Matrix Neurological has come a very long way since becoming a registered charity on 16 January 2015 and we are happy to share our biggest achievement to date. Our Chair was honoured to be invited to be one of the opening speakers at the worlds’ first International Paediatric Brain Injury Conference that was held in Liverpool on 16th – 18th September 2015. The conference was organised by the International Paediatric Brain Injury Society (IPBIS) and was supported by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
The International Paediatric Brain Injury Society is an international organisation that
“collaborates to disseminate knowledge by developing and sharing best practices, mentoring colleagues, advancing research and promoting prevention for the benefit of children, adolescents and young adults with ABI and their families.”
The Liverpool conference was the first global event that brought together all those involved in the identification, treatment and prevention of brain injury of children, adolescents, and young adults and was attended by 400 delegates and leading professionals from around the world.
The theme of the conference was Supporting Young People and Their Families to Maximise Good Outcomes and Quality of Life. The scientific aim of the event was to explore current and innovative treatments, rehabilitation programmes, support mechanisms, and ways to improve the lives and potential of these young people and their families. The conference served as a platform for the development of Guidelines for ABI in Children and Adolescents for presentation to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) UNESCO, particularly focusing on the concept of ABI as a chronic disease process.
This event gave Matrix Neurological an international platform to promote our innovative work. Our Founder talked about her personal experiences of traumatic brain injury following her son’s climbing accident five years ago. She was also able to talk about the work of our new and innovative charity, which generated much interest and excitement from those delegates. Our website has since seen a massive increase in ‘hits’ from different countries around the world.
Some of the key messages from the keynote speakers arising from existing global best practice were the impacts of an acquired brain injury on the lives of children and young people, but even more importantly the potential for a good recovery post-injury.
Three key issues were continuously raised during the three day conference:
a) the importance of ongoing intensive neuro-rehab being essential for children and young people
b) the importance of family resilience and good parenting skills for ensuring good outcomes
c) the need to rethink how neuro-rehab services are provided for children and young people
All consistently justified our service delivery model, so you can see how we generated much excitement and interest from the conference delegates; including IPBIS, the international organisers of the conference. It transpired that we are building on well-established international best practice for paediatric neuro-rehabilitation, as well as addressing some of the key issues that are arising as a result.
"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"
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
"Case management for children and young people post acquired brain injury is 'pivotal' to successful outcomes and must be local"
"Thousands of children and young people living in the UK today without the help and support that can make a huge difference to their lives"
"Children and young people have poor social competence post brain injury due to reduced cognition, executive functions, and emotional control. As a result they are twice as likely to have mental health issues in the future"
"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"
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
"Rehabilitation interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children and their families if delivered in the familiar home environment and applied to everyday situations"
"When someone has a brain injury, early access to local, specialist rehabilitation is crucial to ensure the maximum recovery and make significant savings to the state in health costs"
"Strength-based family intervention after pediatric ABI is essential. Parents need to be equipped with the skills to cope and advocate for the child."