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updated 1/31/2012 3:23:01 PM ET 2012-01-31T20:23:01

A 3-year-old girl whose parents claimed she was denied a kidney transplant at one of the nation's top children's hospitals because of her mental disability is now being considered for the procedure, her father said Tuesday.

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Joseph Rivera said he and his wife, Chrissy, met with doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Friday and were told they are now willing to consider a transplant for their 3-year-old daughter, Amelia. The Stratford, N.J., family said doctors initially told them their daughter wasn't eligible for a transplant because of a mental disability.

"At this point, we're moving forward," Rivera said in an interview with The Associated Press. "They are allowing us at least to go through the process."

Rivera said his daughter will now have to go through screenings to see if she's a good transplant candidate. He and his wife will now be going in for tissue testing in March.

Related story: Serious issues in disabled girl transplant case

"We knew going in that it was a long process," Rivera said.

A CHOP spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the status of the case, which led to a public outcry after Chrissy Rivera wrote about it on her blog earlier this month.

The hospital previously has said it "does not disqualify potential transplant candidates on the basis of intellectual abilities." It has also said it is "deeply committed" to providing the best possible medical care for all children, including those with disabilities.

Amelia Rivera, who goes by the nickname Mia, was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a rare genetic defect that can cause physical and mental disabilities. She will need a transplant in six months to a year.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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