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Mia’s Story

Mia at her new school riding a bike, in music class, and using an adaptive keyboard for the very first time.

Mia, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was previously attending a District 75 school that the NYC Department of Education (DOE) had identified as accessible. Mia was placed in a classroom on the first floor that was able to accommodate her mobility needs, but it turned out to be the only classroom in the school that was able to accommodate her.  As a result, Mia remained in that classroom for five years, making minimal progress as she continued to receive the same educational content with each group of incoming students, while her peers progressed through the curriculum and moved on to other classrooms.

After Mia’s mother repeatedly raised concerns, AFC intervened to secure a re-evaluation for Mia, which confirmed that her academic and social progress had plateaued during the five years she had remained in the first­–floor classroom.  AFC fought alongside Mia and her mother to find a new placement, a battle that made headlines; Mia was featured on the cover of the New York Daily News, becoming the face of the thousands of New York City students who lack appropriate accommodations in school. AFC was able to secure placement for Mia at a specialized non-public school, where she started in the summer of 2019. As Mia’s mother Yuvi describes it, the new placement is a completely new world.  “Here, they are not punishing her behavior. They are working to understand it, and her.”

Mia’s story is a stark reminder of the difference an appropriate placement can make not only for the student, but for the family.  “I had fought for vision services for Mia for a really long time,” Yuvi recalls, “and the second I got into Manhattan Star, they saw that she needed vision stuff.  Things that normally I would feel I have to fight for, they’re just doing.”  Mia, who had never used a keyboard at her old school, is now becoming familiar with navigating technology thanks to an adaptive keyboard her teachers provided.

You shouldn’t have to go through all this trouble just to get the basic stuff that you’d want your kid to get. Had it not been for AFC, I know she’d just have been on that first floor until she graduated.”

Yuvi, Mia's mother

“Mia’s IEP meeting is coming up, and for the first time I don’t feel like I have to put on boxing gloves and bring an advocate with me.  It shouldn’t be like that.  The story turned out differently for me, but for a lot of kids that doesn’t happen. A lot of kids don’t know that advocates are out there really helping people.”