SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 26, 2013

Focused on independence

Program helps young adults with intellectual disabilities

DANVERS — When Emily Korkaris’ daughter, Christina Kalafatis, grew out of services from the public schools at age 22, there were few places for a young woman with cognitive disabilities to live on the North Shore.

Korkaris said the concern was that if Christina moved home, she would lose the skills she had acquired to be independent. And with family and friends in Danvers, it didn’t make sense for her to attend a program on Cape Cod.

“If you ask Christina, she would tell you: ‘I’m a Danvers girl,’” Korkaris said.

Two years ago, Korkaris, with the help of her other two daughters, Angelina and Eleni Kalafatis, founded a residential program for those with intellectual disabilities called LITEhouse Inc., with LITE short for Learning Independence Through Experiences.

The Oak Street home, which can hold up to five people, is aimed at fostering a small community of young adults with similar disabilities. The residents have independence, the ability to grab a cup of coffee or pizza at downtown shops, with the addition of a full-time, live-in staff member to provide transportation or other forms of support. The program’s nonprofit status is pending with the state.

Christina attended Danvers schools until middle school in 2004. Then, when the system could no longer accommodate her needs, the schools placed her in an out-of-district program. Later, the family found a program on Cape Cod called Riverview School, a residential school for young adults with learning or cognitive disabilities. The school goes up to age 22.

As Christina, who spent four years at Riverview, entered the adult world, the family found that there were no programs for her that matched her level of ability and independence.

“Just because they are 22 and are done with school doesn’t mean they have to stop learning,” Korkaris said. “They can keep the momentum going.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Comments Tracker