Meet The Team

Blossom Children’s Occupational Therapy Ltd now have a few members of staff to cover the various needs of children and their families. We also have a Therapy Dog that can be used to support some therapeutic intervention’s where felt to be appropriate.

All staff have have an Enhanced DBS check that is current as well as Safeguarding training.

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Rachael Gartland

Rachael Gartland

Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Sensory Integration Practitioner
Certified Sensory Attachment Therapist
(BSc Hons, PG Cert, MRCOT)

I am married and have two children myself so understand the importance of supporting children to achieve their full potential whatever that might be.

I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2010 and since then have worked within the field of Paediatrics. I have been passionate about working with children for many years and believe that early intervention is very important. I am very enthusiastic about my work and find that supporting children to achieve daily tasks which others may take for granted to be very satisfying.

I initially started my journey within the NHS Peterborough Paediatric Occupational Therapy service before working independently. I have gained a range of experience working with children that have both physical and also mental health difficulties. My aim is to remain children and family centred; ensuring that individual needs are assessed and supported regardless of a diagnosis. My role is very varied and also includes supporting charities, case managers, schools and nurseries. Furthermore I am commissioned to work with a Private Paediatrician and a Psychologist to support the process of diagnosing children with neurodevelopmental difficulties.

I have post graduate training in Sensory Integration and value this knowledge when I am assessing and providing therapy to children. I also support schools to provide a whole school approach to developing children’s skills and access to education. This can include environmental accommodations, strategies, staff training or the development of group programmes for identified students. I have also completed my training to be a Sensory Attachment Therapist.

I am registered with the HCPC and also a member of Royal College of Occupational Therapists and the Sensory Integration Network. I always ensure that I keep myself up to date with current research and practice as well as receiving regular supervision and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Qualifications

  • BSc Occupational Therapy
  • PGC Sensory Integration
  • Certified Sensory Attachment Therapist
  • Therapy Dog Handler

Memberships

  • Member of Sensory Integration Network
  • Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT)
  • Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Enhanced DSB online

Training (processes)

  • Student Education
  • Clinical Supervision
  • Interdisciplinary Working
  • ECAF Training
  • EHC planning process
  • Child Protection and Safeguarding

Recent Training (clinical)

  • Sensory Processing Disorders (Lucy Miller)
  • Diagnosing ASD in complex presentations (GOSH)
  • Down’s Syndrome and behaviour management
  • Postural management (Simple Stuff Works)
  • Wakefield Training
  • Postural Management (Symmetrikit)
  • Cerebral Palsy management and treatment (Jo Coghill Paediatrician)
  • Oral Motor skills and sensory feeding difficulties (NHS Peterborough SaLT and OT team)
  • Attention and Engagement Autism Training (Gina Davies, Specialist SaLT)
  • DIR Floortime Introduction (Denise Wilson , OT and Play Therapist)
  • Eye Gaze and Assistive Technology (Inclusive Technology)
  • Do we still need to Learn to Write? (Lois Addy)
  • ASD study day (UoN)
  • Parenting our extraordinary children- the magic and the challenges (Carrie Grant)
  • P4C – Partnering for change (Sahana Bolton)
  • The Autism Experience (High Five)
  • Puberty in ASD (Target Autism , Ron Futuna and Angela Capper)
  • Using sensory strategies to reduce restraint (Sensory Project, Kath Smith and Ros Urwin)
  • Trauma and Loss (Dr Karen Treisman)
  • How to make an unhappy autistics into happy adults (Dr Luke Beardon)
  • ADHD: Daydream believer to high achiever. (Jannine Harris, ADHD Wise UK)
  • Kinetic Letters Handwriting Programme (Margaret Williamson)
  • Sensory Attachment Intervention- SAI introduction (Eadaoin Bhreathnach)
  • Inside I’m Hurting -Trauma and attachment in schools (Louise Bomber)
  • Diagnosing and treating Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) (Dyspraxia UK)
  • Autism (Debby Elley)
  • Interoception; assessment and intervention (Kelly Mahler)
  • 2020:
  • Respecting Biology- Neuro Developmental Approach to supporting hurting children (Louise Bomber)
  • When children won’t eat, SOS approach to feeding (Kay Toomey)
  • The Alert Programme (Mary Sue Williams and Shelley Shellenberger)
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (Amy Hendricks, BHS)
  • PANS and implications for Occupational Therapy (Michelle Newby, BHs OT , Director Stepping Stones)
  • Therapeutic Listening -Quickshifts (Anna Roberts)
  • Just Right State programme (Eadaoin Bhreathnach)
  • 2021:
  • Attachment : Parent- Child relationships (Helen Johnson)
  • Trauma from being Atypical living in a Typical world (Kelly Mahler & Kim Clairy)
  • Understanding barriers to school attendance – including school refusal (Louise Parker Engels)
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Rosie Pole

Rosie Pole

Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Post graduate training in Sensory Integration                                 
(BSc Hons, MRCOT)

Rosie joined Blossom last year and is a valued member of the team. She is a qualified Paediatric Occupational Therapist and specialises in the field of Paediatrics .Rosie qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2016 and she is currently completing her exams for Sensory Integration Practitioner status.  

