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Category Archives: Families first

Dear Professional…

27 Sep 2018

Dear Professional,

There are so many of you, I’m not sure where to begin.

Maybe you’re the Physiotherapist, OT or Speech and language therapist who arrange with each other when it is best to meet, then ask I comply with the time and date. Please know I’m grateful for your input, skills and knowledge. My son and our family benefit from your care but remember I have a diary too.

I am an equal partner in any discussion about my child.

Maybe you’re the receptionist (GP, pharmacy, school, artificial feed company) who have to handle my call when I’ve run out of my son’s medications, pads, syringes or milk.

Please forgive my forgetfulness, I have a lot on my plate.

Maybe you’re the teacher, learning support worker, school transport assistant, SENCO or visual impairment teacher who hears the brunt of my frustration and floods of tears. Please know I’m only focused on trying to get the best for my child; even if I don’t show it well. Help me see you what you think is best for my son too.

Maybe you’re the carer who walks in my home at 7am in the morning or 10pm at night to care for the son I want to mother alone. Please know, I appreciate you being here; your support and tender care. But really, I’d rather this was different. I wish you didn’t need to come.

It is hard watching you do what I want to do alone.

Maybe you’re the engineer or company representative who knocks on the door talking about equipment we need but I would rather we didn’t have. Please know I’m grateful you use your innovation and creativity to serve families like mine. But don’t forget,

I miss just popping to town for my son’s Christmas trike like everyone else.

Maybe you are the person who helps when the splint is broken, machine won’t stop beeping or hoist sling is too small. Maybe you’ve asked me to do this one little thing…

Please be kind, I’m doing my best but life just seems to keep on happening.

Maybe you’re the Specialist Nurse or Consultant who thinks,

‘Surely one appointment a year isn’t too much to ask.’

Please know I want us to communicate well and appreciate your valuable input.

It is never just one appointment, it is always one more appointment.

Maybe you’re the expert coming to give advice about a sleep system, specialist chair or wheelchair. Please remember this is my home and you are talking about the private life of my family. Please inspire me to see what you can see. Help me understand what can be done rather than walking out the door and leaving my good friend ‘guilt’ behind.

Dear professionals, you are an army of wonderful people who support families like mine. Often you go above and beyond what is expected. I don’t underestimate how fortunate we are to have such a wide variety of specialists supporting us

Each day I wake and try to stand tall amongst you all and yet I can feel lost.

I can quickly feel overwhelmed with yet another task on my to-do list.

In my life as a parent carer, I can feel so small.

With each diagnosis, therapy, appointment and piece of equipment, the authority I have in my world shrinks.

It is you who dictate my daily life and weekly routine.

Often, I am left feeling dwarfed with no real control.

But dear Professional I want to say thank you.

For listening, working, caring and trying. Thank you for so much but especially when;

  • You take the time to listen as well as speak
  • You look me straight in the eye and know my name
  • You see my child the way I do
  • You practice in a way which puts power back in my hands
  • You acknowledge the pressure and strain I face
  • You demonstrate your value and respect for who I am and what I do
  • You show me we are a team and all working towards the best for my child
  • You inspire me and trust me with knowledge and skills
  • You support me, especially when the tears are ragged and the day is hard

Thank you

 

Written by Rachel Wright for Simple Stuff Works.
Images by Nicola Parry Photography 

Rachel is a nurse, author and mum living in Essex with her husband and three sons. Her life changed the day her eldest son was born and introduced her to the world of severe disability and life-limiting epilepsy. As well as doing laundry and picking up Lego, she blogs at Born at the Right Time and published her memoir ‘The Skies I’m Under’. Rachel is passionate about sharing her family’s story to improve the care of complex families. Her speaking engagements include leading workshops with parents as well as training professionals.

Simple Stuff Works 10th Birthday

10 Jul 2018

2008 was epic

Usain Bolt broke the 100m world record at the Beijing Olympics, the world banking markets crashed and Barak Obama was elected President of the United States of America. It was a pivotal year in global history not least because Simple Stuff Works was born.

Ten years ago, in a town not far away, a family passionate about postural care resolved to work together to positively change the lives of people around the world. Focusing on humane and comfortable products, training and person-centred care, Simple Stuff Works Associates brought together decades of knowledge, experience and resources to take a stand against unnecessary destructive changes in body shape.

Simple Stuff Works 10th Birthday 

This summer, Simple Stuff Works celebrated its 10th Birthday in the same way it tackles everything else, with its family values at its core. Simple Stuff Works is proud to be a family business focused on improving the lives of families whose loved ones have limited movement. Family life is important to us and we know it is important to the people we support. It may be an aged loved one whose final years should be comfortable and rewarding, or protecting the body shape of an infant too young to know what the future might hold, or even a teenager with physical disabilities who, like everyone else, wants to make the most of their life. Each person is surrounded by families and carers who want the best for them, and so do we.

“Simple Stuff Works dreams of a worldwide end to body shape distortion through accredited training and comfortable, gentle products.”

Our birthday celebrations were met by the perfect summer afternoon. The sun was shining, the bunting hung and an ambitious water slide erected in the family garden. The scene was set for a fitting celebration.

