Rachael McConochie – Physiotherapist

Hi!  My name is Rachael and I joined the Move and Play Paediatric Therapy team in January 2018.

I graduated with a Bachelors of Physiotherapy (Honours) from James Cook University and found my love for working with children whilst on clinical placement at the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. I love the idea that I can help children live their best life whilst also making therapy fun through play.

I am a certified therapist in the Therasuit and Universal Exercise Unit Methods for Intensive Therapy and also the Total Motion Release for Tots and Teens Method. In March 2020, I will be commencing my Masters of Advanced Paediatric Physiotherapy through Monash University to further enhance my knowledge and clinical skills.

I have a special interest in working with children with neurological and complex developmental delays, including cerebral palsy and other brain injuries; this is reflected by my extensive postgraduate training in this and other areas, including: ‘If You Can’t Breathe, You Can’t Function” by Mary Massery, Hydrotherapy for Paediatric and Neurological Clients, Introduction to Cortical Visual Impairment, Paediatric Vestibular Dysfunction, Typical Child Development and the Classification and Treatment of Cerebral Palsy.

I love sharing the joy and excitement with each of my families when their child has finally mastered the skill they have been working so hard to achieve – it really makes my work one of the best!

When I am not working, I love to read, travel with my family and friends, play with my dog and going to see theatre shows!

Kate Hopper – Physiotherapist

Hi! My name is Kate. I was born and grew up right here in Mackay. After school I headed to Townsville to study Physio at JCU. I had always loved working with kids and it was interesting to learn how I could use my physio skills to help kids grow and reach their full potential. After graduating from university, I worked in hospitals in both Queensland and Victoria, helping people of all ages with a wide variety of needs, but finding opportunities to keep working with kids whenever I could. Since starting at Move and Play, I have loved being able to work exclusively with kids. I love finding ways to play and do therapy at the same time. Exercise shouldn’t be boring, and if we are having fun and achieving goals at the same time it is a good day!
When I am not working I love to bake all sort of sweet snacks, from cakes to pastries and anything else. I also love to garden and spend time with my family and my dog.

Nicole Blain – Physiotherapist

Hi! My name is Nicole. I grew up in a small town in South Western Ontario, Canada and moved to Australia to pursue my dream of becoming a Physiotherapist. After completing my Master’s Degree at the University of Sydney, I fell in love with the warm weather and laid back aussie lifestyle and started working in a mixed adult and paediatric clinic. I had always worked with kids while I was growing up and found myself being more and more drawn to that facet of physiotherapy. Now that I have joined move and play, I very am excited to be working exclusively with kids. I have a special interest in helping children with developmental delay. It’s such an incredible experience to be apart of a child’s life when they are learning fundamental skills such as crawling and walking. When I’m not in the clinic I enjoy spending time outdoors like going to the beach or out for a hike and I also love reading and writing. It’s my goal to help kids and their families be as physically active as they can be.

Meg Ritchie – Physiotherapist

Hi! My name is Meg and I have recently joined the Move and Play team!
I grew up in Mackay on a cane farm in the Pioneer Valley before moving to Townsville to pursue my love for physiotherapy. I graduated in 2018 before moving back to Mackay. Since then, I have worked in a primarily musculoskeletal setting treating a wide range of conditions both adults and children.
I have a particular interest in paediatrics and am very excited to work with children and their families achieve their goals. In 2019 I completed the Kids in Sport Symposium in Melbourne which covered a range of different conditions, adolescent strength training and athletic development. I love tailoring exercise programs and physiotherapy sessions to suit each individual so that therapy can be both enjoyable and rewarding. I also have a particular love for dancing and enjoy treating dance related injuries.
Outside of work I love spending time with my partner, family and friends either at the beach or on my partner’s family property.

Jess Sparks – Physiotherapist

Hi! My name is Jess and I have recently relocated to Mackay to join the Move and Play team! Growing up I moved between NSW, ACT, QLD and even spent a few years in the USA. I have recently relocated from Townsville, where I graduated from James Cook University with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. I have a strong interest in working with children of all ages. I completed a paediatric placement in Cambodia, where I worked with children with neurological and developmental delay presentations, this experience deepened my desire to pursue a career working with children.

I love putting my creative brain to work by incorporating therapy into play. I can’t wait to work in collaboration with children and families, being a part of their journey to achieve goals and optimise independence.

Outside of work I love spending my time playing sport, exploring the outdoors – especially the beach, doing puzzles and visiting my family.

Melissa Cachia – Physiotherapist

Hi! My name is Melissa and I relocated to Mackay in January 2019 to pursue my career in paediatric physiotherapy with the Move and Play Paediatric Therapy team. I was born and raised in a small town in northern British Columbia, Canada. In December 2018, I graduated from the University of Queensland with my master’s degree in Physiotherapy studies and in 2014 I graduated from the University of Calgary with my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology.

