Resident: Claire Toman
House: Lundquist

My name is Claire Toman. I am currently 21 years old and am finishing my AA degree at TCC this fall. I will be transferring to FSU in the Spring to study social science. As many typical college students, I love movies, Broadway musicals and television shows. I also like to read and cook. And, here’s a game changer: I have Down syndrome. What is Down syndrome? I don’t completely understand the science behind Down syndrome. Maybe no one really does? What I do know is that most people have 46 chromosomes, but I rock an extra 47th chromosome. What that means for me is that I am short, and I have small eyes, a flat nose, and little ears. Sometimes, I go slower when I should go faster. Also, it’s a little tougher for me to learn things, because it takes me a little longer to process information.

Since I have lived at SSF, I have learned much more than I could have than in a standard classroom setting. Learning life skills doesn’t happen by writing notes or making calculations or creating flashcards. At Lundquist, I have appreciated the friendships I have made with the other housemates, especially my own roommates. I have loved making and sharing food. I especially love being independent!

SSF has allowed me to do so many things. I know that if I had continued living with my parents, but still attended college classes, it would feel more like high school all over again. I can have the college life I have always dreamed of having, which isn’t possible for most other people who have Down syndrome. I want to serve as an example for other people that attending college and living on your own can be okay. Honestly, I don’t even know any people with Down syndrome who live away from home. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this at all, without SSF and Lundquist. This is why SSF has made such a profound impact on my life.