As a Occupational Therapist, Rosie specialises in working with children and young people with conditions such as Autism, ADHD, Learning Disabilities and associated Sensory Processing Difficulties. Rosie is passionate about her role and is committed to learning and developing further as a skilled OT. Prior to working in the Paediatric field, Rosie worked with acute medical conditions as part of an Occupational Therapist rehabiliation team. 

Rosie is a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and also HCPC- Health Care and Professions Council. She receives regular clinical supervision to manage her caseload and also attends regular training to ensure that she is continuing her professional development. 

Qualifications

  • BSc Hons Occupational Therapy
  • Ayres Sensory Integration level 2

Memberships

  • Member of Sensory Integration Network
  • Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT)
  • Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Enhanced DSB

Training

  • Transitioning into school following Covid-19 (Beacon House)
  • Lego-based Therapy (Helen Eales SALT)
  • Handwriting without tears (Sensational Kids)
  • Using the whole child approach to address feeding challenges (Lindsay Beckerman )
  • Handwriting - a brief overview (National Hnadwriting Association)
  • The Interoceptive Curriculum (Kelly Mahler)
  • Sensory Integration Module 1&2 (CLASI)
  • Assessment and Treatment of Sensory Modulation Disorders (NCORE)
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Jenny Meyer

Jenny Meyer

Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Sensory Integration Practitioner                                 
Specialist Literacy Teacher                                                             (BSc Hons, MRCOT, PG Cert SI, SpLD OCR 5)                      

Jenny joined team Blossom in January 2022. She has been qualified as an Occupational Therapist since 2010. Since qualifying, Jenny has been working in the field of paediatrics in the community as well as within a specialist school in London for those with additional needs. Jenny has a special interest in Autism Spectrum Condition, ADHD, DCD, Dyslexia and associated sensory processing difficulties.  

Qualifications

  • BSc Hons Occupational Therapy
  • PG Cert Sensory Integration
  • SpLD Literacy OCR 5

Memberships

  • Royal College of Occupational Therapists
  • Sensory Integration Education
  • Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Training

  • Executive functioning
  • Tips and Techniques for online learners
  • Supporting children with attachment diffiuclties
  • Neurodiversity and the teenage brain
  • Essential skills for supervision
  • Primitive reflexes
  • Hypermobility and joint laxity
  • Zones of regulation
  • Handwriting in paediatrics
  • CO-OP Training
  • The Listening programme
  • Thinking maps
  • Alert programme
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Helen Eales

Helen Eales

Associate Specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist
Sensory Attachment Practitioner in Training                                 
(BSc Hons, MRCSLT)

Helen qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2006, initially within the NHS and more recently as an independent therapist within a small number of special schools in Northamptonshire.


Helen has a specialist interest in working with children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH), including behavioural difficulties, and is currently completing a master’s in SEMH. She has a particular interest in attachment and trauma, and the impact of this on the development of communication skills.


Helen carries out joint Sensory Attachment Intervention (SAI) assessments and interventions with Rachael, including delivery of the Just Right State programme. 

Qualifications

  • BSc Hons Speech and Language Therapy
  • Currently studying Master of Education (MEd) Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, University of Birmingham

Memberships

  • Certified Member of The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (certMRCSLT)
  • RCSLT Research Champion
  • Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP)

Training

  • Sensory Attachment Intervention
  • The Just Right State 
  • Keeping Language In Mind (Dr Val Brooks)
  • Fundamentals of working with children and young people who have Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH) and Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) (Melanie Cross)
  • Understanding and supporting attachment difficulties and complex trauma. How they can affect children and young people's development, including their communication skills (Melanie Cross)
  • Solution Focussed Practice, Talking Mats
  • Foundation and 'Keeping Safe' modules
  • Transitioning into school following Covid-19 (Beacon House)
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Tracey Donativo

Tracey Donativo

Therapeutic Practitioner                                                               Social Worker                                                                                   (BA Hons)

Tracey is a qualified social worker with 11 years experience working with Looked After and Adopted children. Most recently Tracey worked for the Local Authority in the Post Adoption Team.

Tracey is able to offer advice, guidance and support to families and schools in relation to trauma and attachment awareness and also behaviour management. She offers direct work with children and parent individually or together. The work is tailored to meet the needs of the individual child and family. Tracey will be available for group work to support regulation; including mindfulness and anger management and also to build self esteem or understanding of self. Additionally she can offer parenting support groups and self care sessions for parents.