From a young age, I dreamed of being physiotherapist and developed an interest in working with children through volunteer work with therapeutic horseback riding. I enjoy spending time outdoors horseback riding, hiking, and biking as well as participating in sports such as TRL, soccer, and ice hockey. I also have a passion for music and love to play violin, trombone and sing.

My aspiration is to partner with children and their families to assist each child in realising and reaching his or her full potential.

Rhiannon German – Occupational Therapist

Hi! My name is Rhiannon and I am a Senior Occupational Therapist. I prefer to be called Rhi (‘ree’) (much easier for the little people to pronounce). I am a born and bred Mackay local and joined the Move and Play family in October 2019.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from James Cook University in 2005. I have had the privilege of working across a range of paediatric OT settings including hospital, community, education, and private settings. In 2017, I completed my graduate certificate in Advanced Occupational Therapy specialising in Paediatrics from Latrobe University. I am also certified in Ayre’s Sensory Integration assessment and therapy. I love keeping up with the recent evidence and research. I have completed a substantial amount of post graduate study and professional development across a range of areas.
My special interest areas are working with infants and children with developmental delay, premature infants, children with sensory processing issues and neurological and complex developmental delays.
I love working with children and their families, sharing the ups, the downs and the joys. I love that in my role I can partner with the whole family to support children to be the best version of themselves. I believe that nothing is impossible and love finding creative solutions so that the children can participate in what ever their hearts desire.
When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my family, at the beach, running and cycling.

Jessica Nikles – Occupational Therapist

Hello! My name’s Jess. I grew up in Brisbane, went to high school in China and came back to Brisbane for university, where I studied Occupational Therapy at the University of Queensland, graduating in 2015. I worked in Emerald for 2 years, then moved to Mackay at the end of 2017. I love being an Occupational Therapist – it means I get to help little people do the things they want to do in life. I have worked in both NGO and public sector with paediatrics and adults, and I’m so excited to focus on working solely with children at Move and Play.
I love helping little people develop their self regulation and play skills, as well as promoting general development and building skills in infants, children and young people with physical, intellectual and neurological conditions. It’s so rewarding to see moments when something *clicks* and they figure out how to do the thing that’s been tricky for them.
When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with friends, and doing anything outside – camping, swimming in waterholes, bushwalking – I’m always up for an adventure!

Emily Baxter – Occupational Therapist

Hi! My name is Emily and I have recently joined the Move and Play Paediatric Therapy team in January 2021.

I am originally from Mackay and moved down to the Sunshine Coast when I was younger. I have recently graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) from the University of the Sunshine Coast. During my university degree, I completed a placement at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and was exposed to the wonders of working with children I am excited to help little people achieve their full potential doing the things they want to and need to do in life.

Outside of I work, I enjoy spending time at the beach with my puppy and exploring new places with my partner.

Aimee Hinsch – Occupational Therapist

Hello, my name is Aimee! I graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) from James Cook University in 2020 and joined the Move and Play family in January 2021 to begin my career as an Occupational Therapist.

I grew up on my family’s cattle property on the Atherton Tablelands and have recently relocated to Mackay to pursue my dream of working with children. I found my passion for paediatrics when babysitting my two young nieces and during my university placements within a school and the community child development setting.

I chose to study occupational therapy after seeing the positive impact an occupational therapist can have in enabling individuals to engage in meaningful activities to the best of their ability. I love that occupational therapy allows me the opportunity to spend time with children and their families to truly get to know them beyond their difficulties or diagnosis and provide creative solutions to help them to be the best they can be!

In my spare time I enjoy adventuring to new places, playing team sports and spending time with family and friends.

Kathleen Davey – Occupational Therapist

Hi! My name is Kathleen and I have just joined the team at Move and Play after graduating from my Occupational Therapy degree in 2018.

My interests include anything outdoors! Mostly: travel, gardening, and playing with my two beautiful pups.

Prior to becoming an OT, I studied 18-months of early-childhood teaching. During this time, I developed a passion for supporting children who experienced challenges in everyday life, due to their physical, cognitive, social or emotional barriers.

Since completing my degree, I have gained a particular interest in neurological development and rehabilitation; Autism Spectrum Disorder; and psychosomatic disorders.

Natalia Heelan – Senior Occupational Therapist

My name is Natalia and I joined the Move and Play Paediatric Therapy team in January 2019. I was born and bred in Mackay and moved to Townsville to study Occupational Therapy at James Cook University, graduating in 2009. My husband and I moved to Rockhampton where we lived for the past 9 years and have come back to Mackay in July 2018 to be with our large family after having our beautiful daughter. We are now awaiting the arrival of our second child.

I have always loved playing with, and entertaining my niece and nephews. I found my niche working with kids during one of my uni placements at AEIOU Foundation for children with Autism. I have since held a passion for paediatric work. I have had a variety of jobs working with both adults and children in both private and public sectors. My most recent paediatric work was for Samantha Woods at Therapy Works For Kids in Rockhampton.

