At National Star, we passionately believe that it’s what you can do and not what you can’t that makes a difference.
That’s because we see people with disabilities achieve their impossible every single day – like learning to communicate or becoming more independent – through determination and a brilliant ‘can do’ attitude.
Jennifer’s parents explain how their daughter would never have found her voice if she hadn’t gone to a specialist college like National Star.
“One of the most important moments of a parent’s life is when their child speaks. It signals the first step towards independence as they find a voice to express their thoughts and desires.
We had to wait longer than many parents – 21 years – for Jennifer to find her voice. I can’t describe how we felt the first time our daughter spoke using her electronic communicator. It was a moment we had dreamed about and hoped for. Without the support of the specialist team at National Star and Jennifer’s determination it may never have happened.
Jennifer, our youngest daughter, has always been a fighter. She was 19 months old when she had a massive epileptic seizure which left her blind and in a coma. We were told that she would not survive and that the outlook was very bleak.
But Jennifer is a determined person. Those first four years were tough. Jennifer did not sleep more than 90 minutes at a time, had to be fed via a tube through her nose and coped with further serious seizures. She stopped breathing more than once.
She overcame every obstacle. Her sight returned. She worked hard on her mobility. She went to a specialist school and loved being with other young people. When we heard about National Star and the great work it does we decided it would be the best place for Jennifer. It wasn’t easy. It took us five years to secure the funding but the struggle was worth it.
In the past she communicated through gestures but when she saw other National Star students using communicators she decided she too wanted her own voice.
National Star’s Speech and Language Therapy team developed a communication system she could use. It is a tablet programmed with a huge range of sentences and words. Jennifer makes the tablet speak by touching different icons. For the first time she was able to say ‘Happy Mother’s Day, Mum.’ It was a surprise and a moving moment for us – and a great moment of achievement for Jennifer.
Jennifer would never have found her voice if she hadn’t gone to a specialist college like National Star where a team of experts had the specialist knowledge and time to work with her. Her next challenge is learning to drive an electric wheelchair. The ability to get around independently will be another important milestone. What she is learning now will change her life and give her more independence and more control. We can’t thank them enough and we are so proud of Jennifer.
National Star help people achieve so much because of their brilliantly positive approach to tackling challenges. They believe that concentrating on what you can do and not what you can’t makes all the difference. Please help National Star support other people with disabilities to achieve their own dreams and aspirations.
A gift of £25 could help give someone a voice by giving them access to vital communication equipment and software.
£50 could pay for an hour’s use of the aquatic therapy pool and provide therapy sessions to help improve movement and ease pain.
We have seen how much Jennifer has benefited from the expert support provided by the National Star team. By supporting National Star, you can help more people with disabilities like Jennifer have the opportunities they deserve.”