Occupational Therapy can help to give your child the greatest opportunity in life, particularly in those early years of development. Happy Dots is a privately owned clinic located in Cardiff, which offers a friendly, professional and sensory based approach for children of varying conditions, aged between 0-18 years of age. We have been operating since January 2012.

Occupational Therapy addresses activities of daily living that your child may be having difficulty with. Our personalised and multidisciplinary approach allows for children to reach their maximum potential across a range of different environments.

Happy Dots aims to provide friendly, professional and exceptional service to suit children of all abilities. Our therapists are trained to engage children in innovative, fun, motivating and age-appropriate activities to meet child and parent/carer goals. Services and programs are also individually designed to improve independence within home and school environments and to identify a child’s current developmental milestones, skill levels and functional barriers. We then provide family-friendly strategies and sensory based interventions to facilitate the development of skills and functional performance for skill development in everyday activities.

Happy Dots has a purpose built therapy clinic (including sensory gym) offering a welcoming, well-equipped and safe environment in which children have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the therapist to achieve their goals. We also offer home & school visits as a part of our professional service.

Our Philosophy

Sensory based approach

Sensory processing is our ability to detect, integrate and process information from our senses and then perform appropriate actions in relation to this information. If a child is over reacting, under reacting or fluctuating in how they register this input it will directly impact their ability to attend to tasks.To be effective sensory processing must be efficient. Sensory Integration refers to the process of creating efficient sensory pathways and connections in the central nervous system. Experts agree that until about seven years of age the brain is most active in the development of these pathways.

All children are learning to process sensory information and children with more apparent disabilities such as hearing or visual impairments may not receive, perceive, organize or interpret information accurately, however, many children also have difficulties with this which are not so obvious.

A difficulty in sensory processing may result in an inability to regulate sensory input. These include: sensitivity to sensations, inconsistent or confused responses to situations, disorganized behaviours, poor peer interactions, immature social/emotional development, reduced self-esteem or self-control and poor academic development.

At Happy Dots, we are able to work collaboratively with you and your child to develop a functional sensory diet that will assist in keeping their sensory system calm, but alert. For more information on how a sensory diet may benefit your child, please contact us.

Play Based Approach (DIR Floor time)

DIR®/Floortime Model is an effective treatment approach that emphasises the interaction between the child and the parent/caregiver, with the goal being directed toward developing attention and regulation, mutual engagement, purposeful interaction with gestures and problem solving, elaboration of ideas and building bridges between ideas. The DIR® approach is appropriate for children who have difficulties in relating and communicating with others. This approach recognizes that a child’s functional emotional capacities and individual difference influence development through the medium of the child-caregiver relationship.

To understand a child’s individual differences we focus on the underlying sensory processing and regulation capacities. By understanding these strengths and weakness and adapting their interactions so that the child is not over or under responding to input we are then able to increase the child’s ability to attend, interact and develop their ideas.

At Happy Dots we work with you to help you identify and understand your child’s individual needs, and from this we create fun & engaging ways to develop your child’s developmental skills.

The Wilbarger Brushing Protocol

The Wilbarger approach to the treatment of sensory defensiveness was developed by Patricia Wilbarger and is most commonly used by occupational therapists in the treatment of children with sensory defensiveness. The Wilbarger approach combines education, sensory diet strategies and professionally guided treatment and often, includes the Therapressure protocol. The Therapressure protocol has been known under many names; the most common include 'brushing' and the 'Wilbarger Protocol'.

The Wilbarger approach to the treatment of sensory defensiveness is comprised of three components. These include education and increasing awareness of sensory defensiveness and its symptoms, individualised sensory diet and an individualised professionally guided treatment program. Please ask you therapist for more information on the Wilbarger Protocol.

Therapeutic Listening

Therapeutic Listening is a sound therapy home program designed by an occupational therapist. This very effective home program consists of modulated CD music with a required amount of listening that has to be completed on a daily basis.

