Little girl struggles to attend school

Local News

ATWOOD — Mia Anderson has a condition that makes simple tasks like breathing and talking difficult. 

She can’t go to school without a nurse, and her mother says she can fill that role. Arthur School District doesn’t agree. 

Mia Anderson has already beat the odds at just three years old.

“We were that she would most likely pass away in the next 6 months and the statistics are 90% of type 1 will pass away by their second birthday.” 

She has spinal muscular atrophy or SMA. A condition that has caused her to lose her ability to move her legs and arms. Or even breath on her own.

“It doesn’t affect brain function at all so cognitively Mia is just like me and you.” 

After her third birthday her mother, Sheila wanted to send her to pre-school. For two weeks she got to come here to Atwood Grade School. And for once Sheila says, she was like the other kids.

“Normal is not a word we use very often in our house, but the bus would come to the front of the house just like anybody else and we would roll her down the ramp, and her big sister actually got to ride the bus with her.” 

Unfortunately during that time Mia’s personal nurse was let go. And the school wasn’t able to provide one either. Sheila says it broke her heart to hear she couldn’t go back without one.

“It’s a matter of inclusion of course, it meant the world to her.” 

She even offered to do the job herself.

“The school district is just saying it’s a liability issue and I would not be able to attend because I’m a parent and they’re not seeing me as a caregiver.” 

Arthur Schools say that’s not an option because the district follows the established school policy and state and federal laws. Sheila says it’s upsetting to hear she can’t go back.

“If I’m able to care for her at home, why am I not able to care for her at school.” 

Mia has a few other options at this point. She can either be homeschooled or attend a school specifically for special education students.

Sheila says sending her to school is the best option for her daughter and she is going to work with her doctors to try and become her caregiver at school.

There are 5 other schools in the state that Mia’s mother says allows this. 

There are 5 school districts across the state that allow the parent to be the caregiver. Here’s the list of schools that Anderson says allows a parent to be a students caregiver.

Nokomis Schools, Chicago Public School, William B. Ogden International, Unit 5, Normal, Heyworth, District 5.


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