The Simple Stuff Works ‘Goldsmith Grandparents’ hosted the day

Grandpa Goldsmith John Goldsmith is a passionate and hard-working man who has dedicated his life to creating incredible solutions to support individuals with complex healthcare needs. John is an animated man whose brain is always working towards the next new, inventive piece of equipment that might improve people’s lives.

Granny GoldsmithLiz Goldsmith has been a physiotherapist for 50 years, graduating in 1968. Her dedication to the people she supports has seen her develop the world’s first tool to measure body shape and body symmetry. She is determined to raise standards and ensure future generations don’t have to suffer the consequences of body shape distortion.

Fueled by both their parents’ passion and own personal experience of disability, Anna Waugh MD (left) and Sarah Clayton CEO (right) set up Simple Stuff Works Associates to continue to spread the word about body shape distortion. They wanted to create simple, affordable postural care solutions whilst inspiring families and healthcare professionals that they have the power to make a difference.

Simple Stuff Works Associates is a family run business and we wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of our wonderful family including our sisters Polly and Julie.

Polly’s husband, Russ, was a member of our team for a number of years before his death in 2016. Part of our passion for the work we do is to ensure that his hard work and legacy is never forgotten.

From our family to yours, thank you for being part of our journey.

Here’s to you, Simple Stuff Works Associates and the next 10 years.

The women behind Simple Stuff Works

24 Mar 2017

For many, Mother’s day brings a mix of emotions. Both men and women can sense the loss of their mother’s more acutely. Other’s are grieving being unable to parent children or that motherhood is not what they expected it to be. Meanwhile many of us women are pulling our hair out as we walk this complicated, exhausting and rewarding gauntlet called motherhood.

Simple Stuff Works is proud to be a family-run business, committed to putting families at the centre of its work. They proudly support campaigns like ‘Don’t call me Mum’ because they recognise how important it is to treat parents as partners and put families first.

Three generations of Simple Stuff Works Women

In both its past and present (and maybe its future), Simple Stuff Works has been pioneered by amazing women. So I asked Sarah Clayton (CEO) and Anna Waugh (MD) about their own mum and how being a parent has changed how they work.

How did your mum shape who you are today?

Sarah: My mum taught me that everyone is equal – but that systems and culture don’t always reflect that innate equality. Mum is the most courageous, authentic woman I know and I hope that I’m half as brave!

Anna: Our mum is the most caring, supportive and unstoppable woman. She taught us the value base which underpins Simple Stuff Works, one of respect, compassion and dignity. She is utterly relentless in her passion for postural care and her enthusiasm for her work has fed straight down to us. I hope we lead with the same passion and fire.

How has being a mum changed the way you work?

Sarah: I’m much more efficient! I can get more done in half an hour than I ever did in a full day before having children.  My kids also provide a great benchmark for my own internal quality control system.

Anna: Being a mum has changed the way I work in every way. When I am supporting families I always consider my own children and how I would want them to be supported.

How do you think your kids would describe you as a mum?

Sarah: I’m too busy… they often say that and that I should slow down (usually seconds before asking me to drive them somewhere they urgently need to be). They would probably say that I am bossy and that I nag them a lot… but I think they would also say that they feel loved and supported.

Anna: Funny, a bad cook and possibly a bit shouty at times! They’d say I was caring, kind and good fun too (I hope!)  

What is your greatest challenge as a mum?

Sarah: Remembering where they all are – genuinely. Keeping track of them, remembering to drop them off and pick them up again is a military operation in our house. The last thing I do at night is a roll call in my head… 

Anna: As a single mum and running a family business, I battle continually with guilt. I feel guilty if I have to work away, or if my kids have to be looked after by family. I worry that I spread myself too thinly. I’m trying my hardest to be present when I am with them and not be distracted by my emails or my phone ringing… but it can be a real challenge.

What is the most rewarding part of being a mum?

Sarah: Seeing them growing up into confident and happy young people. I wish that I could package up experience, knowledge and self-esteem in a tablet and make them swallow it… but then I realise that they are getting on fine and that fills me with pride.

Anna: Seeing their gorgeous faces when I get home, watching them grow and change, seeing their personalities develop. I am so proud of both of my children and I am so proud that, as a threesome, we achieve so much on a daily basis. Everything I do is driven by me wanting to provide them with the best start in life and I think that they have made me a better person.

What is the one thing you would like to say to the mum’s who come in contact with Simple Stuff Works?

Sarah: A big thank you for trusting us to support you. We know that your children, no matter how old they become, are the most precious thing on the planet – we will do all we can to help you to help them.

Anna: I would like any mum who finds themselves needing our support to know that we are absolutely dedicated to getting it right. We will support every family with compassion, dignity and respect. We are here to answer any questions that people may have as, at the end of the day, we’re here to support your family.

See, I told you they’re awesome.

There are so many challenges to being a mum and so many reasons to raise a glass and thank the women in our lives who shape and nurture us.

 Happy Mother’s Day

from everyone at Simple Stuff Works

 

Rachel is a nurse, writer and mum living in Essex with her husband and three sons. Her life changed the day her eldest son was born and introduced her to the world of severe disability and life-limiting epilepsy. As well as doing laundry and picking up Lego, she blogs at Born at the Right Time and recently published her memoir ‘The Skies I’m Under’. Rachel is passionate about sharing her family’s story to improve the care of complex families. Her speaking engagements include leading parent workshops as well as training professionals.