Meet the Team
The Tree Tops team consists of highly qualified occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and administration support.
Our dynamic team works together to create a warm, friendly atmosphere here at Tree Tops.
All staff holds a current DBS certificate and therapists are registered with the Royal College of Occupational Therapy and HCPC registered.
Why are we called Tree Tops?
Tree Tops is called this because it relates to a child development being similar to that of a tree.
In order for a child to flourish, they require really strong and solid roots which will support and equip them to branch out to establish such vital skills as:
Fine and gross motor skills * Emotional stability * Learning and good attention * Social skills * Independence skills
These areas are represented by the numerous leaves seen on the tree branches and also on our Reception walls.
Aycliffe Company Mascot
Hi, I’m Fizzwig, the company mascot since 2014.
I was donated to Tree Tops by Parkside Academy (Willington). A competition was duly held to choose my name, which was won by James and Andrew. I love it as it is so different! Maria also designed my tee shirt, my uniform, which makes me look so smart!
I live in the waiting room and I enjoy being cuddled by the children. At times I am involved in the sessions and take part in various activities on the swings, bench, space hopper, trampoline and handwriting tasks.
I enjoy wrestling, helping others in distress and compiling competitions for the children to take part in every term.
I have a Friday slot on the Tree Tops Facebook page where parents/carers/professionals can ask me questions about our services. I’m also trying to trend on Twitter, so get tweeting for #AskFizzwig!
My ambition? To be famous!
Managing Director & Consultant Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Dawn is a Sensory Integration (SI) trained Occupational Therapist with over 30 years’ experience working with children.
In 2001 she established Tree Tops, the first independent children’s occupational therapy service in North East England – specialising in Sensory Processing Difficulties (SPD). Tree Tops has an outstanding reputation due to the hard work and commitment of her dedicated team. Dawn’s passion to educate others about SPD has resulted in a range of training courses for professionals and parents.
Dawn is also extremely proud to be a Patron of Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support Group North East England which is closely affiliated with Tree Tops.
Stockton Company Mascot
Hello, I’m Baby Fizzie!
I was given to Tree Tops by Mr and Mrs Bishop in 2019 who wanted someone to care for me and also give me the home I deserve. So, here I am!
I live at our Stockton Clinic on Durham Road, Stockton, and make myself known to all the Tree Toppers that come here for some fun! I take part in the sensory integration sessions and ADORE the food therapy sessions which involve....food!! I enjoy doing lots of oral motor activities with the children which improves my speech and eating skills.
We have a beautiful window at our Stockton Clinic so I like to sit and look out of it, waving at the people who go by every day.
As you can see, I also have my own uniform tee shirt and think I look as smart as a carrot.
It would be lovely to receive some letters from our Followers as I am an avid reader and love corresponding, practicing my handwriting skills. Get writing!
Dawn (known as Dawny-o) has been working for Tree Tops since 2002 - virtually from the beginning! She left school at 16 and attended Bishop Auckland College gaining her Secretarial Certificates (her keyboard at Tree Tops is bare as the letters have all but disappeared). She previously worked for a large multi-national company for 16 years. Dawny-o's son also came to Tree Tops for intervention from the age of 5 and did a Business Administration Apprenticeship with us. She says, "Tree Tops is one big happy family and for that reason, would not want to work anywhere else." The improvements she sees in the children (as well as her son) are phenomenal.
Dawny-o is the mainstream/special school contact and also puts together our social media platforms. She is actively involved with our two support groups; Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support Group NE England and Impact Youth Group, assisting with the running of the groups.
At home, Dawny-o is married with two adult children and they have a menagerie of animals; chickens (all named), tropical fish, geckos, Giant African Land Snails and looks after poorly hedgehogs. She also has a cockapoo called, Monty who she says is virtually human!
Dawny-o enjoys yoga, gardening, eating out, reading, dancing, helping out at the family allotment and more importantly, golf!
Consultant Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Jill trained at the London School of Occupational Therapy (way back when!) and it was here, whilst on her final clinical placement at a large residential learning disabilities facility, that her future career was mapped out for her – she had found her place and her passion in the occupational therapy world.
The travel bug then hit several years later and Jill’s family moved abroad to work. During this time, Jill advanced her occupational therapy knowledge by working in Community based practice and expanded her leadership skills by completing her Master’s Degree in Executive Management with Durham University.
