A working brain can gain, working in partnership to maximise your potential

Prior to my brain injury I was a partner in a busy south London solicitors’ practice.  In December 2007 I suffered a severe brain hemorrhage which required major surgery and left me hospitalised for 5 months.

On discharge from hospital I was left with a significant cognitive impairment which made everyday life very challenging and placed a huge burden on those responsible for my care.

Derek was instrumental in that process and particularly in providing me with advice and support in my return to work.  I am deeply indebted to him for the professionalism and expertise he brought to my situation, and I am firmly of the view that without the assistance of Derek I would not now be in a position to return to my business.

I would have no hesitation in recommending other clients to Derek as his expertise and patience have undoubtedly played a major part in my returning to my ‘old life’ and in particular returning to work.

In short I am indebted to Derek for helping me to get my life back.

Ex client

 

I was a consultant doctor in a major NHS hospital with a very busy job and a happy life. I was running a three-day national meeting in 2005, when I had a sudden brain injury which left me hospitalised for four months. The result was devastating and catastrophic. My husband was very supportive all through then and now, but I had to come to terms with the loss of my career, and, as I thought, loss of almost everything that mattered to me. I had a physical disability with a right-sided severe weakness and loss of sight, which meant I couldn’t perform or read scans. The loss of effective speech meant that I couldn’t even talk, make jokes, and tell stories, let alone teach and give medical talks.

In 2006 I spent nine months at The London Brain Injury Vocational Centre, REHAB (UK) where I met Derek, who was a Job Coach and Tutor. I knew I couldn’t return to my former job, but what could I do instead? Derek was always kind, enthusiastic and patient, even though my frustrations sometimes showed. While my speech and cognitive skills were rebuilt slowly, I was able to show Derek that my writing and computer skills were still relatively unimpaired.  He enabled me to improve them with increased training in computer learning. He was then responsible for job placement, and, as I love art but had no formal training, he set up a job placement for a voluntary job for me at Tate. I started there in 2007. I am still there three years on.

I still have concerns like neuropathic pain, but they matter less to me than working productively in a voluntary job which I love. I am indebted to Derek for the return of a productive life.

 Ex-doctor and ex-client 

Derek has a unique style of coaching engaging both student and their capabilities to work together. He gently evokes your thoughts and feelings towards your chosen path.

When delivering his sessions his high standards of teaching encourages you to perform to the best of your ability, challenging areas that you may previously have thought about but dare not entertain. Derek enable and empower you to connect with these negative thoughts that can sometimes be the block that’s been holding you back due to lack of knowledge, confidence, opportunity, skills and support.

All these skills and qualities rolled into his sessions and shared with each student enable you to take a firm grip on your chosen career path confidently.

His ability to take that extra step and go beyond the thoughts and ideas that you have shared with him makes him such an effective coach.

The realisation of this process happens when you find yourself attending his sessions and feeling good about yourself having received a compliment or acknowledgement for the extra work/effort that you have put in mainly brought about by him taking you one step further than your normal way of thinking. In return this allows you to develop, sometimes at a faster pace than anticipated.

Derek’s wit, humour and honest approachable style create a relaxing atmosphere from which he shares his knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for you to achieve your goal.

It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with a job coach that you feel is working towards you taking your future in your own hands.

Armed with this support and experience I successfully entered employment at a pace and level that I was comfortable with.

 HERMINE - Ex clients

 

Fantastic website and Congratulations on putting your valuable talents and knowledge into ShareandResolve

It's absolutely vital that a person post brain injury has some sort of organisation that they can relate to and that has experience and knowledge of the struggles. I'm really glad that you guys have set up your service ”
 
Please do keep in touch.

Helen ex client

 

Derek has helped me a number of times most recently after when he heard been made redundant.

I had a brain haemorrhage just before Christmas 2001 when I was 48. After language therapy I was referred to The London Brain Injury Vocational Centre, REHAB (UK). I was adamant that I would return to work.  Unfortunately some of my managers and HR were not too encouraging. Derek helped me review my skills and how they have been effected and looked at how I could return to my old job but not necessarily as my ‘old self’’. I used to manage a team and write and present technical reports to internal and external public meetings for a local authority. I thought I would have to give up much of the parts of the work I enjoyed but whilst my skills were rebuilt Derek helped me to identify how things could be changed to help me get back. As a Job Coach he worked with the Occupational Health team and helped design a return to work programme initially a few hours a day and building up to four days in the office and one working at home.

