At 18-months old Jessica was diagnosed with a condition called Lissencephaly which is a smooth brain. This can cause epilepsy, seizures, mobility issues, breathing difficulties among other things. As well as Lissencephaly, Jessica has a variety of other conditions.
Now 15-years old, Jessica and her family have been coming to Little Havens since 2015. As well as using Little Havens for respite breaks, Jessica and her family also attend other activities and access other services that the charity offers.
One of the activities the family enjoys doing together is swimming, which they had always enjoyed doing together. After Jessica had surgery it became harder to use public swimming pools as the family needed to use a hoist to get Jessica in and out of the water. Jessica also attends is Sensory Storytime, which help bring stories to life using sensory play including music and touch.
Linda, Jessica’s Mum, says “Little Havens is Jessica’ place – it is safe for her to go and be herself and not have mum, dad and sisters – its’ for her. It’s given her a place to be a teenager. Everyone knows Jessica. She is one of a kind – the most happy, lively girl you could ever meet. She loves life and is so full of beans. Yes, she has so many complex needs, disabilities, conditions that affect her, but she’s just got this smile. It’s so infectious, it lights up a room. She’s been a whirlwind, but she’s like sunshine at the same time – just that smile and that giggle – they’re the best and I think Little Havens is part of the reason for them.
“Little Havens hasn’t only given Jessica her life back, it has also given us life back as a family – it has given us a place where we have the opportunity to do normal things, a place where we don’t have to worry if Jessica has a seizure or worry about where we are going to go if we have to change her et cetera.
“Without Little Havens I don’t’ know what we would do. Jessica hasn’t got any overnight care – we don’t have anyone in the family who could care for her overnight. But thanks to Little Havens we can be fairer with our time with the girls and we can also just be us – we get to be a couple when we want to be. So, we can have date night or an evening at home just being us – Little Havens has given us our lives as a family, as parents and as a couple back.”
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Published in 2019
Little Havens is Jessica’ place – it is safe for her to go and be herself and not have mum, dad and sisters – its’ for her. It’s given her a place to be a teenager.