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
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 Paediatric 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/Assistant Clinical Coordinator
Sarah joined the Tree Tops team in September 2021. Sarah worked in the education sector for many years, working in both mainstream and special schools.
Sarah has developed an understanding of sensory needs and how this can impact on the young people she worked with, from working with Dawn and doing the ‘Think Sensory Not Behaviour’ course. This gave Sarah the knowledge she needed to deliver sensory programmes in school.
Outside work, Sarah enjoys walking her dog and going to the theatre with friends. She also loves to crochet and will sometimes leave you a little surprise on your desk! Sarah is very creative and we love her doing this!
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.
Dawn graduated from Teesside University in 2020 and joined the Tree Tops family in January 2022.
Dawn has 6 years experience of working with children in schools as a specialist Teaching Assistant. It is in this role where she identified that occupational therapy not only supports children in areas that are challenging to them but that it can also have a major and positive impact on a child’s ability to learn and play successfully. This led to her retraining and joining the incredible profession of occupational therapy.
Since qualifying, Dawn has worked with acute stroke patients, and supported older adults with their mobility and being able to fulfil important daily tasks. Joining Tree Tops has meant that Dawn can return to her roots of working with children and supporting them to aim for their full potential.
Outside of Tree Tops, Dawn enjoys walking her puppy, Winston, going out for a coffee with friends, spending time with her family, attending fitness classes and settling down to watch a good movie.
Dawn is looking forward to working within the Tree Tops team to support schools, families, and children themselves to accomplish goals that are imperative for wellbeing and healthy development throughout the important childhood years.
Dawn cannot wait to meet you at one of our clinics so she can continue on your journey together and have some fun along the way!
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.
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 SI and is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding ie fussy/picky eaters. Ellen is now undertaking Level 2 SI so watch this space!
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 gained her Infant SI in Levels 1 and 2 and is now ready to take part in SI Level 2. Good luck Ellen.
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!
Welcome to the Tree Tops team Olivia. We know you will be an asset to our team and work well with our families.
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.
Prior to retraining, Alison worked for many years in education; mainstream, primary and specialist educational settings.
Outside of work, Alison enjoys walking her dogs, going out for coffee, visiting her family and reading.
Alison is excited to join the Tree Tops team and looks forward to working with all our children, families and schools.
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