Alexys Tirado: Delving into One Mind at a Time


Pace graduate Alexys Tirado’s recollection of her experience at the Bedford Road School is what propelled her towards her passion of helping children. Photo provided by Alexis Tirado.

James Miranda , Sports Editor

Pace graduate Alexys Tirado entered college an applied psychology major, but didn’t know why she chose it.

Tirado was always enamored by how the mind works and wanted to understand how children arrive to their conclusions; much like her younger brother, Matt.

“When [Matt] was born, he’d just come from left field with the stuff he said,” the Bronx native said. “Like what in your brain said, ‘hey, this makes sense I’m going to say it.’ Like [I’d ask], ‘what’s two plus two; [he’d say] peanut butter.’ I’m like, ‘what, how, where,’ but that’s what interested me.”

Working with children was another thing she loved, so she volunteered as a recess monitor at the Bedford Road School in Pleasantville for the Setters Leadership House. Two-and-two was put together at that moment, however.

A teacher at Bedford Road told Tirado about occupational therapy—treatment that promotes what does one want to do, not what’s wrong with them—and showed her a classroom where the therapy was being practiced.

“It was an office and the door was closed because they were having a session in there, and it was a child in a swing,” said Tirado, who volunteered at the school. “I don’t know for some reason I saw that and it instantly clicked, but I was dumb and young and I didn’t really look too much into it.”

Occupational therapy doesn’t necessarily imply that people who go through it have to have mental illnesses or are on a psychological spectrum, but in Tirado’s experiences, it has.

The 22-year-old currently works as a teacher’s assistant helping children who show symptoms of mental illness or need extra support developmentally at an early intervention center in Valhalla.

“My classroom is the lowest functioning group of kids,” said Tirado, who graduated in 2016. “[Lowest functioning meaning] they don’t know their names. It’s a lot of dedication and not getting frustrated with these kids. When you work with kids [like this], that’s what happens. They’re not doing it because they’re malicious, they’re doing it because they can’t properly express how they’re feeling.”

Her experience with helping children lead to the realization of problems with social norms of mental illnesses.

Tirado aided her old sorority, Omega Phi Beta’s, “Shatter the Stigma” event on Tues., Nov. 1 to help differentiate the actuality and social stigma of metal illnesses.

“When you generalize [mental illnesses], what happens is you get over that,” Tirado said. “It’s something we all do and what that does is it completely normalizes anxiety, it completely normalizes all these mental illnesses people go through and people struggle with their whole life.”

Working with children may not be lucrative in any way, but the struggle to figure out how children think is worth it for her.

“I always joke and say I don’t like people that’s why I work with kids,” Tirado said. “[Helping children is] what I’m passionate about and I really don’t care what people tell me because at the end of the day, I’d rather be struggling in a job I absolutely love than hate going to work every day.”