Rachael Gartland

The Team


Rachael Gartland – Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist and Sensory Integration Practitioner

(BSc Hons, PG Cert, MRCOT)

I am the Director of Blossom Children’s Occupational Therapy.

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 now 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 am registered with the HCPC and also a member of BAOT/COT 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 and Recent Training:



  • BSc Occupational Therapy
  • PGC Sensory Integration


  • 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)
  • 2017:
  • ASD study day (UoN)
  • Parenting our extraordinary children- the magic and the challenges (Carrie Grant)
  • P4C – Partnering for change (Sahana Bolton)
  • 2018:
  • 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)
  • 2019:
  • 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)
  • Diagnosisng 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)
  • The Listening Program Certified provider course (currently undertaking)

Julie Aistrop

Julie Aistrop – Occupational Therapy Technical Instructor

Julie has recently joined Blossom. She is a qualified Nursery Practitioner and additionally has 23 years experience working within the NHS Paediatric Occupational Therapy service as a Technical Instructor. This role involved her supporting Occupational Therapists working within school and home settings.

Julie has worked with individual children ,as well as group therapy sessions helping children to progress and reach their full potential.

Julie is available to provide therapy sessions under the supervision of Rachael and following a devosed therapy plan. She is also available to provide school visits for advice and classroom observations of any children where concern have been raised.

During school holidays Julie is available to continue therapy within the home environment and will also be available to provide group therapy sessions within the community.

Tracey Donativo

Tracey Donativo – Therapeutic Practitioner (BA Hons Social Work)

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).


  • 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.




Ella – Therapy Dog in Training

Ella is a Bichon Frise dog who has recently joined our team. She is currently in training to be a 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. Once qualified Ella will offer support in some of the therapy sessions only where suitable for the child and thier specific goals. This can include the following:

*Opportunities for Co-regulation

* Deep pressure and sensory input to calm children who are stressed
* 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