One of the wonderful things about working with people we support is the extraordinary breakthroughs they make, both big and small. Here we share the heart-warming story of Diane Danby, supported  in Kingsway, County Durham...

Diane is always smiling and has a wicked sense of humour. Tragically, a horrendous traffic accident at the age of nine left her with a brain injury and very limited speech. She can sometimes follow and mimic what is said, making very small sounds, and you can just about hear the words she is speaking.

Diane lived at home until she reached her early thirties, when her parents were no longer able to care for her, and for the past ten years she has been supported around the clock by United Response. Staff at Kingsway have always actively encouraged Diane to speak, and they talk to her all the time.

The words she  always wanted to hear

“One thing Diane’s mother Olwyn always wanted her to say was the word ‘mum’, which she never said; she just used to laugh when her mum said it,” explains team manager Dawn Baker.

It was her key worker Jean Sutherland who finally managed to get Diane to say what her mum had waited for so many years to hear. "I just used to say the word over and over to Diane," says Jean. "The key was repetition. I would constantly say, 'Your mum is coming, what are you going to say to her?' and then one day, on a visit home, Diane whispered 'Hello mam.'"

"It was like a miracle"

“I just cried as I was so delighted,” says mum Olwyn. “She now says it whenever we see each other. I’d lost hope of her ever saying those words, so it really was like a miracle.”

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