Our Founder and Chair Jan Rock founded this charity following her own son’s serious accident. In 2010 the 16 year old sustained serious multiple trauma injuries following a climbing accident; which included a severe traumatic brain injury.
Jan and her husband spent every day at Callum’s bedside in PICU and when he emerged from a medically induced coma – three and a half weeks later – he couldn’t see, talk, walk, move, sit up, or swallow. Medics told the family that ‘this is the Callum that they had got back’ but as his parents, they were determined that Callum would have a good recovery. Jan therefore has first-hand experience of child brain injury and the hidden complex ongoing effects that affect everyday life; which is what makes Matrix Neurological so unique. 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 problem solving and project management techniques, which very quickly delivered astonishing results that surprised even his doctors.
Ten months after his discharge from hospital Callum was back in school; however the teachers did not understand brain injury or his changed support needs; despite the guidance provided by Paediatric Consultants.
Jan also fought to gain the help and support Callum needed to continue to progress. Navigating her way around very disjointed public service provision was very difficult and extremely stressful; because community professionals didn’t understand brain injury either. However through campaigning and her sheer determination she obtained a direct payment from Middlesbrough Council. This meant she could source the right support for Callum that would continue 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 after his accident Callum was still making significant improvements and he completed a 2 year BTEC Extended Diploma at Middlesbrough College, where he gained the highest grade possible; triple Distinction Star (D* D* D*) and 420 UCAS Points. This earned him a place at University to undertake a BSc. Honours Degree in Physiotherapy. Here life wasn’t easy for Callum. He enjoyed the course and the independence, but sadly he endured bullying, regular discrimination and he was socially excluded to the extent that his health suffered – so he left. He is now enjoying life and academic success at another university closer to home.
Jan is now using 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 is now making an important and positive long term contribution to the recovery, safety, welfare and treatment of brain injured children and young people.
"Restoration of anatomical functions and relationships must be done within 2 months of brain injury"
"NHS clinicians struggle with what intervention to prioritise in paediatric neuro-rehabilitation due to limited clinical time and the complexity of needs. Children, clinicians, parents and schools all have different neuro-rehabilitation priorities"
"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we deliver 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."
"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."
"Strength-based family intervention after pediatric ABI is essential. Parents need to be equipped with the skills to cope and advocate for the child."
"Positive and coordinated neuro-rehab interventions for children and young people is proven to bring health improvements; improve independence; reduces the need for sheltered living; decreases vulnerability; decreases drop-out rates in schools; decreases youth offending"
"Brain development is complex and prolonged. Brain plasticity is influenced by a range of factors. Plasticity provides a base for neuro-rehab therapies and treatment"
"We would like to see earlier identification and support for children with brain injuries to help them succeed in school."