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Conquering epilepsy

Killingly woman beating odds of misunderstood disease
Norwich Bulletin

Elizabeth LaFamme-Baker.jpgTen years ago, if someone had asked Elizabeth LaFlamme-Baker where she’d be today, she probably would have started to cry.

LaFlamme-Baker, 25, a paraprofessional at Moosup Elementary School who lives in Rogers, has epilepsy. Though she has struggled with the condition her whole life, she said she finally feels as though she’s getting ahead in life.

“I love my job, and things are great,” LaFlamme-Baker said. “I don’t have to struggle anymore.”

Teased in school for the twitching it produced, LaFlamme-Baker said her epilepsy made it difficult for her to concentrate in class. When she graduated from Killingly High School in 2000, she couldn’t see herself going on in school.

Seven years later, LaFlamme-Baker holds an associate degree in science from Quinebaug Valley Community College and is a part-time honors student at Northeastern University in Boston, where she studies American sign language interpreting. She got married last year and recently was recognized as a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda, a national leadership and honors organization. Things are good.


In June, she will receive a certificate in deaf studies and is scheduled to graduate from Northeastern in 2009.

“When I applied to Northeastern, I did it half as a joke,” LaFlamme-Baker said. “I never thought I’d get in. But now I drive there three days a week.”

LaFlamme-Baker appears to have triumphed over her condition. But, according to Linda Wallace, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut, that’s not often the case. Too many people with epilepsy are never given the chance to prosper, Wallace said.

“We would like to hear about cases like Elizabeth more often than we do,” she said. “A good number of people with epilepsy are unemployed, and the group as a whole is underemployed, because of a lot of the myths about the illness. Part of what we do is working to dispel those myths and misconceptions.” Continue


  1. epileptictoo

    i too have suffered for years w epilepsy it’s a tough problem to cope with. society doesn’t see a handicap so they don’t accept a problem. well i can not remember all too well so therefore i write however i don’t want to have anyone know i can’t remember or i have a problem so i try hard to remember. it’s all too difficult to explain the court system is the biggest offender of all. i have legal issues due to Mary & Joe security guards at the Mohegan Sun Casino came to my home and assaulted me with weapons then went to Mary’s home and got her daughter and her friend to come to my apt and assault me with weapons. hitting me in the head, face, Joe kicked me in the face while i was down on the ground, the Norwich police botched the police report, the victims advocacy didn’t report the crime correctly to the prosecutors, the prosecutors didn’t put paperwork together with the daughter’s incident the fact i have a disability did’t get raised one time i defended myself the best i could i had laringitis, couldn’t yell for help, the judge doesn’t have patience the cops surrounded me leaving me panicked, fear striken, now the 4 got off and the courts here in Norwich want to prosecute me witha nollie. NO WAY! its infuriating and the epilepsy has me frustrated i can not pull all the facts together as it is too chaotic, too scattered, my brain cant handle the overload, my lawyer yells commands at me as he is running out the court house, doesn’t accept my phone calls. i am suffering i cant’ sit in front of the computer too long due to teh epilepsy, to locate help, or to concentrate on the several letters i wrote to attorney Blumenthol for help. EPILEPSY is taking my life slowly but surly over the years it is tougher and tougher to maintain the hiding maybe it’s the undue stressers.

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