Returning back to the UK, Jill decided to have a career break – but that did not materialise as much to her surprise and delight, Tree Tops found out she was back in the country! Jill has now been part of our team for six years, working part time (her choice, not ours). She specialises in working with children and young adults with learning difficulties, including individuals on the autistic spectrum and those with profound and complex needs. She derives a huge amount of personal job satisfaction from her post here at Tree Tops and literally thrives on working alongside other dedicated and experienced health and educational professionals.
Outside of the occupational therapy world, Jill loves to travel and explore, hiking, eating out, practice yoga and enjoy life to the full. Who wouldn’t!
Senior Occupational Therapist
Laura joined the Tree Tops team in 2015 after qualifying as an Occupational Therapist at Northumbria University. She has always enjoyed working with children - particularly in her role during work experience and placement settings, so Tree Tops was a great opportunity to work in Paediatrics.
Currently Laura's time is divided between working within our two clinics and local schools. She works mainly within specialist education schools, helping children with additional and complex needs. Her favourite thing about working at Tree Tops is that no two days are the same, as no two children are the same! She enjoys working alongside families to support their children at home, as well as working with school staff to support pupils within the classroom.
Over the past six years, Laura has completed various additional learning, including a Baby Sensory course in 2018. She has also gone on to complete Modules 1, 2 and 3 in Sensory Integration (SI), qualifying as an SI Practitioner in 2020. Laura hopes to go on to do further studies with the possibility of achieving a Masters Degree in SI.
When Laura is not at Tree Tops, she enjoys running and keeping fit as well as indulging in delicious food! However, her favourite thing of all is seeking sunshine through trips and holidays....as most the the Tree Tops team will tell you!!
Shelley left school at 16 and progressed to a YTS with Aycliffe ITEC where she completed a BTEC in Business Studies. She brings a wealth of experience to our team.
Shelley joined Tree Tops in October 2015 as our Office Administrator where she is responsible for processing all clinic-based assessments and therapy sessions, as well as preparing all training documents and requirements. So when you receive your paperwork for an assessment, treatment or invoice, it was all Shelley's work. Her calculator is always tapping very loudly and quickly! She is very methodical and keeps us on our toes with her great organisational skills!
Shelley is passionate about working with children and since starting at Tree Tops, she has met some lovely people (colleagues, children, parents and carers). On attending one of our Think Sensory Not Behaviour training courses, Shelley said she found the information very interesting and informative (making her think twice)! She is enthusiastic to see the changes that can be achieved with a little help and support.
Shelley lives locally with her husband and son. She enjoys reading, baking, card making, eating out (she admits she enjoys this a little too much) and meeting up with friends.
We love it when she brings in her homemade cakes!
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Jane joined the Tree Tops team May 2022.
Jane attended New College Durham after leaving school and trained to be a hairdresser and beautician. She then worked in numerous salons and continued with further training in beauty therapy before having a career break to have children.
When her children started school, Jane then volunteered to support the children as a parent helper which led her to begin training to be a Teaching Assistant. Whilst training, Jane worked in a private day nursery.
In 2006, Jane began working in a mainstream primary school as a Teaching Assistant. To begin with she worked 1:1 with numerous children on the autism spectrum and learning difficulties and then as a general classroom Teaching Assistant. Jane says she loved her time in school but missed working 1:1 with the children.
Jane also runs a small charity, set up in memory of her mum, supporting local sick and disadvantaged children. She also organises charity events throughout the year.
Jane says she is thrilled to be working with the Tree Tops team and has followed our work for a while. She is excited to meet the children and their families. She hopes to use all the skills learnt in school and transfer them to working at Tree Tops.
Jane lives on an airfield and is married to a farmer. They have two grown up children, Robbie and Naomi and a Labrador called Arya. She loves eating out and socialising with friends, in between day to day running of the charity and organising charity events. She also loves a good book and takes her Kindle everywhere.
Occupational Therapist Apprentice
Felicity joined our team in January 2020.
She has always worked with children. Felicity spent ten years working as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school, which is where she first heard about Tree Tops. On completing the ‘Think Sensory Not Behaviour’ course, this really helped her understanding of the children and how the sensory systems can affect their everyday life.
Felicity left the childcare sector for a couple of years to run her own upcycling business but really missed working with children so when the therapy assistant job came up at Tree Tops, she did not hesitate to apply, and here she is now! A great dab hand at DIY too!
Felicity currently works at both clinics, supporting the Occupational Therapists and all the children who attend. She says it is great to work with so many different children and it is helping her learn lots of new ways to provide support. Sometimes she can also be found in the office helping Dawny-o and Shelley.
