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My name is Kristy Baumer and I am 23 years old. I think I am very lucky to have been born into my family. From the beginning, I have had the most loving family and friends.
I started my education as an infant at ACDS, when my teachers and parents helped me to learn, grow and develop so that I could succeed in the future. It was fairly obvious from the start that I was ‘special’ in many ways. I was special because I had Down syndrome.

After graduating from ACDS, I went to Old Mill Road School in Merrick. I was put in a regular class with an aide. At Old Mill, we were taught that everyone was important and special. I was just one of the girls, no one made fun of me. Everyone treated me with kindness and respect. In Old Mill, I sang in the chorus and became a Girl Scout and my life was pretty typical.

My next school was Merrick Avenue Middle School. Here too, I found that I was accepted for who I was. I had many friends and did well in my classes. When I finally went to Calhoun High School, I pretty much knew everyone, so it was an easy change. I was in both regular classes and special ed classes. It was here that I really came into myself. I was able to participate in many after school activities, which I loved. I was involved in Drama Club, Cheerleading and I even helped start the “Café” which is still there today. I also attended BOCES part time where I learned business skills. And on graduation day at Calhoun, I was asked by the principal to give a speech! After school, each day, I also helped my neighbor at her Daycare center. I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to work with kids.

After graduation from high school, I have been able to use the skills I was taught in order to achieve my goals. I now work one day a week in an office and the rest of my days are filled with doing what I love best: working with kids at the place that started it all for me….ACDS. I even get to see 5 month old nephew, Logan, who attends the daycare program there.

ACDS Personal Stories

I am very happy with my life and I only see it getting better and better. I have always been very social and have some really great friends. People have often referred to me as “The Mayor of Merrick”. Who knows, maybe some day I will run for office. As far as I am concerned, the sky is the limit! I can do almost anything I set out to do.

I probably wouldn’t have been this capable with the love and support of my family, teachers and friends. So, I would like to THANK each and every one of them for helping me become the person I am today.

Kristy Baumer

If you have a personal story about ACDS that you would like to share, please email

Laurie Schaefer
lschaefer@acds.org

With your support, we can continue to assist children and adults with Down syndrome, Autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.
Your contribution can make a difference to a child and family, just like those families in the stories above.

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