Still smiling: Jayde Stannard with her mother Marian Boyle and sister Rubie at the Community Rehabilitation Service at Angliss Hospital.
Picture: Rob Carew.
GIGGLING with her younger sister and playing a game on an iPad, Jayde Stannard is a picture of content.
But behind the 11-year-old’s cheeky grin lies an unhappy experience
In November 2008, Jayde fell ill with what was thought to be encephalitis – a swelling of the brain often caused by infections.
A second opinion revealed that Jayde had in fact developed a brain disease known as DESC/FIRES, a rare epilepsy syndrome.
After having surgery, Jayde started rehabilitation in 2009 through the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service. Later, she was transferred to the VPRS clinic at Angliss Hospital in Upper Ferntree Gully to make travel easier for the Kilsyth family.
The VPRS provides specialist rehabilitation for children and adolescents aged up to 18 who have suffered an injury, had surgical intervention, or functional impairment.
Needing a lot of rehabilitation, Jayde was unable to return to a normal schooling routine for several months.
“It took her until term three to be able to mentally cope with a full day,” her mother Marian Boyle said.
Jayde’s rehabilitation team ensured all staff at the school were aware of her situation through regular meetings and having epilepsy experts talk about her condition and how to manage risks. The VPRS also educates and counsels families.
“When you have a normal child and then something happens to that child and it’s not the same child, it’s very hard,” Ms Boyle said.
Co-ordinator Renata Winkler said that although Jayde no longer needed rehabilitation, the VPRS would continue to be involved with the family and hold regular assessments. “We touch base with them [patients] on and off across their paediatric life,” Ms Winkler said.
The team at VPRS is also helping Ms Boyle find a suitable high school for Jayde.
Ms Boyle is grateful for all the help Jayde has been given – “we wouldn’t be where we are today without the rehab team”.
Ms Boyle is proud of Jayde’s courage and says she has made a solid recovery. “We’re very lucky with how well she’s come back.”
Although Ms Boyle isn’t sure her daughter will ever completely be her old self, Jayde disagrees. “I’m pretty sure I’ll get back to 100 per cent one day,” she says with a nod and a smile.
This story was written for the Knox Weekly newspaper in July 2012 during an internship.