Stella’s daughter Elise has been living at David Lewis for just over seven years. Due to her diagnosis of Dravet Syndrome it had become difficult to accommodate Elise, nicknamed Lou, at the local special needs school where she had a placement. Lou wasn’t engaged or motivated and sometimes spent the whole day at school asleep or having lots of low level seizure activity.
Over time Lou became more isolated and withdrawn. Stella became increasingly aware of the need to move her daughter and get her the support she needed and reached out to the Dravet community.
“David Lewis was a name that just kept coming up”, said Stella. “We visited and were immediately blown away by the facilities on offer. Whilst the thought of Lou living away from home was so daunting, we knew it was the right thing to do for her, and that David Lewis would give her the care she needed”.
Lou moved in to a single occupancy flat adjacent on the main site a year or so later. Stella commented, “I was heartbroken on her first night away. It was such a big step. But within such a short time she was so much calmer. Being in that flat was the making of her, she really thrived in that environment.”
At the same time Lou received specialist support from the medical and behavioural teams at David Lewis. The medical team trialled new medications to get her seizures under control. The behavioural team worked to unpick her challenging behaviour and put strategies in place that were followed by her care team.
“It’s been like a virtuous circle”, says Stella, “When her seizures were better controlled her behaviour improved. Lou is great fun and David Lewis has allowed that part of her to shine. She likes nothing more than to be chilling out in her flat with her care worker listening to her favourite Status Quo songs! She prefers her own company but David Lewis staff have helped her to come out of her shell. And nowadays she’s trying new things like swimming and walking, these are activities that would have been unthinkable some years ago”.
“Ultimately the environment at David Lewis has been the making of Lou. The set up and privacy of the site gives independence to people with quite complex needs. The staff have worked tirelessly for Lou to unlock her potential. I’m convinced she’s in the best possible place.”