Our ambition is to provide services; not only at the right, time, place and location for our clients; but also at the right frequency and quality that will make a ‘real’ difference to the health and well-being of individuals.
Our Founder knows what help and support she needed at the time of her son’s accident and has consulted widely with other families and a range of health professionals. We have also read all the existing research undertaken by a range of professionals and have taken on board all the recommendations they have made. So our services have not only been developed on a clearly identified need and logical recommendations but also from a personal ‘living the nightmare’ perspective.
As such we feel we are in the unique position of providing ‘what people actually need’; as opposed to what people ‘think they need’. Our deeper understanding enables us to develop and deliver services that make a real and measurable difference to the people who need us.
We believe in ‘aiming higher and achieving more’ and we understand that the rehabilitation journey towards recovery is a ‘marathon’ and not a short ‘sprint’.
MATRIX Neurological has therefore been formed to enable these children and young people who have sustained an acquired brain injury, before the age of 19, to have immediate access upon discharge to high quality community-based services and support that is tailored specifically to their needs. This is currently not available nationally.They will continue to have access to support services from MATRIX Neurological until they are 25.
ABI is often referred to as a ‘hidden disability’, as survivors may have no physical evidence of their injury. Many of the impairments are not visible to others and it is only over time that the longer term effects may become apparent. The negative consequences of ABI can severely and permanently change a child’s life, as well as have a profound impact on the child’s family as a whole. (Source: Cerebra; Acquired brain injury in children and young people; 2010).
So what are the Impacts of an ABI?
For the child:
ABI can cause a complex range of long term disabilities such as communication problems and cognitive deficits; problems with executive functioning, sleep disturbance; physical impairments; epilepsy, depression and a range of behavioural problems. The more severe the ABI; the greater the impairments of neuro-behavioural functions.
Usually it is the cognitive, behavioural and personality deficits that produce the greatest disruption to their quality of life and ongoing life achievements. However, the long term effects are often not evident until children move into adolescence and adulthood. The true extent of these impairments may only become apparent when the child or adolescent returns to education and fails to meet expected developmental milestones.
For the family:
It is recognised that ABI affects both the injured individual and the family as a whole. Families experience a range of emotions such as panic and fear; shock and denial; anger; guilt, isolation but with hope for the future. Although they eventually adapt to the increased demands of the brain injured child, it is also common for parents of children with an ABI to experience:
• high levels of parental burden and stress
• psychological distress and reduced coping abilities
• deteriorating family relationships and family conflict which often contributes to marital breakdown
Additionally, where families also have low social resources or support, the impacts of ABI are further exacerbated.
MATRIX Neurological was primarily set up to work with children, young people and their families who are living with the effects of an acquired brain injury who are in need of help or support. We are aware of the difficulties faced by parents and other community professionals in understanding what has happened and the effects of brain injury on the child or young person. Our services therefore also aim to help them understand a new way of living and advocate for the on-going rehabilitation needs of the child or young person.
"Strength-based family intervention after pediatric ABI is essential. Parents need to be equipped with the skills to cope and advocate for the child."
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
"Healthy teens are better at identifying strategies to deal with barriers. KIDS WITH ABI'S CAN'T!"
"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."
"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
"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"
"When different organisations assess different aspects of a child's neuro-rehabilitation needs, everyone looks at things from a different perspective and highlight needs and conflicting priorities"
"Taking brain injured children home causes high stress for families. Disjointed services exacerbate family stress levels."
"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"
"We would like to see earlier identification and support for children with brain injuries to help them succeed in school."