The Daughter Chronicles

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mia's schooling takes a turn

About a month ago, Mia's teacher informed me that she would not be teaching Mia next school year. Due to murky circumstances that have still not been completely explained but no doubt have a great deal to do with funding, Mia's OI (Orthotically Impaired) class is going to be merged with the class next door, which is an MD (Moderately Disabled - I think) class, and as Mia's teacher does not have seniority, she'd being transferred. It's all very frustrating, especially as her teacher was one of the few in the district who had a lot of experience with TBI kids like Mia. We still haven't gotten a letter from the school district explaining all of this, which is quite annoying.

I mentioned this problem when I wrote about her IEP meeting, because we discussed where Mia should go next year. Her teacher and therapists were unanimous in thinking that the MD class probably wasn't the best place for her, because most of the kids are even lower-functioning than she is, so she'd have no role models to give her an idea of what she can do. I set up an appointment with the school district to check out a couple of schools with programs that were similar to Mia's. The first place I went was unacceptable. It wasn't a horrible school, but it wasn't really right for Mia. The actual room was too small and crowded, and I was worried that she wouldn't be able to move around very much. The class had about 10 kids in it, with one teacher and two aides, which isn't a bad ratio, but it was still a bit much for the size of the room. The kids also seemed a bit too high-functioning for her. I want her to be in a class with kids who function better than she does so she has a role model, but not too far ahead of her so that she can't even try to catch up. I wasn't extremely impressed with the teachers, either.

I liked the second school more. The classroom was much bigger, and the school had a more diverse population of special needs kids, so I felt the teachers were more equipped to deal with someone like Mia. The teacher-student ratio was about the same, but the kids weren't as high-functioning as the other school, although they were better off than she is (none of them were in a wheelchair, for instance). The therapists are all on-campus, too, unlike the first school, where she would have to be transported to an OT. It was a nicer school, too, just in general.

We decided to send her to the second school, although we still have some concerns. I told the Area Director of Special Ed. that Mia needs an aide pretty much constantly, and that's not up for debate. She said they were doing everything they could to make sure she has one, but that's really not good enough, so we'll see what happens with that. I'm still very disappointed that the district busted up her class, but I suppose we'll have to deal with it. Her new school is fine as far as we can tell, but we'll have to see it in action, of course, as visiting for a few minutes doesn't give you a good idea about it. We have other options, but we'll wait to see how the new school works out.

It's always hard dealing with change in Mia's life, because she becomes so comfortable with her routine and it helps her get better at things. Now she had to learn a new school and new teachers and new students, and I hope that she does it quickly, or at least more quickly than she did two years ago, when she went from pre-school to kindergarten. That was a difficult transition, but she finally seemed to have gotten into a nice routine that has now been upset. It's frustrating, but that's why she's a tough girl!


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