Transition to Adulthood - Success Stories
|Paige Librandi and her father, Chris Librandi.|
For a young woman who does not speak, Paige Librandi sure has a lot to say! Among her many remarkable qualities is how she can carry on a conversation typical of any of her peers.
Ask Paige about her life and she immediately tells about her love of working with children.
“My life goal is to work with kids,” said Paige, who was eager to describe her academic and career activities. “I love working with kids, and especially kids with disabilities.”
Paige has forged several important connections around her home town of Milford that are giving her the experience she would need to work in a daycare. She has been a Sunday school volunteer at church daycare, for the Mary Taylor Methodist Church, for the past seven years. She completed an internship at the Gateway Community College daycare while attend Gateway Community College’s Step Forward Transition Program. She continues to attend GCC, where she is currently working on a degree in early childhood education. Best of all, she completed a paid internship for the East Shore Day Care in Milford, as part of the summer Youth Works Program. Lastly, she has helped out doing daycare with a friend where she got to work with two young boys with Down Syndrome.
“Whew, they kept me busy!,” she stated with an air of authority through her Proloquo2Go application on her iPad. Proloquo2Go is an augmentative and alternative communication application for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch screens for people who have difficulty speaking or who are unable to speak. With each childcare experience, Paige described how she is learning more about children and how she can find her own niche in the profession.
“[This work] helps me become more independent, [since I ] get to make quick decisions,” she said describing some of the many ways she has been able to practice being a trained childcare professional. She has been a student at Gateway for the past two years and is determined to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Even though Paige does not speak, she is technically savvy. She uses an iPad to type in messages that she then plays back through the voice application. She is also quick to text her friends and family on her many sophisticated electronic devices.
It is easy to see where Paige inherited her can-do attitude. Her father, Chris Librandi, said that he and his wife, Sandy, insisted that Paige go to the same neighborhood schools as Paige’s two sisters.
“She has been on the same track as if she didn’t have a disability,” said Chris, as he watched his daughter type out a message. “The [Milford Public Schools] has been a great partner and Paige has been able to go to the same schools as her sisters.”
Dressed in her favorite bright colors – and especially purple – Paige said that one of her biggest challenges is to not allow her disability to define her. “I had to face my fears,” she typed. “I had to learn to depend on and trust others.”
“And also have the chance to screw up!,” added her father, who described that he and his wife had to sometimes field phone calls from concerned neighbors about Paige traveling around the neighborhood on her own to visit friends when they moved into the neighborhood 10 years ago. “Paige has proven to be a responsible person and she is not afraid to ask for assistance. Mostly, we really want Paige to be afforded the dignity of taking reasonable risks.”
Paige seems well-suited to become a teacher. She is active in her community and continuously seeks out new opportunities to demonstrate her strengths. Mostly, she loves to learn and wants to use her experience to educate others.
“I want to be a role model for others, especially kids with disabilities.