A year ago, Rebecca was 17 stone, on high medication, didn’t have friends, was unable to communicate or read or write and was very unhappy.
But she has been able to transform her life for the better, thanks to the right kind of care.
In December 2017 Rebecca, who has a learning disability, joined a family through Shared Lives South West and in just over a year has made great progress living with her carer Karen Kelly-Marwick in Torbay.
She is having speech and language improvement sessions each week and reading lessons each Saturday.
Rebecca, who’s 20, has worked so hard to improve her speech and language with the help of her carer, who has used technology to help her excel in ways she never thought possible. Rebecca now has a mobile phone, tablet and Alexa which have helped massively with spelling and reading as well as day-to-day life (such as telling her the weather).
“We’re so proud of her, even though I have taught young people with specialist educational needs for the past 20 years, this past year with Rebecca has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Karen, Rebecca’s carer.
With new found confidence, Rebecca is now enjoying work experience at Crealy Animal Farm in Devon.
Rebecca’s achievements have been life changing
In a year she has lost five stone, walks the dog independently, is having weekly swimming lessons and is living a healthier lifestyle all round.
She is also a lot more independent and can now catch the bus independently.
Thanks to Karen’s support she has also reduced her medication and is now almost completely off all of her drugs. She has learnt to cook, change her own bedding, go shopping, clean and is now doing well with personal hygiene and can get her own money from an ATM machine.
Her speech is now understood, she has more confidence and skills and is doing extremely well at her specialist college (Oakwood Court College in Dawlish, Devon) which she goes to 5 days a week studying: functional skills, communication, employability skills, healthy living and dependency skills.
Her learning goes hand in hand with what Karen is reinforcing and teaching her at home.
She is now a ‘buddy’ and helps other students at the college.
Rebecca has overcome challenges
Rebecca has been super positive throughout. She has got frustrated but kept going and is now seeing the rewards.
“Rebecca is like a different person. She is smiling, happy and is so much more independent, she should be very proud of herself,” says her Shared Lives Coordinator Fiona Glanvill.
Dawn Gillingwater, Communication Officer at Shared Lives South West says: “There is no doubt about it, Rebecca has really transformed her life and has done so well. She is like a different person to the one I met not long after she moved in with Karen.”
How does it feel to be a Learning Disability and Autism Leader?
“I’m happy to be on the Leaders’ List. I am very proud.”
“I feel that Rebecca story shows how people with learning disabilities can learn new skills. Rebecca has the strength to continue to make progress.” – Leaders’ List 2019 Judge