I think children are incredibly interesting and I love being able to help them grow and develop their independence and confidence. I love board games and ‘giggle wiggle’ would be my favourite toy to use with kids. At the moment I am loving being a mum, doing pilates and living close to the beach. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t an Occupational Therapist I would have been a Paramedic.

Rebecca Carey – Therapy Assistant

Hi! My name is Bec, I am a Therapy Assistant and have my Cert III in Individualised Support and a Cert III in Education Support. I have been working as a therapy assistant for 3 years and could not imagine doing anything else. I joined the Move and Play Team in September 2019 and love working with such an amazing team. Having a sister with a disability has encouraged me to want to help people in my community and help give them the best quality of life. I thoroughly enjoy working in paediatrics and love meeting new kids and helping them on their journey.

I have lived in Mackay most of my life and did majority of my schooling here. In my spare time I enjoy baking and going fishing and camping when I can. I also love spending time with my friends and family.

Rebekah Leak – Therapy Assistant

Hi! My name is Bek and I have recently joined Move and Play Paediatric Therapy as a Therapy Assistant. I am currently completing my Cert IV in Allied Health Assistance – Occupational Therapy and was lucky enough to complete my work placement here at Move and Play. I am from Mackay and grew up living in the Pioneer Valley, my partner and I also lived in Canada for two years. As a Mum, there is no better feeling than watching your child learn a new skill for the first time, I’m so excited to start working alongside the talented therapist here to help the little ones learn and master some new skills – big or small. When I am not working, I love spending time with my partner and our two beautiful girls doing anything outdoors and catching up with friends and family.

Linda Bourke – Practice Manager

Hi! My name is Linda and I recently joined Move and Play Paediatric Therapy in a new role as Practice Manager. I have worked in varied business roles since graduating from Queensland University of Technology with a Business degree in my early 20’s.  I have worked in large organisations, government agencies and small businesses, most recently in the healthcare sector. I enjoy working in healthcare as I feel a great sense of achievement and purpose in improving the health outcomes for our clients.

I enjoy working with closely with the owners of a business, supporting them in all non-clinical aspects of their business including finance, HR and marketing. Providing a high level of business support to them means they can focus their energies on the clinical aspects of the business and ultimately achieve better outcomes for our many young clients (and their families).

I have always really enjoyed working with children, and am a parent of a very adventurous teenage boy, so joining the Move and Play team was a perfect fit for me. I am really enjoying working with the team of Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists and finding out what they do and why they do it. Their commitment to the children (and parents) they work with is inspiring.

Administration – Rachel Mann, Kathryn Jones. Ashleigh Haines

Hi! We are the administration support team. We are the first smiling faces you will see upon your arrival to Move and Play!

On the left is Rachel. Hi, I moved to Mackay around 5 years ago, after growing up between Victoria and NSW. I have worked with people with disabilities for over 10 years supporting individuals and their families. Outside of work I love adventures on the land or the sea, and spending nights camping under the stars.

In the middle we have Kathryn. Hi, I have lived in Mackay for 11 years and have enjoyed working in the health industry for the past 10 years. I joined Move and Play in November 2019 and love providing a welcoming and friendly service to all clients and families each shift. In my spare time I love walking, reading, catching up with friends and planning the next traveling adventure.

On the right is Ashleigh. Hi, I moved to Mackay at the end of 2018 and have been enjoying exploring Central and North QLD. In my spare time I am either finding beautiful new camp spots or spending time at the beach wearing the important Surf Lifesaving red and yellow uniform.

Emily Hayles – Principal Physiotherapist & Owner

Hi! I’m Emily, the owner and principal physiotherapist for Move and Play Paediatric Therapy. I founded Move and Play Paediatric Therapy in 2015 in order to meet a growing need for private paediatric specific physiotherapy services within the Mackay region, while also providing me with flexibility to look after my little girl.

I have worked in the area of paediatric physiotherapy for almost 10 years. I have extensive experience in managing the needs of infants and children with a wide range of conditions, from mild conditions and injuries to complex neurological conditions.  I have worked as a Senior Paediatric Physiotherapist across a number of settings in both Mackay and Brisbane, including hospitals and community health services.

I have a special interest in the treatment of children with developmental delay, movement difficulties, and/or disability, in particular cerebral palsy and brain injuries, and I have undertaken substantial postgraduate education and training in this area. I am a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association and National Paediatric Group, and the Australian Bobath Neurodevelopmental Therapy Association.

As well as my clinical experience, I have also completed a Masters of Physiotherapy, through which I researched how parents of children with cerebral palsy experience health care for their child. As a result of this degree, I have published a thesis, a number of research articles on health care service delivery for children with cerebral palsy, and presented my research findings at national and international professional conferences.