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The Story of Map & Compass

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Well, this is not at all the whole story...

...because that is a lifetime of twists and turns on the road that led me here, to Map & Compass. This is just a brief glimpse behind the curtain: an attempt for me to try to explain why I approach all of this with eyes that see more than a practice to build or appointments to keep. Map & Compass is, in its very essence, a longing for my own experience, difficult but beautiful in it's own way, as a mother of 2 children with a range of neurodiversity and physiological challenges to have not been in vain. I have a specific kind of passion powering this endeavour and it’s one I think that I will find many of you have as well: we want our children to have the opportunity to live as they were designed to live in the time they have on this earth. And, I don’t want to find out somewhere too far down the track -that I could have done something -that there was something out there backed by real science, research, and clinical study that I could have access to that would help my children. The truth is, I did find out what I know now awfully late. It was long after they had genuinely suffered and experienced volumes of strife and frustration. I will admit that regret is a terrible pill to swallow, and yet it is exactly because of the profound regret I have fought that I have relentlessly tracked down, sought after, and tenaciously not let go until I found what I was looking for... But, I did learn some key things along the way. I found exceptional therapists, clinicians, educators, advice, and support that somehow, some way made its way to us. Our family unlocked some treasure that meant that both of our children made progress that stunned their doctors, teachers, and family. I had a front-row seat to neuro-plasticity (the basis of the entire field of neuro-science) at work in incredible ways, and I didn’t even understand then what it was when I was watching it happen. With my background in child development and education, there was just something about the experience we had as a family that naturally made me curious, and I wasn’t able to let it go even though my career was in the faith and charity sector for 3 decades. In that time, I worked with many mothers and families who found themselves in difficult situations economically or situationally. Over and over again, I would find myself telling the stories of my children and what they were overcoming and how we were doing it. But I would also tell them of my own struggles, including the tears and prayers over my children that they would someday be free of their overwhelming challenges. At times those parents and I would find ourselves in between crying and laughing together as we took on how best to navigate the confusing landscape of SEN, “statements”, NHS consultants, and parent/teacher conferences. We felt lost in a maze of when to go private, waiting for diagnoses, managing bullies (!), and trying to find a way through mental health issues along the way. I began to recognise a particular language between parents like my husband and me. We had children who were different, but they were also amazing. And each one of us wanted to understand how best to help them. I never wanted my children to lose the parts of them that were the GIFTS of their neurodiversity. Now THAT is a whole story too (and one I would love to explore with you if that is something you don’t yet understand and would like to create a new “lens” to see those gifts in your own child.) But I wanted them to not be held back by anything that was possible to be changed in a way that made life easier and more fulfilling for them. My children’s stories are their own and for them to tell, but I can tell you that each of their stories is book material... complete with laughter and tears, grief and celebration. The truth is that all of your children’s stories are book material too. And I know it. Each child is a treasure beyond words. That is why I want so very much to be able to create pathways of real clarity and hope for families.

The photo above was taken of our two children just before their most significant breakthroughs began. I couldn’t have known then the strides that they would make…

Or the prognoses that they would overturn…

And the brilliant adults that they would become! (ok now I’m bragging. At the end of the day I will always be their adoring mother ☺️)

It was all uphill at that point, and they fought hard to get to where they are today.

But here I am now, looking back on the road that has led me here to Map & Compass.

There is so much more to tell, but I wanted to tell you enough for us to begin to feel comfortable in sharing “that” language together. The language that only parents who have been there understand.

I am now a Neuro-Developmental and Sound Therapist and Specialist Educator, but most of all, I am a mother who has been there and I speak and understand your "language."

I called my practice Map & Compass because I was a mother who felt lost and needed to know the way to go and how to get there. It would be my honour to be a support and guide for you as you set your course towards HOPE.

-- Tori Sheppard

Coleraine, Northern Ireland

August 2023

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Because it truly seemed the best place to start, this first blog post is merely a copy of "The Story" section on the website. But there are many more stories to tell and information about neuro-developmental and sound therapy and how these programmes can help people who are facing all sorts of challenges. If you would like to subscribe you will receive an email each time I post and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Or if this has just made you a bit curious and you'd love to find out more about what Map & Compass may be able to offer, you can book a FREE 30 minute consultation here.

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1 Comment

Tara Banks
Tara Banks
Aug 30, 2023

I am so proud of you and all you’ve done to get to this place. Your children are your legacy and crown! They are brilliant and so are you!

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