While our program operates on a typical school calendar, some students may leave us a bit early, depending on a number of factors. Amelia, who moved to Beaver Farm in September 2019, is one such student who found herself moving from our transition program in the middle of the year. Right before we began winter break, we bid adieu to a young woman who we got to know and who got the opportunity to know herself a little better during her time here. This is the first of a two-part interview that took place before she left. Next week, we’ll talk a little more about the work she did while she was here and the friendships that she made, as well as plans for the future.
Sam: Can you tell me a little about when you came to Beaver Farm and how you felt when you started?
Amelia: I came to Beaver Farm in September 2019.
I wanted to come the Beaver Farm because I had a lot of different things that were holding me back from being who I really am. I did address a lot of those areas and have improved so much.
When I first came, it was really hard for me to be around people with all different abilities and people who weren’t able to talk but now I learned that some of those people are people that I’ve gotten to know and I really enjoy hanging out with them. Ellie was someone who really helped me grow like that.
I felt like I had to be a certain way but also sometimes people would look at me differently if they knew what my diagnosis was. My mom worked hard to make my childhood just like anyone else’s childhood and I may have done stuff differently, but that’s just what I needed then. I have a parent that makes sure I’m able to participate in anything and everything like other kids.
Sam: What about living at Beaver Farm, what was that like?
Amelia: Living away from home is something that is very different than a lot of school, especially public schools, and I really think even though the first couple of months was hard for me, I think it really helped me to be able to see “hey, you can be living away from home and it’s still going to be okay and nothing bad is going to happen” because I’d never not lived at home and away from my parents. That was one of the hardest things for me. And that’s something that I feel like is not an opportunity that most people get. I think that was good because before I came here, I said that I was never going to leave home but now after being here for 3 years especially this last year, I’ve had so many friends and family members that message me and call and leave a message. I am really enjoying being here so I want to focus on here.
Sam: Do you think your experience living here will help you in the future?
Amelia: Maybe that will be a hard transition when I leave, but I don’t think it will be as hard as when I first came, because now that I’ve experienced living away from home, it’s going to be easier because I know that it’s okay. I really have enjoyed getting to know people from all different countries and I have made some really good connections and some really good connections that I’ll probably have for life or at least a really long time. I’ve met some people from countries where I never thought I’d want to visit, but now maybe I want to.