James is 20 years old and has a condition called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and drug resistant epilepsy. As a result, James has profound and multiple learning difficulties which have left him wheelchair dependent, non-verbal and requiring 24/7 care.

When James was 16 he had the opportunity to use an Eye Gaze – a computer that allows him to look at a screen and the computer will then speak the word he looks at. James is now able to communicate, he is still learning this technology, but his “voice” can now be heard.

In 2018 James joined one of our youth group – the Loud Mouths based in Yorkshire. His mum tells us more:

“Joining KIDS Loud Mouths has proved to be one of the best things James has ever done. James was the only person at first who was non-verbal and using a communication device, and I was nervous about how he would fit in. My fears though, were completely unfounded. The young people in the group accepted James with open arms and he immediately became one of the gang.

The young people all have different disabilities, but Laura, the coordinator, makes sure that everyone is included, and that everyone’s views are heard. One of James’ favourite things he does with the group is attend Youth Parliament. He’s taken part in workshops with young people from all across the city on important topics including homelessness and knife crime as well as voting in new young MPs and the Youth Mayor. These are all things we never dreamed he would be doing.

Recently James was on film for a Neurodisability conference. James was able to make a speech that he could action with just one look at his Eye Gaze. I attended the conference and was so proud of how he came across; how he was able to communicate to professionals what it feels like to be a young adult living with disability.

James is experiencing things he probably would never have done without being a part of this group. The pleasure he gets from being part of this fantastic group of young people is immense. He has friends he wouldn’t have had and this social contact has brought his communication on enormously, he would never really join in a conversation - now he has the confidence to do just that!

James has grown as a person since starting the Loud Mouths I have seen him grow in confidence and not be afraid to join in. He is treated as a 20-year-old man, and not talked down to because he has a learning disability. When I looked for things for him to attend after he left fulltime education at 19, there was very limited availability, so I’m delighted that he can continue with Loud Mouths up to age 25 giving him more time to establish his independence and what he wants to do with his life.  

I look forward to watching him to continue to grow as a person and enjoy all KIDS has to offer him.“    

Find out more about our Loud Mouth youth group