Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

David Griffiths

Category: Action and activities

Speak to your family on Facetime, find new hobbies and just be happy!

It’s not worse. Just different.

They say that grief follows a predictable pattern. Starting from denial, people experience anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

There’s little doubt that this is a familiar pattern for many people across the globe right now. Lockdowns and restrictions on normal life have hit hard and we all need to ask ourselves where we’ve got to and how we can personally reach the acceptance stage.

Sometimes we all need a little inspiration. And if David can get there so, for sure, can you. This is David’s story.

Before lockdown, David was physically and socially very active. He was out every day at jump jam, the gym, fit for life or pedal power. He’d lost 8 stone in 4 years. He would enjoy spending evenings with his mum and days with his nan.

Lockdown hit David hard. He became extremely anxious about his family, about national food security and, having received a shielding letter, about his own health. David, who has a diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome and learning disability, stopped going out. At all.

But David sees himself very positively and knows he is amazing. And it is this inner fire that has made all the difference.

OK, so he may not be attending all his old activities but he is now able to clean his own home with minimal support, video call his mum, join online talent shows and cookery competitions and eat more healthily than ever before. A new garden trampoline and vegetable patch provide healthy exercise – not to mention potatoes to share with his housemates.

What David has lost from his daily diary he has more than made up for in learning life skills, in developing that priceless knowledge that he can now look after his own wellbeing.

And although he can no longer visit his family, he is able to have socially-distanced visits. After some uncertainty, he has understood how to keep himself and his family safe and in doing so, David has remained in control of his choices. His favourite saying is, “it’ll be ok we are safe” and if anyone is feeling a bit down, David’s advice is to, “speak to your family on Facetime, find new hobbies and just be happy!”

David has kept his support team going with his bright outlook and big smile and, with his unique rendition of ‘Wash Your Hands’ to the tune of ‘Baby Shark’ neither they, nor you, will ever be unhygienic again!

What’s more, David has loads to look forward to now. He’s waiting to start a new job as a Dimensions Quality Checker “I can’t wait to earn my own money” he grins.

So thank you, David. Thank you for your optimism and your strength. Thank you for reminding the rest of us that we must all find the inner strength to reach ‘acceptance’ and maybe learn a few new things about ourselves along the way. Isn’t that the real essence of Leadership?

How does it feel to win?

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