Margaret's single goal was to get the bureaucracies of the day to adopt her natural physiological development rationale into the health (covering 0-5 year olds) and education systems. Sadly, bureacracies appear to be typically resistant to new ideas. That is the reason why Margaret established ANSUA and then Toddler Kindy GymbaROO in her usual style "Well if they will not do anything then I will jolly well do it myself". So she did. The outcome is a network of outstanding specialists in the natural neuro-physiological development of children, who being vocational franchisees rather than employees, have effectively invested their future into personally developing their knowledge and ability to help children and parents in their area of expertise. Many franchisees have been specialising in this area for over 20 years of practical day to day implementation, and have evolved into Mini Marg's, with a powerful capacity to contribute signficantly to their local community. The knowledge these franchisees carry and their ability to use it to help children is Margaret's living legacy.
Her dying wish (one of many we have to admit) is that the bureacracies of the day identify the value of the network she has created, identify its unique methodology for knowledge retention and building (vocational franchisees) and be able to harness this knowledge to provide guidance and support in health and educational institutions across the land.
Today empirical science is very much behind the underlying rationale, and she was no longer regarded as a witch and her methodologies as witchcraft (as vested interests claimed at a senate enquiry into her work in the 70's!). That, and the fact that after 30 years many thousands of young Australians and their parents attend GymbaROO and KindyROO with growth consistently around 5-15% per annum, means that sooner or later bureacracies will have to sit up and take note. The sooner the better for our children's sake. Hopefully this tribute site will continue to provide positive pressure on them to discontinue resisting change.
|Dr Jane Williams, Professor Frances Page Glascoe, and Margaret Sasse 2008|
Margaret passed away on the 2nd of May 2009 in Calvary Wakefield hospital in Adelaide resulting from complications following open heart surgery to address a dissected Aorta. Margaret was up to her usual self, attending The Third Biennial Conference of the Australian Association of Maternal, Child and Family Health Nurses in Adelaide as the major sponsor, enjoying their company and had just joined the line dance at the dinner function when the initial symptoms (fainting and losing colour) presented. After recovering from the initial symptoms in hospital later that evening (actually 2am in the morning) and in typical form she sat up in bed demanding her cowboy hat (from the dinner) and her laptop so she could continue reviewing her new book 'Smart Start' as "hospitals are such boring places". Doctors initially gave her the all clear, however persisted with ensuring there was no underlying cause and discovered she had undergone an Aortic dissociation, which untreated would lead to a burst Aorta within 12-36 hours. Immediate open heart surgery was undertaken. Seven hours later they finished, and 48 hours later this 80 year old amazed the doctors by walking around and acting as if fully recovered, even starting to plan her replacement artery (on discovery that it only would last 15 years). Unfortunately 10 days later and just before she was planning to return to Melbourne (after the time we would normally expect to occur) she suffered a rather bad stroke (probably a clot resulting from the operation). Once again she attacked the recovery process with vigour and stamina regaining use of her legs and much of her left side. Unfortunately she could not recover her swallow reflex quickly enough and this led to aspiration pneumonia and her eventual passing. Once again when the inevitable was clear to her, she pushed on autographing copies of her new book "one each for children and grandchildren" until she could write no more. Then she demanded her body let her go and join her Lord and her sisters, but even it put up a fight (which the family blames on her vitamin C focus), as per usual her will won through and she slid away peacefully in the early morning of the 2nd of May 2009.
Margaret leaves a legacy for all the children of the world that will stand out even amongst her immediate ancestors (her late uncle founded the GPA (General Practitioners Association), her late aunt was one of the first female medical practitioners trained in Australia at the age of 50 — and her father was the remarkable Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes, to mention a few).
Margaret was the pioneer implementer of the natural development process, whereby natural brain development could be directly related to naturally repeating physiological activity. She identified that children who missed out stages that occurred in the 0-5 year age timeframe, or had minimal time in those stages, and who later had reading and learning difficulties could be recovered by repeating the missed stages. Such was her success with children with reading and learning difficulties from primary to secondary school ages that she helped others to emulate her methodologies, and then decided that rather than continuing to address the symptoms she should address the core issues. The core issue being that modern life means many parents are not aware of the natural developmental stages their babies from birth to five years old need to pass through to maximize their learning potential. Thus GymbaROO was born; the main objective of which is parent education, the secondary objective of which is to provide a highly specific physiologically stimulating environment to aid children's physiological development, and the third objective was for it to be an enjoyable experience for the parents and the children.
Margaret never ceased continuing her research and sharing her findings with the world. She (together with her sister, Doctor Mary Louise Sheil) created the (now) five DVD series, The Importance of Being an Infant, One, Two, Three and Four, which takes parents, educators and professionals through the key physiological developmental stages and relates them to their future skills. These have been kept updated with latest research information. She also has produced three books plus a learning to read book. Margaret's latest book was 'Smart Start'.
Her last year was great for Margaret. She finally received international recognition by a world authority Professor Frances Glascoe who has also come on board as a GymbaROO Patron. GymbaROO continues to gather acceptance and more centres both locally and internationally as it begins its 30th year, and Margaret’s daughter Dr Jane Williams continues to increase her profile and prominence in GymbaROO’s area of expertise excellence. Margaret was looking forward to a productive retirement and planning her next book ‘How to teach your child to read before they go to school’. Margaret has left much for us all to continue, she was an active Christian and would look to those whom she has left behind to celebrate her life and her passing.
Margaret started her foray into solving the issue of reading problems at schools while her family was still on the farm. This cartoon by Tom Kerr (family) probably gives some clues as to how life was then and maybe some idea of an incentive!
This second cartoon also recently provided by Tom Kerr and his family provides a entertaining perspective as how her life evolved.