 At work my team and my boss were concerned about how they should deal with me on my return and Derek helped prepare me a presentation about my illness and my dysphasia and how it affects me. Having a ‘hidden disability’ some colleagues were sceptic about my illness but when I showed them a copy of my MRI scan the picture helped them appreciate the damage, my acquired brain injury, and Derek was able to answer the many questions that they had been waiting to ask. Even the sceptics then started to understand how my difficulties affected me and how I could still work effectively and they could help.

 Derek worked with Occupational Health at work and twice helped approach to Access to Work. Initially it was to arrange transport for me, cabs to and from work, and then for a part-time support worker so I could focus my energy on the parts of work I could best ‘add value’. Derek trained and monitored my support worker from colour coding of files, prioritising my incoming work and helping me prepare for projects and meetings. My employers were quite surprised and pleased with my improvement, performance and productivity.

 When I was made redundant over a year ago when he heard about this he contacted me. After a long phone call he arranged to meet and review my skills especially my transferable skills that could be use in other jobs. As many will know, being in your 50’s, with a disability and with a recession growing being disabled searching for jobs is daunting. However, by reviewing my skills and abilities I was able to find new career paths in the private sector, the third sector such as charities, and other public and civil service roles. I revised my CV and my approach to interviews and whilst that ideal job has not come along yet I am getting closer and keep a log of my applications and interviews so I can keep improving my opportunities.

 My family and I have a lot to thank Derek for and we are more than happy to recommend the services he and Share and Resolve can provide.

Barry (happy ex-client)

 

“I first met Derek in 1999 when I was a client at the London Brain Injury Vocational Centre. Looking back at my time there his sessions combined with the cognitive strategies and planning were the most beneficial and constructive for me. His manner was a positive blend of understanding, practicality and business like thinking. I took away with me not only solutions for that period of my life but an approach and habits that are just as relevant today in helping me to achieve. 

The placement he arranged for me at the Tate’s training and development department was also pertinent. With it came walks around the gallery. Something rekindled in me, having studied Fine Art and Design several years earlier. 

Today I work as a freelance artist and recently created the concept design for a sensory garden for children with autism, including three large sculptures for the children to interact with. It was a complex project. Using acquired habits, to deal with work relate difficulties, led to the fulfilment of seeing this project completed in 2010 ”

 Ex Client

 

Returning to work following a traumatic event in my life was quite daunting. Although I felt confident that I would be able to return, I was aware that there were a number of issues that were unknown, such as the effect of my memory when carrying out my work tasks. With this in mind I felt hugely supported by the service of some one with specialised knowledge in the area of head injury, who worked with me to liaise with my employer and provided me with the support that I needed. 

Roger Ex client


Since my husband’'s cardiac event and subsequent brain injury I felt one of my roles was to ensure that he was in the hands of the right people appropriate to his stage of rehabilitation to maximise his recovery. It has been a truly challenging time, all of which was leading to Rogers return to work. The support given to Roger both leading up to and when returning to work was exactly that.  At that time, the support which we were given was our lifeline and I truly do not know what we would have done without it.

Wife of the above client

I worked with Mr Wheele whilst he was undertaking the role of Job Coach for Rehab UK, working primarily with people who had sustained a brain injury.  The focus of the work was to get people back into employment.

I was working at the time as a HR Manager for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and my role involved increasing the opportunities for local disabled people to access work at the Trust.

Mr Wheele and I worked together to build suitable work placements within the Trust and allocate the placements appropriately.

During the time I had the pleasure of working with Mr Wheele I found him both highly professional and very personable.  The work we did together achieved the objectives set by the Trust and my employers were very happy with the partnership.

I wish Mr Wheele well in his chosen venture and would be happy to discuss any of the information provided in this statement.

Sue Employer

Our son Gareth, aged 23, had a brain haemorrhage in 2000, resulting in complete LHS paralysis, and requiring a wheelchair for mobility. There was also restricted vision.

Following medical treatment and “medical rehab”, in the period 2000 to 2005, there was then a period of being registered in a range of Government and private employment agencies. None of these agencies really understood employment issues relative to young people who had received a major stroke.

Gareth was indeed fortunate to finally be referred to Rehab (UK) and was attending the London Bridge base from September 2007 to July 2008.

Firstly, attending this centre involved Gareth having to travel on both a bus and train each day to attend the centre and these alone provided an excellent start to living independently and provide Gareth with the confidence that this was all possible!

Derek and the team of specialist staff were able to fully appreciate Gareth’s strengths and weaknesses. Derek was at all times a “realist” but yet was able to create the environment for Gareth to motivate himself and identify those work experiences and further training necessary. In fact, Derek identified that Gareth had natural creative writing skills and proposed a course that would be suitable. Gareth is still, in April 2010, attending this course and gaining considerable enjoyment, satisfaction and confidence. Derek proposed the concept of voluntary work and until recently Gareth was working at a local hospital.