Therapeutic Listening uses modulated and filtered music, prescribed by a trained therapist, individually selected for your child in combination with sensory integrative activities. Therapeutic Listening can provide positive changes in attention, regulation of sensation and behaviour, body awareness and control, and speech and language difficulties.

Rachelle Day (OT) is a fully trained Listening Program Practitioner. An initial consultation is required to ensure an appropriate program is chosen for your child. Follow up sessions are booked as required. Please contact us should you require more information on this approach.

Our Staff

Clinic Director/Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Rachelle Day, BAppSc (OT) Hons, is the owner and clinical director of Happy Dots. Rachelle graduated from the University of Sydney achieving first class honours, and has since shown a strong passion and desire to work with children.

Rachelle has experience in providing therapy to children with a range of varying conditions, predominantly Autism, along with other conditions such as Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. Rachelle has experience in working across a variety of different environments such as clinic, home, school and in the community.

Office Manager

Cathy is our new Operations Manager at Happy Dots. Cathy was born and raised in Lake Macquarie and has worked in the Health Industry for over twenty years.

Cathy is a wife and proud mum to four children.

Cathy is extremely passionate about helping people and making a positive difference to the children and families that visit our clinic. Cathy takes care of all things managerial related across both our Cardiff & Singleton sites, and is extremely approachable. Cathy looks forward to meeting you all.

Receptionist

Dionne has joined the Happy Dots team as our new Receptionist. Dionne is a true Novocastrian and has worked in various administration roles for more than twenty years. Dionne is a mother of two teenage sons and enjoys spending most weekends as a soccer mum.

Dionne looks forward to working and supporting the Happy Dots team and loves helping people get the best out of everyday, seeing people leave with a smile and a refreshed positive attitude.

You will find Dionne will make you feel very welcome and do all she can to assist you.

Receptionist

Bio coming soon.

Clinical Coordinator/Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Kim graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy) Honours. Kim also has an Advanced Certificate in Welfare. Kim has extensive experience working with children, adolescents and adults in the areas of cognition, memory, organisation, sensory processing, sequencing, learning difficulties, dyspraxia, and higher executive function disorders.

Kim works closely with families as well as primary and high school teachers to educate and implement programs that foster community understanding and acceptance, as well as independence in learning, play and self-care. More recently, Kim has been closely involved with post-schools planning and the NDIS including exploring respite and supported care environments to assist families living with disability.

In addition to paediatrics, Kim has a long history of working with adolescents and adults within legislative environments including workers compensation, income protection, CTP, and veterans affairs undertaking home assessments, activities of daily living assessments, and equipment / service prescription.

Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Jamie Owen completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Newcastle in 2011. Jamie has been working as an Occupational Therapist in Occupational Rehabilitation since her graduation and is very enthusiastic about her transition into paediatrics. Jamie has always been passionate about working with children and has developed exceptional skills in her previous position to deliver quality assessments and recommendations. Jamie has also developed strong communication skills in which she is eager to apply in a paediatric setting.

Jamie has gained experience working with children whist on her final placement as part of her degree. Jamie worked as a student with children from newborn to 15 years old with an array of diagnosis including, Prematurity, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Sensory Processing Disorder, Global Developmental Delay and Downes Syndrome. Jamie is very keen to expand upon her skills learnt during this placement in order to assist children to reach their potential as they grow and develop. Jamie has gained further experience providing therapy as a student to children in school settings and working collaboratively with teachers in order to support learning needs.

Jamie is enthusiastic about continuing professional development and will be expanding her skills through upcoming workshops this year. Jamie aims to apply her current expertise and skills learnt throughout her transition to deliver quality, meaningful and fun therapy for children. We welcome Jamie to the team!

Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Calli Yule completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) degree with The University of Sydney in 2012. Calli has previous experience in working with and providing intervention to children diagnosed with Autism and her experience lies within Sensory Integrative Therapy.

