Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie travelled with Norwood, and her mum Judith to Israel in 2017, where successfully cycling the last day of Norwood’s North to South cycle challenge into Eilat. After riding 100km with Judith on a specially adapted Pino bike, Stephanie is feeling very proud of her achievement. And rightly so. This is because Stephanie has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and has complex needs, including being visually impaired. Although Stephanie requires one-to-one support for everything, her disabilities do not stop her leading an independent and busy life, thanks to Norwood.

Since February 2017, Stephanie has been living in Norwood’s new supported living, state-of-the-art Lyonsdown ‘smart home’, which was officially opened by Norwood’s joint Presidents Lord and Lady Mendelsohn CBE in June 2017.

The pioneering assistive technology installed in the house gives Stephanie and her current two housemates, Joe and Melanie, the freedom to live a rich life independently, while staying safe. Stephanie can control her environment – for example, open and close her bedroom door – and have fun and learn in the house’s own sensory room. She chooses what food she would like to eat and is accompanied to the local supermarket as part of the weekly shopping. She is also learning to use Eye Gaze technology, which will further increase her ability to make choices and do things for herself.

Living with her peers, with whom she can access a wide range of activities within the community, and a team who is able to meet her needs, are giving Stephanie the kind of opportunities that any person her age might enjoy. She likes going swimming, to the hairdressers and beauty salon, out for dinner, and to the cinema and theatre. As her mum, Judith, says: “Living independently is giving Stephanie the confidence to let her sense of humour and mischievous side come to the fore.”

The charity has been there for Stephanie and her family for over 21 years. Judith says: “The early years were really traumatic but Norwood was our lifeline. It helped us keep a balance and has allowed us to share our time with Stephanie and our two sons, Robert and Daniel. We have used a range of services, including a support group for me; play schemes and weekend clubs for Steph; overnight and weekend breaks at Buckets and Spades (Norwood’s short-breaks facility), and a host of other services. We have also been very involved with the Transitions team, to get us where we are today.”

However, Norwood’s support extends far beyond today. It will continue to be there for Stephanie; providing her with a home for life, the support to thrive, and a secure and positive future to look forward to.

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