Ceri has child care on the brain

THERE S never a dull moment for charity worker Ceri Collins. Ceri, who lives in Sollershott East in Letchworth GC and works from home, is a regional family co-ordinator for Brainwave, a charity which supports children with developmental delay, brain injur

THERE'S never a dull moment for charity worker Ceri Collins.

Ceri, who lives in Sollershott East in Letchworth GC and works from home, is a regional family co-ordinator for Brainwave, a charity which supports children with developmental delay, brain injuries, genetic conditions, or chromosome abnormalities such as Down's syndrome.

She has worked for Brainwave for about 18 months, covers five counties including Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, and has 32 children currently on her caseload.

She said: "It's a wonderful job because my role is similar to a social worker, without the politics and with much more fun!"


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Brainwave has two centres, in Somerset and Essex, and families who have a child with a disability are invited to visit the centre's team of therapists.

An individually tailored programme of developmental, physical and cognitive exercises is designed for each child, and parents are taught how to carry out the half-hour programme at home with their child every day.

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Ceri said: "Initially I get out and meet the families before they go to Brainwave. Once families return home I make regular home visits as well as contact them by telephone and email.

"Sometimes it can be just for a chat and other times I can be of more use by passing on relevant and useful information.

"I had mistakenly thought that people with disabilities automatically got the help, funding and equipment they need.

''Sadly this is not always the case. It's quite surprising - I honestly thought it just all fell into place.

"It's a completely different world to what I imagined. They seem to have to fight all the time for financial help and support.

"The thing I don't like about my job is seeing families struggle, especially financially. Even though there are grants available, it's not always enough.

"To have that extra strain on top of looking after your child is quite hard really.

"Meeting the families and the children in the best bit, particularly watching the children progress and improve.

"I recently visited a family six weeks after they had started their programme.

"The mum pulled me into the house enthusiastically, saying 'quick come and see!' She then showed me how her son's tiny legs had started to develop calf and thigh muscles and that he was sitting unaided.

"She recently complained how he had started to roll and was getting into all sorts of mischief. Never has a mum been so delighted to say her son was being naughty!"

She added: "I also enjoy organising family events. What families who have a child with a disability find hard is going out, with their other children, without worrying about other people's attitudes.

"We have had drumming events when a company comes in and brings all sorts of things and gets everybody to join in.

"I make sure the families don't have to pay anything because there's so much extra cost for families with disabilities."

She continued: "I also produce a regional quarterly newsletter, put Brainwave families in touch with each other and organise fun days and fundraising events throughout the year.

"Since being with Brainwave I've met so many lovely families and shared in the excitement of seeing their child's progress.

"Nothing can possibly be better than seeing a child crawl, or walk.

"The parents are so very proud and it's wonderful being part of the whole process.

"I would be delighted to hear from families, professionals and anyone wishing to know more about the Brainwave programme.

"I also have to raise money and so appeal to local businesses for help.

"You can contact me on 0560 2699005, mobile 07894 424312 or email at cericollins@brainwave. org.uk

"We also have a website: www.brainwave.org.uk

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