Calli’s enthusiastic attitude enables her to build strong and lasting relationships with children, parents and teachers in a clinical setting as well as within the school environment. She strives to create fun and educational therapy sessions tailored to each child’s individual goals and to assist them in achieving their true potential functionally and academically.

Calli is committed to furthering herself as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist through professional development opportunities such as participation in workshops to provide the best possible intervention to each and every individual client.

Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Sara has a degree of Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) and is a proud member of OT Australia. Sara also is a provider of Medicare and Better Access to Mental Health Care Plans.

Sara is an experienced clinician who has been specialising in the treatment of children with autism for over 14 years and has a wealth of knowledge and extensive practical experience on the most effective ways to treat children with a range of challenges.

Sara has great relationship building skills with the children as well as a vast range of therapy ideas and strategies that she adapts to each and every child. Sara has also attended numerous workshops on Sensory Processing, Fine motor and Handwriting difficulties and is formally trained in the Listening Program, Therapeutic Listening, and various intervention programs.

Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Jess Rodgers completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) at Albury/Wodonga in 2012. Jess is a member of OT Australia and is also a provider of Medicare and Better Access to Mental Health Care Plans.

Jess has previous experience working in both rural and metropolitan areas working with children of all ages and diagnosis’, ranging from babies to adolescents. Jess’ interests and passion lies with early intervention (babies to toddlers) and children with a trauma history, emotional regulation and sensory processing challenges.

Jess uses a family-centred approach and can develop strong relationships with the children and their families. Jess has attended extensive training and professional development to further challenge and improve her clients skills and independence. Jess will continue to attend workshops and courses to further enhance her skills.

Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Cassie Bailey completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Southern Cross University in 2016. Cassie has had experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, developmental delays, VCFS, cerebral palsy, rare genetic disorders, and attention deficit disorder.

Cassie uses a family centred approach to her practice to ensure the best outcomes for everyone. She loves to help her clients achieve their goals and reach their potential. She prides herself in making sessions fun and engaging whilst still working towards the client’s goals.

Cassie is very excited to attend professional development courses in the future to further her learning about child development and the sensory system.

Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Elise graduated from The University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2008. Following graduation, she worked at the Rankin Park Centre For Rehabilitation for 3 years where she worked with adults to meet their potential in achieving daily occupations. Elise then completed a traineeship in Electrical Engineering. Elise has since transitioned back to working as an Occupational Therapist in paediatrics and is passionate about working with children to help them reach their potential and increase their self-esteem and confidence through meaningful activities.

Elise has experience working with children with ASD, Sensory Processing Disorder and other developmental delays. Elise is excited to integrate her passion for technology while working with children. Elise strives to create fun sessions to ensure clients are engaged when working towards their goals. Elise is very excited to continue her professional development by attending further training on childhood development and sensory processing.

Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Phoebe Lovell has been invited to join the Happy Dots team following her final year placement at University. Prior to her final practice placement here at Happy Dots, Phoebe has had placement opportunities in community adult health in local and rural areas however her true passion lies with paediatrics.

Phoebe was fortunate to study abroad for a semester at the University of Liverpool in England where she gained an international perspective on the Occupational Therapy profession. She will apply her skills with a smile, to maximise the engagement, achievement and independence of your children in all activities.

Phoebe looks forward to continue developing meaningful relationships with children and their families at Happy Dots, and extending her knowledge through professional development. We are most excited to have Phoebe a part of our team!

Occupational Therapy/Administrative Assistant

Lizzie is a second year Occupational Therapy student at the University of Newcastle.

She completed her first year placement at Happy Dots and started as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in January 2017.

Lizzie is really enjoying her degree and loves getting to know all the children and their family members who come to Happy Dots! Lizzie helps out on the front desk from time to time, and is more than happy to assist you where ever she can. She is learning a lot working with the rest of the team and can’t wait to start her own career as an OT!

New clinic location in Singleton

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