Our Founder and Chair Jan Rock founded this charity following her own son’s serious accident. In 2010 the 16 year old sustained multiple trauma injuries following a climbing accident; which included a severe traumatic brain injury.
When Callum emerged from a medically induced coma – three and a half weeks later – he couldn’t see, talk, walk, move, or swallow. Medics told the family that this ‘the Callum that they had got back’. Jan therefore has first-hand experience of child brain injury and the complex ongoing effects that influence everyday life; which is what makes Matrix Neurological so unique. Unlike some other children’s charities, we have actually ‘lived’ the nightmare!
On being discharged from hospital ten weeks later, Jan stopped working to concentrate on her son’s neurological rehabilitation as nothing else existed to effectively meet his complex needs and support his on-going recovery. Determined to help her son and following extensive research she devised her own recovery programme based on sound project management techniques, which very quickly delivered astonishing results that surprised everyone including his doctors.
Jan subsequently fought to gain the help and support Callum needed to continue to progress. Navigating her way around very disjointed public service provision was extremely difficult and very stressful; however through campaigning and her sheer determination she was eventually able to obtain a package of support from Middlesbrough Council to help facilitate his ongoing recovery.
By June 2012 Callum had made such significant progress he was selected to be an Olympic Torchbearer in the Torchbearers Relay.
Four years later Callum continues to make significant improvements and has just completed an BTEC Extended Diploma at Middlesbrough College, where he gained the highest grade possible; triple Distinction Star (D* D* D*) which equates to 420 UCAS Points. It is now about 5 years post-injury and Callum has now been awarded a place at York St John University in York to undertake a BSc. Honours Degree Course in Physiotherapy.
Jan now hopes to use her experiences and aspirations for Callum’s ongoing recovery to help other children, young people and their parents and carers in their long road to recovery following an acquired brain injury. MATRIX will make an important and long term contribution to the safety, welfare and treatment of children and young people.
"Different 'experts' involved in pediatric neuro-rehabilitation come from different organisational cultures which causes conflict and has a negative effect on the outcomes for the child."
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we delivery neuro-rehab services to children and young people"
"Families and professionals spend time focusing on the negative aspects of ABI. Families need to be properly supported as 'resilience' is key to delivering successful outcomes for children and young people."
"Taking brain injured children home causes high stress for families. Disjointed services exacerbate family stress levels."
"New parenting support intervention showed how parenting style is related to executive dysfunction in children and young people post brain injury. With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
"Too often children and young people with ABI are discharged from hospital without specialist brain support that they and their families need to overcome lifelong challenges"
"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
"Parent-supported interventions following pediatric ABI bring reductions to the cost to society"
"Strength-based family intervention after pediatric ABI is essential. Parents need to be equipped with the skills to cope and advocate for the child."
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury. Stressful experiences alter brain development of a child, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"