When Felicity is not at work, she loves to relax by going on long walks in the countryside with her dog and trying new creative activities. When she is not outdoors, you can find her snuggled up with a good book and a cuppa or trying new recipes in the kitchen. (Definitely a good person to have around)!
I cannot wait to meet you all and have some fun in the sessions.
Jennifer joined Tree Tops in May 2022 after qualifying as an Occupational Therapist at Teesside University.
During the summer periods away from her undergraduate Psychology course, Jennifer spent time working with children aged 6-16 years at a children’s summer camp in America, coaching gymnastics and working on high/low ropes courses. This experience solidified Jennifer’s desire to work with children as a career.
She first got into occupational therapy after a shadowing experience in the hospital setting. It was here that Jennifer first realised what a rewarding and valuable profession it was. So, after completing her undergraduate degree in 2018, she started her Master’s in occupational therapy where she was able to experience working in adult and older persons mental health services, and on an acute older person’s physical ward. She thought that Tree Tops would be the ideal place to give her the opportunity to work in paediatrics.
When she is not at Tree Tops, Jennifer finds many ways to keep herself occupied! Jennifer can spend her time drawing (mostly dogs) and doing anything crafty but also enjoys being curled up on the sofa reading a good book. Jennifer also likes playing netball and doing gymnastics and when the weather is nice, she can sometimes be found in the sea having a swim or on a paddleboard!
Business Administration Apprentice
Marcia joined the Tree Tops team in July 2021 as a Business Administration Apprentice and is working towards her Level 3 Business Administration qualification.
When Marcia left school, she decided to study music at College whilst also juggling with three jobs. However, when she turned 21, Marcia then worked for Thomas Cook for three years in Spain and Portugal which she said was great fun! After this time, she came home and settled down to married life. Marcia has a daughter and step-son and two dogs.
For a while, Marcia set up her own cleaning business which fit in nicely with family life and having young children. However, she then realised she was enjoying the business side much more than the cleaning hence why she is now doing her apprenticeship.
At home, Marcia loves to venture out on camping trips and spending time with her young family.
Senior Occupational Therapist
Ellen is one of the Occupational Therapists here at Tree Tops who joined Tree Tops in August 2017 after graduating from Teesside University. She has Level 1 & Level 2 SI and is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding ie fussy/picky eaters.
She first got into occupational therapy after seeing occupational therapists in action from visiting places such as the children’s cancer ward, working as a health care assistant in a secure mental health unit and nursing home, day centre and care farms.
She has become very passionate about empowering others through creative outlets. As everyone will tell you, Ellen is into all things outdoorsy and being creative…. she loves getting stuck in!… and she certainly gets to do that here at Tree Tops! She enjoys walking her dog, Fern, at the beach and loves yoga and gardening.
Ellen will always say that children and their families are at the heart of what we do here. She works in both our clinics and schools, using her expertise in food therapy. Ellen has also gained her Infant SI in Levels 1 and 2 and is now working towards her Level 3.
Olivia joined our Tree Tops team in April 2021 after qualifying as an Occupational Therapist from Teesside University.
Olivia has previous experience working within adult and older persons mental health services. She thought Tree Tops would be the perfect opportunity to work in Paediatrics.
Olivia’s favourite thing about working at Tree Tops is the positive impact working alongside our families has on the child and the parents’ overall wellbeing.
Olivia also hopes to continue with her SI training and achieve her Level 1.
When she is not at Tree Tops, Olivia lives next to the beach, so she enjoys walks along the seaside with her dog, Watson. She loves completing a painting by numbers and listening to a podcast on a rainy day. Rumour has it she enjoys a good book too!
Alison trained to be an occupational therapist, after being introduced to the role when working with children who displayed ASD and complex needs and becoming passionate about sensory integration. Alison qualified in 2020.
Prior to retraining, Alison worked for many years in education; mainstream, primary and specialist educational settings.
Alison joined the Tree Tops team in 2021 and enjoys working with all our children, families and schools.
Outside of work, Alison enjoys walking her dogs, going out for coffee, visiting her family and reading.
Children's Occupational Therapy North East
Tree Tops Occupational Therapy Ltd are an established service with an outstanding reputation for children's occupational therapy and sensory integration expertise.
Based in County Durham and Stockton, we work in partnership with families, schools and health professionals across the North East to make a difference to children’s lives by improving their ability to achieve as well as their general happiness and wellbeing.
Get In Touch
Please get in touch with us if you have any queries about our services, we are always here to help.
46 Durham Road