, or not far at all. So we want to keep her learning as close to what everyone else gets as possible. I spoke to her home OT today about her use of a pencil, and she says there's no reason to think she won't be able to use one. It's just the teaching of it, which takes a longer time than with regular children.

We're not sure what the district would recommend. We'll see. We still have to get the final draft of the paperwork and all the recommendations. We're going to talk to her at-home therapists and get them to write up some sort of report about her short-term progress. I know the teachers and school therapists are looking out for Mia, but they have other considerations too. All we care about is Mia. They did offer to take us into some of the classrooms in order to check them out, so we're going to set some visits up. It's somewhat important to do this, because they don't really have any standard documentation about the classes are run - they claim it's tailored to the child. We'll see.

The more important meeting will be for her IEP, which we haven't scheduled yet but will soon. That's much more Mia-intensive, and sets up her benchmarks for the kindergarten year. That should be a fun meeting!


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