Andreea: That welcome feeling
The very first day she arrived as a new client of ErinoakKids, what Andreea Ciubotariu noticed was the welcome feeling. The place didn’t feel like an institution, she recalls. “It felt like home. I felt comfortable, even though I was suddenly talking to doctors and wondering, what is this?”
Andreea was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. That was five years ago, when she was 12. She would need speech therapy and occupational therapy. For someone just embarking on her teen years, it meant a significant adjustment in her outlook.
“My outlook, from the time I started speech therapy, improved a lot. My talking improved; people noticed. As well, I became more comfortable moving around. My occupational therapist kept me organized in school and I learned how to advocate on my own behalf,” Andreea remembers.
Today, the poised and graceful 17-year-old student displays tremendous progress based on the help she received at ErinoakKids. She was anxious to attend the ErinoakKids Independent Living Program (ILP) as a prelude to embarking on her post-secondary education, after being a client at ErinoakKids in her teens.
The ILP helps youth ages 16 to 19 with physical or developmental disabilities develop living skills by living independently for two weeks in a supported environment.
Andreea says “I was really excited when I got in because I knew it was an opportunity to learn how to be independent and learn how to cook and do other things I’ll need when I go off to college. I want to live in residence and not always be dependent on my parents.” Andreea adds, “The greatest thing was learning to cook and plan meals and go grocery shopping. I liked all the outings – taking the buses. I had never before taken so many buses, ever, because I was scared. Even having to drive my scooter around, I was very uncomfortable because I used to crash into things. I got my scooter a year ago and I was afraid to drive it because I don’t want to hurt anybody.”
Yet as with her many friends in the 2011 ILP class, confidence builds as successes multiply – that’s the clear message from all the young adults who participate in the program. And it’s confidence that makes it possible to rise to challenges and overcome limitations.
Andreea plans to go to the Humber College Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant program - she toured the Humber campus as part of her Goal Day in this year’s ILP. “I got to learn about what I’m getting myself into. I got really prepared just in that last week,” Andreea remembers.
After the two-year program at Humber, Andreea plans to go to university to get her full accreditation as an occupational therapist.” And she credits the ErinoakKids Independent Living Program with helping her along her chosen path. Andreea notes, “Shy or loud, you’ll gain good experience using all the resources and workshops to progress towards what you want to do in life.”
Last Modified: 8/31/2012 2:30:46 PM