Tracey’s services can be accessed as a result of an Occupational need identified through assessment or through direct contact from families and schools.

Tracey is registered with Social Work England and is also a member of British Association of Social Workers (BASW).

Training

  • Theraplay Level
  • Managing Behaviour with Attachment in Mind – Professionals Course
  • Creating an Emotional Regulation Toolkit for the Classroom
  • Domestic Abuse Awareness
  • Emotion Coaching
  • The Developing Child in the Modern World
  • Drawing and Talking Foundation Course
  • Signs of Safety – A strength based model of practice.
  • Interoception- assessment and intervention by Kelly Mahler
  • Respecting Biology- Neuro Developmental Approach to supporting hurting children (Louise Bomber)
  • DDP Level One (Dyadic Developmental Practice,
  • Psychotherapy & Parenting)
  • Trauma and PTSD in Children & Young People (Natalie Ure)
  • Understanding barriers to school attendance – including school refusal (Louise Parker Engels)
  • Our Sensory Worlds: Interoception (Cairn Education)
  • Transitioning into school following Covid-19 (Beacon House)
  • Lego-based Therapy (Helen Eales SALT)
  • Eco-Sensory Practitioner introduction
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Ella

Ella

Qualified Specialist Therapy Dog

Ella is a Bichon Frise dog who has recently joined our team. She has now qualified as a specialist Therapy Dog within our service. Her breed means that she is hypoallergenic for those with allergies and also has a calm, gentle and loving temperament. Ella will offer support in some of the therapy sessions only where suitable for the child and their specific goals. She will also be available in some assessments to reduce anxiety and aid engagement if this is appropriate. 

Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond. Interacting with a friendly dog can help many physical and mental health issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve overall psychological state.

Results from recent studies show that children exhibited a more playful mood, were more focused, and were more aware of their social environments when in the presence of a therapy dog. These findings indicate that interaction with dogs may have specific benefits for children and suggest that animal-assisted therapy(AAT) is an appropriate form of therapy.( Martin and Farnum 2002) The general assumptions underlying AAT with children are that although therapy dogs are interactive, children seem to perceive them as non-judgemental participants who are outside of the complications and expectations of human relationships. This unique interaction may offer children a valuable form of social and emotional support in educational and therapeutic settings. (Frieson 2010)

Occupational therapists use animals through approaches such as create/promote, establish/restore, maintain, modify, and prevent (Youngstrom et al., 2002). For example, in the establish/restore approach, mastering the use of grooming tools for a dog may support the establishment of a personal care routine for the client. Learning caregiving for a dog could establish a new occupation. Or modification of objects used in dog training and care could help sustain a meaningful activity in a child’s lifestyle.‘Because you’ve got a dog’, the therapist–client relationship is facilitated through a common non‐human object. Communication is facilitated as therapist and client share stories about past and present pets. Social interaction is less complicated when there is an external focus for the conversation.

The presence of a dog changes the physical and social environment. Skilful use of a dog by the occupational therapist requires a client‐centred approach so that the therapist chooses appropriate goals for each clhild and maximises the use of the dog in the therapeutic encounter.

The goals of a pet therapy program can include:

  • Improving motor skills
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Increasing verbal communication
  • Developing social skills
  • Increasing willingness to join in activities / motivation
  • Improving interactions with others
  • Making a child happier, lessening depression, and improve outlook on life
  • Decreasing loneliness and isolation by providing companionship
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Helping children learn empathic and nurturing skills
  • Improving a child’s ability to trust adults and feel safe in the therapy space
  • Developing trust
  • Building empathy
  • Opportunities for co-regulation
  • Learning to express and connect with emotions
  • Sensory regulation and exploration
  • Giving children some power and control to practice how this feels safely
  • Providing opportunities to observe nurture and to care for something post trauma
  • Helping children to transition between activities within the sessions and also at the beginning/end
  • Something to relate to when people are too challenging or don’t feel safe after trauma
  • Aiding sensory integration through encouraging movement in sessions, and exploration of the senses
  • Act as a motivator for hard to reach children
  • Improving Interoception

Ella has now passed her advanced therapy dog training which means that she specialises in young people with social, emotional, mental health difficulties including post trauma. She will also specialise in sensory based activities that promote regulation , motor skills and exploration.

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Kerry McNee

Kerry McNee

Administrator

Kerry has recently joined the Blossom team in January 2022. She is a very important member of the team who acts as our 'front of house' and the first point of contact to support and sign post our families / professionals. Kerry responds to all initial enquires, organises waiting lists, diary bookings as well as managing the invoicing.                                                                                        Kerry is keen to help anyone and will do her best to advise or answers your questions providing they are not clinical; in which case she will find out the answer for you from one of the therapists.                                                                 Kerry only works part-time so will reply to you as soon as possible when you contact the team.