 Gareth is now returning to a local job agency for further options of employment but is now doing so with confidence in “understanding himself”. The “compensation measures” proposed by Derek and his team will have lasting impact in Gareth’s future career. Gareth is now living in his own 1 bed bungalow and is another example of independent living – a situation that his parents /carers would not have envisaged several years ago!

Derek has also been able to “educate” Gareth’s parents in the processes necessary (and likely timescales!!) for employment rehabilitation and this has enabled a closer bond, with Gareth, in providing support only “when necessary”.

Thank you Derek   Mike and Myfanwy

(Gareth’s parents /carers)

 

Sadly I suffered I major brain haemorrhage at “level 4”, which is the highest level of damage possible.  Having spent seven months in three hospitals my husband and myself, received excellent reports of the work done by rehab UK. (The London Brain Injury Vocational Centre)

 I was very keen to return to my profession as a teacher.  Derek Wheele gave me good guidance and support. Derek advised that it would be less stressful for me if I returned to work with less tasks and responsibilities, until we could establish how the effects of my brain injury had affected my ability to work in a school environment.

 Derek met with the Head Master to gain approval and to negotiate a structure agreement for my graduated return.

 Derek also met with the staff with whom I was likely to work with and as I understand it was completely open with them about what they could expect from working with me. In addition to offering his full support to all he gave them strategies that would help all of us deal with any issues that may have arisen.

 Derek gave me his understanding of the stresses that I was experiencing, continued with positive reassurances and gave honest feedback to all of my questions. .Derek was exceptionally helpful with my family difficulties

 I have no reservations in recommending Mr. Wheele to others in similar unfortunate situations.

 My thanks to Derek for all the work that he has done on my behalf

 Sue (ex client)

 

In early 2006 my wife suffered a major brain hemorrhage and spent seven months in three different hospitals.

 My wife was accepted on to the, then London Brain Injury Vocational programme (Rehab UK) in 2007

 During my wife’s attendance on this programme she was put under the guidance of Derek Wheele. My wife was keen to return to her chosen teaching profession. Derek was instrumental in arranging for her to return in a voluntary position, under his guidance and support, to see if she was able to carry out all the tasks required for a possible return to work.

 Derek talked to the headmaster and gained his confidence and agreement for my wife to return to the school that she worked at prior to her brain hemorrhage.

 Derek also arranged to meet with the rest of the staff and explained the value of having my wife returning to work. At the same time he was quite realistic about the potential problems as a result of the brain injury but gave assurance that he would be there to provide support and deal with any issues that may have arisen.

 Derek Wheele provided us with a far greater understanding of the situation and gave us a calm assured and positive response to all of our questions

 I have no reservations in recommending Mr Wheele to others in similar situations. He has been totally professional and was an immense help to us

John ( Husband to ex client )

 

I suffered a head injury in a motorcycle accident in May 2005. It quickly became clear that returning to work would be very difficult indeed. In fact I thought that it would be impossible. I was given the chance to attend Rehab UK in London during 2007/8 where Derek worked as a Job Coach/ Keyworker and tutor. I learned many useful ways to cope with difficulties that I have as a result of head injury.

Derek managed to find a voluntary work placement suitable for my needs. It was a good means of building job skills whilst helping to decrease fatigue and improve self-esteem. Ultimately it led me to find paid employment. The time spent working voluntarily enabled me to find my strengths and weaknesses and more importantly to put into practice strategies  I had been taught in order to cope with any problems I experienced.

I always received very good help and advice from Derek regarding the difficulties that I faced either at work or at home. Derek was hugely instrumental in helping me to adjust to being what I would describe as “the new me”.

Chris ex Client

 

I suffered a brain injury in a car crash and was fortunate to meet Derek in 2008 when he became my Key worker, Tutor and Job Coach.

I found Derek to be fantastic at his job and an amazing person.

Derek applied different strategies to help each client to come to terms with the effects of their brain injury. He encouraged and supported them in addressing the problems that were barriers to them moving forward in their life.

Derek has a unique coaching style when engaging with clients in recognizing their realistic capabilities and helps them look at the potential opportunities that are open to them.

 Derek was influential in arranging for me to return to work to test out and try my skills in a voluntary position. With his support and guidance, I was able to carry out all the tasks required for a possible return to work.

 I feel that it would be a great privilege to work with Derek and would willingly recommend him to any one wanting to return to work, he provides every possible way to help. His great sense of humour, honesty and enthusiasm helps clients achieve there goal.

 

Ex Client