Sisterly love triumphs over anxiety

Donjeta (right) with her sister Fitore and her young niece

A young woman with learning difficulties is enjoying a happier lifestyle thanks to support from her sister and a specialist behaviour psychologist who teamed up to help her be better understood.


Donjeta Kaliquani, who is non-verbal, was displaying behaviour that challenges at the care service where she lives in Mitcham, Surrey, so her sister Fitore Kaliquani and behavioural expert Francesca Gerald worked closely with her and the support team at Rosebank Lodge to turn things around.


After about six months of dedicated efforts, Donjeta (27) is now calmer and settling down well in her new home, which is run by care provider Regard.


Deputy service manager Victoria Rosiji believes the key to success has been their close co-operation with Fitore, who lives in nearby Croydon.


Victoria said: “Fitore was able to give us vital information about the best way to respond to Donjeta when she becomes agitated.


“She told us how her sister likes someone to sing to her when she is anxious, and to draw her pictures in the form of a social story to help her understand her emotions.


“She also explained how Donjeta loves it when someone reads to her, and we found this can really help calm her down if she is feeling agitated.”


The team at Rosebank Lodge have also put together ‘communication cards’ which Donjeta points to if there is something she would like to do, such as going into the sensory room or looking at a book.


Added Victoria: “This means she can ask us to read to her or for us to get her sister on the phone so she can hear her voice. It may seem small but it makes a huge difference.


“She is now much more involved in the running of the house and learning new skills such as drawing up menus, grocery shopping, and getting involved with preparing the evening meal.


Victoria’s team were coached by Francesca Gerald from Regard’s Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) service in how to promote proactive and supportive management of Donjeta’s behaviours, using the model ‘Proact-scipr-UK’ which underpins all Regard’s PBS work. 


Mother-of-one Fitore, said she was delighted that Donjeta had settled down to life at Rosebank Lodge.


“Because of her learning disability and being non-verbal my sister often feels frustrated and agitated when she can’t express her needs.


“Working closely with support staff at Rosebank to help them understand how to communicate her needs is making a big difference.


“She is really beginning to enjoy life now and I feel confident that our coming together as a ‘team’ has really made a huge difference to Donjeta’s life.”


Rosebank is a residential home supporting young adults with learning disabilities who may also have associated complex behavioural needs, epilepsy and or autism


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