Meet The Team

Blossom is a small team of Specialist level Occupational Therapists all with a minimum of 5 years post graduate experience. We are very lucky to also have the additional expertise of an Advanced Speech and Language Therapist who we are able to complete some joint assessments with. The team has a range of specialities and favourite areas of clinical practice which allows us 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 or assessments where felt to be appropriate.

All staff have an Enhanced DBS check that is current as well as Safeguarding training. We are all members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT) and also Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). 

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Rachael Gartland

Rachael Gartland

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

I am the director of Blossom and first started out in independent practice in 2017. Since then, work has been increasing and I have therefore been able to develop a small 'hand picked' team of like minded professionals who can follow my work ethic and ensure quality support for children. It is extremely important to me that all of the families and professional that we work with receive the same service regardless of the team member who works with them. 

 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.

Recent Training

  • 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
  • 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)
  • Sensory Integration EASI conversion- ASI wise modules 2,3 and 4
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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. 

Recent 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, 3  (CLASI)
  • Assessment and Treatment of Sensory Modulation Disorders (NCORE)
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Jenny Meyer

Jenny Meyer

Advanced Specialist 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.  

Recent 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

Advanced Specialist 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. Additionally Helen completes some school commission hours for Blossom and EHCP therapy. 

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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Gemma Shaw

Gemma Shaw

Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist                          Sensory Integration Practitioner                                                    (BSc Hons, PG Cert SI)

Gemma qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2016. She has recently joined the Blossom team moving from a Specialist SEN school setting for children with a primary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition. Gemma has a strength in supporting children that can find it challenging to engage and may have social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Additionally she has a background in supporting children that have experienced early trauma through her role as an OT but also as a foster carer. 

Recent Training

  • British Sign Language level 2
  • Sensory Integration PG Cert
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Claire Davenport

Claire Davenport

Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist                                 Post Graduate training in Sensory Integration                                    (BSc Hons)

Claire qualified as a an Occupational Therapist in 2017 at the University of Northampton. Prior to this she gained a degree in behavioural science. Since becoming an Occupational Therapist, Claire has been working in a range of schools to include specialist SEN and mainstream. Claire has a special interest in postural management including seating and positioning in the classroom for those who have complex medical and postural needs. She also enjoys working in mainstream classrooms supporting sensory processing alongside motor skills. Claire provides a coaching model of practice to help upskill those living and working with the child as well as direct one to one therapy where necessary. 

Recent Training

  • SOSI-M and COP-R Theory, Administration and scoring
  • Quickshifts- Revolutionizing the use of sound in sensorimotor Inetgrative treatment
  • Team teach
  • UoN practice Educators course
  • Interoception: Assessment and Intervention
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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 / Office Coordinator

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.