by Rachel Hafner
Allison Restemayer is a typical 18-year old who is smart, funny, creative, likes to go shopping, and loves spending time with family and friends. She graduated from Sheyenne High School in West Fargo this past spring, and like her classmates is preparing for her adult life and career.
To prepare for her future, Allison will be attending West Fargo Transition Academy starting this fall.
This is a program for students with disabilities, ages 18-21, who have completed their high school requirements and are ready to transition to community-based programs. Placement and individualized programming is determined by the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) and IEP team. West Fargo Transition Academy will collaborate with Allison, her family, her school team, and adult service agencies to create a future-plan for community living, employment, recreation, and general community participation.
The reason that Allison requires specialized support and training as she prepares for adulthood is because she has Mucopolysaccharidosis 1 (MPS 1), a progressive, debilitating, and often life-threatening diseased caused by a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme a-L-iduronidase. Deficit a-L-iduronidase activity prevents lysosomes from fully degrading certain glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that are important constituents of the extracellular matrix, joint fluid, and connective tissue throughout the body. While Allison requires significant medical interventions and mobility support, she continues to have a positive outlook on life and aspires to do great things with her future.
Most recently, Allison was inspired to start her own business, after visiting The Gifted Bean Coffee House in Bismarck. The Gifted Bean is owned and operated by a family who wanted future employment for their son with Down syndrome. Allison’s takeaway from seeing The Gifted Bean, was that she too could be an entrepreneur. So, she stared her own business, “Ally.”
With the support of her job coach and her mom, who she calls her biggest supporter and the person who helps her follow her dreams, Allison makes jewelry utilizing a Cricut Machine. She has been selling her jewelry at private events and through social media. And starting in September, she will be selling her earring line at True Colors, a high-end women’s consignment boutique, in Grand Forks.
Allison says that having her own business is important to her because she has a job that she loves where she can make her own money. She hopes that as her business grows, she will be able to help other people find work as well. Allison strives every day to be nice to everyone she meets and to live her best life.