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                                  Mia's Story

Mia smiling on a couch    

"Siskin Children's Institute has helped us keep going when the going got tough. They have made our lives easier and we thank you for your support and kindness towards our family."

-- Betty, Mia's Great Grandmother

We are Mia’s great grandparents, Betty and Scott. Mia came to us unexpectedly when she was born prematurely at four pounds and was diagnosed with microcephaly. Mia quit breathing two times before the hospital staff could get her on life support in the neonatal unit. We brought Mia home to raise her in our loving home. We needed lots of support from the community when we moved to Dayton in September of 2016.  The pediatrician in Dayton recommended TEIS services and the Individual Family Special Education goals were developed for Mia. A developmental therapist from Siskin Children’s Institute in the Home & Community Based Early Intervention program came to our home in the rural part of Dayton Mountain in December 2016 and introduced herself as someone who could make our lives easier raising our great granddaughter.

The neurologist said Mia’s left hand would be blocked by brain damage and would show little or no signs of development. The developmental therapist showed us how we could help Mia hold her bottle with both hands by using hand over hand assistance. Today, Mia is holding the handles with both hands and drinking from a cup during meals at home. We also worked on strategies and suggestions by the developmental therapist for Mia to begin to move. Mia began sitting up when I would place pillows between her and started scooting to reach for her toys at playtime. I remember trying to give Mia a bath while trying to hold her in a sitting position. Mia would cry and it would hurt my back to hold her up in the bathtub. The developmental therapist suggested a laundry basket and the problem was solved!  Now Mia loves taking baths and I don’t mind either! Mia made her first vocal sound when the developmental therapist showed her great grandfather how to use a board book so that Mia could feel the different textures. Scott said “chicken” and made a sound of the chicken. Mia looked at him and said her firs twords – “duck duck.” She continues to make all kinds of vocal sounds and sometimes yells out “Cathy!” when it is time for Scott’s adult sister (who has special needs) to go to bed.

The developmental therapist provided me with information about physical therapy services that could come to our home to help Mia stand and walk. By talking to the service coordinator, we have a physical therapist helping Mia use her braces and gait trainer in the home. The biggest step was when the developmental therapist gave me information about Early Head Start in Dayton. I decided to enroll Mia so she could be around other children her age and learn to do things like her peers with the support of her teachers. The director and teachers have opened their doors with loving arms and have shown Mia how to scribble by holding the paper with her left hand and scribbling with her right hand. Mia will point to the cassette player and the teachers and her friends all dance together to Mia’s favorite song “If Your Happy and You Know It.” Mia is happy because she can clap her hands with both hands! DT bought a gait trainer from the Siskin Assistive Technology Program so I do not have to bring our gait trainer from home. Mia uses the gait trainer from Siskin to walk on the playground with her friends at Early Head Start.

I believe Mia will walk independently one day. I think it will take some time for Mia to talk, but she is surprising us with new gestures and sounds every day. The one thing I have learned is the overwhelming love that the children have for her at her childcare center. Her 2 year old friends have taught me so much about kindness. Her friends wait for Mia to come to circle time to sing with them and reach to rub her face to express their love. They all clap their hands together and Mia uses both of her hands to say “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands!” We are very grateful for each person who has been a part of Mia Grace’s progress. There has not been anything she needed that they have not provided for us. I can call with any questions I might have and everyone on Mia’s team is cooperative in answering my concerns. Siskin Children’s Institute has helped us keep going when the going got tough. They have made our lives easier and we clap our hands to say thank you for your support and kindness for our family.

--Betty, Mia's Great Grandmother